A Happy Hybrid New Year

By Vasudha Khandeparkar, EMBA London 2022

A very happy new year to everyone! EMBA life definitely did get the better of me towards the end of term 1. Assignments, exams and readings along with a pandemic, a busy job, and pregnancy complications meant that keeping you all in the loop has taken a back seat. I did however break the news at work and it couldn’t have gone better. The support I have received from my work through the EMBA and through bed rest has been better than anything I could have anticipated.

This however, is about LBS. Obviously, one aspect which has allowed me to keep up with school while still attending lectures and completing assignments has been the hybrid model. There is no substitute for being in the classroom and after attending classes in person and on Zoom, I can confidently say that the virtual experience is a good contender, but will never be as good as in person teaching. The faculty and students are more used to teaching in person and this is quite evident in class interactions. One thing that is better in the hybrid model is the ability to chat on the Zoom platform. I don’t think I am alone in saying that I have learned as much from the Zoom chat as I have from the faculty.

Exams and assignments were all delivered online which made it quite easy to study and complete them in the allotted time frame. We had a 48-hour window during which all exams were made available to us with only one needing to be completed within a specific time frame. There was no need to have cameras on and I was able to complete the exams with no issues. I did not feel the need to reach out to the school to change any exam schedules or give me an extension even though I was on bed rest. However, I have applied for considerations around my due date. I will communicate how that goes in one of my next blogs.

On a more personal note, one thing I would caution you on is the unpredictability nature of one’s pregnancy. While it was good that the school is currently operating the hybrid model due to the pandemic, classes were not an issue to attend. However, networking and the ability to meet peers is definitely hampered. There is also a mental toll caused by a high-risk pregnancy. When this is combined with assignments and an intense workload, this can be quite a significant pain point. LBS has some amazing student support and wellness resources which you can leverage. I had the fortune of having a great support system at home and in my study group which made this period much easier to deal with.

A drawback of being a pregnant EMBA is that people naturally assume you don’t want to take on any additional load – be it your cohort or otherwise. As I have written in a previous iteration, some individuals prefer to network in person and there is little one can do, especially when you are laid up in bed. When it comes to broader networking and asking for mentorship or other opportunities, the quote was “don’t take anything else on”. What I will say however is to ensure that you know what you want, as with doggedness does come success. Where others have assumed that pregnant means slow, I have been able to connect with individuals on my own. While I would have loved to say that you will get the same opportunities as everyone else, reality can be different once people find out you are pregnant. As a pregnant EMBA, I hope that in 2021, I can make small strides towards changing this perception.

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