By Vasudha Khandeparkar, EMBA London 2022
EMBA life is busy. I’ve been quiet for the past four weeks whilst trying to juggle home, assignments, classes and work. For the first few weekends of hybrid learning, I went into campus to attend classes in person. The school has initiated hybrid learning, which allows students who are unable to travel to campus to attend lectures from the comfort of their own home. This works amazingly well with being pregnant as on days where I had conflicts with appointments or general issues that crop up during pregnancy, I was able to attend classes from home. As with any new system, there were issues with the hybrid system, but the school has worked very well with the students to iron out niggles with microphones and the class infrastructure.
The one thing that does stand out is that one misses the interactions, the conversations and the general engagement that comes from being in a classroom. The random chat with a fellow student, the organic networking and that feeling of being a student again, don’t really happen when you are attending classes on Zoom. When earlier limited distancing guidelines were in place, the cohort arranged various evening engagements. However, with a very limited supply of energy for the day and being aware of my heightened risk, I chose to stay away. The pictures definitely made me feel a major pang of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and had me crossing my fingers patiently waiting to come out the other side of this pandemic.
The cohort also has the opportunity to connect and engage with each other on a one to one basis or in small groups without the need for class reps to organise these. However, this is easier said than done, with the pandemic and social distancing in place. If you are thinking about studying the EMBA, do put in place time in the evenings and weekends to engage with people within the cohort. Also, remember, some people may not like networking over Zoom and may much prefer to do this in person. I have chosen to engage primarily using Zoom and one to one chats during lunch breaks on the days that I attend campus. This does not reduce the FOMO, but has helped me get to know more of the people on the programme.
As someone who is pregnant, do remember that you will have times when you can’t attend class or group meetings. Reliance on others and ensuring you are okay with missing at least some of the ‘fun’ are things to accept before you go on this journey. You will be busy with limited energy – I’m reminding myself that there are 20 months to go, so plenty of time to catch up even though I’m acutely aware that I am missing out in some ways.