Sergey Gorbatov, International MBA Candidate 2011, writes about his experience during the Short Exchange in South Africa. 

Africa has always attracted the world by its untamed natural beauty, majestic wild animals and abundance of local indigenous cultures. We, however, went to that continent with quite a distinct mission: learn how to do business in Africa. A group of 20 MBA students went for one-week exchange program with Wits Business School in Johannesburg on February 28th – March 3rd. It was the first academic exchange between the schools, so expectations were high but we were wondering what was in store for us there once we arrive to South Africa.

The week surpassed all expectations. The intensive program put together by the MBA team at Wits combined both academic and cultural elements. We got a chance to learn more about the urban, social and political setup of South Africa, as well as gain valuable insights into marketing, financial, strategic and organizational aspects of businesses in various countries on the African continent. Two company visits, to Vodafone and Standard Bank, gave us an opportunity to engage directly with senior managers of two large international businesses, who shared with us the challenges that their companies are facing, as well as some personal stories about living in South Africa.

Thanks to some flexibility in the program, we were also able to explore more of the country: many students went to Cape Town to enjoy the beaches, wineries and vibrant night life; safari did not leave anyone indifferent; and the Apartheid Museum left a lasting impression in the hearts of many of my fellow MBAs.