Luna Gu, Data Scientist at Elevate, attended the MSA program in 2021 and spent her whole program at home. I wondered what it was like to finish the MSA degree from home. From her experience, I have gained some insight and compared it to my experience. In the interview, she revealed some of the unusual experiences she had during the pandemic period.
Steven: What was it like when you completed your program at home?
Luna: There are pros and cons. Pros included no commute time (really enjoyed this since I live 40 min away from the campus), which provided more time to sleep. Also, I didn’t really need to think about what to wear every day. However, the cons are obvious too: It is easier to work on a team project when you can talk in-person.
Steven: What is the biggest difference between virtual classes and on-site classes?
Luna: I feel like for virtual classes, you are familiar with their Zoom photo. But if you didn’t work with them in a team (in a different cohort for example), you don’t really know them.
Steven: How did you and your teammates work on practicum without meeting each other?
Luna: Our practicum lead hosted several in-person activities to help us get familiar with each other, which really helped our team! Besides that, we communicated a lot on Slack for minor or major updates for the practicum. Finally, the scrum master was a really important role as it provided a lot of transparency about what each member’s responsibilities were.
Steven: How did you find jobs remotely?
Luna: I found my first job through internal recruiting. It was a great opportunity to talk to the companies during their information session. Those companies have great relationships with IAA, and they understand how the program works. As a result, they usually send out offers in a timely manner. Do not hesitate to network!
Steven: Are you working remotely now? If yes, do you think the remote studying experience is helpful?
Luna: Yes, I’m working fully remotely now. The remote study experience definitely helped my current job. I learned to communicate more effectively with my co-workers. Also, I set up some catch-up meetings just to update our life. Overall, I really enjoy my remote working experience!
Columnist: Steven Lou