A letter from America: part one

Nick Livingstone, winner of the Diageo Learning for Life Saltire Fellowship, writes about week two of the programme, which has taken him to Babson College in Boston

Nick Livingstone, 7 Saints

IT’S been a whirlwind of activity – from the flights to the hire cars, the weekend was nothing short of a blur.

Travel time, of course, is also a great chance to get to know the other people on the course, and we’re quickly becoming a close-knit community.

Once we hooked up with the hire cars and plotted our route to Babson for the first day, I whipped out the cocktail shaker and knocked up some drinks for the group; it wasn’t long before it turned into a mini cocktail masterclass. After a couple we called it a night; an early start beckoned and, with body clocks out of sync, it was sure to be an interesting morning.

Amazingly we all arrived on time bright eyed and bushy tailed.

A morning session welcome with the lead lecturer made us all feel at home, orientated and ready to learn.

Then the first curve ball!

Spilt into teams, we were tasked with running our own service company against each other. Decisions were fed into a system that was designed to replicate what would happen; each team’s decisions, therefore, didn’t just impact their own result but others as well. It was chaotic at first, frustrating and then rewarding as we got to grips with calling the shots; it really highlighted the complex decisions that need to be made in the correct order to have a successful and thriving business.

The week was rounded off with lots of assignments, reading and homework … but also the weekend!

Friday night involved some cool cocktail bars, open mic nights and even a meat raffle! Saturday started early for part of the group – shopping, nature walks and such featured highly; while the afternoon was focused on refreshments. Boston has a thriving food truck industry – the trend for street food is well-established here. After that I was visiting some bars in Cambridge with some newly made local friends and then partying into the small hours.

Sunday was spent reading up for class on Monday and, of course, catching up on the American obsession of NFL.