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First-Year MBA Reflects On Business School During COVID-19

First-Year MBA Reflects on Business School During COVID-19

Back in March, the COVID-19 pandemic forced business schools across the nation to quickly close campuses and transition students to an online, virtual learning environment.

As fall semester kicks off, most top 100 US b-schools are offering a hybrid mix of in-person and virtual learning instruction.

Luis Trejo, a first-year MBA at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business, recently reflected on his first month of an MBA during COVID-19 in a piece for Scheller News.

“No matter how much time I spent imagining what the minor details of my MBA experience would be like, I discovered that some things were exactly what I had expected them to be, while others, I had greatly underestimated,” Trejo writes.

VIRTUAL REQUIRES MORE

The first takeaway Trejo notes is the unexpected realization that a virtual environment actually requires more from him than he anticipated.

“We have never been more connected to our computers and phones,” Trejo writes. “Countless virtual meetings and never-ending emails and messages from Teams are what now constitute our day by day. And yet, communication with others has never felt more fragmented. No matter how many features platforms like BlueJeans, Teams, Zoom, Webex have – it will never be the same.”

Trejo adds that aspects of the in-person classroom such as participation and collaboration with others have been affected the most.

“Awkward silences, audio feedback, people unintentionally talking at the same time are things we deal with on a daily basis,” Trejo writes. “But the key is to remember – we are all together in this. We are left with no choice but to adapt. For years people have been talking about adaptability as one of the most desirable traits in a professional. Well, the time has come to not just embrace it, but to prove it.”

THE WORLD IS A BIG PLACE

Trejo says one thing the virtual learning environment has taught him is just how big the world really is.

“The virtual environment has in fact enhanced the horizon, because we now have access to all the resources that surround us at our fingertips: our cohort, professors, alumni, the college central services and of course, the quasi-infinite content of our classes,” he writes.

The important thing to note, according to Trejo, is how to tap into this abundance of resources.

“I have discovered that I can have a great deal of impact by starting with my own class participation – connect on time, try to participate, read/listen to others’ questions and comments, and dutifully fulfill group assignments,” he writes. “One step at a time.”

CAREER GROWTH IS EVERYTHING

Like many MBAs, Trejo says that for him, the MBA is about seeking to focus on a long-term goal, such as success in the job search.

But the pandemic has increasingly blurred the lines between present and future with many left wondering what the future really has in store. Trejo reinforces the importance of staying focused.

“Everything we do in the program should get us closer to achieving this goal,” he writes. “For now, the first step should be to try to learn as much as possible in the hopes of being able to apply our knowledge when the time comes.”

Sources: Scheller News, P&Q