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Getting a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a diploma – CEMS testimonials and useful tips for your semester abroad

2024-05-16 17:05:00

The CEMS programme is a double-degree programme, a collaboration between a number of prominent universities around the world. Unlike what is offered in the usual information session format, we also asked students studying abroad about their personal experiences, integration, programmes and useful tips.
Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem

What is CEMS?  

The CEMS (Global Alliance in Management Education) is a cooperation between the world’s leading business schools and universities, as well as companies and society organisations, of which only the Corvinus University of Budapest is a member in Hungary. The executive programme for students pursuing a master study programme provides a direct route to an international career, offering study and practice periods abroad, as well as two diplomas.   


Why is it worth applying?  

“I chose this programme because I wanted to experience for a semester what it’s like to study at one of the world’s top universities and to broaden my interests and contacts. It also gave me the opportunity to get to know a new country and a new city up close,” said Tamás Józsa, who is spending her third semester in London as part of the CEMS programme. Students of the English-language Master in Management and Leadership will be automatically admitted from 2022, but application for admission is also open for master-level students of  ten Hungarian-language and eight English-language programmes in management.   

Tamás would like to work in the field of business consultancy after completing the programme. As part of this plan, he would like to try his hand abroad, with the help of new friends abroad, the internationally valuable knowledge he has acquired, and the mandatory internship abroad integrated into the programme, for which students will receive more help.  


What are the pros and cons of a semester abroad?   

“Both my current and previous experiences abroad have been very strong in shaping my outlook and character. You will be more independent, as you will have to start a “new life” in a new country, a new city or even a new language area. Besides, this is a much better way to learn a language, make new friends, get unforgettable memories and of course find a new home” – Tamás emphasised the positive aspects.   

“It is a negative, or rather a difficulty, that you must get used to a new educational culture and assessment system, but this is also an opportunity for development. Another hardship is that it is not always easy at the beginning; you need to give yourself time to settle in and get everything sorted, but once you are ready with this, you almost don’t want to come home,” Tamás continued.   




What is the community like?  

The participants of the CEMS programme all highlighted the cohesive community, the benefits of building a network of contacts and the variety of programmes as positive aspects. Csenge Savanya is spending the semester in Stockholm, where she is the President of the CEMS Club Stockholm and also a CEMS Ambassador. She said that they have two or three organised activities a week and travel a lot together, for example, they will be taking a boat trip to Helsinki in the near future. Another special event is the “running dinner”, where students cook in small groups and then host each other. Of the 118 students there, 26 are involved in organising the programmes.   

It was a positive experience for her on arrival to find a warm welcome and a welcoming and interested local community. In addition to the extra-curricular activities, the university also helped the team to bond, for example, during the first week, the students were introduced to Swedish forestry through a WWF course. A structure similar to an intensive weekly course allowed them to spend four days together in a forest, with excursions, and then together they created a business project.   


And what useful tips would they give to CEMS applicants?   

1. Give yourself time! 

The first few weeks after leaving home are about settling in and getting used to the new place. It is not easy at the beginning, especially when you are going to a new and unfamiliar place. But once you get to know the place, get into a routine and make friends, the you are on track.  

2. Take time to prepare!  

In many cases, finding a place to live, sorting through the necessary documents and organising your trip is a complicated process, so don’t leave it to the last minute! Similarly, it is worthwhile to gather in good time the expectations, deadlines and things to do for these two semesters or during the application process.  

3. When choosing a university, evaluate each option according to several criteria  

Country, city, language, location, classes, projects, price level, as well as professional and travel options all come into play when trying to set your preference order.  

4. Join the CEMS community from the start of your programme in your home country! 

Participants usually go abroad in the third or fourth semester, but chat groups are set up and the getting-to-know-you process starts early in the studies. It’s a good idea to get involved as early as possible so that you don’t miss out on any useful information and have friends in the destination country before you leave.   

5. Get out of your comfort zone!   

Studying abroad, and in particular participating in the CEMS programme, gives you the opportunity to try out many things. Try to make the most of them, because on the one hand you can improve a lot, but on the other hand you may never have an experience like this again. To do this, we suggest you make a conscious plan of what you want to do and achieve during the semester.   


If you are interested, you can find out about the application procedure and discover the latest information on the Corvinus website.  


The article was first published in Közgazdász Online.

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GEN.:2024.05.30. - 00:34:16