May 13 2020
The esteemed New York Magazine's May 2020 Coverfeatures a significant question for today's times: "IS COLLEGE WORTH A FORTUNE IF IT CAN'T BE THIS?"
(Without live learning, live interaction, and live experiences, is University really worth it?)
This question while profoundly significant is also incredibly trivial and quite hasty! Let me explain...
Due to the deadly Coronavirus that has swept the world in January 2020, all countries have been on lockdown since March 2020. Businesses remain closed with work from home becoming the new norm and outside human travel is now conducted with masks, gloves and safe distancing. In this pandemic, universities have closed their physical doors and campuses too. Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was the first to announce that it would suspend in-person classes and move to a remote, virtual learning practice. Every other university has followed suit and shifted its learning paradigm.
So what is the immediate solution that enables learning to
carry on? ZOOM, SKYPE and other virtual media that enables distance learning, classes, meetings, conferences, etc.
Any classes conducted today is done remotely via a distance connecting software, like ZOOM. Students can now work from home in a safe, comfortable environment (even their own bed) and reduce any unnecessary hours spent commuting, chatting with professors/peers, or just hanging out with friends.SO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
The problem lies in the fact that we as humans need that in-person physical interaction and
Regardless of how comfortable or convenient it may be to work from home, students need to be on campus, at school, in class, with friends, even to hang out. It is an ESSENTIAL part of learning, be it for College or the MBA!
So what can we do about this during such a deadly global pandemic the likes of which no one in modern times has seen before? To be honest, there is nothing we can do! We must follow government and university guidelines. MOST IMPORTANTLY, WE MUST REMAIN CALM AND PATIENT! WHY? I'LL EXPLAIN....
This deadly coronavirus will not last forever. It is estimated by leading global scientists that a vaccine or sound medical treatment will be available for mass testing and usage by end of 2020. That means that things will go back to some semblance of normalcy by 2021! Fine, we will be living in a new, changed, safer world - but university campuses will be open, businesses will be open, people will be on the streets again! It is way too early to cut down education or businesses by saying that ZOOM or other social platform will be the go-to forever! This is simply inaccurate.
In September 2001, the World Trade Center towers in Downtown Financial Manhattan were attacked by two American Airline planes at 8:46am and 9:03am. I remember clearly - I was there as a young NYU student living at dormitory 200 Water Street at Downtown Seaport. I witnessed the towers come down and the horror that unfolded after this! Lehman Brothers, a firm I worked for from 2003-2006, had its headquarters located at 1WTC on the 38th, 39th and 40th floors. Within an hour, the WTC was in ruins, Lehman Brothers had lost its headquarters, NYU would shut down its campus and New York City would close as well! Lehman Brothers' staff and NYU downtown living students would be relocated to the SHERATON Hotel off of Times Square as a temporary fix. THERE WAS MASS PANIC AND CONFUSION.
BUT....THIS DIDN'T LAST FOREVER!
Within months, Lehman Brothers bought and moved into a building opposite from (and owned) by Morgan Stanley, NYU's campus was back online and New York City was open for business. The horror, panic and confusion lasted a few months. And then the world moved on....NYC stood up and moved on, while never forgetting the 9/11 incident and learning to be better, stronger, faster, safer.
In the same way, the dreaded COVID19 virus will not last forever. Universities will open and distance learning will not be the GO TO for professors and scholars to teach their students. We will return to normalcy and in-class, in-person teaching, as this is truly what an education is all about!
The questions highlighted by New York Magazine is, "IS COLLEGE WORTH A FORTUNE IF IT CAN'T BE THIS (in person learning and experiences?" The simple answer is NO IT IS NOT IF THE TIME FRAME FOR VIRTUAL LEARNING IS INDEFINITE! But again, this period of time will not last forever. There will be better, brighter days ahead. We have the leading experts around the world (virologists, scientists, doctors, engineers, mathematicians, etc.) all pulling their collective geniuses together to SOLVE THIS CRISIS. And the world will emerge safer and better. Unfortunately, human beings tend to learn the most only in crises or mistakes. AND THIS IS A CRISES FOR THE AGES!
I would like all students going to College in September 2020 know that you have 4 YEARS OF SCHOOL! Which means you will be back to campus latest by September 2021!
Additionally, I would like all students going for their MBA programs in September 2020 to know that you have 2 YEARS OF GRAD SCHOOL! Which means you will be back to campus latest by September 2021! For those who are attending a 1 Year MBA, it may make sense to defer enrollment so that you go in September 2021 and get that vital in-person, human interaction that we all crave and need for personal and professional development.
BE PATIENT AND CALM...THIS WILL PASS.
AND YES, UNIVERSITY IS ALWAYS WORTH IT!
COLLEGE AND THE MBA IS ALWAYS WORTH IT!
by Val Misra, MBA
Founder, MBA Accepted