ISM insight: Life as an ISM student

The ISM Student Blog provides insight into life at ISM. Bloggers are current students and recent alumni who are excited about sharing their diverse learning experiences in ISM’s programs. Explore this blog to learn more about life at ISM, and how the program benefits students in the long run. You may also want to follow ISM on Facebook or join the conversation on Twitter.

Ever since Christmas break ended, it seems like school has cranked up the intensity. If you aren’t writing a pre-assignment, then you must start the research for a 10-15-page paper. This is, of course, in addition to being in class, having (as many students do) a part-time job, figuring out times to apply for jobs, and finding some time for friends and a social life! It can start to feel a little overwhelming.

When I decided the make the transition from Mental Health to business school, I knew many of the classes would be challenging. I had looked over the required classes for the IMBA and saw that some of them were subjects I had never learned in my entire life. But there was one subject that scared me above all other ones, and that was Finance. While it may seem like a simple subject for those with a finance background, I knew that my skills were extremely limited when it came to math.

In April of 2016, I quit my job, broke up with my girlfriend, hugged my mother, and set out for the open road. I was off to live my dream and had no idea what to expect. My life was a blank page with nothing but the word “adventure” scribbled in the corner. I had spent the last several years plotting, planning, and devising a scheme in which I could see the world and improve my resume while I was at it. I had always wanted to spend a year traveling, and I had always wanted to get my MBA. Why not do both at the same time? Thus, I decided to do just that. I would travel for six months and then do my MBA abroad. I spent a good year researching schools, and eventually I found a small school in Paris that had a program focused around entrepreneurship. I hadn’t heard of the school, but, after discussions with the admissions team, meetings with previous students, and lots of other research, I was convinced that ISM was the school for me. Within the year, I was accepted, and I had my start date: October 2016.

Making the decision to go to graduate school is not an easy one. It is especially challenging if going to graduate school involves a completely new career change. This has been my personal experience, switching from mental health to business school.

At ISM each MBA seminar provides many different topics, taught by very competitive professors from all around the world. Each seminar varies from one to another, complementing each one with relevant and applicable information. All students have their favorite seminar, which normally expresses their preferences. For example, in my case, I really liked the finance seminars since my minor was Finance and Accounting, so I already had knowledge in that area. However, I also realized I had other preferences, like when I took the Advertising and Communications seminar I understood how much I liked marketing and that I was actually good at it. This is why I started to apply to jobs that had marketing areas where I could learn and improve my skills.

ISM life is a whole unique experience. It definitely stands as an international program where all the alumni are able to meet and get to know people from all around the world, from students to professors, and to open their minds to their classmates’ traditions and ways of thinking. In addition, there are many advantages that the program gives you such as travel or work (if possible) due to the flexible schedule of the seminars. While you’re studying at ISM, you should take some advice from students that have already lived the experience. Here is a list of things I would advise:

An abrupt and unaccountable change of moods will define Paris during the last couple of months. From weather craziness that no one can escape, to strikes whose objectives are never quite clear; they are just part of the city. These are the two most commented topics in any discussion with friends, family, or colleagues.

Studying at ISM has been one of the best experiences I’ve had so far in my life. The MBA program here is truly an international program that connects people from all around the world, helping us learn about other traditions, languages, opinions, and ways of thinking and living.

I started my MBA four months ago, and each of the seminars I’ve taken has been a different and exciting experience. Before each seminar, you never know which new challenges you are going to face, the professor’s teaching style, or which new students you may be interacting with. Every seminar is a challenge that fills me with adrenaline.

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