Since we broke for exams in mid-December a lot has happened. Leaving the snow in Boston, I went home to New Zealand for just over a week, met my new nephew and went to the beach just about everyday. After that I headed back to colder climes spending Christmas and New Years with friends in Amsterdam. And now, since the beginning of January I've been back in class, this time at London Business School.
Watching facebook, I've been jealous of classmates around the world spending their IAPs (Independent Activities Period - the way we spend January at MIT) in exotic, warm, places doing g-lab and other independent consulting projects on the most part for start-up companies.
I chose to spend my IAP and the first half of my last semester on exchange in London. I'm taking classes, meeting new people, looking for jobs and having fun. The classes I'm taking are top quality, I'm expanding my network, I get full access to career services and I think London is a great place to live.
It's also great to get another view on how another school works. There are definitely differences in the culture, even if the basic program and principles are the same. For starters, there seems to be a lot more diversity in terms of accents and cultures. There's less of an online culture here - this means that you don't get bombarded each day with multiple emails about what's going on, people don't reply to threads at 2am, in fact sometimes people take several days to reply!
There are also a lot more programs running here concurrently - as well as the full-time MBAs, there are executive programs, fellows, and Masters in Finance both full and part-time. While people know others in their own program, there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of mixing. This just means that wandering around school and entering a classroom doesn't mean that you're met with a bunch of familiar faces.
And to be honest, it is the familiar faces that I miss. I'm looking forward to returning to Boston at the end of March and spending my last half-semester with the friends I've made over the last year and a half and to all graduate together in June. After that? That one's still an open question... :-)