Networking has always been an indispensable part of building a successful career. Despite some of the challenges that COVID-19 has thrust upon the world as we know it, it still remains just as important as ever. Networking hasn’t gone away – it’s simply changed a little. It’s vital for professionals to develop career agility and adapt to new challenges, while keeping a focus on expanding your networks in a safe but effective manner.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how necessary career agility is in today’s workplace. Many workers all over the world had to adapt to working from home, and with that shift, came changing relationships to their professional networks and industry goals. Other professionals needed to alter their companies’ focus, commitment, and client base, which in turn, altered their strategic plans.
I started my Executive MBA (EMBA) in a pre-COVID-19 world. During the months leading to our first day on campus, we created a WhatsApp group and we exchanged many messages before we met in person. But the communication was a pre-COVID-19 communication. We mingled and we joked, but it was a virtual 'icebreaker' in view of our first day on campus. You might ask yourself how this can be, in any way, different from the post-COVID-19 communication. Well, it is radically different.
In spring of 2016, I created a folder in my personal files called “Project INSEAD” – which holds all what I need to know and do to apply for an MBA at INSEAD. With the momentum starting on building my application, it had to be halted mid-way for personal reasons, yet the idea of attaining my MBA never went away, in fact, it remained strong and engraved in my mind – as a component in a plan to achieve my career and personal aspirations.
My INSEAD dream was a like a seed planted two years ago in 2018 by one of my former managers who was himself part of the Executive MBA (EMBA) Class of 2018. The seed he planted was watered by a personal desire to acquire knowledge to fix complex situations in life; nurtured by a passion to make an impact in a world full of challenges. It was later fertilised by an unusual COVID-19 pandemic and now turned into a fruit of admission and I am thoroughly excited about it. How did the INSEAD dream start?
When I first talked to my husband about pursuing an Executive MBA, it was Autumn 2019. It was not a project; it was an idea thrown in a discussion, an unattainable dream. My husband did some research and sent me tons of information to investigate the possibilities of an EMBA. Without him having taken this initiative, I would still have been at the “dream stage”.
My primary objective of attending the GEMBA programme is to prepare myself with the necessary executive education to ensure that I stay relevant in the currently challenging global business environment. This has become more palpable with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has disrupted multiple industries. The education sector has not been spared from the disruption caused by COVID-19.
‘Embracing uncertainty: When the strategy is uncertain, the best managers acknowledge what’s unknown, but also look ahead to what is known.’ The Harvard Business Review (Special Issue) Summer 2020 Most of my work revolves around resilience.
Having gone through the 2008 financial crisis and now going through the COVID-19 crisis, I am convinced that one needs to adapt to fast-changing environments by acquiring new skills and challenging the status quo. Something that I strongly believe in, is that the Executive MBA (EMBA) programme at INSEAD will help me navigate not only this current crisis, but future ones as well. The programme will help me to develop the right mindset in order to anticipate and embrace changes in my industry and my work environment.
Very few industries have gone unaffected by the drastic changes that COVID-19 has laid upon the world in the past few months. Starting from shifting workplaces to shutting down vertical markets, most sectors have seen a loss in revenues, logistics, human resources, and infrastructure costs. Industry leaders have had to discontinue product lines, shut down retail stores, or send home hundreds of employees, all at an unprecedented rate.