Unexpected skills and lessons learned from the pandemic at the Athena School of Management MBA

The COVID-19 pandemic provided Sunishka Gupta with an unexpected opportunity to take part in a virtual immersion program – and the experience was more rewarding than she ever could have imagined.

In short

Sunishka Gupta (India) – Athena School of Management

What is the Dual Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGPM) | MBA Program?

In this course, there are four semesters. In the first semester, we are taught everything – that includes finance, all the management topics, and even the human resources part of it. (02:42)

In the second semester, all the subjects that we were completing in the first semester are more enhanced. It was more specific. If we were completing management, we came to marketing management. We started doing training and development programs from the HR side. We started doing research at the start, now we are doing operation research, which is more specific. (03:16)

What is the balance like in the program between practice and theory?

About 25% is theory and 75% is practical. We have to do three internships during the course: the first during October and November, the second internship starts in April/May and the third internship is during July and August. So we have three internships throughout the course…and then the corporate recruiters will see that during two years of your course you did three internships. If we’re talking about practical exposure, [we went from] scratch to the top level.  (05:10)

How did COVID-19 impact your studies?

Everyone was working remotely. The best part of remote working culture is that you are free to work as you want. You have more time to brainstorm, you have more time to develop your skills. The mentors you get…connect with you every time through Zoom or Google Meet. They know that you are working virtually…so there were no issues. Plus the candidates were quite enthusiastic (about the idea of working remotely). (08:24)

What were some of your highlights during the program?

During the pandemic, our director told us that we have a collaboration with the Warsaw School of Economics, and we were planning to have a cultural immersion program with them if the pandemic had not happened. But all of the students were [still] able to collaborate with the students of Warsaw School of Economics.

We needed to make a collaborative report and presentation on a particular topic. For example, I was part of a team of four and the students from Poland were part of a team of four. We got a topic on sustainable fashion. 

So we needed to tell them how India is working towards sustainability in terms of the fashion industry and how their country is working towards it. We made a collaborative report and we had to come to two meetings every week. This was like a cross-cultural exchange that we were having. 

Now I can say that when I visit Poland, I might visit them too! This is the bond that we created. (10:12)

How would you summarize your experience at Athena School of Management?

It was like I was working in Athena. Throughout my learning experiences and throughout my COVID experiences, I was just feeling busy all the time – like I’m [always] doing something productive. (15:43)

If I had to talk about the overall experience for someone who is joining Athena, I think you will be busy all the time. You will be upscaling yourself, you will be connecting with international students…this experience you get with Athena will always help you in the future. (16:07)

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