Looking back on what it was like to join Cranfield School of Management amidst the global pandemic and what they did to help…
Shraddha Sundar, MSc Strategic Marketing
Since I completed my undergrad in 2018, I knew that I wanted to work for 2 years and then join a good school to pursue my masters. Even if you aren’t that great with math, this meant that 2020 was my deadline to enrol in a great master’s course. But I guess not all things in life can be ‘pre-planned’. Just as I began my college applications and was prepping to embark on a new soul-searching, ground-breaking academic journey, out came the news of a global pandemic. However, this didn’t stop me because guess what, I’m on-campus currently and trying to make the most of a COVID friendly college experience.
At the start, I did not think that my university experience would drastically change, but I was proved wrong from the minute I stepped into the airport. Wearing a face covering for 7+ hours of flight travel from Dubai to UK, the ordeal of constantly sanitizing everything around/on me, consuming pre-packaged cold food and the idea of quarantining for 14 days in a small room was all suffocating and gruelling. Considering this, to be honest, I thought I was in for a rough university experience. However, Cranfield made sure that I was taken care of in the best possible way and ensured that I had a smooth transition.
Mentioned below are some of the university’s initiatives which gave me an opportunity to live the closest thing possible to a ‘Cranfield Experience’.
- Unlike other universities, Cranfield arranged an airport service which picked me up from Heathrow airport and dropped me at my accommodation door. Considering the current situation, they accepted only one student per vehicle which had a glass shield between the driver and student (this made me feel really safe).
- Cranfield gave me the opportunity stay in my ‘own’ accommodation room from the 2-week quarantine period onward and provided 3 meals/day for this entire duration. This was particularly helpful, as I was in the comfort of my own room, I had sufficient time to set up my living space and I didn’t have to worry about food. From what I have heard, in most instances, students from other universities stayed in hotels and had to purchase their meals – so kudos to Cranfield!
- Despite COVID and its accompanying restrictions, Cranfield and the CSA have been hosting virtual events (and sometimes F2F events, where possible) to make students feel comfortable, at home, and to help them network with others – in a safe manner.
- The university has taken extra measures to ensure the safety and happiness of students and staff which reflects in the low number of infections on campus.
All-in-all, while I would have liked to see what Cranfield had to offer in a non-COVID period, I have to say that I am thrilled to be here, and I am excited to welcome what’s ahead.
Most people say that you never forget your college days, but in my case and like most of this year’s cohort – COVID has guaranteed that a few years down the line, we’ll think back and say, “Can you believe that we completed our master’s degree amid a global pandemic?” I’d say we’re a pretty crazy and dedicated bunch, eh?
How time flies, I‘ve been in Cranfield for two months. Everything has changed so fast. In the last two months, I left China and flew into UK, this was my first time to be separated from my family for an extended period but studying abroad was my dream, and I am full of gratitude to my parents for supporting me.
After arriving at Cranfield, I felt a little bit lonely, due to quarantine I had to live on my own for the initial 14 days. The university provided us with 3 meals delivered to our door, which was great, but I found I didn’t have much to do and the most exciting part of my day was hearing someone knock on the door to deliver the food.
As time goes by, everything is getting better. Now I have three adorable flat mates, two Chinese girls and an Indian boy, they treat me so well, just like family. Lucky for me, all my flat mates are good at cooking. And last week, my flat mate cooked fried rice for us that was the most delicious Indian food I have ever tasted.
As for my study, I’m really enjoying the lectures in Cranfield. The Professor of IOM (Inventory and Operations Management), from India, is so funny. I love the stories and experiences he shares with us. In Cranfield, every Professor has their own teaching style, which is very different from what I have learned in China. I have made a nice group of new friends in my major, and many of them have really excellent academic backgrounds or work experience. I have learnt a lot from them in terms of study methods and tactics, which has helped me to develop my own style further too. Studying has become an enjoyable thing as a result.
Harshvardhan Singh Vaghela, Procurement and Supply Chain Management MSc
The day I secured my admission at Cranfield University I was delighted, there were some thoughts running around my head due to the Covid pandemic, but to study at this prestigious institution was a very big opportunity to let go.
My experience so far has been amazing, from the moment I landed at Heathrow Airport, since I had opted for the airport pickup service my journey to the campus was comfortable, Dominic, my taxi driver was friendly showed me places around on our way to Cranfield.
Upon entering Cranfield Campus, I was overwhelmed looking at the beautiful campus and facilities. My registration process upon arrival was done with utmost care and following social distancing rules. Coming from India we were supposed to quarantine at the campus, and I was provided with a room at the Cranfield Management Development Centre (CMDC), the rooms are very comfortable and the most important part which has made our quarantine easy was the delivery of mouth-watering food to our rooms.
When I was in quarantine the university worked day and night to make things easier and more comfortable with online yoga sessions along with after dinner zoom talks which gave me something to look forward to every evening and helped me meet my fellow students and talk to members of alumni about their experience at Cranfield.
Hilary Chan, Strategic Marketing MSc
To be honest, I arrived at Cranfield with some trepidation.
Travelling in the era of Covid-19 is filled with frustration and apprehension – flights kept getting delayed and cancelled, people on the plane looked like they were geared up to enter a biohazard warzone, rules about quarantine and travel corridors may change at a moment’s notice, and you were never sure you could actually arrive as planned until you actually arrive. The UK was also seeing the start of the second wave and we weren’t sure what to expect. There was always a sense of impending doom and the nagging feeling that maybe I shouldn’t have insisted on coming, should’ve deferred and waited things out.
A month has passed, and I would say that most of these feelings have subsided. I can attest to the fact that Cranfield has succeeded in controlling the spread of the virus to the bare minimum. Cranfield managed to keep its promise to us and has so far delivered all formal classes face-to-face. Students were properly social distanced with seats kept 2m apart. Professors were not to step over a certain line. Students were advised to wipe their seats and tables with antiseptic wipes provided in every classroom. The library provided a click-and-collect service and any returned books were quarantined. Cranfield also requested that face masks be worn indoors and provided face masks in the welcome pack.
Although our experience will no doubt be very different from that of other cohorts, regular course meetings and yoga sessions were arranged for us and we appreciate Cranfield’s efforts to instil a sense of community in times where socialising is difficult.