The Boston University (or BU as abbreviated on abbreviationfinder) is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, with more than 35,000 students from over 130 countries, more than 10,000 faculty and staff, 17 schools and colleges and more than 300 study programs. The wide range of courses offers something for everyone and the well-established faculties will help you wherever you need help. The main campus is along the Charles River in the districts of Fenway-Kenmore and Allston – it is easy to find your way around and, especially during the warmer days, you can make yourself comfortable with your laptop and a coffee near the river.
Since the introduction of the new application tool in 2019, the application process has been straightforward and easy to use. Just remember that all documents must be submitted in English (for example I had problems with the financial statement letter because I am a member of a local Swiss bank and such letters are only written in the national language, but not in English).
Given that I have dual citizenship, I was able to bypass the VISA process and therefore cannot share any experience. Nonetheless, it is worth starting the entire application process as early as possible.
I made use of the support service from MicroEDU , which in particular made it much easier to obtain information. Kyle, BU Program Administrator, contacted me through MicroEDU after I officially enrolled. Kyle was my contact person during the entire stay and he spoke to me about the course schedule a few weeks before the start of the semester. I could then simply tell him the courses I wanted to take and he would take care of everything afterwards. Thanks to his help, I was able to take care of the rest of the affairs such as flights, accommodation, etc. while he organized everything related to my lectures.
During the first week at BU I had to attend a meeting where all new international students were welcomed and given additional information. One topic that was raised concerned the deselecting or adding to courses – during the first few weeks you can delete, change or add courses without problems.
The courses take place at different times – in my case Kyle has put together my weekly schedule as follows (there are always several courses available, as indicated by A1 / 2):
The course system differs from that in Switzerland – on the one hand, oral course participation is given great importance, on the other hand, the lecturers offer office hours. During the so-called office hours you can ask questions about the lessons or discuss very general topics. So there is generally a closer relationship between professors and students.
MET AD642 A2 Project Management
The aim of the course is to apply the most important project management tools and techniques by means of case-related group work. The groups select, plan, report and then present the scope, schedule, cost, risk, quality and communication elements of their project using tools such as the WBS, the network diagram, the PERT estimate, the Gantt chart (including the use of MS Project), the risk register and the heat map.
I would highly recommend this course! Working on projects with my group colleagues was great fun and I acquired new skills by using MS Project. Also, Professor Gerard Keegan is a very nice and funny lecturer!
The grade consists of five discussion contributions in an online forum (16%), four online quizzes (18%), two individual essays (20%), a team project + presentation (41%) and class participation (5%).
MET AD646 A1 Program and Portfolio Management
This course focuses on the relationship between portfolios, programs, and projects, as well as the strategic goals of each endeavor. You will also learn how to use program and portfolio management (PPM) in areas such as strategy, portfolio development, corporate resource planning, scheduling and risk management.
Although the course is quite busy and chaotic, I would recommend it. Professor Kanabar is very interested in the students’ success and he helps you wherever he can.
The grade consists of five discussion contributions in Blackboard (15%), five quizzes (30%), three short essays and an individual research paper + presentation (25%) as well as a group project plus presentation (30%).
MET AD680 A2 Global Supply Chain Management
This course analyzes the management activities required to support the international strategies of the manufacturing and service industries to ensure that the products / services are delivered / rendered in the quality and on time required through the use of global supply chains, outsourcing relationships and cross-border operations Operations are expected.
I would recommend this course because of the useful insights and interesting case studies. The final grade consists of three Excel-based problem sets (24%), an intermediate exam (24%), a final exam (24%), four written discussions about HBR case studies (20%) and oral participation (8%).
MET AD741 A2 The innovation process: Develop new products and services
This course addresses the global challenge of innovation and examines how marketing, strategic management and business issues directly affect the success or “commercialization” of the development and introduction of new products and services. Concepts for adding value to products and services (at the heart of successful innovation) are applied to a variety of types of innovation: including those tagged with terms such as “large”, “radical”, “disruptive” or “discontinuous” earlier approaches, as well as those that are described as incremental, sustainable, or continuous.
I wouldn’t recommend the course – while some case studies were interesting, the course is hugely unstructured and the professor works with the worst PPP slides I’ve ever seen. The final grade consists of an intermediate examination (25%), a group work including a presentation of a research project (25%), an individual case analysis (25%) and participation in the course (25%).
