There are many alluring aspects to emlyon’s IMBA program, such as the location in beautiful Lyon, France, the global alumni network, and the travel opportunities. But another huge asset to the program, one that these students can attest to, is the ability to live in a diverse cohort made up of driven young professionals from around the globe. This year’s cohort is a mixture of 19 different nationalities! Perhaps you’re wondering how so many different backgrounds and cultures can successfully comingle? Let’s find out!
What do you enjoy most about being in a culturally diverse cohort?
Vipin: I really like interacting with people from different cultures and nationalities to learn their perspectives on different things. This is also visible in the group work or in the outings we have together. We also enjoy and share our local food with each other!
Yi: What I like most is the respect people have for each other in human interactions. I’ve also fallen in love with the people-oriented philosophy of the social culture here in Lyon; buses and private cars give way to pedestrians, for example, and this allows me to experience the classical politeness and elegance of the French people.
Cristian: What probably enriches me the most is the cohort’s heterogeneity, different mindsets, and ways to see the same problem, solution, situation, or whatever, with a different perspective. It also helps to have a more precise and open point of view because it pushes you out of your comfort zone to discover new things. Lyon is also incredible; it is easily a city where anyone could make their life and be happy, which is a massive extra for the program.
Do you often spend time with your fellow classmates?
Vipin: Since we have a 5-day class schedule, most of my time is spent with other students in the cohort which can be divided into two parts – work-related and leisure. The work-related time includes discussions on projects and subjects, brainstorming on projects, group assignment, and group studies, as well as discussion on various activities for the club I represent. On the leisure side, we go out quite often. We have gone out for movies, celebrated Halloween in a club with our Program Director, and although the type of activity and frequency varies, fun remains at the core of it all.
Yi: I spend a lot of time with my classmates. We go around the old downtown area of Lyon (Vieux Lyon), we shop together, we watch films together, we go to the Christmas market together, we go to restaurants to taste and feel the food of Lyon together too. There are events like this every week or two.
Cristian: Since we are almost the whole week together during classes, we spend a lot of time together. But we also spend time in outings usually to relax and enjoy ourselves. The most frequent activities are things like watching sporting events (ex: UFC fights and soccer matches), celebrating birthdays, practicing French, dancing, sharing meals together and even traveling to other cities or countries together on holidays.
Have you or will you be traveling anywhere fun with your classmates?
Vipin: I had already visited 8 European countries before joining the IMBA program, but I have always enjoyed an opportunity to sneak out of my busy schedule and travel. I had a great opportunity to travel to Amsterdam for 4 days with seven other members of my cohort in November 2022, and I found that this city offers a different and unique experience and has something for everyone. I really enjoyed the food, weather, canal, museums, and landscape there. I also traveled to Vienna and Norway during our 2-week winter holiday break. It was very refreshing and rejuvenating to take a break from coursework and to mentally prepare for the new year. I also managed to accomplish one more item on my wish list by ticking off the box, “see the Northern Lights”!
Yi: I have not ad the opportunity to travel with my classmates thus far, but we are planning a trip to visit Switzerland and the Swiss Alps! This is a place I’ve been yearning for five years; I witnessed the charm of skiing in the Alps from a song by the singer Ed Sheeran where the snowy mountains of Switzerland gave me a glimpse of my future self and of an exciting future to look forward to.
Cristian: I was in Paris when my classmates went to Amsterdam, but we are planning upcoming trips to Germany, Strasbourg, and Milan! These IMBA students all came together united by their shared experiences of starting an MBA and a new chapter of their lives in a new city, a new country, and a new culture. They’ve successfully found ways in which to successfully work together or projects and in professional settings, as well as ways in which to bond and form friendships outside of the classroom.