Florence Bares (France) – INSEAD

Florence Bares is a student at INSEAD’s Master in Management (MIM). Among other things, she told MASTERGRADSCHOOLS how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting her studies and why INSEAD is one of the only schools able to stay open during this difficult time.

Going “online” has become the new normal as a result of this global pandemic. As we mentioned in a previous article, universities are now faced with a new set of challenges: While a unique, dynamic campus life was once a key selling point for prospective students, the pandemic has forced schools to shift their focus to their digital infrastructure and how to keep their physical spaces safe for everyone.

With this in mind, it is impressive that INSEAD is managing to continue physical campus life.

2020 in a nutshell: Testing, contact tracing & social distancing

It’s hard to walk into any establishment these days without being prompted to use hand sanitizer and maintain social distance.

INSEAD is going the extra mile. “INSEAD is one of the only schools that is still open because they put so much effort into keeping our campus safe,” Florence says. This includes weekly PCR testing on campus – and same-day results! PCR tests are used to directly detect the presence of an antigen, indicating whether or not someone has (or has had) the virus.

Besides the ubiquitous hand gel, face masks, and social distancing rules, students at INSEAD are also taking on contact tracing. “We’ve gotten used to keeping track of our contacts,” Florence explains. “We’ve had a few cases so obviously as soon as someone is positive, we have a list of contact cases. I’ve been one of those people, and you just stay home for two weeks. It’s strict but it’s the only way to have physical classes on campus.”

The importance of IT

Florence also credits the “massive IT support” behind INSEAD’s efforts: “We can follow all of our classes on Zoom,” she says. “In every class, there’s always someone following the Zoom chat and telling the professor if there are questions or doing a recap of what’s been said if you couldn’t hear some of the questions or comments.”

In a world where students are primarily learning through screens, it’s incredibly important that there are the right support systems and structures in place to safeguard the student experience.

Florence puts it best: “We can really see the investments the school has made into keeping the campus safe and also ensuring that either on Zoom or physically, we still have a top-quality education and a great experience.”