Canada: Smith School of Business

Insights into the exchange between HHL and the Smith School of Business

Every year, around 100 students of the HHL spend a semester abroad – in return, the same number of international students come to Leipzig for their studies. Luca Fahrion and Matias Fuentes-Martinez are looking back on their own exchange with the Smith School of Business in Kingston, Ontario. “My semester at Queen’s University was the perfect combination of an appropriate academic level, dedicated professors, and a lot of fun,” reports HHL M.Sc. student Luca Fahrion. He spent a semester abroad at Queen’s University in Canada and took courses in the MBA program at the associated Smith School of Business.

When organising a semester abroad, students benefit from HHL’s large network: they can choose from over 130 partner universities on all continents. The courses attended abroad are credited to the domestic degree programme and no additional tuition fees are charged at the partner universities. For the students, the focus lies on getting to know the working methods within a different university system  as well as the culture of a foreign country, since the overall goal of an exchange semester is building up international and intercultural competencies.

“The exchange enabled me to immerse myself in North American student life in a beautiful country”, Luca says. Queen’s University is located in Kingston, a city that counts 120,000 inhabitants, at the north-eastern end of Lake Ontario, halfway between Toronto and Montreal. The cityscape is strongly influenced by the almost 30,000 students. The hub of student life is the modern campus, which includes a multi-storey workout area, basketball and tennis courts and offers accommodation for almost 4,500 students in 17 halls of residence. There are several supermarkets, drugstores, coffee shops, and bookstores. In their leisure time, students can access the offerings of over 300 university clubs and activities – from outdoor clubs to American football to the Queen’s Band.

The Smith School of Business is one of the most renowned business schools in Canada. The MBA program focuses on practical applications from business, which is why, according to Luca,   the courses often apply case studies. Due to the small class size, the interaction between the students and the cohesion within the student body is working extremely well. “Group work plays an important role in every course. The students are extremely international and very open-minded in both the student and private contexts.”

Matias Fuentes-Martinez is the international counterpart to Luca: The Chilean is studying in the International Business Master´s Programme at Queen’s University and is currently spending his semester abroad in Leipzig. Actually, the exchange agreement with the Smith School of Business was what drew his attention to HHL. Significant for the decision to complete his semester abroad at the Leipzig Graduate School of Management were its long tradition, the outstanding international rankings and the wide range of courses that are offered. Even though his semester abroad has only just begun, his first impression is a very positive one:

“So far the courses at HHL had exceeded my expectations, I have learned relevant topics that are state-of-the-art. Certainly, this will be an advantage for my career. The environment is challenging which motivates you to give your best.”

Frank Hoffmann, Director of International Relations at HHL, reports that the Smith School of Business is one of the most popular exchange options among HHL students. “Due to the strong international reputation of Smith School of Business, its programs attract students from all over the world. The city of Kingston is big enough to provide all the conveniences of modern life and small enough for students, staff and faculty to feel instantly comfortable, safe and at home.”

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Photos (c) by Luca Fahrion