Technology Management Student Builds Virtual Community with Classmates

Rishi Vajpeyi
Rishi Vajpeyi

Due to the pandemic, virtual learning has helped the George Mason School of Business meet learners where they are. For some, the increased accessibility and convenience of the online format are difficult to resist. Others, however, have concerns about the perceived lack of engagement often associated with virtual learning. Does a virtual program still have a sense of community? Are professors still accessible? We spoke with Rishi Vajpeyi, a student in the George Mason University School of Business’ online master's in technology management program (MSTM), about his experience.

Vajpeyi, Head of Public Sector Solutions at Medallia, started the MSTM in January 2021. However, when Vajpeyi initially considered the program classes were still being offered entirely in-person. While he did have some concerns about studying completely online, he conveyed that his “interactions with clients and acquaintances who have graduated from Mason showed [him] that the program provided quality education, insightful interactions and experiences, and a strong network.”

Vajpeyi says he was pleasantly surprised with the community built around the virtual synchronous format. He and his classmates developed a rapport online, which led to meetups at coffee shops and other local venues. For class, he set up two screens, one for course content and one a view of classmates and the professor. He believes this setup, and the fact that all of his classmates kept their cameras on, kept him more engaged than if he were sitting passively in an in-person classroom. Vajpeyi believes the MS in technology management lends itself particularly well to the online synchronous format, due to the nature of the classes and the accessibility of the professors.  

According to Vajpeyi, virtual synchronous classes have benefits that some may not consider. He says he was able to earn his master’s while staying present with his family. The online format cut out the lengthy commute between Fairfax and Arlington, which meant he both saved time and was not subjected to the whims of traffic in the Washington, D.C., area.

Now graduated, Vajpeyi hopes to leverage his new degree into pursuing a senior leadership role in digital transformation and technology sales. The MSTM program has equipped him with the skills and capabilities to be successful in this pursuit. “This program has helped me grow both professionally and personally. Professionally, the experience has helped me use data to drive decisions, be a better leader, work effectively in a team, and turn mistakes into opportunities to learn. Personally, the program has expanded my network with people who have done remarkable things and succeeded in many ways.”

The master’s in technology management is a 36-credit program designed to help you further your technology leadership career and excel in today’s dynamic business environment. The program is offered entirely online, providing anywhere learning, same time engagement. Applications are accepted for both fall and spring semester starts.