5 Surprising ways the pandemic made my core semester better

Like you, my expectations for 2020 were upended in March. I was set to start at Goizueta Business School just two months later. I worried about how the educational and social experience, specifically during core semester (which spans summer for us One-Year students), would change. While I do mourn parts of the in-person experience I originally imagined, the pandemic also made core better in a few surprising ways!

Speed-Reading Practice

Before coming to Goizueta, I worked as a consultant. The pandemic’s economic impact put about half of my company’s projects on pause – including mine. I took advantage of the time unassigned to a project (“on the bench” in consulting-speak) to practice speed-reading. That training prepared me to efficiently work through the high volume of cases, articles, and other texts in core. 

Puppy Cam

Core Finance Professor J.B. Kurish sometimes signed into Zoom from two devices – one to teach class and the other to give us a view of his puppy. It was a great stress relief! 

Zoom Theatre

My core team, “The Fake Meghans,” as the “Fab 5” from Netflix’s Queer Eye. Pictured from left to right: Kait Capone (as “Bobby”), Andrew Nickerson (as “Karamo”), AJ Hobbs (as “Antoni”), Meghan Renfrow (as “Jonathan”), and Addison Winkler (as “Tan”).

My core team, “The Fake Meghans,” as the “Fab 5” from Netflix’s Queer Eye. Pictured from left to right: Kait Capone (as “Bobby”), Andrew Nickerson (as “Karamo”), AJ Hobbs (as “Antoni”), Meghan Renfrow (as “Jonathan”), and Addison Winkler (as “Tan”).

My wonderful core team (named “The Fake Meghans”) enjoyed making our presentations entertaining – especially for Accounting with Associate Professor in the Practice of Accounting Usha Rackliffe. For our final presentation in her class, “The Fake Meghans” analyzed the financial statements of Netflix. Our slides and outfits were themed around popular Netflix content, and Zoom enhanced the dramatic effect. With our cameras off, we could simultaneously listen to class and do costume changes. Then, all at once, we would turn our cameras on like the curtains opening on a show. (Shoutout to my teammate Meghan Renfrow for memorizing all her content so she could present blindfolded a la Sandra Bullock in Bird Box.) To this day, the only core team picture is our heads edited onto the “Fab 5” from Netflix’s Queer Eye. 

Class from the Blue Ridge Mountains

In July, I spent a week at a cabin in North Carolina. Since the pandemic requires a school-from-anywhere model, I got to attend class while looking out over the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Hype Team Group Chat

“The Fake Meghans” had an active group chat that really came alive during presentations. We became a real-time hype team for one another. Hollering “AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING” and “woot woot” and “yee yeeeeeeee” (actual chats from our presentations in Accounting and in IMPACT with Senior Lecturer in Organization & Management and Associate Dean, Goizueta IMPACT, Lynne Segall and Adjunct Lecturer and Executive Coach Donna Peters) at your teammates during an in-person presentation would be inappropriate, but in the virtual environment, my phone lighting up from the group chat was just the encouragement I needed.

This year is full of changes, and I wish I’d had an in-person core. I am grateful Emory University has worked diligently to provide safe hybrid learning options this fall. Still, the pandemic brought some unique good experiences to core. The Goizueta community found surprising ways to learn, enjoy, and laugh along the way!

AJ Hobbs

AJ Hobbs

AJ Hobbs is a 2021 Goizueta Business School MBA student in the 1-Year accelerated program. She is an industrial engineer with degrees from Clemson University and Purdue University and has worked in operational improvement consulting with healthcare and airline clients. At Goizueta, AJ is pursuing strategy and healthcare concentrations and is a Leadership Coaching Fellow. She enjoys college football, Vinyasa yoga, true crime podcasts, a good dinner party, and her new puppy.