A year in Madrid …


It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here a year.  It feels like I don’t even remember life before the MBA – it’s been an intense ride.  Even the relatively easy 4th and 5th terms are pretty time consuming because of the time spent on job hunting and Venture Lab (where I am the co-founder of a new business – DealBoss).

So, I’ve definitely adapted to living here in Madrid.  My Spanish is certainly not at the level I thought it would be by this point, but its much much higher than when I arrived.  I may not have the best grammar, and sometimes get lost hearing new people, but it’s a great feeling to actually be able to have conversations in another language.  I will certainly miss the city and wonder where I might end up next.  As a student of history and the classics I love Europe – its like a living history book.  I can walk down the street and see some of the most amazing artwork in human history, or take a short train ride to see ancient Roman constructions.

So what have I done in the last year besides an MBA?  Well, last May I went to Valencia, Spain – which is very underrated as a place to visit.  They have a first class museum complex, nice beaches, and a pretty “old town”.  I definitely enjoyed the trip.  Later on in the summer my girlfriend arrived and we went on our summer trip – Barcelona (including the can’t miss Gaudi buildings), Paris (the Louvre is the most amazing museum ever), Firenze / Florence (the churches there are stunning), Venezia / Venice (lived up to expectations), and finally Lisbon.  We didn’t spent much time in Lisbon, but I think it had pretty fantastic beaches, great food, and was very cheap.

In September we went to Gibraltar, which is a fascinating place.  The people speak an interesting mix of Spanish and English, and switch back and forth between both languages.  In English, they sound pretty much like they are British to my ears, and in Spanish they sound like Andalucians.  And of course the monkeys are a can’t miss tourist site (just be careful that they don’t steal your things).  I don’t think I would recommend longer than a two day trip, but it’s a great weekend trip if you can get there easily enough (the travel to it is the hard part as no planes fly from Madrid to Gibraltar).

In October I went to Tunisia, then under the now deposed Ben Ali.  It was also a very interesting country with a fascinating mix of both French and Arabic everywhere.  We went to the famous Golbis Hot Springs, which have been used as a bath since Roman times.  Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to see the ruins of Carthage (basically in Tunis), but the Romans didn’t leave much there.

My girlfriend was supposed to return in December, but unfortunately her student visa didn’t arrive until January so I spent my time in Madrid.  That wasn’t much fun, but I did get the opportunity to practice my Spanish with all the free time I had. 🙂

In March another friend came out and I finally got the chance to make the trip to the south of Spain.  Toledo, Cordoba, Sevilla, and Granada are all great places to visit.  I suggest taking a look at the wikipedia sites for those places, they really are impressive.

In a little over a month I will graduate with my MBA … and I have no idea what life looks like after that.  I wouldn’t call it any more stressful or exciting than jumping out of a plane without being sure you have a parachute. 🙂

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2 Comments on “A year in Madrid …”

  1. Preeti Says:

    Its been a fantastic ride….with all it ups and downs…and as I look for jobs…one part of me is happy that I do not have my old job to go back to…that would have made me complacent:)..Now, Im going to find something I really love

    • Anthony Hess Says:

      That’s a great point Preeti. I was talking with Nicolai after our tech startups class and he mentioned a nice metaphor that I liked. I sort of remember it as “A boat is safest in the harbor, but a boat isn’t meant to stay there”. Something like that 🙂 It makes me feel better after the incredible stress of the MBA and now the job hunt and/or launching my venture.


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