An MBA student’s perspective on Winter 2022

January 26, 2022 | Burlington, Ontario
Contributed by Vivian Sadeh, MBA Candidate 2022

Vivian Sadeh, MBA Candidate 2022, shares her thoughts on returning to in-person learning.


What are you looking forward to most about in-person learning?

“I am most looking forward to meeting some of the classmates that I haven’t had the pleasure of crossing paths with in-person before. I’m really looking forward to listening to a lecture live and in front of me. One of the greatest experiences I had was when we were on campus this previous semester for one of our classes. Everybody in the class had their hand up at some point, so really hearing those different perspectives from students was great.”

Vivian’s first in-person class was D700: Case Analyses and Presentations with Dr. Milena Head in fall 2021, and it turned out to be her favourite course.

D700 Cup Winners posing with Dr. Milena Head

D700 Cup winners posing with Dr. Milena Head (centre).

What do you consider your biggest challenge during the pandemic when it came to your studies?

“I found it to be really challenging first semester specifically to form those authentic relationships, because everybody was very much burnt out from Zoom and nobody really wanted to have a coffee chat right after an hour and a half lecture.”

Vivian began the MBA program virtually in the fall of 2020. At the start of the program, she found it difficult to make connections with her peers, but she was able to make the best of the situation by volunteering and seeking out different ways to connect with colleagues.

DeGroote Leadership Development Program training day.

Vivian and her peers during the DeGroote Leadership Development Program training day.

From your perspective, what is the difference between learning virtually and in-person?

“The main difference that I’ve found is the energy levels in the students and the engagement and interaction with the professor and with one another. I think McMaster has done a really good job in trying to mimic class engagement in a virtual setting, however, it’s so different when you are in person, surrounded by that energy, surrounded with classmates, everyone’s raising their hand, and everyone wants to get involved.”

Vivian says she is better able to focus, retain, and learn in a live class setting. She also appreciates participating in activities happening at the Ron Joyce Centre and interacting with staff at Career and Professional Development, and Student Experiences.


What have your classmates said about returning to in-person learning?

“Everyone that I’ve spoken to is really excited and they’re looking forward to having that in-person experience. With our cohort some of the students have never attended an in-person class, and some of us have attended one in-person class. They’re excited to take those steps to make sure that the return is as safe as possible, but they are very excited to actually go in-person and have the buzz of everybody being able to grab a coffee at the cafe and then go for a walk, so everyone’s very pumped about it.”

Vivian meeting with the Women in Management Association executive team.

Vivian meeting with the Women in Management Association executive team.

Why is learning in-person important to you?

“I think that while it’s important to learn from educators, it’s equally as important to learn from your peers. Being in-person will help by learning from others around you.”

For Vivian, she sees a lot of value in making personal connections. An MBA for her is about the people that you get to meet in the program and the professors you engage with. To date she has been able to get to know approximately a quarter of the students in her cohort.


Have you participated in any extracurricular activities?

“Most recently I was an academic participant and the director of academics on the MBA Games team, which was an incredible opportunity.”

MBA Games participants at the Ron Joyce Centre getting ready to create a dance video as part of the spirit challenge.

MBA Games participants at the Ron Joyce Centre getting ready to create a dance video as part of the spirit challenge.

Vivian has been actively involved in her school community through the following roles:

  • MBA Games Director of Academics and academic participant
  • DeGroote Leadership Development Program Coordinator
  • Teaching Assistant for an MBA class and an undergraduate class
  • DeGroote Ambassador
  • DeGroote Women in Management Association, VP of Marketing

Although she mostly participated in activities virtually, Vivian tried to make as many connections as she could by participating in these extra curricular activities. Her advice to others: “Get involved, because you never know who you will meet through your volunteer experiences and everything that you do in this program is really to build your brand.”


How do you destress in your spare time?

Vivian destresses by reading and taking her dogs to the park for a walk. “During COVID I realized as much as I think I’m an extrovert, I think I’m a little bit of an introvert as well, and that’s when I rediscovered the joy of reading and now I try to finish a book a week for fun. That’s the biggest way I destress.”

In 2021 Vivian read 50 books. She starts her mornings with a professional development or mindset book, and at night reads a mystery book for pleasure.


What are you doing to prepare for back to in-person classes?

“Right now, I’m limiting who I’m seeing and avoiding gatherings because I really do want to have the opportunity to go in person. Other than getting additional PPE to make sure we’re double masked when we’re there, I’m just making sure I’m getting rest, and making sure that I time block the commute from Mississauga.”


Do you have any advice for students that are coming back to in-person learning?

“I think the biggest piece of advice I have is if you’re not feeling well don’t come to class. Second is to not take the moment for granted. It’s so awesome and it’s such a different experience being again in-person, so if that means coming 15-minutes early to have a chat with a student that you’ve never spoken to in class, do that. Leverage the time that you have to be in-person, and form a new connection a week, if you can in a safe way.”

2 thoughts on "An MBA student’s perspective on Winter 2022"

  1. Manasa Veeramachaneni says:

    It is always very insipiring to hear Vivian’s inputs. She was the TA for one of my MBA courses and the professor always spoke highly of her skills.

    Now that I got to read this article, I second with every advice she has given out to her fellow mates about coming back to in-person learning. Waiting to make most out of it. 🙂

  2. Faisal T says:

    This was a great post and I appreciate you sharing your insight.

    I just had a couple comments regarding the your recommendations. Firstly, I noticed that you mention if you are sick then we should stay home. I find this contradictory to the message sent from the University’s office since they explicitly stated that there will be no virtual option of classes. This makes it difficult for students to simply stay home if they are not feeling well since they miss out on the lecture and can also lose participation marks.

    I strongly believe McMaster needs to reconsider opening schools to everyone especially when the delivery of many MBA courses can be done sufficiently via virtual learning.

    I’m glad you are happy about potentially returning back to school but I just feel we need to be more considerate and inclusive to everyone’s unique circumstances, especially those with compromised immune systems or living with older people.

    I personally don’t feel we are at a place to return back to in person learning. I find the University pushing this initiative when there is no urgency to do so and its being done at the expense of the safety and well being of the DeGroote student population and their families. This is even more true given the rise in deaths in Ontario due to the Omicron variant.

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