On 13th March 2020, ESCP Business School’s London Campus temporarily closed its doors due to the COVID-19 crisis.
We were told that all our classes will be held online and no one knew for how long this would be. After two months of getting to know our fellow students on the MSc in Marketing & Creativity (MMK) and finally finding a rhythm to our “study and party” schedule, we were told that we may not be able to go back to campus until the Autumn semester.
Moving all our classes online was a challenge for both the students and ESCP; it required a whole other way of learning and teaching. Suddenly, we were all alone in our rooms, facing our laptops rather than in a lecture hall with our like-minded peers. The sudden change left us all feeling a sense of missing out on many opportunities.
One of my responsibilities as a student representative of the MMK is to work on enhancing the student experience. Before the pandemic outbreak, my fellow reps and I wanted to put together an MMK social event for everyone to get to know each other better. With the lockdown happening, we had to find new ways to socialise. What is more, as our online courses were progressing and the physical separation became more palpable, it became very clear that now more than ever we needed to find a way to connect and motivate our peers.
The first part of the programme is taught in London, where pub quiz nights are a must. One of our fellow classmates, Amina, pitched the idea of holding a virtual one and volunteered to be our quiz master. She put together a series of questions, which ranged from general knowledge to pop culture to marketing expertise, and the 62 MMK students were teamed by their project-work groups. The point was also to get to know the ESCP London Campus staff who coordinate our programme even better, so they also had a team of their own. We held the virtual pub quiz over Zoom and each team had to find another means of communication to confer. It was a great way to connect with everyone in a more relaxed setting. Unfortunately for the ESCP team, students won the quiz!
Another initiative by our colleague Elena was to organise a virtual tour of the Poldi Pezzoli museum in Milan, dubbed the ‘The MMK Art Party’. The event was meant to support the museum during the lockdown in Italy and help its mission to spread art and creativity all over the world. Using Google Arts and Culture Technology, a guide from the museum guided us through the different rooms, showing us the Pezzoli’s treasured collection such as the famous ‘Portrait of a Young Woman’ by Piero del Pollaiolo. It gave the students and the School another chance to come together virtually and enjoy some beautiful Italian art and history.
In the very first week of our programme, we learned about the importance of the co-creation of value. In a traditional sense, firms created value for their customers; however, nowadays companies are increasingly adopting the practice of co-creating value with their customers. This means that customers are more involved throughout a company’s value chain, which in return leads to more trust and loyalty.
I did not realise that we would be applying the learnings of our course on ourselves. By encouraging and challenging us students to always think creatively, ESCP enabled us to co-create value with them. Organising virtual get-togethers such as the pub quiz and museum tour reignited the MMK bond and helped students, staff and faculty to stay motivated.
This goes to show that the MSc in Marketing & Creativity goes beyond learning in a lecture hall to truly foster a community.
Stephanie Weinzierl is an MSc in Marketing & Creativity student. To follow in her footsteps, check out ESCP Business School's Marketing & Creativity programme: