Exchange Semester at Daniels College of Business

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1 Exchange Semester at Daniels College of Business Background I felt that going on an exchange semester as a part of my MSc degree was the right choice for me since I had not been on exchange during my undergraduate studies (I had recently moved from Helsinki to Stockholm and felt that Stockholm was offering me enough adventure at the time). However, as I started my Master s degree, I strongly felt that I wanted to gain more international experience and improve my language skills in a native environment. I chose between the U.S., Mexico, and France and somehow chose Denver, Colorado as my first choice. When the time came, I was thrilled to hear that I had been accepted as the only student from Stockholm to spend my fall semester at Daniels College of Business, and as a part of University of Denver (DU). I was the first exchange student from Stockholm at Daniels which might have been a part of the reason for why I was welcomed with such warmth and excitement. I was in tight contact via with the people at Daniels responsible for the exchange program already before my departure. This greatly helped me to feel welcome, curious and excited as the people I was in contact with were extremely welcoming and excited to have me. As I arrived to the school for the first time, I was immediately introduced to the head of Globalization at Daniels and my relation to the people responsible for the exchange programs all over the world became closer during the quarter. About the school and the coursework Daniels College of Business is a highly ranked school, especially in Colorado, and one with ambitious students and structured team spirit. The campus was located about 15 minutes from the main 16 th street and Downtown Denver by light rail.

2 The school followed a quarter system instead of a semester system meaning that the school year was divided into four quarters. This further meant that my scholarship only covered the fall quarter and since the quarter ended already in the middle of November, I had a plenty of time for travelling before I returned to Stockholm in the middle of December. Throughout the quarter, I met fantastic people whom I am going to stay in contact with hopefully for my entire life! I could not have been able to have a more interesting social life in Denver and I am very grateful for every social contact I had and for all the awesome people that never let me down. I never needed to feel alone and I had always someone to hang out with. In general, making friends in Denver is easy and people are friendly and helpful. The culture is much more collective in nature than in Sweden, something that I really enjoyed. Instead of lectures, we only had seminar-like sessions where students were continuously encouraged to share their insights. This usually led to motivating and interesting discussions in which the teacher s role was rather in the background. These sessions really supported my goal to become a better speaker and better at expressing my thoughts in a structured way. As a graduate marketing student, the courses I chose had a marketing focus. I chose the following courses that gave me a total of approximately 21 ECTS instead of the common 30, because of the difference between Daniels quarter system and the Swedish system. However, I am happy to have chosen only three courses since four courses would have meant a much larger workload and thus less time for socializing and experiencing Denver and Colorado. Introduction to Digital Marketing with Marcus Birney (4 credit hours): This was a great course with a focus on current digital marketing news and digital marketing strategy planning. Students were greatly encouraged throughout the course to be active on social media and the final project was to design and present a digital marketing plan for a Health Insurance company operating in Denver, CO. As the teacher was from Åland, Finland, and since I myself am from Finland, Marcus became a great contact of mine and with whom I will definitely stay in touch for a long time. Customer Experience Management with Dr. Carol J. Johnson (4 credit hours): This course was extremely time consuming. It included a lot of readings and required the students to spend a great amount of time preparing group project work. The final project focused on designing a customer experience management system and plan for a company located close to the school which provided important and interesting insights into real life customer experience management problems. International Marketing with Pallab Paul (4 credit hours): This course was the most fun course I have ever taken, anywhere. Most fun in a very positive way. There was not a single seminar that did not include laughter together with the whole group and interesting stories and experiences shared by the professor. In teams we designed an international marketing plan for a chosen product which was very rewarding. I highly recommend Pallab Paul as a teacher as he really makes a difference by creating a fantastic class atmosphere without forgetting the course objectives. Overall, this course was more than I had ever expected of a class! Additionally, all graduate students, except exchange students, were offered a mandatory course focused on personality assessment in business and work life. The course cost close to 1000 dollar and included a fascinating weekend at Rocky Mountains with a lot of team exercises that help one to become closer to one s classmates creating a good team spirit. This experience also helps one as a person become closer to oneself as well as understand different personalities and how to communicate effectively with these different types of persons. I did not attend the course but talked to many who were part of it and I only heard positive comments about it. I also got to witness the incredible difference this experience caused in some individuals making the experience very meaningful as a part of personal development. I would highly recommend this course to anyone starting his/her graduate studies or taking an exchange semester at

3 Daniels. If you are not interested in the course, I would recommend at least to take the personality assessment test used by the school. It usually costs under 100 dollar. This test really helps one understand oneself and the strengths and weaknesses one possesses and can be used as a valuable asset, e.g. when looking for jobs. Daniels offered great opportunities to network with professors, companies and people in every industry. Many career events took place during the quarter and different courses were offered that gave important networking possibilities in terms of guest lectures and project work for companies. What I found extremely enjoyable was the different social events that brought the students and professors together to mingle and network. At Daniels, since it is a relatively small school, the professors quickly learnt to know their students which enabled individual feedback and a positive student experience. Good opportunities for working out at the gym, ice skating, swimming, and playing sports were naturally available at DU. I would warmly recommend one to become part of some of the intramural sports teams that are a good way to socialize with other students. Accommodation I chose to live on campus. I was informed about international orientation weeks that started a few weeks prior to the actual school start. I was not able to attend the whole orientation because I did not want to stay at a hotel for three week. Thus, I arrived a week or so later than most of the international students. I chose a couple of events to go to, based on the recommendations I had received from my academic study counsellor. I stayed at a hotel for a few nights before I was able to move in to my own campus apartment. Originally, I expressed my interest in having one or two roommate(s). However, somehow I received an telling me that I will have my own single bedroom apartment. I had the possibility to try to change my accommodation and to find a roommate but after the first weeks I really became comfortable with living on my own so I stayed in my single bedroom apartment that was significantly bigger than what I was familiar with in Stockholm. The cost of this single bedroom apartment was approximately dollar for

4 the quarter. I had a nice kitchen, however, neither kitchen-wear nor supplies were offered which caused me to mostly eat out and at friends places. Other things worth taking into account I received good instructions from the school staff regarding how to get the student ID card. The school also provided all the students with RTD College Passes that enabled us to commute with light rail and busses at no charge, made it very convenient to go shopping or go out on town. I recommend everyone to get their student ID card and RTD College Pass straight away when they arrive. The only thing needed was a photo of oneself that was submitted to the transportation office online. It usually takes some time before the student web starts working and depends on how fast you get the course registration completed. Culture and weather Denver is a very outdoorsy city where most of the residents enjoy spending time outdoors and having fun in the sun (the city has more than 300 days of sunshine every year!!). Even if you have never burnt your skin in California, be aware, Denver is hot during the summer! The weather in general is very unpredictable. It can suddenly start raining and storming heavily and the next minute it is dry and sunny again. So keep your sun screen and umbrella with you! Denver had a great downtown night life from Thursdays to Saturdays with good places to dance and have a blast at. For them who do not have the energy to travel to Downtown: the local pubs always attracted students and I always knew whom to find there if I felt lonely. Food-wise, there were many restaurant options around the campus, from Chinese and Japanese to Mexican food.

5 Final words I can do nothing but recommend both Daniels as a school and Denver as a city to everyone that enjoys an outdoorsy culture with incredibly beautiful Rocky Mountains in the background wherever one goes. With beautiful nature and friendly people, this is a place for enjoyment and personal development! I could easily call Denver my second home and I cannot wait to visit the city and the people many times in the future. I am more than happy to answer any questions about Denver and Daniels College of Business. Good luck! Best regards, Ina Kytö

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