Exchange Report 2007 – Manchester Business School Exchange Report Winter 2007 ----- Manchester Business School Prepared by: Jingqian Li (Lindy) Year: 4th iBBA Exchange Report 2007 – Manchester Business School COURSES Were you able to enroll in the courses that you wanted? Was this difficult to do? What advice would you offer to next year‟s students regarding registration? How would you compare the courses at your Host University with those of Schulich School of Business? Are the courses more or less difficult? Is the workload heavier? What is the academic focus of your Host University? Registration Process The enrollment system at the Manchester Business School is very systematic and convenient. During Orientation day, student services provide us with a set package of all the information regarding the courses and enrollment codes. We simply had to follow the instructions given to register with the University and type in the course codes to enroll. The administration was very accommodating and helpful towards the exchange students whether it was switching to classes that required a prerequisite or enrolling into lectures or tutorials that were already full. I do not have too much advice to give in terms of registration, as it was an easy and painless process. It was literally done in ten minutes on the day of Orientation given however, that you have already picked out the courses you wish to take. Course Comparison to Schulich (difficulty & work load) The selection of courses for MBS exchange students is somewhat limited as they are all business and non-accounting related. However within the limited list, the spectrum of fields is quite large ranging from human resources management, strategy to diversity issues in the workplace. The breakdown of each course when compared with Schulich courses is quite different as usually their evaluation is solely based on 100% final exams. Consequently, there are no assignments or other types of formal evaluation throughout the course of the semester. In my case, I completed six courses during the semester and had to write six 100% exams. However, there are certainly some courses that included a final project such as some finance courses. (I recommend students to visit the official MBS website to obtain updated course descriptions and breakdowns as they are subject to changes each year). Exchange Report 2007 – Manchester Business School In terms of the level of difficulty, I felt that they were somewhat easier than Schulich courses. In many of the 2000 level courses, the knowledge and concepts taught were equivalent of first year Schulich courses. In addition, depending on the courses you wish to choose (as for some there are essentially no assignments and projects throughout the semester), the academic load on an everyday basis is significantly less than that of Schulich. This requires effective time management skills because students need to have an organized schedule of their studies. It is not recommended that they leave everything to the last minute as the amount of information that need to be learnt and mastered will be overwhelming. Focus The host University is the University of Manchester. Just like any other large University, it specializes in a wide spectrum of academic fields such as business, sciences, arts and etc. MBS is part of its business focus. The undergraduate MBS program focuses on the areas of Management, Accounting & Finance, and business. TEACHING Is the style of teaching dramatically different from that at Schulich? Is the material covered at a similar speed, depth or volume compared to Schulich? What do you think about the quality of teaching? What style of teaching is used most often – seminars, lectures, case study, and projects? How much class participation is involved? Overall the quality of courses at MBS is high and effective for learning. The style of teaching is not very much different form that at Schulich. All courses are taught in English. The professors generally use PowerPoint as their main medium for teaching as it is also widely used in Schulich. The speed, volume and depth are quite similar compared to Schulich. The professors prepare clearly outlined agenda for each lecture and provide a copy of their lecture notes to the students before the lecture starts. This way students can take notes during the lecture (These notes are also posted on WebCT after each lecture in case anyone was absent). The size of lectures is generally larger than Schulich, typically ranging from 100 – 200 students. Therefore as with any large class, there are minimum interactions between students and the professor during the lecture. It is usually not acceptable to ask questions Exchange Report 2007 – Manchester Business School during class. However, during the break the professor would welcome any feedback, comments or questions. Usually these lectures also have tutorials where there are 20 – 50 students for one tutorial section. This provides the room for interaction between students and with the tutorial leader. Similar to Schulich tutorials, students as asked to apply the knowledge and skills they learned from the lecture into real life case studies to further strengthen their understanding of the topics. The tutorial leaders (TA) are generally very helpful in terms of answering questions and reemphasizing ideas. As mentioned in the previous sections, there are generally no assignments or projects. Case studies are used during tutorials, where there are more interactions between the students and the TA through questions and open discussions. ORIENTATION Describe the orientation program at the Host University. How long was the program? Does the host arrange airport pick up? The orientation program at MBS was a 2 days event. During the morning of the first day, various Professors and the program director presented a slideshow about living in Manchester, academic standards, procedures and as well as the facilities. Lunchtime we were provided the opportunity to mix and mingle with all the staff and other exchange students. In the afternoon all the students registered with the school with the help of the staff and also enrolled in their courses. The night event at a local bar/club was organized by the International society at MBS where all the exchange students socialized and were introduced to the Manchester nightlight. The second day consisted mainly of a walking tour of Manchester. We went as a big group and were guided by leaders of the International