From lecture room to living room

Students and faculty at ESB Business School talk about their life in times of corona

Miriam, MBA International Management Part-Time (3rd semester)

Due to corona I have been working from home since the middle of March and combining everyday work and the online lectures in the evening and at the weekend from home.

On some days I now spend twelve hours in front of my laptops, but find tools such as Adobe Connect, Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Skype a very good support and alleviation so that discussions and group work in the context of lectures can continue to take place. Regularly moving my workplace from study to living or dining room also helps me stay concentrated.

Reduced travelling times from Bonn to Reutlingen give me more time to study course contents in more depth or to prepare for lectures. Overall, however, I am already looking forward very much to the personal exchange with the lecturers and the students from our year and I very much hope that we can meet again soon for classes in Reutlingen.

Simon, BSc International Management Double Degree (4th semester)

No classes on campus and still not bored. This just about sums up my situation at the moment.

As the current semester is made up of some group projects and course assignments, the cancellation of classes on campus is of marginal importance, especially as most of the professors are continuously providing learning packages and learning videos or online lectures.

Because it all works well digitally, the biggest challenge for me right now is convincing my family that I am in fact “working“ most of the day – even though I’m “only” sitting in front of my laptop.

Professor Dr Maud Schmiedeknecht, Professor for Corporate Governance und Corporate Social Responsibility

Within one week I had changed my entrepreneurship course to online training and started a course in the part-time MBA. On this compact course the students are given the task to develop their own business idea. Using business design, an agile innovation management approach, they become familiar with many methods and tools such as design thinking, business model canvas, lean startup and prototyping and then apply these themselves.

This course lives from workshops and intensive team work in “start-up modus”. Digitising this teaching and learning format at such short notice was a challenge for me since it required appropriate software which alongside the “traditional lecture” enables among other things team work in virtual spaces. Thanks to the great commitment of our IT department we have been able to make Microsoft Teams available to all participants in good time for the beginning of the course. In addition, we are also using a workspace for innovation projects. I am delighted at how professionally the students are using these digital platforms for the lecture, the communication and their team work.

Lena, MSc International Business Development (3rd semester, currently in Taiwan)

Up to now the situation here in Taiwan is under control. Wearing a mask in public places has been normal for everyone here for a long time anyway. It is now compulsory to wear a mask on public transport.

At the university most of the courses still take place on a regular basis, though some safety measures must be observed. Masks must be worn in the lecture rooms. At the university the body temperature of every student entering the building is directly taken with a thermal imaging camera. If it is below 37.5°C a sticker is fixed to your clothing showing that you do not have a fever.

In the canteen chairs have been cordoned off so that students keep a safe distance. Body temperature is also taken first before entering coaches, restaurants and tourist attractions. Thanks to these measures shops and restaurants can remain open and everyday life is not restricted too much.

Calvin, BSc International Management Double Degree (6th semester, currently on internship)

I have no reason to complain right now: Instead of being in Zurich I am working from home with mum and the dog. I have a reasonably structured daily routine and therefore much more freedom. I do a lot of sport, am outside a lot more and also take more breaks, but am still more productive.

We still have a lot to do and my workload has increased rather than decreased. I’m actually quite content even though I’m already looking forward to going back to the office and having face-to-face meetings.

Annkathrin Klein, responsible for the CAD-laboratories in the international business engineering programmes

The business engineers at ESB Business School have also taken up the challenge of online training.

In the degree programmes BSc Production Management and BSc International Operations and Logistics Management we teach how to handle the CAD software CATIA. This software makes above-average demands on the hardware, which most of the students’ laptops cannot meet. Since students cannot use our CAD laboratory to the necessary extent this semester, we are making the special software and computer power from our PC rooms available to the students at home. This means that the students can log in from home at a computer in the PC room and work in a familiar environment.

In order to support collaborative working in a virtual semester, we will implement the lectures and tutorials using Microsoft Teams.

David, BSc International Business (2nd semester)

Especially at the beginning, it was quite difficult to adapt to this very unique and odd situation but now studying at home via Zoom or Mircrosoft Teams has become kind of “Daily Business”.

I got used to it, but it is, of course, a big rearrangement since we, as students, don’t meet personally and don‘t have the possibility to share our thoughts, experiences and questions with our friends and other fellow students. I particularly miss the direct interaction and group works in our language courses, as we are currently not able to work in the manner we are used to.

It is a challenge that everybody in our society is facing right now but in my point of view, the ESB International Business programme manages this new situation well.

Samuele, MBA International Management Part-Time (3rd semester)

Over the past few weeks most of my activities have been shifted to home, both studying and working. In the first online lecture I noticed that at home you get easily distracted by all kinds of things. I transferred the next lecture into the bright, spacious living room and first got everything out of the way.

I was pleasantly surprised by the many features of the video assistants. For example, it is possible for the lecturer to divide groups automatically and to put students into their own virtual spaces. I really miss the personal contact to my fellow students because we were able to talk a lot during the breaks. All of this has now been transferred into the virtual realm. We are using group chats or making phone calls. Work takes place in virtual spaces reserved for this purpose.

The positive thing about these extraordinary times for me as a part-time student is that I take more time to cook lunch with my partner or to talk to the family on the phone in the evening. This is often skipped between full-time work and study.

Isabelle, MSc International Business Development (3rd semester, currently on internship)

When I received my internship contract in December last year, I would never have dreamt that after only two weeks of training I would be working from home. Fortunately, my employer is well positioned digitally so that working from home works out perfectly.

Thanks to Skype and a great team, communication works from afar. And there is also a small advantage in working from home in that not having to commute to work means I save more than an hour’s travelling time every day.

Nico, BSc Production Management (graduated in 2019)

If the graduation ceremony is cancelled due to corona, you will just have to improvise – a cornflakes box can be quickly transformed into a mortarboard.

Many thanks to ESB Business School and all fellow students for a wonderful time at university, perhaps we will meet again on a master’s programme or as alumni.

Stay healthy and take the situation seriously, but also with a grain of humor!