The opportunity to experience new cultures and gain exposure to international business practices are just a couple of the many reasons why a Corporate Residency MBA student would choose to go on our Copenhagen exchange. This fall a few of my classmates crossed the Atlantic Ocean to attend Copenhagen Business School (CBS) for a semester. I was thrilled to catch up with Kaleigh MacMaster and Renée Hodder over coffee to hear about their adventure!
Kaleigh had been interested in going on the CBS exchange since she had first applied to the CRMBA program. After a very positive experience while on an exchange to Europe during her undergrad, she was eager to travel again. She described traveling on exchange as having a “safety net” because you go with a group of people who are all in the same situation, and attending classes provides an opportunity to socialize and meet new friends.
CBS accepts approximately 1,500 exchange students every year and offers a week long orientation at the beginning of each semester. Additionally, CBS organizes two trips for exchange students during the semester. One is a trip throughout Denmark, and the other explores other areas of Europe. Renée, who participated in the first of the two and explored Denmark, loved the international experience. She felt that she “was part of a community of different cultures from around the world.”
While on exchange, students are required to take two mandatory classes and two electives. Due to CBS’ size and focus on business programs, the school is able to offer a wide variety of electives for graduate students. CBS has strong connections with industry and it was common for professionals from large firms such as Wolff Olins and Boston Consulting Group to come in to classes and interact with students. CBS is also home to a world-class library and has excellent facilities that are very accessible.
Although most class grades are based solely on exam scores, the class culture is full of active student participation and engagement. Kaleigh summarized the learning environment by saying “students are expected to co-create knowledge.” Real-time case simulations are common in the classroom and are one tool used to ensure that students are learning practical skills. This is similar to the CRMBA program’s use of cases and situation analyses to teach problem solving skills.
Sustainable transportation is a key part of life in Copenhagen. Both Kaleigh and Renée owned bikes and frequently biked either to campus or to run errands. Renée spoke to the extensive public transportation and cycling infrastructure that are commonly used by the Danes. It was also very straightforward to organize travel to different areas in Europe. Due to the class structure being based solely on exam grades, students are able to travel flexibly throughout the semester without worrying about completing assignments. Our group of Dal students were able to visit the Czech Republic, England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland during their time abroad!
Copenhagen has a welcoming environment for exchange students. There is even a local Danish restaurant, established by two Danish students who went on an exchange to Dalhousie, called Halifax Burger. Kaleigh was thrilled to find this taste of home, and thought the Haligonian pub complemented the friendliness of the city. “One of the most memorable aspects of Copenhagen is hygge,” recalled Kaleigh. Hygge is the warm atmosphere that is encouraged in indoor environments across Denmark. There is no English equivalent word as hygge is unique to Danish culture. It usually includes candlelight to create a warm feeling in a room. This is particularly important during the short daylight hours in winter months.
Are you interested in going on the Copenhagen exchange? Each year four second year CRMBA students attend the exchange for the fall semester. For more information on the exchange and application process please contact Tim Richard.