Four apartments in six months. Cliché Emily-in-Paris locked out of my apartment twice. Job-in-limbo for half a year. For a time when the pandemic forced people to stay in one place, I was all over the place, I didn’t know what my place was. Well, fellow person-in-transition with ambitions and plastered hopes of making this year yours, welcome to the co-generational class of hello pandemic, now what?
Barely two months after their programme kickstarted, students from the Class of December 2020 found their MBA experience taking an unexpected turn. Despite the COVID-19 upheaval, they braved through the changes, adapted to new circumstances and graduated in December 2020. Some of them share how they pressed on despite the challenges and attained their INSEAD MBA right on schedule.
You know when you go to a party, and you have a wonderful time? Remember parties?! And then, someone suggests to continue the party at their house. A few friends are getting together for late night snacks. You decide to go. And then you have a lot of fun. In fact, you admit to yourself, you had way MORE fun at the after party than the actual party. There were wonderful people there and you enjoyed REAL conversations with them. That’s it. That’s really it. LinkedIn posts are like going to a party.
Self-isolation paints a scary picture during COVID times. For many, the thought of attending MBA classes via Zoom while being confined to a tiny room is a significant compromise to the campus experience, and potentially a nightmare. But having being thrown unexpectedly into this situation for two weeks, my perspective transformed.
The three months since Launch Week for the INSEAD MBA July’21 class have passed in a blink of an eye: 77 people across two sections in the Singapore campus - the smallest INSEAD cohort ever. It’s incredible to reflect on this amazing experience we’ve been on together since day one. As pioneers in the new hybrid learning environment, we’ve learned to be adaptive and flexible.
COVID-19 closed business school campuses and forced thousands of MBA students into studying online. But it has also been a trigger for innovation. Some of the world’s most exciting startups have come out of the pandemic, and many of them have been started by MBAs. Edward Tsim from INSEAD's MBA Class of 2020 shares how the pandemic has sparked a business idea and launched the next step of his career as a lawyer-turned-entrepreneur.
“While we may come from different places and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one.” —Albus Dumbledore The obvious question many prospective candidates ask me is the impact of COVID-19, or more specifically online classes (for one month) during the MBA. The honest answer from my point of view is that it's not ideal but it is much better than I had initially expected. Faculty have adopted quickly to provide extremely engaging classes and non-traditional assignments such as games and simulation exercises.
A month into my MBA programme as a new '21J student, I sit here during a rare moment to reflect. What a weird year it has been. The world has been reshaped by the events that have transpired in 2020. Despite all the uncertainty that has been thrown our way with the COVID-19 pandemic, INSEAD has emerged as a role model in dealing with current circumstances and I want to commend the school for its efforts thus far.
As a 21J, having recently started my core courses at INSEAD, there is no question that we are learning how digital has had a profound impact on business. You only have to look at the companies that are surviving and thriving in the COVID pandemic to understand the power of digital strength on a company’s fortunes.
INSEAD campuses in Singapore and Fontainebleau bustled with euphoria and excitement as we welcomed our new MBA'21Js! Hailing from 64 different countries, our students kickstarted the next chapter of their life at INSEAD, with women making up 32% of the class. It has been a few intense months prior, as our Admissions Team worked closely with admits to seek their sentiments on starting the programme amidst the COVID-19 situation. Webinars and surveys were conducted to understand concerns and preferences.