“Henley Business School is really a place for self-development and preparation for career ascending” – this is what I understood in the first moment when I entered the institution. It is the first impression that leads you towards the end of the programme. Now, everything is online. No face-to-face teaching, no library to spend your evenings and no more coffee time with friends. Shortly, this is the transition to the virtual learning that I experienced.
My name is Catalina Coslet and I am a postgraduate student at ICMA Centre. When I first came to Reading, I knew that it will be a year full of adventures and hard work. What I could not imagine, was the online experience and the pandemic that we will all face in the nearest future. Packing my belongings to go back to my home country was very painful for me since I did not want to leave this beautiful place. However, my study experience did not change too much. The courses and seminars were quickly transposed online, as well as tests and exams. We had a lot of flexibility and the deadlines for assignments were extended since we had to adapt to online group work and not having access to all data. It was a tough period for everyone, but we managed to keep it positive until the end. So, besides the drawbacks which are evident (lack of face to face communication, access to library facilities and resources), there are some hidden advantaged of the situation and I tried to use them at the maximum potential.
First of all, the careers team were really active, we could have conversations with them, received a weekly newsletter with opportunities and insights and some online webinars were delivered. I discovered that due to the situation, I had more time to concentrate now on career development and I had some consultations with people who work in the industry and could give me further advice. In addition, there are some career courses which can guide you with timelines, applications and so on, and recently, the careers team developed a certificate which is based on learning, experience, networking and career management which can help you stand out and show employers the type of active person that you are. Thanks to the university, I have access to all these great resources.
Secondly, when I was done with exams and had more spare time, I decided to dig more into the resources that ICMA Centre could offer and now I have certificates from Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters which attest my knowledge of using the terminals. As a student here, you can also have access to LinkedIn Learning and many others. I did these pieces of training and got the certifications online and the pandemic did not impact my study. I managed to take advantage of all opportunities, even in these hard times so that my student experience continues as good as it started so far.
In conclusion, even if it was hard at the beginning to leave the place where each of us could feel at home, the lovely campus and Henley Business School, it appears that the study path continued as normal, networking was transposed online, and the transition overall was smooth.
The 2020 Graduates are special, but not because of the pandemic, but due to the fact that they delivered the same results, being as active and ready for every challenge. They are well prepared and here HBS left its footprint. Congratulations to everyone who graduated this year managed to stay positive, active and acquired new skills!
by Catalina Coslet
MSc Investment Management