Name: Julia Vegh
Subject of Studies and Home University: Master of Arts in Business Innovation (MBI) at University of St.Gallen
Indian Host University: Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad and Mohali
Julia arrived in India in October 2014 to continue her Master studies on the Hyderabad and Mohali campus of Indian School of Business, as part of an exchange program between University of St.Gallen and ISB.
Julia holds a Bachelor degree in Business and Economics from University of Basel and was working for two years in the booming e-commerce industry in the City of Berlin before starting her Master courses at University of St.Gallen. Interested in fast growing business and intrigued by the recent development of the Indian economy, Julia wanted to experience it first hand and decided to apply for a study place at ISB. With its large and varied courses, ISB seemed to be the perfect choice for Julia: ‘I was interested in getting to know another culture. In my opinion, living in a country and studying or working there is the best way to do that’, Julia said and added, ‘It has always been my aim to get a broad education which enables me to work across cultures and in basically any kind of industry all over the world.’
The exchange program allowed Julia to spend three months in India and to study at both locations of ISB: ‘The first term I spent in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad and for the second I moved to Mohali which is situated in the northwest,’ she explained. It was Julia’s first visit to India and when looking back on the first weeks, Julia remembered that she did not suffer a so called ‘cultural shock’ as actually expected: ‘On one hand, I experienced some differences in the way of working and presentation styles as well as in the daily routine, but on the other hand there were surprisingly so many similarities. I discovered that among us students we actually have a lot in common. We all have more or less the same wishes and concerns about our future. We also share common interests in movies, music, dancing, partying, sports, and cooking, thanks to which I was able to connect with others quite fast and make new friends.’
However, the high level of education and the intense study program at ISB also brought certain challenges Julia found herself confronted with: ‘I was taken aback by the high speed of teaching including short deadlines for assignments,’ Julia admitted.
But soon Julia found a way to settle in and started to profit from her new academic surrounding. ‘My academic learning was very high and from the lectures I participated in I could learn a lot on rural marketing, strategic procurement, marketing services, operations and the pharmaceutical industry,’ she said. And asked about the most important skills she acquired during her stay, she replied, ‘I definitely learned to negotiate better and from my fellow colleagues I learned to be more patient and flexible sometimes. My Indian peers are highly ambitious and goal-oriented but at the same time manage very well to maintain a great amount of flexibility and spontaneity.’
On her overall experience Julia commented, ‘My exchange semester at ISB – which is predominantly attended by Indian students – allowed me to interact directly with young businessmen and women in India. A new world of culture opened up to me and I could also experience the excellent Indian hospitality and the value of commonality.’ Together with friends from ISB, Julia travelled around India and gained some insights she wouldn’t have had as a tourist. With some of her fellow students, she went to the village of Hampi to see its famous world heritage sites. Another time, she was able to join an overnight drive from Mohali to Amritsar to witness a stunning sunrise from a temple where believers were doing their ritual washing. ‘Through this exchange I have gained many memorable moments and I could build up precious friendships,’ Julia said and concluded, ‘I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is interested in this fascinating country.’
Edited by Kathrin Honegger, Academic Relations & Projects, swissnex India.