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Tuesday, August 05, 2014 at 5pm

Things To Do When You Study in Budapest

why study in budapest

A couple of weeks ago, we wrapped up our first trimester of study in Budapest at CEU Business School, after an eventful four months. Managing one’s personal life, a full-time job, weekend courses and hobbies has not been easy. But as the saying goes: what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger!

Before enrolling myself at CEU Business School in order to study in Budapest, I read everywhere that networking is important and the networking opportunities available at the school should be one of the key factors in choosing which you attended. I couldn't agree more, and the last few months have really confirmed this.

The connections you make at a business school go a long way in ensuring your success after leaving. If you get a chance, read Keith Ferrazzi’s famous book, Never Eat Alone; it’s got some very useful advice on networking. It covers its importance to business owners and executives, strategies to make meaningful connections and how to nurture them, what works, what doesn’t and also some success stories from which to derive inspiration.

Needless to say, networking was indeed on my mind when I chose to study at CEU Business School in Budapest. For all potential part-time MBA aspirants, if given a choice, I would recommend choosing a weekend program that is not in your home city. I live in Munich but decided to pursue an MBA in Budapest. If I were enrolled in some Munich school, I think, I would have spent much less time with classmates outside of school. Being in a different city creates a lot more opportunities to socialize after classes.

Networking in the city

What a city Budapest is! A 2013 article by CNN ranked Budapest as one of the best cities in the world. When I visited for the first time in the end of 2013, I took a half-day city tour just to get an idea of where to spend more time later – the architecture is fantastic. Next time, in March 2014, I took one full week to explore the city. My favorite places for a nice walk are around Fisherman’s Bastion, Deák Ferenc tér, Szabadság tér, Heroes’ Square and Andrássy út. One can really spend hours strolling around these spots, with cozy cafes, beautiful buildings, or just watching people. Budapest restaurants and pubs are perfect for when you’re done with all this walking around too!

Thermal baths are another great feature of Budapest; I don’t want to name any in particular because they are all good. They are typically located in old historical buildings, have many small and big pools with varying temperatures, saunas, massages –a great way to relax.

Budapest restaurants and pubs

My fellow classmate and friend, Stanislav, calls Budapest a city of gastronomy. And why not; during the short time we get to spend roaming around the city, we have sampled all kind of international cuisine from Budapest’s restaurants. There is something for everyone, but being a vegetarian, the most important for me was to find restaurants with vegetarian food. Believe it or not even in a meat loving country like Hungary, there are quite a few options for vegetarians. There are some purely vegetarian places like Govinda and Hummus Bar and some Budapest restaurants have a wide selection of vegetarian cuisine, my favorite being Iguana Bar & Grill – highly recommended for Mexican food lovers.

For drinking, I’m yet find a city better than Budapest. The numerous ruin pubs that came up in the last decade with funky décor and graffiti on the walls, is quintessential Budapest. Beer is cheap and not just the branded beer, there is a growing craft beer scene in Budapest. There is a whole festival dedicated to it in fact. I’m pretty sure Hungarian craft beer has the potential to grow all over Europe in the years to come.

Traveling

All this, however, doesn’t come easily. Frequent travel has its challenges. But I guess that’s also part of a CEU MBA education. For those who choose professions requiring frequent travel, this can be good physical and mental preparation. It takes some planning to really find the best available mode of transport, timing and fitting that into a budget. It’s not a one-off vacation trip and recurring expenses can become a burden if not handled well. The same goes for accommodation; I’ve tried many things; from staying with friends, to hotels, to hostels and private apartments. I finally ended up renting apartments with two other classmates. I’m not sure about other student towns, but from my experience I observed that Budapest offers quite good and affordable options for short and long-term accommodation. As an additional note, when dealing with all this, I’ve always found someone that speaks English, but it’s always nicer if foreigners make efforts to learn some basic Hungarian while here.

I hope this overview gives an idea of how much fun it is being a student in Budapest! Why not visit and experience this great city firsthand?

About Sameer Saran

Sameer Saran is an electrical engineering graduate from India, currently pursuing his MBA at CEU Business School in Budapest, Hungary. Even after almost 14 years of association with the semiconductor industry, he is still fascinated by the tremendous amount of learning and growth opportunities this field offers. He has lived and worked in India, France and Germany and is currently working with Intel in Munich, in its mobile communication division. His professional interests lie in operational excellence, new venture development and the use of technology to uplift under-developed sectors of society. In his free time he enjoys playing tennis, reading, cooking and would one day love to see vegetarian cuisine go mainstream in Europe!

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