PDP AQ301 Fitness Swim
The BU offers so-called PDP courses (these courses are offered in a wide variety of sports – information can be found under Fitrec). Basically these courses can be described as physical education and in my case this course was my personal highlight!
It is a pass / fail course based on participation (a maximum of four sessions can be skipped) and is rewarded with 1 ECTS.
Living in Boston / Salem
Unfortunately, COVID-19 affected my sharing and my overall experience turned out a little different than expected. I originally planned to explore Boston in May and June when the semester is over.
Finding my way around and the different deadlines for the various tasks kept me busy during the semester and didn’t give me much leeway to get to know the city and its various facets during this time. In addition, my travel time also affected my time management – I lived outside of the city (Salem) due to the high rental prices in Boston. Due to the less well developed public transport system, I had around 1. 45 hours of travel time in one direction.
Given these circumstances, I moved the “fun” part to the end of the semester, but COVID-19 completely messed up my plans. However, I didn’t miss my stay and made the best of the situation. My place of residence ended up offering me opportunities that I did not expect and made my stay better than I thought.
On Airbnb I found a small apartment in Salem MA. Since I am a person who generally likes to live outside of big cities, the apartment suited me perfectly. And I had the chance to experience the “real” American lifestyle – Boston is awash with multicultural people (not surprisingly, all of my classes at BU were 80% or more foreign), so it was difficult to find the American To get to know culture.
Some key data about the apartment and its location:
- Eight minute walk to the train station
- Directly behind the building is an e-market (open 24/7), Steve’s quality market (groceries) and the post office (well worth a visit) are 5 minutes away and Walgreens (health & wellness, pharmacy and photo products) is about 10 Minutes away.
- Restaurants and bars are everywhere
- The apartment is quiet, safe and clean but does not have a washing machine (the nearest laundry is about 15 minutes away, only cash is accepted)
Overall, the apartment is perfectly located and contains everything you need! I can highly recommend it (link to the apartment).
Salem itself is a historic coastal town in Essex County, Massachusetts. Much of the city’s cultural identity reflects its role as the site of the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692. Police cars are adorned with witch logos, a few people in disguise walk through town during the day, a public elementary school is known as Witchcraft Heights, and the sports teams at Salem High School are called the Witches – wherever you go, you are reminded of the city’s history.
Nature / activities
Because of my previous CrossFit activities in Switzerland, I was looking for an official box in Salem to meet new people and improve my athletic skills. I quickly found what I was looking for – the IronSpider CrossFit box is a 15-minute walk from the apartment and is huge. It is therefore not surprising that it offers many classes with different focuses and various equipment. If you want to try it out, be sure to attend an afternoon class under the supervision of Marbelk “Mar” – he is a fantastic trainer!
Thanks to my membership, I was part of a great community next to Boston University, which was very helpful especially in the time of COVID-19.
By chance I came into contact with an American in the CF box during a sporting event and we shared another passion besides fitness: nature. He showed me wonderful spots around Salem and I can say Massachusetts is definitely a place that will appeal to nature lovers.
The nature around Boston and Salem is breathtaking and diverse. The Lynn Forest Reserve, for example, offers many different walks, each from a different angle (see pictures). Newburyport is a beautiful place by the sea and definitely worth a visit.
A graduate semester at the BU includes the following costs (rounded):
- Tuition Fees: $ 14,500 (if applying through MicroEDU, otherwise $ 28,500)
- University Fees: $ 411
- Insurance: $ 1,200
- Books and supplies: $ 650 (your student account includes a list of books that can be ordered online from Barnes & Noble and then picked up from the shop)
- Housing (average): $ 8,500 (my apartment cost around $ 6,500 for 4. 5 months)
Given the circumstances of the coronavirus, I’ve spent less money than normal, but I’d assume the total cost would be between $ 27,000 and $ 30,000.
In Boston you usually use the green, orange or red line and you need a so-called CharlieCard. CharlieCards are reusable cards that can be topped up with cash to pay for bus and subway fares. They are available at select MBTA subway stations or in certain stores such as the Star Market.
Tip: Your student account contains an MBTA semester pass section, where you can apply for a semester pass including student discounts. However, the limited time frame for the application must be observed!
Although public transport is not comparable to Switzerland, public transport is fine. By the way: The transit app helped me a lot to find my way around and to have the timetable more or less under control.