Society. This event was very fun and helpful for us who wanted to get more familiar with the city. It is important to know where things are such as the shopping centres, libraries, campus facilities and etc. Overall the orientation was quite enjoyable and a great opportunity to get to know the other students and making contacts with them at an early start. Unfortunately for incoming winter semester exchange students the school does not arrange airport pickup. However, cabs are available and the airport is really only a 10 minutes drive to fallowfield (main student residence). Exchange Report 2007 – Manchester Business School LANGUAGE COURSES Are there any language courses available? Are the courses beneficial? When do the courses start? Would you recommend other strategies for visiting exchange students to learn more of the language before starting their exchange? There are no language courses available as UK is an English speaking country. MBS only offers business courses in English. CAMPUS FACILITIES What are the differences between York‟s campus and that of the Host University? Where are the best places to study? Did you have access to computers? Should students bring their own computers? Safety issues: Do the campus or surrounding areas feel safe? Is there a program for women‟s safety? York’s campus is a secluded and everything is together in one area. The campus at the University of Manchester is scattered throughout the city, though the main facilities (student union, MBS, etc) are quite closed to one another. However there are lecture halls near the town centre and ones that are closer towards the residences. Computers are very accessible on campus and in the residence halls. There are computer clusters everywhere. However, I would still recommend to bring your own laptops because it is definitely more convenient to communicate with your family and friends in the comfort of your own room. The campus and the surrounding areas are quite safe, as it is mostly a student-based city. Of course general safety concerns should always be kept in mind such as walking in pairs Exchange Report 2007 – Manchester Business School of groups late at night. Particularly coming home from the local bars and such, it is always a good idea to have a friend to walk you home. INTERNATIONAL SERVICES Is there an international office devoted to helping international and exchange students? If someone was particularly helpful, please note his or her name, telephone number and address. What types of programs are organized for international students? What programs or activities did you find the most rewarding? Is there a “buddy program” at the Host University? MBS has an international office devoted to helping international and exchange students. The staffs are extremely friendly and helpful with academic and personal matters. The programs organized by MBS’s international society generally consist of nights out on the town in the local bars and nightclubs and comedy clubs. MBS International Society does not organize trips. However, the international society for the Manchester University does organize field trips to various UK cities and other countries in Europe such as Amsterdam, Netherlands. There is a buddy program at the Host University. You are paired up with a local student before you even arrive so you can ask them any questions beforehand. HOUSING FACILITIES Does the Host University organize accommodation and is it adequate? If you had to locate your own accommodation, how did you do this? Are telephones, laundry facilities, cooking facilities provided? Are rooms quiet? Which are the best residences to apply to? What is the distance between the housing accommodation and the university campus? When was housing available? Did you stay in housing over holidays? Is there a meal plan at the housing facility? What is the quality of the cafeteria food? Is food expensive? Is eating-out expensive? How close are the grocery-shopping areas? The Host University provides and guarantees adequate accommodation for all exchange students. Telephones, cooking facilities, laundry facilities are all available. Depending on the students you end up living with and the residence halls, the noise levels may range. The general residence area is called fallowfield, Exchange Report 2007 – Manchester Business School which includes all the residence halls. This area is known to be extremely sociable and is consequently quite noisy. There are halls that provide meal plans and others that are self- catered. I would highly recommend self-catered halls because the catered food is not something that Canadians would generally enjoy. It is usually consisted of potatoes, chips and steamed vegetables. In addition, there is a set time in which you must go and get your food. Consequently, if you have other obligations or are out of town, your food ticket goes to waste. Self-catered halls on the other hand offer a lot of flexibility, as you can choose what you eat, the amount and when you want it so that in case you are going away you do not waste any food. In addition, the set up in self-catered halls are usually suite styles, where you get to interact more with your flatmates and have better relationships with them. Catered halls are usually set up on a floor-to-floor basis. The best residences to apply to are Richmond Park, Oak house and the Tower. Richmond Park is the most expensive because you actually get your own bathroom in your room, which is very convenient. It is also very competitive to get in. Due to the high demand for Richmond Park, I stayed in Oak house and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a self-catered residence, 8 people flat. The cleaning ladies come in every week to clean up the kitchen and bathrooms. Food is not expensive, around the same price marks as in Toronto (with considerations of currency conversions). Usually my weekly grocery cost is around 25 pounds, which is just a bit over $50CDN. A very well established supermarket (Sainsbury) is just about 5- 10 minutes walk from the residence halls. Therefore it is very convenient for students to do their grocery shopping. There are also many other grocery shopping areas on the way to the University and downtown, which would require taking the bus. Manchester has a ton of dining out places and restaurants with a diverse background of food. They range from Italian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnam, Indian, Middle Easter and etc. There is a mile long