by Sayem Khan ( BBA 2019, MAcc 2020)

2020: Living What I Learned

Prior to pursuing a Master in Accounting at Schulich I was also a Schulich BBA student. A signature course of the Schulich BBA is MGMT 1000, which has served as an introduction to Schulich for many undergraduate students like me. Since it was a management course, one of the first topics we studied was how workplaces of 2020 will look – and a major component was the concept of “virtual reporting.” I don’t think many of us realized how this concept of virtual reporting or “WFH” (work from home) would be so important in 2020.

In addition to offices being shifted to home, education quickly moved online due to the COVID crisis. I was fortunate to be among the first group of people at Schulich to experience how a fully online semester of classes runs, during this recent Summer term.

Moving the Classroom Online

Since it was my final term of the MAcc program, our class schedule was a little different. We would participate in weeknight and weekend classes only. In addition, we completed our exams in a timed exercise. In terms of the group project, we had virtual meetings only and recorded our team presentation for grading purposes. Since this was a first fully online semester, there were some inevitable challenges, such as the chat box on Zoom freezing, or issues with students’ microphones and other technical difficulties. In addition, areas where the internet speed fluctuates, especially at peak time, students struggled to maintain a stable connection at home. In order to avoid that, I was happy to see how instructors provided recorded lectures to ensure there were no missed concepts.   

I missed the opportunity to connect with my friends like you can only experience in a class-room setting however, our team worked hard to ensure we deliver a good result for Capstone 1
(Photo Credit: Schulich School of Business June 2019 Convocation)

The Silver Lining

I think one positive aspect of online learning is developing experience participating in professional meetings and seminars, and understanding what they’ll look like for the foreseeable future in the corporate world.

I have a South Asian background and I’m connected with my extended family there. I hear stories of how some do not have the luxury of online classes and their graduation will be delayed. In that regard, I’m thankful I was able to continue my studies even during a pandemic. There are now ongoing conversations about the positive and negative sides of the virtual education system, which will continue to allow this entire system to evolve and be more user-friendly. 

Virtual Friends & Colleagues 

I missed the social component of meeting my peers, participating in classes or going for a coffee after finishing classes, especially since this degree could well be the end of my academic journey.

I must also add that my capstone 1 experience was phenomenal and I am really thankful to my team. I was stressing prior to beginning the project as I knew it would be a tough task and I could not choose my own group. However, the team cohesion we had was outstanding. I am very thankful to Hamza, Arvin, Sana, Heem and Patrick for their wonderful contribution and it was surely a dream effort.