Stepping off the plane and shuttling over to the gate, Portugal greeted my arrival with a colorful Bem-vindo! (Welcome)
Lisboa! After meeting a warm and smiling Rafi, iX Head of Education and Lisbon Program Manager, we headed off on a scenic drive into the city to our hostel. The Uber soon stopped at a striking juxtaposition (one of many I would discover), where a modern glass exterior building contrasted with the historic backdrop of a neighborhood of pastal-colored façades, swinging clotheslines, and steep cobblestoned streets.
Living in São Bento, the heart of the old city, allowed for indulgences like morning walks up to Jardim da Estrela, and nearby mercados (markets) to buy farm-fresh eggs, or the always delcious pasteis de nata (custard tartlets) for breakfast. Our hostel, always teeming with energy, provided an atmosphere for camaraderie and community that included late-night study sessions, guitar open mic nights and even a chance to cheer on Portugal during the 2018 World Cup.
With a class and internship environment that was equally vibrant, the converted warehouse district of LX Factory inspired creativity in one of the hippest, coolest sections of Lisbon, and housed local startups, stylish graphic design companies, and even the budding Lisbon Surf Shop.
Brilliant instructors, including the amazing Angela Hansen, our Management Consulting Head Teacher, and the always helpful and resourceful, Erik Roberts (our TA) prepared us for our client interaction; equipping us with Excel techniques like Index-Match and CountA, market sizing case studies, helping us to perfect our PowerPoint skills and, most of all, keeping things MECE (mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive!)
Our project team was assigned to work for a managing partner of Norfund, tasked with evaluating select opportunities, strategies and future fund development ideas. Learning how to be cooperative, develop Gantt charts and dividing our work streams into small, manageable tasks allowed us to accomplish a great deal while gaining valuable, professional work experience. Delivering presentations, receiving real-time client feedback and input was exciting and rewarding.
When we weren’t designing issue trees or creating analytical models, we made the most of our free time with local excursions that included dining out at a Mozambican restaurant in Mouraria, playing soccer under the bright lights at night, and even kayaking and cliff diving in the beautiful seaside town of Sesimbra.
Both personally and professionally enriching, I’m grateful for being selected by iXperience. To Rohit, Rafi, Erik, Angela, Simon, the Back to Lisbon Staff, and the rest of the iX team: Muito obrigado!!