street on Oxford road (main city road) that is named the “Curry Mile” as the entire area is saturated with Indian restaurants. Around the residences halls there are many fast food places such as Krunchy Fried Chicken, Subway, Dominos, Kebab King and etc. Eating-out as normally would in any country is a bit more expensive. A normal dining out meal (in a restaurant) would be somewhere around 10 pounds, which is a bit over $20CDN. Fast food places are around 4-5 pounds. COSTS/EXPENSES Please give cost estimates that are as accurate as possible. Did you encounter any unexpected costs? Remember to include how much you spent over a period of time, i.e. rent/month for the term. - Accommodation - Textbooks - Local transportation - Food/groceries (is this more or less than Toronto?) - Entertainment Exchange Report 2007 – Manchester Business School Accommodation: The prices for accommodation certainly differ depending on the facilities and whether or not it is self-catered or catered. I would highly recommend to visit the University’s accommodation website and get updated costs. The residence hall I stayed with – Oak House is a self-catered residence in a flat style suite. The total cost for the whole term was 1400 pounds, which is just a bit over $3000CDN. Other halls can be more expensive, even if it is a self-catered hall such as Richmond Park where you can get your own bathroom. The price for something like Richmond Park is around 1900 pounds. Textbooks: For a majority of the courses that you will have to select, there are several textbooks that you need to get for each course. Fortunately, most of these books you can find in the libraries and check them out on either a normal loan (3 weeks) or short loan (1 week). However, if demand for the textbook is high then you will have to return it early, as the library will call it back. Therefore as long as you keep up your readings on a weekly basis then you should not have to buy the textbooks. For some courses however, textbooks are not available. The bookstore is located right besides the MBS building. For the semester I spent about 40 pounds, which is almost $100CDN on textbooks to cover all of my 6 courses. Overall, textbooks are not a significant expense. Local Transportation: public transportation is extremely convenient and affordable as there are over 6 different private companies that run buses throughout the city. Though it is possible to walk to your lectures, students usually take public transportation especially when the weather is not as pleasant. The main providers include: Magic Bus, Mega bus, Stagecoach, Finlands, etc. Generally students would purchase weekly passes that range from 4-5 pounds for unlimited usage. This is much lesser than that of the TTC. One of the best features about these bus services is that they literally run 24/7 and very frequently. Therefore students coming home from downtown at 4am would not have to call a cab and can simply hop on a magic bus, which would take them straight to fallowfield (main residence area). Exchange Report 2007 – Manchester Business School Food Groceries: Sainsbury, Tesco and Lido are among the largest grocery chains in the UK. The prices are quite similar to that of Toronto, taken consideration of currency conversions. Depending on the individual’s diet and eating habits, a week worth of groceries including essentials (Milk, eggs, meat, bread, vegetables, juice, fruits, etc) should cost around 25-30 pounds, which is about $60CDN. Lido is one of the discounted grocery stores where the prices are a bit lower than Sainsbury and Tesco. However, their selection varies from a day to day basis and can be limited sometimes and you would have to end up going to one of the other stores to get what you want. Entertainment: The social scene in Manchester is a significant part of student life in the University. There are literally countless number of bars, clubs and hangout places around the residence area and as well as downtown, where the venues are more posh and expensive. There are always places to go to on any given day of the week. Many of the clubs and bars have student nights where drinks are cheaper and entrance is free. Most of the students would attend these social night outs on a regular basis. It is a great way to meet and get to know some of the local students and to learn about their culture. Depending on how many days the individual goes out on, the number of drinks and where to (as there are expensive and more affordable places) 30 pounds a week should cover most of the expenses. For most of the downtown clubs, an entrance fee of 5-10 pounds is standard. Other types of entertainment such as going to the movies or comedy clubs are all quite affordable comparing with Toronto prices. A student movie ticket at the downtown Colossus is 4 pounds that is just less than $10 CDN. The famous Manchester Stadium is located near the old Trafford Centre and about a 30 minutes bus ride from fallowfield (main residence area). Going to football (soccer) games can be expensive. Even with student-discounted tickets that you can purchase from the student union, they can still range from 50 pounds and up. However, one cannot live in Manchester and not go to a football game. It is definitely worth the money. Exchange Report 2007 – Manchester Business School STUDENT HEALTH SERVICES Did your Host University have a mandatory insurance plan for exchange students? Is there a health care unit on campus? Did you have to pay anything to use the hospital or student health clinic, if you used these facilities? The Host University did not have a mandatory insurance plan for exchange students. Therefore it is extremely important to make sure that you are covered by travel medical insurance that can be obtained either by your travel agency or your family insurance plans before going abroad. There are several health care units on campus; one located within the main residence area and a few around the University. Once you arrive, it is highly recommended that you register with the units right away as it does take sometime and you would not want to deal with that while sick. These facilities including the hospital do not require the students to pay. The system and processes are pretty similar to that in Canada. There are also several pharmacies around the school and residence areas so if you ever catch a cold or something minor, it is convenient. There are also gym facilities and various exercise classes that students can sign up to