But EBS Business School MBA graduate Leo Tom Zachariah didn’t just meet students from different cities and different cultures; over the course of his dual degree, comprising an MBA at EBS Business School and a Masters at MIT-Zaragoza, he lived in three different and exciting nations.
Coming from India with a background in mechanical engineering, Zachariah had acquainted himself with Germany and German life through books, so “there was not a lot of culture shock, [but] it was really interesting to see the reality [at EBS Business School and in Germany] generally.
He also took the time to work in industry in Frankfurt, further immersing himself in the local culture. “Germans take time to get friendly to you,” he tells BusinessBecause, “But once they do, they’re really friendly to you.” Talking to Zachariah it becomes apparent that he could settle in quickly almost anywhere, from the gleaming skyscrapers of a centre of international finance like Frankfurt, to an industrial city such as Zaragoza, Spain.
He has nothing but praise for his time in the United States, where he focused largely on operations and logistics, but Spain – and Zaragoza in particular – was clearly his favourite destination. “When I went to Spain,” he recalls, “I felt it was the nearest I could come to India while I was in Europe.”
Compared to the glittering glass and steel that makes up so much of Frankfurt’s centre, Zaragoza, with its rich history and old-world charm, was a definite change of pace, although the EBS building – a picturesque late medieval castle – would have fitted right in. Still, Zachariah felt right at home, partly because “Unlike Germany, which was so ordered and clean, there was a friendly chaos to Spain. And everyone was immediately friendly and welcoming to me.”
It wasn’t all open arms, however; he was nearly hit by a car moments after arriving: “That felt very like India to me!” he laughs.
Now that he has graduated, Zachariah is continuing his globe-trotting style with a move to Belgium. While for some, such a move might seem daunting, for Zachariah, he’s already been prepared for life in different climes by his experience of the EBS course. “I was able to work with people from different countries and different backgrounds. Working in those teams was the biggest learning experience for me. And it taught me that I can settle in anywhere.”