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Exploring global education with the HBA Exchange Program

Jul 7, 2023

Liu Photo Edit

Patrick Liu (right) paragliding in Interaken, Switzerland during his exchange at University of St. Gallen's.

In today's rapidly globalizing world, having an international perspective is crucial for business students to tackle global issues. Studying in a foreign setting helps students develop this perspective and be better prepared to face future challenges. As part of the Ivey Next strategy, Ivey is committed to helping its students develop a global mindset. Programs such as Ivey’s HBA Exchange Program support this by providing students with the opportunity to spend a term studying abroad at one of Ivey’s numerous partner business schools around the world. Read on to learn about some of this year’s exchange students’ experiences.

Studying among different cultures

Ivey’s HBA Exchange Program partners with business schools in Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia to give participants a variety of experiences to choose from. Each school provides a unique environment that develops students’ global perspectives through their diverse educational systems. Hannah Ng, HBA 23’, studied at VSE University of Economics in Prague, Czech Republic, and said studying abroad provided a fresh outlook on her studies.

The Ivey HBA Exchange Program also offers exciting opportunities beyond the classroom as students learn about new cultures and ways of life. When they're not attending classes, many students spend their exchange travelling around their host country and the surrounding region. Vippy Chau, HBA ’23, studied at ESSEC Business School in France and was able to visit 14 countries across Europe and Asia throughout the exchange.

Career opportunities

Ivey’s HBA Exchange Program encourages students to step out of their comfort zone. This helps students develop the valuable skills of adapting quickly and overcoming challenges in unfamiliar settings, qualities highly desired by recruiters. Ng says going on exchange can be initially challenging but helps you learn from and adapt to new cultures.  

“Employers see value in candidates who can take on the challenges of a multi-cultural environment and adapt quickly. Exchange is not only a life-changing experience, but it also helps you develop valuable skills and makes you an attractive candidate for international careers.” – Hannah Ng, HBA ’23

In today's global economy, industries increasingly value candidates with international experience. Employers seek people who can effectively collaborate with diverse individuals in various environments. Developing the ability to work in challenging situations is a valuable skill that students can acquire through participating in the global exchange program.

Firsthand advice from travelling students

“Get familiar with your chosen country's visa requirements and get started ASAP booking visa appointments and gathering documents. You need to send in your physical passport to get a visa so also don't book any travel plans during the approval period.” – Vippy Chau, HBA ’23
“Keep an open mind. The opportunities for personal growth, travelling, and meeting new people are endless when you do a semester abroad, no matter what location you’re in. I did not get my top exchange university choice but being in Prague has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have gained so many lifelong friendships with other exchange students and learned so much about myself in the process. I have been to countless new countries and have been able to truly immerse myself in different cultures.” – Hannah Ng, HBA ’23
“Choose a school and your class schedule wisely. If you're looking to travel between European countries, France was a great option for me with great train and flight routes. However, my exchange school was an hour’s commute from the downtown core where I lived. Luckily, I fit all my classes in one day by choosing to do intensive courses over Reading Week to get enough credits, so a once-a-week commute wasn't too bad and allowed me the freedom to travel for longer trips in between.” – Vippy Chau, HBA ’23
“If you have the means to go on exchange, I think it’s an excellent way to broaden your perspectives and see what a career abroad looks like. Worst case, you can travel to various countries and sample different cultures and food.” – Patrick Liu | HBA ’23 (studied at the University of St. Gallen’s in Switzerland)

Global exchange