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LATEST HAPPENINGS

VIRTUAL BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL PROJECT

Dr. Archana Shrivastava, Associate Professor, Head-Business Communication Area & Faculty Coordinator- Centre for Corporate Relations, at BIMTECH along with

Peter Cardon, Academic Director, MBA for Professionals and Managers at USC Marshall School of Business and 18 other Professors narrate their enriching experience of conducting the VBP (Virtual Business Professional) Project, in the middle of Covid 19.  

Imagine being part of a Global Virtual Project…What Happens When a Pandemic Hits?

Imagine being in a group to write a communications’ report—coordinating with members in 4 different time zones, 2 different first languages, and 5 different Universities!

How to maintain Normalcy and Stability with Disruption All Around?

 

There are non-traditional students too: full-time flight attendant, one student with three young children, all at home with her; one student with a part-time job in a pharmacy with ever increasing work hours.

Here is the triumphant story of the Virtual Project

 

60 BIMTECH students, along with 485 others from 16 universities located in USA, Germany, Spain, France and 3 more countries participated in a 6-week live Virtual Business Professional (VBP) Project.  The VBP Program of 2020 occurred from the beginning of March through the middle of April.

 

90 teams: The students were divided into 90 teams, each team carried 6-7 members, all from different cultural backgrounds. The teams were mentored by 20 professors including BIMTECH’S Prof Archana Shrivastava. The teams are tasked with managing a client project over roughly six weeks.

The 4 Project Partners were Amazon, Audi, Google and Starbucks. The teams were expected to offer recommendations to Starbucks and Google for improvements on their online reputation management and offer solutions to business problems shared by Audi.

Using a State-of-the-art social collaboration platform powered by Artificial Intelligence, conducted research, held virtual meetings, co-authored documents, and used project management tools to find solutions.

The final report was evaluated collaboratively and graded by participating professors. There were weekly deliverables to keep the teams on track to complete solid research and develop a professional and insightful report.

The Best 30 solutions (10 for each company) in the form of business reports were shared with the company representatives, out of which 9 best reports were selected to be awarded.

Prof Archana Shrivastava informs that despite all the difficulties faced due to the pandemic, 7 BIMTECH students emerged as winners.

integral members of those winning teams.

 

Audi

Ishita Pandey-1st  position  

Pratyush Jaiswal-3rd position 

 

Starbucks 

Apoorav Singhal -1st  position

Ashik Madhavan -2nd position

Ishita Kalra- 3rd  position

 

Google

Avantika Tripathi- 1st position

Shounak Sarkar- 3rd position    

 

This article shows how the VBP student participants overcame the pandemic disruptions to work effectively in virtual teams, develop compassion and empathy for one another, and foster more global mind-sets.

Upon completion, students receive the VBP certification that can be posted on LinkedIn and other sites. Past participants often report how they discuss their VBP achievements in job interviews and apply what they learned in their new roles.

Impact of Covid 19 pandemic on team Dynamics

Covid-induced anxiety (abruptly moving out of their dorm, family members turning Covid positive, part-time and full time jobs) heavily impacted their project. But they persevered.  

And, reinforced their commitment to structure and rigor of the project. This resulted in a sense of Normalcy, in an Uncertain Time and ultimately, led to high-quality work by students.

After a while, things settled and many students felt virtual projects offered continuity, stability and even comfort—knowing that all members were experiencing the same chaos.

Developing Compassion, Empathy and Trust

Many students focused on awareness, emotions, and feelings when they talked about the project. With the pandemic exploding, people learnt to respect the others’ situation more and also understood themselves better, thanks to the isolation period. As one student said, “We often talked about personal lives and got to know each other better because of the virus. We occasionally did welfare checks on each other as well. Our team’s response could not have been greater--it reflected maturity, empathy, and responsibility.”

Working with Members of Other Cultures

Students realized the importance of working with different styles of learning/writing, with peer groups in different time zones, different cultures, spread across New York, California, India, Germany among others.

Future of Globalization and Virtual Communication

People are concerned everywhere-- the COVID-19 pandemic would lead to isolationist and exclusionary political and corporate policies. However, this project has shown how students hold a much more positive view of the future.

This kind of Experiential Communication and Collaborations Programs like the VBP are most essential.

At the end of it, the students felt grateful for the opportunity and challenge of working in a virtual, global team during their college days and they felt the the VBP project was a truly valuable experience.

It’s a rare moment in the COVID era--students recognized that virtual cooperation is real thing and that, the virus cannot destroy this virtual bonding.


 

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