Answers as shared by the interviewees with IRM India Affiliate.
Ria Joneja is originally from Mumbai and currently pursuing her MBA at the Wharton School, Pennsylvania. Prior to her MBA, she worked with the National Investment & Infrastructure Fund & holds a Bachelor in Financial Markets from Jai Hind College, Mumbai. She is also a singer and has been an active social media music artist.
As an MBA student studying in the USA, what are the challenges you have face on account of the Covid-19?
1) Uncertainty on internship and full-time recruitment especially as an international student. Companies & recruiters are still navigating this unprecedented situation and there is a lot of uncertainty regarding our future recruitment situation.
2) Lack of formal classroom delivery of lectures, peer learning & discussions. While academic delivery has been made virtual, the experience cannot be compared to a live classroom that an MBA program offers.
3) Uncertainty around legal/regulatory enforcement that might come into play that particularly impact foreign nationals studying in the US. This includes visa regulations, OPT, CPT viability, etc.
4) Housing- with the current uncertainty, a lot of us are being forced to terminate our leases early which entails penalties and unwarranted payments that housing management companies are not yet willing to negotiate.
What are some of the potentials risks you foresee in the coming few months pertaining to your career and how are you trying to mitigate these?
I foresee the situation getting worse in the coming years especially on the economic front where globally we might be headed for a recession/downturn and companies might not be able to hire in the same numbers as they have been historically. Moreover, we do not know if internship offers will convert to full-time job offers or if any internship/full-time commitments will be met with certainty. As a risk-averse individual, I am exploring other options across industries/functions and geographies, carefully monitoring the developments and maintaining talks with potential recruiters in the near future.
How are you spending your time during the lockdown and what is your advise to other MBA students on managing crisis situations like this?
I am generally a very organized person and having a fixed schedule allows me to make the most of my time. I generally spend most of my weekdays attending virtual classes and completing assignments/lectures. I also spend an hour a day on an exercise regime (yoga, interval training, zumba).
Additionally, it is important to communicate in these times and I typically spend an hour on online video chatting platforms connecting with peers/friends/family across the globe to check-in on them (and even play games!). Lastly, it is important to have a hobby especially in period of nationwide lockdown. My solace is music and it’s not uncommon to find me singing when I can.
My advise to all is that you must have a schedule (or try to maintain one), keep in touch with people (we are humans), find a hobby or something to keep you motivated (learn a skill, fitness, learn a language).
3 key risk management lessons that this crisis has taught you?
- Always have a plan B if things go awry. Early in the recruitment process I made a lot of contacts with companies outside of the US and I feel that in this situation, that has come to my rescue.
- On the personal finance side, hedge risk by investing across asset classes and company types (small, large cap etc). Don’t panic and make hasty decisions-instead take a step back and evaluate all your options.
- While not formal risk management lesson- Health- don’t take your body for granted. It is important to build immunity and be careful about your habits so that you are not overly vulnerable to such situations.
The Institute of Risk Management, headquartered in the UK, is the world’s leading professional body for enterprise risk management (ERM) qualifications driving excellence since 30+ years across 143 countries. IRM’s Global Qualifications (Level 1 to Level 5) are now available in India through IRM India Affiliate. Follow IRM India Affiliate on Instagram and Facebook as well for regular updates.
Submitted By: Hersh Shah, SIRM
CEO at IRM [UK] – India Affiliate & India Chairman – IRM Regional Group