Staying Connected, and Current, in Online Classes

Kat Filpi

Kat Filpi ‘21 is on the track to double concentrate in Marketing and Operations Management at Babson. As learning pivoted to online, Filpi pivoted, too. What she’s learning along the way is inspiring.

This spring, Filpi is enrolled in Retailing Management with Associate Professor Lauren Beitelspacher, Strategic Management with Lecturer Peter Cohan, The Modern American City with Lecturer Paul Schmitz. She’s also participating in Management Consulting Field Experience (MCFE), where she is consulting for Baskin-Robbins.

As the pandemic took hold of society, and all Babson courses were moved online, Filpi adjusted in real time. And, it was strange.

“We’re all just in one spot. We’re used to the Babson lifestyle—heading from practice to a meeting to work to a class, and you’re kind of just sitting at your dining room table trying to knock out all these assignments at once and it gets a little tedious,” said Filpi.

Living and Learning Online

In this new landscape, professors have used the global health crisis as a sort of living laboratory. A favorite among Filpi’s virtual classes is Retailing Management with Beitelspacher, she says, which covers marketing strategy, consumer behavior, ethical business models, supply chain management, and branding yourself, among other topics.

“My retail course was the one that was very heavy with discussion. Dr. Beitelspacher had us write blog posts. Everyone in my class was from a different part of the country, so we were talking about what is going on in retail where you are,” said Filpi.

From those online discussions, new avenues emerged.

“It was interesting finding out how different cities were handling the COVID-19 crisis, and how companies were, too. For example, I have people from Turkey, Israel, London, and Miami Beach in my class and it’s interesting to see local examples of what companies are doing to attack the situation,” said Filpi.

She also has noticed a newfound interest in class participation.

“A lot of classes are now making you read a little extra and write more on discussion boards to account for that participation aspect,” she said. “I’m just so excited speak to anybody and to listen to what others have to say.”

Yet, she said, there are trade-offs. “I am so grateful that I am able to further my education online and take advantage of our technologically advanced era. However, making this shift to online class now means being glued to a computer screen for most of our day. It’s been quite challenging.”

Rising to the occasion, Filpi was quick to take advantage of Babson resources that may have otherwise gone untapped—all from her home in the Miami area.

“Before online, I had never actually been to the Speech Center, and now I’ve been to the Speech Center three times in about two weeks. They are such an amazing resource and they really helped me perfect my MCFE presentation,” said Filpi.

This new reality has also encouraged Filpi to strengthen her network.

“Even the connections I’ve made with my professors this semester—I know that they’re now really in my network and they’ll help me, whether it be advancing my career or my academic life. They are willing to help and have now seen us just grow and persist,” said Filpi.

“Don’t be afraid to ask your professors for help,” she said. “Set yourself to a higher standard and ascend to that standard.”

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