In this account of her first two months at LSE, Aishwarya Chakkilam, talks about the challenges of moving to London, and how participating in a ‘boot-camp’ project helped her feel at home.

Two people standing outside building

Hey! So, I guess we all have to “settle in” somewhere new at some point in life. For me the biggest change came during September 2017 when LSE came into my life. It was my very first time away from home and family for an entire year but deep down I knew that this was something I’d always wanted. My desire to pursue a Masters at LSE grew ever since I attended LSE Summer School in 2014. Back then, I was only 18 (the youngest in my class) and I chose a course in Human Resources Management and Employment Relations. The entire experience was so enriching, and I believe that it played a vital role in my personal growth and made me a better student overall.

Flash forward and I landed here on the 18th of September 2017 to pursue my Masters in Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation (MISDI). Today, more than 2 months after starting this course, it actually feels like time flew. But let me also admit that the journey was not as easy as it seems. Obviously because it was time to leave my comfort zone! The whole process of transformation from India to London did definitely take time in terms of living by myself, balancing my daily chores, figuring out the city and most importantly finding my way around school.

Honestly, the Department of Management at LSE is a world of its own. The academic standards of this place are undoubtedly very high and often, extremely different from what students may pursue in their home countries. Yet, I must say that the best part about getting accustomed to this very new environment is – you know you can do it!  That is the level of confidence the School instils in you. While the majority of business schools possess the “best faculty,” what really sets this department of LSE apart is the ease at which students interact with the faculty and the resources provided.

Aishwarya Chakkilam outside the LSE Library

Personally, as a MISDI student, I’ve had some really uplifting experiences during my first term. One such experience for me was the one week “boot-camp” project under Roland Berger which was a part of my curriculum for MG481 and required us to work in allocated groups. This project was supposed to be held during the reading week at LSE and most students were taking time off to study or flying back home. In our case, most of us were actually stressing about how intensive that week was going to get. But as the days passed, everybody was actually enjoying the work. It was an opportunity not just to enhance our academic learning but also to get to know each other better, learn efficient team work, make new friends and interact closely with the professors. Even though it was different teams competing with each other to put forward the best ideas, it was all indeed about helping each other learn and grow together. By the end of this project, we all became one little MISDI family. I still remember telling a friend after that week “It’s okay even if we missed out on holidays, I would not have it any other way!”

This place is filled with opportunities, both academic and non-academic. And I’ve learnt over time that all you’ve got to do is have the resilience to find what fits best for you. There is no

“trend” for doing things! It’s really all about being yourself and doing what you love. You just never know what’s in store for you. If not, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog today! There will be days when things will not go your way, and that’s the time you’ve actually got to tell yourself there is a “tomorrow” and maybe you can try a little more. Giving up is just not an option!

I’m sure we will all carve our own special niches of self-discovery during our time here at LSE. For me, I feel like my journey has just begun, it has indeed, been a beautiful start and I’m looking forward to exploring the rest of my year at school!

Image of Aishwarya Chakkilam

Aishwarya Chakkilam is a graduate student pursuing MSc in Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation (MISDI) at the LSE Department of Management. She’s from India and her affinity to write stems from her engineering days as she used to earlier write on teen-sensitive issues through her blog. She is currently exploring life at London, LSE and looks forward to making the most of her journey.