An MBA in a pandemic

Embarking on my MBA in the midst of a global pandemic

A few weeks ago, Deborah Levinson was social distancing in her small Wisconsin apartment, weathering out the pandemic. These days, she is social distancing with her Copenhagen MBA peers and looking forward to learning about sustainable business practices that she believes will help her navigate the challenges posed by our uncertain world.

Starting my MBA in a global pandemic

It’s pretty crazy to think that I’m now studying and living in Copenhagen! Although it’s only been a few weeks since I was social distancing in my little apartment in Wisconsin, it feels like months have gone by. Between the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus and the stress of leaving my stable job to move across the world to pursue my MBA in a pandemic, it’s somewhat of a relief to feel slightly overwhelmed by an abundance of reading assignments. Homework seems pretty manageable compared to a global pandemic…

Even with all of these challenges, I’m more convinced than ever that CBS was the right choice for me. I applied to the Copenhagen MBA in before the pandemic, but now, in our seemingly different world, I am certain that CBS’s focus on strong leadership and sustainable business practices will help me navigate the challenges posed by the uncertain world in which we live.

A mysterious journey awaits

I started my time at CBS with the pre-MBA, a refresher course in accounting and economics, and was shocked to learn that accounting can be…interesting?! My art degree didn’t exactly provide a strong financial foundation, and the pre-MBA was the perfect opportunity to increase my confidence before the official first day.

Now that we’ve really started our MBA studies, I’m getting excited about the Leadership Discovery Process (LDP). Every alumnus I’ve spoken to has spread the gospel of the LDP, yet it somehow remains this slightly mysterious and unknown journey. The first few days of energy checks and pretty stickers drew me in, and now I’m looking forward to becoming the leader I know I can be.

My MBA peers: A source of knowledge and support

The other big excitement of the first week was of course meeting my extremely diverse and intelligent peers. Our cohort of 43 comes from 19 different countries and a wide range of industries, roles, and academic backgrounds. It’s amazing to be in an environment where everyone truly does have something unique to contribute. We’re only two weeks in, but I can already see that my peers will be an essential source of knowledge, support, and networking over the coming year.

It’s hard to go back to school after starting a career, but I was ready to take on a challenge. I believe this MBA will bring me intellectual stimulation and new career opportunities. Copenhagen might be the perfect city in which to study: USPs such as a strong pre-COVID economy, a high quality of life, and the opportunity to eat pastries every day contributed to increasing the city’s appeal to me.

MBA life, the Danish way

The coronavirus, an unexpected and disruptive force that our whole class has been tasked with managing, has definitely been on the forefront of our minds. Although the uncertainty caused by the virus weighed on me as I prepared to come to Copenhagen, I’ve been pleased with how CBS and the Copenhagen MBA team has managed the risks and unknowns. Even outside of CBS, Denmark’s management of COVID-19 has provided an immediate understanding of key social and cultural differences like public trust, which is extremely different from my home in the United States.

For now, I’m just trying to take it all in as it flies by. The beautiful and crisp fall weather will be gone before we know it, and it seems like we’re already racing through our courses in digitalization and sustainability. I’m living the cliché Danish life as I cycle around the city eating fresh pastries, but even once the novelty fades, I’m looking forward to experiencing everything this year has to offer.

Deborah has a background in art and association management. She chose CBS to launch her international career.