The Lockdown Diaries: Studying for an MBA in London from home

27 May

Arushi Gupta, a full-time MBA student at Imperial College Business School, writes about pursuing her MBA online whilst in lockdown in London due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arushi GuptaArushi Gupta

When I moved over to London from Delhi to study for my Full-time MBA at Imperial College, I certainly did not expect to finish this traditionally on-campus programme at home through online classes.

I was enjoying experiencing the full-time MBA on-campus, and living in London, when in late March the COVID-19 pandemic escalated and the whole of the UK went into a lockdown, ensuring we could not visit the Imperial campus for our lectures. Then, of course, the decision was taken for this programme to be completed online, through Imperial’s EdTech platforms. The transition definitely felt a bit uneasy, particularly at the beginning, as I was unsure of whether online teaching would be comparable to classroom experience. And add to that the fear and uncertainty of finding a job that the situation has brought about too.

But I soon realized that I might not get such time on my hand again, and the best way to deal with such a situation is to make the most of it. Although the job market is tough right now, it becomes even more important to work harder. The one-year Imperial MBA has been an intense programme and it continues so with the lockdown; however, I decided to try my hand at other things that I’ve wanted to do for some time. For example, I engaged myself in new side projects, which allowed me to learn new tools. I also signed up for additional courses at Imperial to take advantage of the vast number of online classes available. The lockdown has also given me an opportunity to pause and reflect upon not just my career and MBA journey, but also my personal life. On a personal front, I am very grateful for the health and safety of my loved ones, and the tiniest things I have in my life.

Arushi Gupta, an international student in London, finds herself completing her MBA online. In the blog she discusses her experience of doing so, how she is staying productive, and tips for others in a similar situation.

I’ve decided it is a good idea to get into a routine, and I now start off my day by making a to-do list. This way I have a goal for the day and am able to track my progress. Like any other student, I have found it difficult to keep my motivation levels constantly high throughout this period. To tackle that, I use the pomodoro technique, where I work for 25 minutes and reward myself by taking a break for 5 minutes. Needless to say, these short breaks do get extended, but overall, this approach has really helped me remain productive and efficient.

I am also more engaged in doing daily chores and trying out new recipes. And I’ve been reading more books and articles, attending online webinars and virtual chats, and watching Netflix. Physical and mental health hold a huge importance particularly in these difficult times, and even though I have not been regular, I try to ensure that I work out as many times as possible during the week. I’ve been maintaining a food chart to track my junk food intake, as this has increased considerably during the lockdown, but I’ve found that my daily 8 hours of sleep helps me function to the best of abilities. These small things have helped me keep my spirits high during this rough phase.

Imperial College Business School

In the midst of everything, I make sure I take some time during the day to connect with my family and friends through video calls. I may not have something new to talk about every time, but it is always good to see them or hear from them about their day. I have also used this opportunity to re-connect with some of my old friends and networks.

Lockdown has been extremely hard on everyone, especially other international students who have stayed in the country they are studying in. My advice to others in a similar situation as me would be firstly, it is of extreme importance to not be too hard on yourself. It is completely alright if you have a less productive day or if you faced a rejection recently. Remember, you will definitely get there, just keep at it. Second, if you have been looking to learn something new this lockdown, try to immerse yourself in a project on a topic of your interest. It would also help to pair up with someone as this will aid your motivation levels and maintain consistency in your work. Third, people are willing to talk and help out more than ever. If you wanted to get in touch with someone to discuss something or simply chat to hear his/her opinion, I highly recommend you do it now.

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