by Kira Snyder, MBA2021
“Where are you from?” should be a fairly easy question. At least for most people. But for me, that one is actually difficult. It leaves me sputtering, forever unprepared to discuss. So I usually ask people if they want the short or long version. They’re often confused.
So I shrug. “I’m from the US,” I say. When prompted, I commit to “east coast.”
My life has been a series of moves, a slew of international schools and new friends, and the inability to answer the simplest of questions: where I’m from.
When I moved back to the US, I struggled to find like-minded people: third culture kids who knew what it was like to be an “outsider” wherever they were living or people who had travelled the way I had since I moved to Europe at age 4. It took me a while to learn that most Americans didn’t grow up skiing in the Alps, watching their big sister perform in youth orchestras around the world, or going to school with kids from however many countries.
It’s funny how circular life is and how our comfort zone can stay so similar even as it evolves. After attending ten different schools before college, I went to undergrad in Atlanta, Georgia, and then joined the consulting world. I figured an MBA was my next big step and thought consulting could give me the widest swath of experiences before I applied. So after three-ish years on the road, I signed up for a GMAT course and committed to having almost no life for the next however many months while I prepared for my future.
I chose to apply to a variety of schools, mostly within the US and two wild cards in Europe. Next up were the interviews, and the opportunities to sit in on classes, meet with students, and see how I’d fit in.
Nothing quite… fit. It felt like same old, same old. Where was this great, global, mind- and eye-opening experience I’d been promised at all of America’s top b-schools?
But I had a secret weapon – LBS, where the interviewer was warm, friendly, fascinating, and most importantly, the kind of person I wanted to be some day. Where the students I talked to were global, fascinated by different cultures, lovers of travel and learning and seemed like friends who provided genuine, helpful advice.
It’s no secret that I chose London Business School, and it chose me. But what’s harder to describe is how I feel like I finally found the kind of international school I attended as a child, with a hugely diverse student body and the kind of openness and curiosity that exists only in a specific type of person. How my friends and classmates are consultants, auditors, doctors, entrepreneurs, engineers; from Colombia, India, Sweden, Portugal, India, Canada, or Australia, among others. For the most part, we’re down to earth, hungry, curious intellectuals with a zeal for life and a love of fun. And the best part? When they ask where I’m from and I can’t really answer, they usually totally get it. They always ask for the “long version” and maybe even have a long version themselves.