How B-Schools and MBAs Are Adjusting to Virtual Learning
Virtual studying is changing the way b-schools operate.
Financial Times recently covered off on how remote study has transformed b-school life and how students are adjusting.
FROM CLASSROOM TO ZOOM
For nearly all MBAs, the reality of the classroom is now seeing their classmates through Zoom or Skype.
“It is a bit weird to have to now look at everyone’s faces on the screen. When we attended lectures on campus we didn’t look at each other as much as we do on Zoom, but the school has shown how it can be used to complete all of our coursework,” Sofia Skevofylaka, a student at Imperial College Business School, tells FT.
And Imperial College Business School isn’t the only b-school that has adjusted to virtual learning rather quickly.
At University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business, the entire transition was done in nearly two days.
“We took all of our full-time MBA courses, along with our undergraduate courses, and we transitioned everything to online, remote online teaching within two days,” Robert Dammon, Dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, tells P&Q. “Now, a lot of other schools took longer than that, but we did it really quickly, and I think we were able to do that because of the experience that we’ve had over the last five or six years with our online MBA program.”
But experts say not all students are adjusting well to the change arguing that students paid for MBAs, not online MBAs.
“There is a question about whether students will be happy to pay the fees for a full-time course when they are getting an online degree,” Sangeet Chowfla, president and chief executive of the Graduate Management Admission Council, the MBA test administrator, tells FT. “They like the ability to walk up to a professor in office hours, debate with classmates face-to-face and make connections with people in other industries who are their peers.”
For b-schools, the entire transition has opened the doors to digital transformation.
“We do feel the students’ pain, the challenge they are facing, not just moving from face-to-face teaching to a virtual classroom but having to study from home and concerns about the future jobs market,” Paul Almeida, dean of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, tells FT. “But this crisis has planted seeds for innovation and transformation in the use of technology, about the potential for using our buildings differently so that people can study more flexibly and staff can telework.”