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.

I've officially made it halfway through the MBA Program with ISM. It couldn't have come at a better time as I make my way back to my US hometown of Akron, Ohio. Ohio in the summertime is a magical place to be, boasting sunny skies, beautiful lakes surrounded by serene forests and an abundance of lively summer festivals. Not only is it truly picturesque, there is also always something fun to do. Not to mention the most important thing: that I get to wind down and relax with my family and friends....

Whenever I travel to Paris for classes, I try to stay a day longer to get to know the city more as Paris is very charming. You will find yourself adoring the amazing architecture of the buildings, beautiful gardens and the impressive views during the day and at night. Although Paris tends to be quite hectic during the day, in the evening, especially on the warmer days, people gather in coffees shops, along the side of the river Seine, or the St. Martin Canal, savoring good food and drinking wine and other beverages.

Last week, ISM held their Welcome Reception, inviting students and other members of the ISM community to gather with ISM staff and guests to unveil their new space. The reception was an event intended to introduce its new facilities with a celebration, giving everyone a chance to get aquatinted with the new location and experience the growth of the institution first hand.

It is clear that pursuing an Executive MBA program while working full-time is without a doubt challenging. It requires self-discipline and some level of lifestyle change to ensure better time management for studying and writing assignments. Even though there have been times when I wished that I had chosen to study full-time and concentrate solely on the MBA program, being able to apply the knowledge I gain during classes immediately to my job is invaluable.

I will be about half way through the MBA program when I leave at the end of June to go back home to the USA for a two-week period in the grandiose Big Apple. I've visited New York City (NYC) in the past - but just for a couple of days at a time. My initial impression of the city was that it is massive compared to Paris. Of course, NYC is extremely fast-paced, but also full of life, culture, and new experiences. Each time I've visited the city, it has been a whirlwind and I never really feel like I was actually there until it was time for me to leave. This time around, since I will be attending classes at the Baruch College as part of the ISM MBA program, I will be able to explore the infamous concrete jungle for two whole weeks and I'm really looking forward to getting to know the city.

As you may know, I am American. You may also be aware that ISM has facilities in New York City. This summer, many of us MBA and IEMBA students are preparing to meet in New York from Paris and other places around the globe to participate in the intensive seminars for two weeks at Baruch College. This blog entry is intended for all of my fellow peers to have a sort of "crash course" on New York before they arrive for our two week adventure.

My parents just came to Paris for the first time for a brief 3-day visit. As we were walking around the city, enjoying the sunshine and warm temperatures, my dad said while taking photos of Notre Dame, “How do you find the time to concentrate on schoolwork with all of this beauty around you?” I laughed at him and I said, I’m not sure, but it is hard!” I never had to think about that. This is now the third time I’ve lived in Paris, and I’ve had so many opportunities to explore the wonders here. This time around, it’s all a bit different for me.

It was very hard in the beginning to come up with a topic for my thesis. I had numerous topics in mind that I wanted to write about. I was torn on which topic and direction that I should go in. I chose my topic, and my thesis adviser, Mark Esposito, approved it. This means that I could then move forward with the research and writing component.

It’s been over 10 years since the last time I lived in my home country. I lived in the United States and now, I live in Belgium. When I am asked today where my home is, I am not able to answer. Is it the town where I grew up, Prague, Denver or Brussels? People say your home is where your heart is. My heart seems to be spread across all the places I have lived in.This leads me to believe that in today’s globalized world, when many of us often move to new places for work, school or any other reason, we become citizens of the world.

Petra Zlota

The ISM seminars in Paris are conducted over three consecutive days with eight hours of lectures per day. It's basically 24 hours in total (including breaks), which are spent on one subject. Every student needs to stay focused to absorb as much information as possible. This can be straining not only for the students, but also for the professor. The overall experience of the seminar very much depends on professor's approach and the level of preparation. They need to take into consideration not only the delivery of the required information, but also activities to engage the students and make the seminars dynamic.

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