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Jonathan Tsarouhis: Making the Most of COVID-19 Uncertainty with HyFlex Courses in Columbia’s Business Certificate Program

When Jonathan Tsarouhis graduated this spring from Long Island University, where he double-majored in Economics and Psychology, he faced an uncertain job market. 

“After completing my undergraduate degree, I intended to enter the job market, and eventually take graduate courses sometime in the future,” Tsarouhis said. “However, in the wake of the changing tides in the job market due to COVID-19, I reached out to Dr. Mourdoukoutas, who recommended I apply to Columbia’s Advanced Graduate Certificate in Business program to further my education and make the most of the current situation.”

Dr. Panos Mourdoukoutas, Tsarouhis’s professor at Long Island University who is also a professor within the Columbia University School of Professional Studies, was “a true mentor and through our discussions encouraged me to pursue my passion for academics and business. I was very fortunate and grateful to be able to turn to him for guidance and insight,” said Tsarouhis.

Tsarouhis was accepted to the program over the summer and is now taking classes in the HyFlex modality, which allows him to be on campus in socially-distanced classrooms. 

“I really pride myself on the opportunity to be a part of a school with such a rich history,” Tsarouhis said.

What has your experience been like in HyFlex courses?

My experience with Hyflex courses has been excellent. I have gone to in-person lectures (when possible) and have been able to maintain a strong presence online when needed. Hyflex courses have been outstanding because the instructors have been able to engage students and respond to questions rather quickly. There is also an element of convenience for students where they can pursue furthering their education from anywhere! 

What have been some of your favorite courses in the program so far? 

Within the program, two of my favorite courses have been Introduction to Finance, with Professor Eleni Vrana; and Financial Accounting with Professor Rebecca Shaffer. These two courses are essential, in my opinion, as entry-level background courses needed for success in every form of business. 

How are you staying connected with faculty and your peers during this time?

I have had to rely mostly on electronic means of communication in order to stay in touch with my professors and fellow students. While this has been somewhat different from what I’m used to, I have noticed a swift transition. I must commend the manner in which Columbia’s professors have facilitated students working in small groups with limited in-person communications currently available.

What do you hope to do with the Business Certificate in the future? 

One thing this year has taught me is that the world is full of uncertainty and it is difficult to accurately plan for tomorrow. Ideally, I would like to build upon the classes offered in the Business Certificate program to enter a Master’s program within either Columbia’s School of Professional Studies or Columbia’s Business School. Beyond expanding my educational background, I have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and hope to start my own business someday. I truly believe the pillars of business taught within the Business Certificate program will help me in the coming chapters of my life. 

Any advice for students who might be considering joining the program in HyFlex Courses?

I have always been a strong believer that the traits of persistence and resilience are pivotal in any success story. Being able to maintain persistence toward a given goal, day in and day out, along with being able to show resilience to keep striving for what you want, even when a wrench is thrown into your plans and you have to adapt accordingly. 

In wake of the current COVID-19 outbreak, we have had to adapt our means of going about our goals. Nonetheless, we must keep moving forward to have any chance of conquering a given goal. I genuinely believe that HyFlex courses, currently offered within Columbia’s Business Certificate Program, allow students the opportunity to receive an education from one of the most prestigious universities from anywhere in the world! Hyflex courses are, in my opinion, an excellent alternative method that allows students to pursue individual growth through understanding business building blocks in a time of such uncertainty.

Learn more about the Advanced Graduate Certificate in Business here.