It could be said that the world famous Monaco Yacht Show, which ended this Saturday, September 24th, and which MonacoMBA students were invited to attend—which they enthusiastically did!– marked the completion of the unofficial “orientation” period t

o Monaco, and to the MBA program. In fact, the MonacoMBA Class of 2012 was officially kicked off two weeks earlier, on September 7th, with an Orientation Day rich in speakers, information and events.

The 24 students representing 14 countries across five continents were not only introduced to the International University of Monaco and to each other, but also to the MBA program and its courses, and to the faculty and staff with whom they will be interacting closely over the next ten months. But the MonacoMBA is far more than just a highly ranked and accredited program. It is also an ideal learning and networking experience! Accordingly, after a complimentary lunch at Le Bureau, students were introduced to the various facets of life, both professional and personal, in and around Monaco. Ms. Annette Anderson, Executive Director of the MonacoUSA Association and Marketing and Business Development Director of Monaco’s legendary Stars’N’Bars, as well as networker extraordinaire, presented some very useful do’s and don’ts of networking in the region. She also graciously offered a reduced IUM student rate for membership in MonacoUSA, an association open to all English speakers regardless of nationality. Membership not only provides generous discounts at numerous establishments, but also monthly Happy Hour networking events in a variety of well-known venues around Monaco.

Annette was followed by Ms. Marina Mazza, President of Monaco’s Young Chamber of Commerce, and Mr. Kevin Hin, Deputy Director, who introduced the MonacoMBA Class of 2012 to the various activities, initiatives and conferences held by the Young Chamber of Commerce. Students were all invited to participate in these events, which is a well known and active forum for the innumerable young entrepreneurs and professionals living and working in Monaco.

Finally, the day ended on a note that was both somber and humorous. Two important representatives of the Monegasque government, Mr. Laurent Anselmi, Responsible for Legal Affairs with the Government of Monaco and Ms. Isabelle Costa, of the Ministry of External Relations, gave a thorough backdrop to Monaco’s history, government, and foreign affairs, elucidating many little known facts. And while students were encouraged to enjoy, in their after-hours, Monaco’s renowned night life, they were well warned: drinking and driving would land you a week’s stay in the Principality’s jail. In addition to not being very pleasant, such a mishap would also certainly wreak havoc with your grades!

The following day, September 8th, followed a totally different rhythm and venue: at the seaside, just a few minutes walk away from IUM! But the day wasn’t dedicated to lolling on the beach. Rather, this “Integration Day” was specifically designed and led by two leadership and development coaches to create and foster team building skills, develop trust in one another, and appreciate the need to balance planning along with rapid decision making. Through a variety of exercises, games, and intellectual challenges, MonacoMBA students quickly absorbed the learning and could see the applicability of it to their studies and, more importantly still, to their personal and professional lives.

After these two exceptional days, reality hit with a thud on Friday, September 9, with classes in Statistics for Business and in Managerial Economics, taught respectively by two of IUM’s most appreciated faculty members, Professor Michelle Sisto and Professor Ingo Bobel. But the festivities weren’t over quite yet! That mild and clear evening, IUM students, alumni, staff and faculty were invited to a seaside cocktail and dinner party at Cap Marquet. It was a perfect end to the first short week for MonacoMBA students, three days rich in information, excitement, challenges, and fun. And a prelude for the weeks to come.