My three MSc highlights – life before and after COVID-19 lockdown.
My Cranfield journey continues to surprise me daily with crests and troughs of adventure. A day before my original date of flying from New Delhi, India, I was hospitalized after being diagnosed with dengue. It was one of the toughest times of my life as my peers had started their journey at Cranfield while I was back in India trying to recover. The support and understanding that I received from the university and the faculty in this time of personal crisis made me realize that I am aspiring to be at the right place. And so I began my journey studying an MSc in Engineering and Management of Manufacturing Systems at Cranfield University.
When I finally arrived at Cranfield, I was greeted with a warm hug and additional support to study and cope up with the modules I had missed. My curriculum demanded serious academic rigor for the first four months, however, I was not alone in this journey. I spent the next four months studying in the library with some exceptionally talented young students who are now friends for life. This was my first experience of studying with people from different countries, with cultural backgrounds ranging from China and Thailand to France. While it sounds all work and no play, this was not the case. Every Friday, we would cook a different cuisine and celebrate one more week of hard work. This is the first highlight of my master’s.
February 2020 marked the end of an era of assignments and exams. With some excellent academic scores, myself and six other students moved to Swindon to work on our group project with Becton Dickinson Company. We all came from different fields of study besides cultural diversity. From finding an apartment for ourselves to travelling together, to playing Laser Tag and Escape Rooms, our team bonding was on point from the beginning of the project. For over two weeks, we spent eight hours every day working hard at the BD, Swindon office, and then spending time together in the evening. We were having multiple stakeholder meetings and gemba walks daily when the COVID-19 stepped into our lives, changing the course of things overnight. Our project scope changed and we were clouded by a dilemma. I remember we called an emergency meeting and made the difficult decision of going back to our home countries before the borders closed to continue the project from there. This decision was immediately understood and approved by both our academic and industrial supervisors. The support of the university increased ten folds from that day on and continues to date. We worked virtually in four different time zones, curated over 50 virtual brainstorming sessions with respective stakeholders, stretched our limits and delivered everything expected from us regardless of the situation around. Our time together as a team navigating the project in a pandemic made another set of friends. This was the second highlight of my master’s.
While this whole experience sounds very overwhelming already, there are many things that I miss doing with my Cranfield Community. I miss Friday evenings at Student Think Tank preparatory meetings that brought together the best of the manufacturing students from eight different countries to talk about local innovation in our countries. We always went back to our hostels, feeling pumped from learning something new and pizza treats by our professors.
I could not be more excited for my thesis on feasibility Study of Digital Supply Chain Control Towers because my time at Cranfield firmed up my interest in pursuing a career in Supply Chain. This was the third highlight of my master’s.
Currently, this is not an ideal situation for any international student, but I am glad I chose Cranfield Community. I am reminded daily by my professors and peers that this was not the sad ending to our journey, but rather an interesting survival of the fittest story which we will talk about our entire lives.
I am looking forward to meeting my friends and professors again at graduation, which will be sometime in the future when all this melodrama of the world would have hopefully passed.
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God bless you ma.
Keep staying safe.
Regards to everybody over there