San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde (28) runs against New York Jets free safety Marcus Gilchrist (21) during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
© AP

San Francisco

Clive Vacher, Stanford Graduate School of Business

The San Francisco Bay area is fabulous and there are some spectacular vineyards in the surrounding region, but the weather can be unpredictable due to the microclimates. In our spare time, we played a lot of golf and watched a lot of American college football and baseball.

Best thing: The Silicon Valley high-tech entrepreneurial feel of the entire region. Everywhere you go has a flavour of innovation. Plus the pace of life is so much more relaxed.

Worst thing: The timezone. You are right at the end of everyone’s day. New York is in full swing [at the start of the West Coast working day] and London is pretty much done, for example.


Nitesh Pandey, NUS

Super tree with water pond in gardens by the Bay in Singapore Marine Bay
© Getty

Singapore is full of talents from different fields of life. Networking and sharing thoughts is what I enjoyed the most. Professors are unfailingly courteous and professionals demonstrate an exceptionally thorough knowledge of their job, approaching work with enthusiasm, initiative and attention to detail.

It was hard to resist the city’s offerings too, which are culturally rich. I most frequently went to Orchard Road, the gardens by the bay and Clarke Quay. The high quality of life also benefits families who want the best education for their children. I have been fortunate to travel the world and Singapore takes pole position in this respect.

Best thing: The city is located between two upcoming major economic centres — China and India — giving easy access to both.

Worst thing: The small size can limit opportunity.


John Pagani, Chicago Booth UK campus

The Cafe at Foyles, Charing Cross Rd branch
© Charlie Bibby

I stayed in the City, by St Paul’s Cathedral, which was a great location for evenings out. Chicago Booth served breakfast and lunch so the evening was when we would go out to eat — before crawling into bed ready to get up again at 4am to study.

One class trip was to a ping-pong bar called Bounce — we played against each other over a beer and it was hilarious. You could also walk in off the street to any bar with a reasonable chance of it being decent for an aperitif. I was surprised because I only expected to see traditional pubs.

‘Best’ thing: After the Brexit vote, the pound collapsed, which made London comparatively cheaper than other cities (coming from New Zealand).

Worst thing: The proliferation of incredibly tedious lunch bars: Eat, Pret, Paul. I found a cool little coffee place to use instead.


Peter Collins, HEC Paris

The twon museum in Jouy-en-Josas © Alamy

I loved the sense of freedom. The city evokes a revolution that swept itself and later other parts of the world. It was a very freeing place to think. I loved the names of the streets near HEC Paris in the suburb of Jouy-en-Josas — Rue de la Libération particularly. Australians (I’m one) came as volunteers 100 years ago and two-thirds were wounded or killed. It was moving to find memorials and be reminded of all who died so that Europe would be united, democratic and free. [The town museum is pictured.]

I enjoyed soaking up the city atmosphere, especially the night France beat Germany in the semi-final of last year’s European Championship. We were all French that night! I mainly visited restaurants and a chapel near the Basilica where the first Jesuits took their vows.

Best thing: It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful. You could see why the French have a reputation for not leaving France.

Worst thing: The café and boulangerie in the village only opened at 6.30am. Being a jet-lagged Australian, I would have loved an earlier opening place to go!

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