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.
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.
I was very enthusiastic to take the challenge of completing my very first seminar online prior to my planned visits to Paris this spring. Between the very busy work schedule, business trips and having a social life, online courses are a perfect option for me.
At the beginning of January, I attended the first of the many seminars I have planned to take this year in Paris. Although this wasn't my first trip to Paris, it was the first time I went to the International School of Management.
About two months in advance of every seminar, all the necessary documents, including the syllabus, required reading, pre-seminar assignments and other needed documents are posted on the school's learning management system for students called "MyISM". This gives students enough time to be well prepared for seminars.
Moving back to Paris didn't even feel like an option for me. I knew after studying here in 2013 that I wasn't done with this city.
I decided to take a French course during my undergraduate studies. To be honest, I found it very challenging. The class met four days per week and required me to memorize a copious amount of material in a short amount of time. The semester ended, and I received a 'B' in the course, which was a big deal for me at the time. I decided I would not enroll the following semester.
Before sitting down to write this month's blog post, I did an extensive Google search for "well-known proverbs and quotes about time management". Why you ask? Because Father Time has essentially picked me up by my very thin and boring bootstraps, smacked me in the face, and shaken me up whether I was ready or not and has left me wondering to myself everyday how I'm going to pull my life off.
When I decided to go back for my MBA I had been out of college for a little over three years and my once young and lively energy has been drowned out by my overall acceptance of a mundane and routine lifestyle. I realized quickly that I was not prepared and I might add that I'm still not prepared to be a student again.
I had planned to write something more a bit earlier in the summer, but I'm happy I delayed long enough to have attended the ISM NY summer reception before "putting pen to paper." For me this casual get-together in a bar near Baruch College was "right on time" and amazing!
I am not as nervous about re-starting formal education this time as I was when I went for a Masters (that time also after a period away from school). I'm comfortable about doing the work. I've been a little unsettled, however, about the nature of the work itself. The MBA coursework was like college (or high school), which included a lot of reading, classes held in classrooms and points for class participation. I knew what I was walking into because I had been there before. The independent study and research components sounds interesting, but are somewhat intimidating. Also, I majored in Engineering and then in Finance. The longest papers I ever had to write (in ancillary courses, by the way, not my major) were 10 pages, double-spaced (large font). As I think about the requirements of the ISM courses, and the required dissertation at the end, a cold sweat makes me start to miss all those problem sets "back in the day."
The very essential question one asks when considering going back to school is 'Which business school is best for me to join?' The higher education market, much like any other market, offers wide range of academic products suited for every need, niche and appetite. It is through meticulous research and dissection of the pros and cons that a future scholar arrives to the exciting point of enrolling into a school. What is it about ISM that continuously attracts, convinces and charms hundreds of professionals from around the globe year after year? What describes ISM's unique selling proposition (USP) so to say?
All new ISM candidates will complete an Outcomes Assessment assignment prior to starting with the main course work towards their desired degree. All related information about credits earned, assessment deadlines, and grading can be found on ISM's website, as well as in the enrollment package. Additionally, the academic advising session gives a good opportunity to go over the finer details and questions or concerns with the Academic Director.
Being a student in the IEMBA program, I have some flexibility to create my own schedule so that I can study while working full time. However, it is essential for me to plan ahead. For that reason, I devoted the first month at ISM to planning. I signed up for classes for the next 7 months, familiarized myself with the schools' online platform and all the tools we have available to us, as well as working on my first assignment.
Very soon after I was accepted to the program, I received all the necessary information and had my first advising session with Matthew Andrews, the Executive Academic Advisor, which was very helpful and set me on the right path for the upcoming year. In addition, the school's librarian, Judy Knight, welcomed me to the school and introduced me to the services the library and she offer. Soon after, I had the opportunity to try the services first hand and they were helpful!