February 22, 2013

Yes, Cleveland Does Rock ...

Travel guides are insufferable readings, at least for me. Every single country is listed as a “land of contrasts”, as “alluring”, or, if the place in question enjoys a not-so-good reputation, as a “hidden gem”. Well, Cleveland is both a land of contrasts and a hidden gem and, alas, I can assure you Lonely Planet isn't giving me a dime to say that.

I came to Cleveland to pursue a graduate degree at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management. CWRU is famous for its prestigious engineering department. This is incredibly appropriate, for Cleveland rose as a city where people built things. Cleveland prospered when the United States was a manufacturing giant, when the vast majority of workers spent their days making things they could actually bring home: cars, tractors, furniture, etc.

Those days are over but a certain blue-collar affability remains. People here are approachable. They smile. They ask you how you've been doing. I’m continuously surprised by how much people care. People at Weatherhead’s Career Management Office keep asking me how my job search is coming. The director of the Cleveland Cinematheque takes the time to let me know that the film I asked to be screened will be shown later that week.

Cleveland might lack the sound and the fury of larger metropolises, but it has a heart, and a pumping one at that. Within walking distance of each other, one can find a world-class museum, a world-class orchestra and a world-class university. And after watching a film, or going to a concert, one can walk another five minutes and enjoy a full plate of pasta in one of Little Italy’s many trattorias. What’s more to be said?

By Antonio (Tom) Bueno, MBA '14