Spanish-born Pablo Murio Fernandez chose the London-Paris track for his MBA in International Management at ESCP Business School. As a proud ’21 MBA Ambassador, he shares his views on what it is like to go back to school under the very singular circumstances of a year-long health crisis.
Find out Pablo’s five reasons to do an MBA in the face of a global pandemic.
1- Develop your professional career while the world is at a standstill
I decided to do an MBA in International Management during COVID-19 because the global employment situation was stagnant due to the financial and health crisis. Back in 2020, it was very difficult to find a job and for this reason, I thought it was the perfect time to develop myself professionally. Besides, companies were not actively hiring thus I felt I was not missing out on dream job opportunities. On the contrary, by pursuing an MBA, I would have more possibilities to find a better one!
The unemployment rate in my home country, Spain, has increased by 16% during the pandemic, creating a tense labour market. I realised that the probability to find a job that meets my expectations was dropping so I saw pursuing my studies as a great opportunity to be active during this stationary period.
2- Create even stronger ties with your MBA cohort
During the past year, all six cities where ESCP campuses are located (London, Turin, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, and Warsaw) imposed lockdowns and restrictions on their citizens: curfews, closed restaurants and bars, restricted public spaces, etc. This made the interaction with people more complicated and as a result, it was more difficult to establish new interpersonal relationships.
Faced with these situations, the MBA students at ESCP have become even more united and close personal relationships were born.
Under normal circumstances, I am convinced that I would not have interacted as much with my classmates that come from all over the world. The pandemic has created stronger ties between us. I see it in a very positive way since for me, networking in the MBA is a key factor for my job search. Not to mention we are creating bonds that will last a lifetime.
3- Enter a flourishing job market post-MBA
With the current massive vaccination campaigns carried out worldwide, it is expected that by the end of summer 2021 a herd immunity will be reached in most parts of the globe.
This collective immunity will have a very positive impact on the economy. After a gruelling crisis leaving millions of employees at home, growth is anticipated for the third quarter of the year. The financial recovery will resume recruitments that have been put on hold until now as well as create new positions.
The 2021 MBA graduates will enter the job market at a perfect time: when new positions are being opened and having strengthened their CVs and developed their knowledge. Becoming a skilled candidate in the eye of recruiters was one of the reasons why I considered doing an MBA this year amidst a pandemic. My choice to join the MBA at ESCP last September is paying off now.
4- Improve your soft skills
One of the aspects in which I consider to have improved the most during the MBA programme has been the VUCA. As taught during our Leadership classes, the acronym stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. In other words, transform volatility into vision, uncertainty into understanding, complexity into clarity, and ambiguity into agility.
In these uncertain times, MBA participants have experienced many unknown situations: will the classes take place online or on-site? How to take the exams? Is it truly possible to learn virtually? I believe these “barriers” have sharpened our creativity by pushing us to find solutions. Students had to learn to adapt to different situations and unexpected scenarios that have proven challenging. It turns out creativity is one of the 7 Management skills expected from tomorrow’s responsible leaders.
We also had to master the art of working remotely which will be very beneficial for our future since, after this pandemic, we are likely to keep that blended on/off-site balance.
5- Escape lockdown
During the pandemic, most universities across the world have been the exception in a lockdown panorama and have remained protected from the heavy restrictions, making them a haven of peace and hope for thousands of students. While many employees were stuck at home and working remotely, making it difficult to interact with their colleagues, we were a privileged few who could venture out of the house and socialise (always in strict observance of the sanitary measures).
From my experience on the ESCP London and Paris campuses, and despite a lockdown being enforced nationally, we took part in both online and on-campus classes. The latter represented a great respite for me and the rest of the cohort.
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