Global Central Banking and Financial Regulation programme participant Pallavi Chavan discusses what it is like to return to studying and what keeps her motivated.
My decision to join the Global Central Banking and Financial Regulation programme was rather spontaneous when I discovered that my organisation was sponsoring the programme as an incentive for its employees. The name of the University and the wide coverage of contemporary issues in central banking was enough to attract me to this programme.
Like any other mid-career professional, I had my apprehensions about managing the work-life-study balance and yes, going back to university after a gap of over 20 years! To top it all, my country was going through the second and rather brutal wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, which left practically no family untouched. It was a period of unforeseen uncertainty for everyone. Even though I was working from home most of the time, I can vouch that managing the work-life balance while working from home is an ever-challenging exercise. One does not know when the working hours end and the family or personal time begins. Furthermore, I belong to a generation that has had little exposure to online classes, so the online mode of learning added to my apprehension.
And yet, when I embarked on this course, I realised that going back to study, even during the pandemic was not very difficult after all. In fact, my studies helped me stay focused during these times of uncertainty. As the course progressed bringing forth newer issues relating to money and banking from what I had learned 20 years ago, I learnt, relearnt and even unlearnt some of the basics in macroeconomics. Even though the course was primarily geared towards self-learning, I found to my surprise that I could manage the pace well and could complete the course in time.
I planned my schedule so that I could devote at least an hour or so every day to my studies. Some lectures were demanding and could not be finished in a day, so I simply divided them into smaller parts and tried to cover at least one part at a time. It was, of course, my own determination that helped but it was also the constant interaction with a fellow colleague and friend that kept me on my toes. The monthly live sessions and email exchanges with the course coordinator, with him patiently clarifying my doubts, gave a classroom-like feeling to the online mode of learning. Not to mention, my child, who kept encouraging me, and served me hot cups of tea whenever she saw me staring blankly at my computer screen.
The format of the course also helped me to stay engaged. There was a good mix of recorded lectures, simple but useful interviews of leading officials from the Bank of England and readings of research papers by leading economists. The slightly provocative tone of some of the readings helped me understand that what central bankers or standard setting bodies treat as gospel truths may also have their own limitations. I particularly liked the way the course dealt with the concept of money, and the debates around LoLR, deposit insurance, and Basel III regulations, among others.
My immediate areas of work relate to banking supervision and research in supervisory issues. I took the first module on the basics of money and banking as a stepping-stone into the MSc programme, and I intend to study the modules on regulation and supervision in order to build on the knowledge acquired through the first module. I’m looking forward to my learning journey continuing to be as smooth and as engaging as it has been.