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July 12, 2017

Back on blog/update/From New Delhi to Helsinki

I have been off from blogging since March but my posts will be flying out from today.  From April to end of June I was traveling.  A bit about that. This does not have much to do with admissions advice but more to do with me.

For most of April, I was in India. This was my first time to visit.  Given that I work with many clients from India, visiting allowed me to better understand where my clients are coming from.  I started in New Delhi and had a chance to visit IIT Delhi, which is a rather big campus. Wondering around I saw ads for student organizations and was even pleased to see one I recognized.  By the way, it is very easy to get onto the IIT Delhi campus.  By comparison, I could only have my driver park in front of Sri Ram College of Commerce and just take a look as getting in seemed rather daunting. At least I can say I saw SRCC and part of the University of Delhi!  Much later on the trip I could at least get a sense of Bangalore and understood why the relative costs there have made it attractive to startups, but the traffic! I was charmed by Mumbai, in part because of its relative walkability and in part because of the architecture.  Wherever I went I was most impressed by the absolute k indness of Indians.  While I found the Golden Temple in Amritsar to be one of the most spiritual and beautiful religious sites I have been to, the greatest thing is the people themselves.

After India, my wife and I went to Greece. In addition to island hopping and Athens, we spent a couple of weeks in Greece’s second biggest city, Thessaloniki, which is a big university town with many exchange students. It seemed like the biggest number of foreigners there were actually exchange students rather than tourists. If you are looking for a great European town to hang out in and want low prices and high quality, I can highly recommend it. I was working while there in June and it was a great place to have a workaction! I have been asked about the economic situation in Greece and based on conversations I had with Greeks as well as what I observed I can state the following:

1. Nothing prevents Greek people from hanging out in cafes and going out to eat. Also, nothing prevents Greeks from being nice and genuinely kind.  Both India and Greece share one thing, countries were foreigners are likely to be treated warmly.

2. The central shopping areas seemed vibrant but it was clear that less central areas had more store vacancies. However I have seen a similar level of empty store front here in Japan as well as in the US.

3. The impact of the economy is felt mostly by the Greeks in terms of increased taxes and more limited job opportunities. Young and/or highly educated people are leaving for opportunities elsewhere but some come back because they love life in Greece.

4. The only negative impact I felt personally was a strike by ferry workers who were protesting austerity measures, which resulted in us being stuck on an island for a few extra days.  I know there was a garbage strike in Athens but that happened after we left.

5.  Since the economic crisis has been going for years, it has, I think, normalized. People can operate in crisis mode for only so long, after a while, they simply accept the new reality.


After six weeks in Greece, we moved onto Budapest for a week.  As I am 50% Jewish Hungarian, it was exciting to visit a town in Europe with a vibrant Jewish present.  One thing that struck me in Hungary was the level of English ability was incredibly high amongst the young people. Whatever they are doing in Hungarian schools, I wish it could be applied here in Japan.


Finally, my trip ended in Helsinki where my wife and I stayed with one of my INSEAD classmates.  It was “summer” in Helsinki, but it was a cold one! It was great opportunity to talk with my classmate about the impact of our education at INSEAD on our work and lives.


By the time I arrived back in Japan at end of last month, I had already been working with some clients for almost a month and more have been coming on board. It is now gotten busy  but I am not in travel mode but switching to blog writing mode.  So more of what you have come to expect from this blog will be coming soon.

-Adam Markus
I am a graduate admissions consultant who works with clients worldwide. If you would like to arrange an initial consultation, please complete my intake form. Please don't email me any essays, other admissions consultant's intake forms, your life story, or any long email asking for a written profile assessment. The only profiles I assess are those with people who I offer initial consultations to. Please note that initial consultations are not offered when I have reached full capacity or when I determine that I am not a good fit with an applicant.
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