When the world suffers from a pandemic of the COVID-19 Virus, a lot of countries have taken the option to lockdown their citizens to try and elevate the transmission from person to person. The first thing that springs to mind is, o my word what to do! Panic sets in, frantic buying and stockpiling of essentials and ensuring that you will have enough to supply the family etc. As always with us humans…enough always seems to be a little short of the requirement. That serves for our physical well-being alright. What about our mental well-being? Have we considered enough? How is this isolation going to impact us? The social and physical interactions are key to the overall well-being of every human being and it does play a critical role on the human psyche.
I have been in lockdown in South Africa for more than 21 days now. The initial few days fear anxiety, helplessness, worry all of this sets in, the worry of what to do and how to keep yourself busy. At the fag end of last, before all this madness of pandemic and lockdown; I was on my usual surfing on the net where I came across Eaton Business School. Needless, to say I have been having this urge to upgrade myself with a Master’s Degree for quite some time now – in fact years. As the saying goes, decision decides destiny – been fortunate to say the least that, I am enjoying this journey so far even though it’s been very taxing but rewarding nevertheless. With the help of my laptop and a decent wi-fi connection, here I am in South Africa; interacting with fellow professionals across the world on the online learning platform, WhatsApp chat groups preparing ourselves for the next class/tasks/assignments, chatting with my faculties across continents, having access to e-library with real time case studies and business articles to keep me abreast and surely, distracting myself from the COVID-19 negativities.
The LMS portal has an online library worth so much relevant content you don’t need to visit a physical library. Now hold your horses for a bit there…. I am not saying that complete and utter social distancing should be norm of the day. No, No, No… what I am saying is this, we, as socially interactive species needs to have interaction with one another and will always be great to have physical stimulus of that hand shake, the hug or even the kiss .. but while we fight this pandemic together with the rest of the world and doing our part to contain the spread of the virus, studying and developing your cognitive ability to reason while doing your assignment for modules taught, you lesson the time expanse of 21 days.
So far I have completed one assignment in this timeframe and had started another class through the LMS portal. The joys of meeting with my classmates and faculty twice weekly makes you realise that time does not wait for now man or woman when keeping the mind active with relevant content you can research and write about in your assignments.
I have found that with the content taught, my daily job understand and reason and ability to be best sales person even before lockdown increased by a factor of 2. This is mainly due to stirring the old grey matter so that the cells are active enough to be productive and becoming a greater asset to my company.
Having the time to reflect and study with a great online community of faculties and fellow students, I have realised that social distancing loses the distancing and just becomes a social interactive workspace in the comforts of our own homes, while you have a work and family responsibilities to tend to as well.
Now something about me… I have been involved in various industries over the past few years from being the sales person in the company to being the Managing Director of an EMEA corporation from SaaS, Hardware Sales and various years of material and equipment handling industries. The past 18 years has been a dream in my life where I have worked for Multinational companies and local major role players in the South African Markets.
After leaving school, I never really had the interest to continue studying because “I can learn on the job”, it worked but at a stage it become a tedious task to try and figure out where and what to do next as the educational side of the experience gained was lacking.
So having to start from the bottom as a sales representative because when you sit without work for 18 months and I keep applying for positions and actually been turned down with the comments “experience is good, but you would be more preferred with a degree or diploma”. That hurts, a lot. Because bills needs to be paid, family needs to live etc. you carry on apply, apply, apply.
So when I started working again in January of 2019, I made a vow to myself that my experience will get the added boost of an educational upskill it so much needed. I started firstly with a Professional Diploma in Leadership and Management and thought wow, if the transition to learning is so easy and I can do it in the comfort of my own home, I am sure I can go for the full enchilada of an MBA.
Well let me be honest, the fear of sitting in a lecture class whether it be online or in a varsity class scared the living waters out me. The first class comes up and I was made to feel so at ease with the peer group of professional faculties that are literally from all over the world. The sense of I belong in this class and group is wonderful. Whether I had questions after the class, simply send an email or have a group discussion or questions to be asked ask away and the friendly faculties will always be able to answer in a short space of time.
If there is a great appreciation and award that can be given, it can be given to each and every member of the Eaton Business School team, from the student administrator, student advisor, faculties and as far as the Academic Head. You are a special team of people that is providing a glimmering light of hope in the darkness of education. Well done to each and every one of the EBS team, you guys and gals rock!!
Please carry on in the enrichment of lives through education in the lives of the needy as “Education is the final key to obtain great success.”
Take care and hopefully I will meet you in one of my online classes.
Pieter Hendrik Pretorius
Student – L7 Strategic Management & MBA
Eaton Business School