Greetings from South Africa, where my friend Katherine Miller, SOM ’14, and I just completed our first African safari! While our International Experience (IE)—a mandatory part of the first-year curriculum that happens in the spring—doesn’t begin until tomorrow, most of our classmates in the South Africa IE cohort made pre-trip plans like ours.
While we were technically on spring break and our four-day, three-night treehouse safari was not part of IE, we have already noticed the learning from our first three quarters at SOM creep into our conversations. A lament from one of our safari guides on the challenges of finding a job evoked flashbacks of our study of structural unemployment in The Global Macroeconomy, for example. And later, as we discovered that our so-called “treehouse” actually consisted of an on-the-ground hut in which the roof was caving in, our conversations harkened back to what we learned in our Customer and Operations classes about setting expectations and creating a high-quality customer experience.
In other words, yes, we were totally nerding out.
Not to say we haven’t been having some good old-fashioned fun, of course. Between spying on African elephants, waking up to baby vervet monkeys in our window and visiting one of the largest and most beautiful green canyons on earth, it’d be impossible not to have a good time. And, in a way, the networking component of our International Experience has already begun: we befriended fellow safari-goers from the likes of Switzerland, Mozambique and New Zealand, to name a few. In fact, I’m pretty sure we just secured ourselves a guided tour and accommodations in Zurich next summer. It’s funny how 72+ hours of chasing elephants and huddling in our treehouse can facilitate bonding.
Well, it’s back to business tomorrow as we kick off our first night of IE with a BCG reception, and I promise to update again soon as we explore the different sectors of Johannesburg and Capetown.