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My First MBA Semester During COVID-19

My First MBA Semester During COVID-19 main image

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on applicants and students around the world.

In the first half of 2020, many b-schools were forced to shift to online learning – a decision that affected all aspects of the graduate experience, from admissions and life on campus to the job market

However, now that many campuses across the globe have reopened for the fall semester, students are getting a taste of normality again after months of lockdown restrictions.

We’ve caught up with a number of MBA candidates to find out their first impressions on going to b-school during the coronavirus pandemic.

Beth

Beth is a full-time MBA student at Nyenrode Business University.

Originally from the Philippines, she has 10 years of experience in Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) for food and manufacturing firms. After landing her most recent role at SC Johnson, she decided to apply to business school.

She said: “Working in a regional HQ of a multinational really opened the organization to me in a way that I’ve never experienced in my previous roles. This allowed me to dip my foot into a lot of areas like logistics, project management, RD&E, and even strategic corporate initiatives like sustainability.

“I simply couldn’t stay in finance anymore, but at the same time I knew the knowledge I had outside of finance wasn’t nearly enough, which is why I decided to pursue an MBA. This was also a point in my life when I wanted to leave Asia, too, so I thought why not do both?”

In November 2019, Beth was accepted by Nyenrode and relocated to pursue her MBA in August 2020.

So far, Beth says she has enjoyed all aspects of the MBA experience, including the program’s blended approach of online and in-person learning.

She said: “It’s been great. My favorite part is the breadth of experience of our cohort. We come from a variety of backgrounds, not only culturally but professionally, and it makes the classroom interactions so interesting and involved.

“Our class structure is blended given the current circumstances, which is something I’m pretty used to. It’s always more fun discussing in person, so I am hopeful that we can continue this in our class as well.”

Beth says she is hopeful for the future and is looking forward to the rest of her MBA.

She said: “Now is an unprecedented time, with so much uncertainty, but I also think this is a great opportunity to really immerse into learning and bettering ourselves. There’s still life on the other side of this. I’d like to be ready to live it.”

Luke

Luke is a full-time MBA student at Ulster University with extensive professional experience in entrepreneurship, technology, and marketing.

Luke says Ulster has adopted a blended approach for the fall semester, combining a series of online modules with a number of on-campus activity-based seminars.

Despite being confident in the school’s ability to successfully deliver the program, Luke hopes to be able to interact more with the rest of the cohort throughout the semester.

He said: “Personally, what concerns me is the lack of lecture interaction where the real value is in asking questions and teasing out ideas, as perhaps this may get lost in online sessions. The smaller group sessions will be useful but will inevitably lack the richness of insights and student input when compared with traditional lectures.”

Luke is currently working as Managing Director of the marketing agency iakoe, an opportunity he is grateful for given the career hardships brought forward by the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “The job market in the upcoming months is going to be a challenge. MBA students that are not currently in work will have to create opportunities for themselves by trying to get experience with employers and put their best foot forward.”

Written by Linda Mohamed

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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