keep a healthy life style at very affordable prices. SOCIAL EVENTS What clubs or groups are good to join? Where are the best places to eat or the best places to go for the weekend? Is it easy to expand your social network? Do exchange students associate mostly with each other or domestic students? The MBS International Society and the University of Manchester International Society are definitely clubs that exchange students should join. They not only organize events and activities but they also help to keep you updated with what is happening within the campus through emails and facebook. MBS International Society is more focused targeting exchange students that go to the business school, whereas the University of Manchester International Society markets towards all exchange and international students attending the University. Consequently, MBS International Society events are much smaller and more local based. Some of the social events include gathering at bars/clubs, comedy club night outs, and lunches/dinners for mix and mingles. These events provide excellent opportunities for exchange students to interact with each other and to make long lasting friendship from all over the world. Exchange Report 2007 – Manchester Business School Above: exchange students at the final farewell party Sports/Recreation What sports/recreation facilities exist at the campus or nearby? What are the costs of using these facilities? Are they accessible? What sports equipment should Schulich Students take with them on exchange? There are a variety of sports/recreation facilities on campus. Each residence is actually equipped with recreation facilities that give students opportunities to socialize and to relax. In these facilities, you can find pool tables, bars, squash courts, and various other gaming machines. If you are a resident of the particular residence hall, then access should be free as it would’ve been included in the residence package. The hours of operation are usually from 8am-11pm throughout the week. Additionally, there are a number of gyms equipped with swimming pools, tennis courts, and workout rooms located on campus. Membership to these gyms is around 100 pounds per semester. There are also other options, which include pay as you go or monthly membership. I feel that Schulich students do not need to bring any equipment with them as they can obtain them at the University at a low cost. For more information, please visit: http://www.sport.manchester.ac.uk/healthfitness/ Exchange Report 2007 – Manchester Business School Study hours/field trips What are the costs of going on excursions? Are they mandatory? What is their duration? There are no mandatory excursions or field trips required by the MBS exchange program. However, being in Europe, it is highly recommended that exchange students take advantage of the convenient transportation available to travel and to visit different countries. This usually can be done as a weekend trip. However, the three weeks long Easter holiday vacation is definitely the best opportunity for an exciting “Eurotrip”. The costs would vary based on where you stay (hotel vs. hostel) and the type of country you are visiting. For example, Switzerland is one of the more expensive countries to visit. An average lunch in Geneva would be priced around 30 Canadian. Eastern European countries are less expensive. What to bring What are the 10 most important things to take with you? 1. Laptop Very important for keeping in touch with friends and family It is also very good to take on trips with, especially when you travel for an extensive period of time (Easter break) 2. Digital Camera One of the must-haves for going on exchange because you want to capture all the precious moments, places you’ve been to, new friends 3. Winter jacket Winter in Manchester can be a bit cold. So make sure you bring a warm winter jacket 4. Comfortable clothing Hoodies and sweatpants are a must for when you travel and even just attending lectures. People are usually very casual for classes. 5. Warm shoes Again, winter in Manchester can get a bit cold so make sure you bring shoes that will keep you warm 6. Umbrella Weather in Manchester changes very often, within hours. It is recommended that you have an umbrella on you at all times in case for sudden changes of weather. 7. Europe Travel guide Since you will be planning many trips, it would be best to have a travel guide to take with you on the trips. I found it to be very useful while I was visiting different places Exchange Report 2007 – Manchester Business School 8. Open-mindedness Be open to try new things and make new friends 9. Smile There may be tough times on exchange when you may feel alone or homesick. But remember always to keep a positive attitude and make the best out of the experience. Because it will end before you realize. 10. Credit card Make sure you save up before going on exchange because travelling and living in a foreign environment in general will be a lot more expensive than living at home. General Impressions If someone asked you to give a „snapshot‟ of your time abroad, what would it look like – how would you describe it? Remember all experiences are useful for prospective students to read about. Manchester is a very lively, student-based city, which makes campus life very fun and fulfilling. You are always surrounded by students; both local and international. There will be different social gatherings every night of the week. Therefore it is important that you manage your time properly and do not go over-board. As we all know, soccer is very popular in the UK. The Manchester United Stadium is just a 30 minutes bus ride away from the residence halls. Attending a game is a must, as anyone who goes to Manchester should attend one. Making new friendships is important as you will all need to travel together throughout the semester. Through these travelling experiences, you will learn a lot about the European cultures and its people. Needless to say, traveling is an important part of the exchange experience. Being abroad was one of the best experiences of my life. Not only do you learn so much about other cultures, make new friendships but you also learn a lot about yourself, both strengths and weaknesses. It is an opportunity for personal development. You will begin to realize the real important things in life by re-evaluating the “old” life. I would say that I became enlightened, which makes me feel more mature and more comfortable with who I am.