After three intense days filled with interesting insights into companies from various industries and networking events with HEC alumni, the weekend was dedicated to social activities. An organizing committee consisting of five fellow students, reinforced the team building of our class and made sure that the fun part of our trip was not being neglected. Students could choose from two different tours: The classy tour, covering all the main sights of London; and the artsy tour, giving us the opportunity to discover the diverse art scene London has to offer.
The early birds of the artsy tour started the sunny day at Saatchi Gallery where they were able to enjoy the latest pieces of contemporary art. Following, the guide Nelly Balazs took them on a tour through Shoreditch, a district of London that is known for its world famous street art. Thanks to the fact that Nelly Balazs is one of the street art scene’s best experts, the students not only saw astonishing art work, but also received a lot of information on different artists, the dynamics of the industry and associated regulatory problems. Over the course of three hours, fellow students saw a lot of art from some of the world’s most famous artists, such as Banksy. Having finished the tour, the group fortunately happened to walk past a street food festival, where culinary masterpieces from all kinds of cuisines were tasted in a very relaxed atmosphere.
Obviously, Saturday’s program was completely voluntary and hence led to very diverse trips that individual students were undertaking. Some other students took part of the classy tour around the city, where they were able to take pictures of London’s major sights, such as the Buckingham Palace, Big Ben (albeit being under construction), Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and many more. Meanwhile, some other students went to see how Manchester United lost three to one against West Ham; or simply explored the glamorous shopping malls of London, enjoyed the sun in the Hyde Park, or met some friends for a coffee.
In the evening, we were all brought together at Tank and Paddle in what started as a dinner and gradually turned into a party as time passed by. This was a great opportunity to mingle and reminisce with fellow students, program directors and manager, while having a glass of wine and eating some pizza. The night was characterized by abundant laughter, heated discussions and exchanges of impressions of the last days, intense fights for remaining slices of pizza, and the show-off of impressive dance skills by both students and directors. This night definitely showed that this Master in Strategic Management is not only ranked as #1 in academic terms, but also that we can have a lot of fun, have an inherently well-functioning group dynamic and are able to party at least as hard as we work!
Enriched with unforgettable experiences, eye-opening insights and some rather sleepless nights, we packed our suitcases and started our journey back home on Sunday morning. During the drive back to Jouy-en-Josas, that required us to switch from coach to train and back to another coach, it was obvious that something has changed compared to the first day of our study trip: We did not travel as colleagues or friends, but as family!