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MBA · Aakanksha Sabharwal

How it feels to graduate when more than half of the world is locked down

Apr 2, 2020

Aakanksha Sabharwal Blog Post

Today, I submitted the final submission required to complete my MBA. My team worked on the final project virtually applying everyone’s ideas, suggestions and skillset. No doubt, working virtually was efficient especially when I had worked with numerous teams during my time at Ivey in past one year. Working with teams has always been exciting for me; a learning experience I look forward to. However, this time it was a different experience when each team member was in midst of uncertainties about the future due to Coronavirus outbreak.

I moved to Canada in April 2018, and within eight months I decided to join the Ivey Business School’s class of 2020. At the start of the program, I was anxious, skeptical and so uninformed. I was eager to meet my classmates from various parts of the world and learn from them. One year just flew by.

Saying it was a cakewalk would be like telling a lie.

I have had anxious days, sleepless nights, late nights (many, many), get-togethers, endless discussions, brainstorming sessions, potlucks, sports-days, lazy days and what not. All these experiences have helped me learn and develop with time. I grasped knowledge from some of best classmates and teammates I could have asked for. Not only I learned to put across my point when needed to, but also become aware of my surroundings and be empathetic to my colleagues. Looking back, it was a transformational year for me. 

Until March 11 this year when we all were making plans of catching up in different parts of the world and looking forward to our MBA Formal, one news “WHO recognizes Corona Virus as a Pandemic” changed everything for us. The time when we wanted to hug each other and say our goodbyes became the time when we were practicing social distancing. There was Chaos and confusion. Our conversations shifted from offline classrooms to online classrooms, graduation ceremony to family safeties, job security to financial markets and what not. At Ivey, through case studies we have had intense discussions on the impact of financial crisis of 2008 on the world.

Post crisis discussion is different from living through an actual one!

The fear of losing your dream job, not getting the job, and not being able to pay your student loan is real for everyone graduating in 2020. People say it is a bad time to graduate and worst time to search for a job. That’s true! That’s life! It is unpredictable. Dealing with uncertainty teaches you a lot and this is a crucial time to apply our MBA learnings. It’s been two weeks since we are practicing social distancing and there are many initiatives by my classmates such as conducting online sessions, health challenges, and virtual catch ups to help us stay together.

I feel, right now is the time to reflect. It’s the best time to learn.

“Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”- Gever Tulley