With travel restrictions being imposed globally, travelling abroad to study might not seem like the best idea at present. However, that shouldn’t hamper your drive to learn and improve your skills. While everyone is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, many business schools are looking at this situation as an opportunity to facilitate learning. Many thought pieces and analyses are easily available on the internet observing and studying this pandemic. Many experts are sharing their views and making predictions of its economic impact. The Wharton School is at the forefront at making the most of this event. How so? Read and find out!
What Is Wharton Doing To Deal With The Coronavirus Crisis?
As more and more positive cases are being reported around the world, organisations and institutes have been forced to make drastic changes. Wharton too has taken steps to reduce infections.
- The first step all institutions–including Wharton–have taken include cancelling classes and banning any gathering or congregation of more than 50* people.
- Wharton has moved all its classes to a virtual platform.
- Since this pandemic began around the time of spring break, many students weren’t on campus when the changes were to be implied. Keeping that in mind, students off campus were asked to remain home.
- Students who were on campus were asked to move out.
- Many blog posts and news stories analysing the current situation are being shared by the community.
- To address all issues and queries surrounding this, University of Pennsylvania has set up a page on their website with all the relevant details.
The most interesting thing Wharton has done in the midst of this crisis is to introduce a brand new course. Seizing the opportunity, Wharton aims to learn from this crisis and offer its students the chance to benefit from this pandemic.
*number is subject to change based on the severity of the pandemic.
So, What Is This New Course About?
The new course introduced by Wharton is called ‘Epidemics, Natural Disasters, and Geopolitics: Managing Global Business and Financial Uncertainty’.
The name pretty much says it all. This course aims at studying the live case of the coronavirus pandemic, and teach students how global businesses behave in times of crisis. With the scale at which the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting global markets, it seems to be the perfect case study for students to observe and learn from.
According to sources, Wharton is believed to be the first business school to offer a coronavirus-inspired course. This course will be offered remotely, and over 450 students have pre-registered. That’s about 5 times the typical Wharton class size. The course is set to begin on 25 March 2020.
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Why This Course?
There are serious socio-economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic. If you check the news, you will already see the drastic effects on the market with many projected losses for certain sectors. With the uncertainty surrounding this issue, it is difficult to accurately predict how the market will behave in the foreseeable future. This is the time when understanding how the market fluctuates will be of the essence.
“There are significant business lessons to be learned from the global response to the coronavirus outbreak, and Wharton is at the forefront of sharing valuable insights and creating a community to exchange ideas,” said Wharton Dean Geoff Garrett as per this post on the Wharton website, “This is a teachable moment for the global academic community, and this course is just one example of how Wharton is coming together to provide support during a time of heightened anxiety and ambiguity.”
This course will be offering lessons like:
- Leading amid Unpredictable, Rapidly Changing Events with Contested Facts
- Financial Market Reactions to the Coronavirus and Disaster Risk
- Emotional Contagion and Epidemics
- U.S.-China Relations after the Trade Wars and the Coronavirus
According to sources, Mauro Guillen, the management professor who designed this course added, “We’ll also be looking at global supply chains and how they’ll be disrupted, and what is the meaning of borders between countries after this.”
Possible Pros And Cons?
- Live cases and live examples are the best way for students to learn and apply concepts. What better example than one which is not only spoken of extensively by news outlets, but also one that affects the lives of the students?
- With the developments happening around them daily, students can not only predict what companies might do based on analyses and applying concepts theoretically, but also actually see those predictions come true, or be proven false.
- Because this entire situation is so precarious, it makes it even more challenging to study. The tougher the challenge, the more interesting the insights.
- Monitoring a live case will give its students hands-on experience in dealing with real crises, something that is rare for students.
- The uncertainty around this situation might work against the course. For eg. The constantly changing scenario might make the course a little too challenging. Also, with no certainty on when the pandemic will end, there might be a lack of conclusion/closure at the end of the course.
- Some might argue that it’s better to learn from an issue after you have seen and analysed it from every angle. Monitoring an issue live might not give you that 360º perspective needed for a clear analysis.
- One can’t say with confidence how well-designed the course is. According to sources, even Guillen said, “It’s a huge undertaking. We offered something similar after the 2008 financial crisis. But then we had three months to prepare. This time we only have 2½ weeks.”
All in all, this move by Wharton is being seen as very positive. The closing of universities and institutions can have negative effects on the students’ psyche, as well as their future. With the introduction of courses like these, there is a reinforcement of confidence that the academic community is continuously looking at the overall benefit of its students. Not just that, the students’ overwhelming response to this course shows that the academic community is ready to take on this situation and look at it as a learning opportunity.
That’s all for today. What do you think of this new course? Share your thoughts in the comments section below! Until next time!
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