Congratulations To Our MBA COVID Champions!

| February 22, 2021
Submitted by Sandie Kantor

Earlier in January, we launched our new MBA COVID Champions nominations. We asked you, our MBA community, to nominate peers who exemplified DeGroote’s values during the pandemic.

And boy, did you deliver! Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a nomination. Though we received many outstanding real-life stories of Generosity, Innovation and Collaboration, we are so excited to share the six winners that were selected as our first-ever MBA COVID Champions by our panel of judges:

Winner: Chirag Sheth

Chirag’s initiative of starting a podcast called Building Digital Community where he hosted students to share their story and connect with other DeGroote students, was one of the highlights during the last term form me. It gave us the opportunity to learn more about our peers and connect with then separately despite studying in a virtual environment. I do believe that this initiative was innovative and thoughtful during the pandemic.

Winner: Madaleine Swierczynski

Maddy created organizational spreadsheets for all of the course work and assignments for the entire first term. She shared these with all of her peers which ensured everyone was well organized in the confusing COVID-19 environment.

Winner: Julia Zelenova

Julia has been such a great support throughout my MBA journey. She has been kind and generous enough to continuously check up on me as she knows I am working full time and pursuing my part time MBA, and such a commitment can be challenging especially during a pandemic. She consistently encourages me to approach my classes with enthusiasm and always shares best practices that have helped her succeed in her courses. She has even gone above and beyond to share sources as to how best cite my work during my first semester when I needed guidance on how best to do this. She has been a huge support mentally as well as she understands the challenges of online learning and working from home, and always manages to maintain a positive mindset. She truly deserves recognition for her infectious positive attitude and time taken to help others make the most of their MBA.

Winner: Rohit Bhardwaj (multiple winning nominations!)

Rohit is always open to help his peers out with resume editing and networking tips. He takes time out of his busy schedule to make sure no peers are left behind. This is evident as he hosts coffee chats with his LG members and others within the program to show us how to use LinkedIn to our utmost benefit. Rohit helped me understand concepts in our academic courses as well. 

Rohit exemplified generosity by consistently jumping on a zoom call whenever any of his peers needed help. I remember struggling with a few finance practice problems and Rohit stayed on a zoom call with me for one hour to answer my questions and help me figure out those practice problems. Further, Rohit was very generous with his notes. I had to miss one class because of a medical appointment and he sent me his lecture notes without any hesitation. I truly believe Rohit demonstrated great generosity throughout the semester. 

Winner: Apurva Kilambi (multiple winning nominations!)

Apurva was an integral group member for Financial Statement Analysis course (F717). She always went above and beyond with our projects, took the time to explain concepts or ideas to myself and other group members if we did not understand, and was fun to be around and work with. Apurva significantly enhanced my learning experience for the course through the virtual workplace. 

Apurva went above and beyond through out our final semester of the MBA. I can speak to how hard she worked in F717: Financial Statement Analysis. She consistently put in more work than required to ensure everyone in the group had an understanding of topics. I met Apurva during the interview stage when applying for the DeGroote MBA and I can say she gives 110% all the time since the first semester. Congrats on completing the MBA Apurva! 

Apurva was a group member in F717, and despite balancing a 6-course semester she always went above and beyond for the group. Despite a very engaged, well-rounded and contributory group, she still managed to go the extra mile for every bi-weekly assignment and larger group reports/presentation. 

Apurva always stood up for the task throughout the semester on top of her 6 courses that she took. Online was very difficult for us all but she managed to stay positive and to overachieve as well overdeliver in complex work – crediting the team although it was all her efforts. 

I believe that Apurva Kilambi is a COVID Champion and deserves the Collaboration award. Apurva has exemplified Collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic in many ways. In every class she worked tirelessly to go above and beyond to help her peers and to engage with the instructor to create a positive learning environment.  In group projects she always ensured that everyone in the group was able to complete their tasks on time, often spending time to work through challenging parts of the project with group members one-on-one as needed.  Finally she maintained an upbeat and positive attitude no matter how challenging the semester was, and this positivity has helped in all aspects of the MBA experience. 

Winner: Sophia Koutsikaloudis

Sophia has exemplified collaboration throughout her tenure with the MBAA, however, during COVID-19 her collaboration generated fantastic ideas that greatly benefitted the DeGroote student community. The most noteworthy outcome was the purchase of over 100 Headspace memberships.Headspace is an application centered around improving one’s mental health through meditation, sleep, reducing stress, and mindfulness. Any student that signed up received a 1-year subscription. At the time, Sophia collaborated with the team on the merits of limiting it to only those that paid MBAA fees, thereby isolating any part-time student.  It was decided that every student should have access to the benefits of Headspace given the current environment caused by COVID-19.  

At the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester, Sophia also thought out of the box by collaborating with Event Circle to put on a non-traditional event welcoming first year DeGroote students. The feedback from students around this event was overwhelmingly positive! It helped students interact in a fun and social environment without any pressure. Wanting nothing but the best for our students, we were all worried about the success of orientation week. The MBAA collaborated with other student groups and the school throughout the summer to create a plan for success.  

Every event Sophia planned was a great success, but it was the most apparent during her fourth and final semester. It’s because of Sophia that I use the Headspace app to sleep soundly every night. 

Thank you and a big congratulations to all of our winners! If reading these stories has inspired you, stay tuned for our next round of COVID Champions nominations coming soon.

act with integrity | collaboration | embrace change | generosity | give willingly | go above and beyond | inspire others | mba
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