Two weeks ago Sofia Skevofylaka was sitting in a lecture hall at Imperial College Business School taking one of the final classes on the masters in innovation, entrepreneurship and management degree that she is due to finish in July.
Within 48 hours she was on a plane back to her family in Greece after the campus on Exhibition Road in London’s museum district was closed, and every tutorial, seminar and class was put online. She does not expect to return.
“People started to get scared. I was living nearby in Imperial’s student accommodation and I had a contract to stay until August. But I prefer to be with my family. It is one less stress,” Ms Skevofylaka says.
She now attends lectures from her laptop via Zoom, the video conferencing platform. As part of their entrepreneurship module, Ms Skevofylaka and a team of classmates used this system to together present a start-up pitch, including slide presentations, with each logging on from their respective homes. Investors joined the call to judge their performance alongside the course tutors.
“It is a bit weird to have to now look at everyone’s faces on the screen. When we attended lectures on campus we didn’t look at each other as much as we do on Zoom, but the school has shown how it can be used to complete all of our coursework,” Ms Skevofylaka says.
There is also uncertainty around jobs following graduation. Some of the people she knows have secured consulting roles, she says, but for others there are concerns. “I am working on a start-up idea, a family business with my mother, specialising in corporate training and HR. People are trying to adjust to find roles after graduation.”