Prior to my decision to attend Columbia Business School, I spent a lot of time getting to know the school. Apart from high global rankings, strong academic curriculum, and promising career opportunities, I was essentially looking for a diverse community … I was looking for inclusion.
What's the percentage of international students? How hard is it for an international student to find a job? How international is the faculty? What role does the New York location play?
Finding answers to these questions made me realize that I was going into one of the most international and diverse schools located in one of the most international and diverse cities in the world. But, there is only so much one can learn about a school as an outsider without actually being immersed into its culture on a daily basis. I am the only Georgian in the school—and, trust me, not so many people even know what and where Georgia is. But I don’t think I ever felt so special and embraced about my nationality and background. I am constantly asked to do CBS Global presentations and share my “Georgian story” or take my peers to a Georgian restaurant and introduce them to Georgian cuisine and hospitality, or even organize a trip to Georgia to show my peers a place where I was born. These are just small examples of how being the only representative of the country of my origin has never stopped me from being part of the CBS family. I have never felt like “the other." In fact, I found the inclusion that I was looking for.