Dalhousie’s CRMBA program gives students the amazing opportunity to take part in an exchange program during the first semester of their second year. Dalhousie has had a longstanding relationship with the Copenhagen Business School and starting this year, students also had the opportunity to attend the Toulouse Business School. Read the accounts of two of MBA students, Laurier LeClair and Hope Scheller, who travelled to Toulouse and Copenhagen last year.
Toulouse Business School (TBS) Exchange Opportunity – Laurier LeClair, BSc, CRMBA Candidate, MVP
Going on exchange is an enriching experience—academically, culturally and personally—all of which contributed to better shaping the vision I have for my future career.
Academics at TBS started quickly with what is termed a SESAME project. This involved a live strategic business case negotiated between TBS and Thales, an international aeronautics company based in Toulouse, in which we took on the role of consultants. We spent two weeks building a business plan for Thales, the first week ending with a proposal and the second with an implementation plan. Whether our work will eventually contribute to the future success of Thales is uncertain, but the experience for us students was invaluable. The rest of the semester was spent learning about international business as part of our OP (option professionnel). During the course, every 2–3 classes were taught by a different industry expert on the topic at hand; for example, an expert in African business taught us about the ups and downs of doing business in Africa.
Culturally, the experience of studying in France and travelling around Europe during my spare time taught me quite a lot. Our program at TBS had many international students and being able to employ the personal and professional effectiveness skills came in handy when trying to accommodate completely different working styles in group settings. When travelling I had the opportunity to immerse myself in diverse cultures such as those of Turkey, Greece, Denmark, Italy and Switzerland. Each of these countries was unique and observing how people live so differently than here in Canada was very interesting.
Taking part in an international exchange taught me that I can adapt quickly to completely different cultures, and this skill can be leveraged towards a future career by demonstrating to large international corporations that I am able to pick up and move to fill a need anywhere in the world. Given the opportunity to do it again, I would accept without hesitation!
Copenhagen Business School (CBS) Exchange Opportunity – Hope Scheller, BSc, CRMBA Candidate
In my life, I have always believed that if something scares or intimidates me, then I need to do it. My reasoning for this? Facing my fears has never let me down—through doing, I continuously try to improve myself and learn something new about the world around me. Naturally, when the opportunity to study at CBS for a semester presented itself, I pushed aside the initial feelings of doubt and fear and sent in my application.
Living and studying in Copenhagen, Denmark, was incomparable to anything I had experienced before. Denmark has been rated the happiest country in the world, and it was very easy to see why. Most students and professionals rode their bicycles to school or work each day, breathing the fresh air and making exercise part of their daily routine. At school, students were given more flexibility than we tend to offer in Canada, with most courses putting a greater emphasis on self-directed studies as opposed to weekly assignments.
The electives I chose to take at CBS were unique and have changed the way I interpret my current coursework now that I am back in Canada. For example, I took an incredible class that focused on ethical consumption, cause-related marketing and celebrity humanitarianism. Discussions and concepts that I took from this course continue to resonate in my mind, guiding how I approach my job search post-graduation and how I choose to live my life.
I cannot speak about how amazing my experience in Copenhagen was without mentioning the people that made it so worthwhile. Not only was I fortunate enough to attend CBS with three other Dalhousie CRMBA students, but I was also given the opportunity to live in a residence with 120 exchange students from around the world. I learned so much about various cultures, countries and disciplines simply by listening to my peers and keeping an open mind. These people became my friends and after a month of living together we began to feel like a big family. From getting a personal tour of a Dutch friend’s hometown of Amsterdam, to tasting authentic Swiss, French, Spanish and Italian cuisine, it was from the people I met that I learned the most.
As I look toward my next steps after graduating from the CRMBA program at Dalhousie University, I am confident that taking part in the exchange at Copenhagen Business School has helped make me a better leader, helped develop my worldview and changed the way I think about business. I will forever be grateful for this experience given to me by Dalhousie University and encourage any students interested in this exchange not to be afraid—take a leap of faith, learn by doing and do it! I assure you that you’ll thank yourself for doing so.