It was mid-January when we the students of IGTC PGPBA Batch 2019 – 2021 were undergoing our Practical Training Term I at our respective interning companies. While we were intensely enjoying the exposure of working on the projects, the internet was getting flooded with mystery analysis of a deadly Coronavirus spreading in China. The initial reactions were typical as we scrolled over social media, filled with random memes, fake videos and fake home remedies but we never imagined then that this local Chinese virus was about to come to us in the next few weeks capable of causing a colossal impact.

Beginning February 2020, we returned to IGTC from our interning companies for Theoretical Term II with great enthusiasm for being back in class with our peers. We were charged up for the upcoming term with more interesting subjects in our curriculum and with even more experienced faculty. . The term was just shifting gears and picking up pace, when the very virus soon become a serious outbreak globally. The COVID-19 pandemic had hit India now with several positive cases triggered as people travelled. 

On 12th March 2020, observing the trend of the virus of the European nations, the Government of India comprehended India’s situation, and decisions were made to slow down various sectors starting with tourism and education first. By this time there was an abrupt halt as all the educational institutes were shutting down leading to a natural demotivation amongst the student community. The economists globally forecasted an upcoming mammoth recession. IGTC similarly decided to shut to abide by the strict orders of the state government. Natural fear and chaos were amongst us students too, but the IGTC director, faculty, and administration team had created a learning plan for us. They demonstrated tremendous strength, agility, and focus to continue the delivery of lectures on the online platforms immediately. It was merely with a break of 2 days that IGTC ensured that we migrated to our lecture schedules online. IGTC kept being optimistic, motivating and had its principle clear, “If you can’t FLY, then RUN. If you can’t RUN, then WALK. If you can’t WALK, then CRAWL. But whatever you do, keep the wheels in motion.” This was an inspiring situation for us while the country was getting into total lockdown. We were made to experience nothing but positivity.

As the new normal continued, we encountered a bunch of hurdles such as internet instability, lagging bandwidth and videos, sound and mic issues, senior faculty adapting with the new digital platform, and the new way of online teaching, but more importantly, time management, discipline, and self-motivation. All of us were bound to sit in front of our laptops for almost 12-14 hrs a day including 6-8 hrs of online classes with group/individual projects, subject-wise homework, and regular after-class studies. Non-Mumbaikar students started leaving for their hometown since the situation did not seem to improve. The graph rose steeply with rising cases worldwide and it was time we all became aware of the seriousness and massive impact of the pandemic on the global economy. Lockdown situations around and terrifying news all over acted as a fuel to the fire impacting our emotional state of mind.

IGTC stood by us rock-solid to boost our morale constantly, they guided us to look beyond the horizon to aim for the silver lining. The faculty, by giving examples of COVID-19 situations, tried their best to deliver us the key learnings. They hinted to us that if we learnt to rise and shine bright in such unforeseen events, we will develop a unique spirit in ourselves and be the resilient, unbeatable ones. The new mantra was “Zusammen sind wir stark!” says Yashashree Borse, Management Trainee, Siemens Ltd.  By the end of Term II, we all successfully faced rapid fires such as quizzes, polls, online mid-term tests, engaged in group case study discussions in breakout rooms, submitted all our assignments, put under the grill of online vivas and presentations, and finally completed written examinations under a self-declared ethical pledge of integrity under the observation of the IGTC team! “All permutations and combinations are possible at IGTC!” quotes Akshay Bhagwat, Management Trainee, Hirschvogel Automotive Group.

After 3 months, we can proudly say that we have all sailed through it all. Be it common issues or personal problems, they were all attended immediately and on priority by the IGTC admin and faculty. A suitable solution to every problem was applied to every respective issue via regular open discussions and feedback daily. Being a part of IGTC, everyone has graciously accepted the new normal. We are trying our best to adapt and imbibe the core values of the IGTC anthem “Nurturing Curiosity, Seeking to Innovate, Infusing Optimism, and Inspiring Excellence.”

Unlike few B schools which were not prepared to face such unpredictable situations, IGTC has shouldered the responsibility and accountability of educating us; its precious batch of 100 students; to stand apart from the crowd and to build a confidence to overcome every possible hurdle on the path all along, be it our personal or corporate lives. “Now we know that there are no dead ends, only sharp turns, but there is always a way out” quotes Namita Gulavani, Management Trainee, Siemens Ltd.

This crisis has changed us and we have a great story to tell! Change management was a subject in our curriculum, now we can say that we have lived through it at IGTC.   

Article contributed by Ronak Contractor, Management Trainee at Siemens Healthineers, PGPBA Batch 2019 – 2021