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Pandas.

In my seventh grade language arts class, Mrs. Long taught us that if you want someone to read your story you need to begin with a creative title; she also promised me that I would fail out of high school if I didn't write everything in cursive (a total lie), but I think she was onto something with this whole creative title business. And so... pandas. And not just pandas. Also, the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall, the Arabian Sea... Any one of these could have been my title, but really, who doesn't love pandas?

As assorted as this list is, it all adds up to something awesome: the Carlson Global Discovery Experience. The Global Discovery program is a FT MBA course at Carlson, in your second year, that shows what we've learned in the classroom out in the real world. Global Discovery is only one of many ways Carlson differentiates itself from other top MBA programs--instead of just telling you about the global economy, we show it to you.

Now, more than ever, the world of business is global and integrated; Carlson knows that to be successful in such a world, we need to understand it and experience it, and that is exactly what Global Discovery does.

As I wrap up my first year in the program (where did the time go?!) I am faced with the decision of choosing where I want to go for Global Discovery: China (pandas!), India, or Dubai (thus the conglomeration of words in the first paragraph). Each program has incredible opportunities and promises to be an engaging and rewarding experience, it's just a matter of choosing which one to attend.

The Global Discovery program spans a portion of our second year here--the fall is an in-classroom prep-session and the winter (early January) is on-site in our choice countries. Every year there are three choices, always in exciting and emerging business economies, and roughly 1/3 of the class visits each. The trip itself is two weeks long, during which students visit important cultural sites, spend time exploring the area, visit with businesspeople and companies (large multinational firms and small enterprises, alike), and try to understand the unique issues facing different businesses in different areas. Although the locations are vastly different from one another, there is an incredible value in attending each one.

Since this year's students have returned, I've heard nothing but incredible stories about the visits and I truly don't think I could go wrong with any of them (now I just have to make a choice!) So, the Arabian Sea, the Taj Majal, or pandas... :)

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