IIP: First impressions of the teams

The 2014-2015 class has just begun their International Immersion Projects! Scattered across the globe and with various projects, the students will have hands-on experience working on a real-life business problem in an emerging market. We asked some teams to give us their first impressions of their host countries as they start an important chapter of the Global MBA journey. 


By Rahul and Subhajit

Two months ago, I was bidding for an IIP while pursuing my MBA in France and today I am in Doha, Qatar working with the company – Time really flies by. Qatar at first may seem very reserved culturally but give it time and it soon starts unraveling itself to you. 

Doha is the capital city of Qatar, with a significant portion of the 2.2 million Qatar’s population living within it. An interesting fact, only 12% of the total population is Qatari nationals and the rest are expatriates. 

Most Qatari men wear thobe, a long white dress, and a ghutrah, a traditional Arab scarf while women wear abaya, a black robe ,whereas, the rest of the population is expected to dress modestly as a sign of respect to local customs and culture. 

The daily office-work schedule begins early with weekends falling on Fridays and Saturdays. Souq Waqif is one of Qatar’s most vibrant social hotspots. It is a traditional cultural bazaar, which houses a variety of shops selling traditional products as well as a range of restaurants serving a variety of cuisines. 

We are staying in a smart city where our hotel is, the sandstorm doesn’t affect our travel to office, but when we have to go out, you can feel the desert on your skin.


By Matt, Abie and WeiWei

Leaving Paris heatwave, we were expecting an easy transition when arriving in Kigali as the dry season, from June to August, was reported to be hot and dusty. Actually, we were wrong: temperatures are not extremely high and can be even cold. Long sleeves clothes are often required in early mornings or late evenings.

Our first impressions are that Rwanda is stunningly beautiful, clean, safe and a well-organized country. It has very good road infrastructure and extremely friendly people.

Could be a bit risky depending on one’s personal views but motorcycle taxis are the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to get around town especially in Kigali.

The food is also great as many restaurants offer different cuisines, no matter your place of origin you can find the cuisine you are used to: Chinese, Indian, Italian, French… Many restaurants offer local dishes and buffet. We have had the great pleasure to taste Ugandan dishes here in Kigali and of course Rwandan fine food.


By Sam and Kimi

Our first impressions probably had something to do with the fact that we had just left the city of lights, Paris, and landed in Kilamanjaro airport where we were driven all the way to our outpost lodge at night - not one streetlight in sight. In this moment we realized that we had arrived in a different world! We were surprised at how cold it is in July! 

People here are extremely friendly and never seize to help. This is our first time in Africa let alone Tanzania, and as much as you read about it beforehand, the poverty in this part of the world is unlike any other we have seen. We want to believe that this will be an emerging market and you definitely feel the need to be really cautious. Arusha has already opened the door to a vast of culturally diverse experiences and we are looking forward to discovering more!

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