Alexandra Calderone earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with dual concentrations in Organizational Behaviour & Management Information Systems from Boston University. After graduating, Alexandra was still eligible to play varsity hockey for two more years and, upon discovering the 2-year MSc in Management offered at the John Molson School of Business and the Concordia Stingers hockey team, the opportunity seemed perfect.
Starting the MSc in September 2020 meant that she did the entire program online under pandemic restrictions, bar one in-person courses in Spring 2021, when Concordia saw a gradual return to in-class learning. However, she remained disciplined and motivated throughout the mostly virtual learning experience.
“At first, it was a steep learning curve as everything was so new and foreign.” Not only were Alexandra and her cohort adapting to the ‘new normal’ of Zoom classes, but they were also learning difficult Management concepts and trying to engage with new faculty members (who were also learning to adapt along with their students!). Alexandra found that it was mainly the social aspect that was lacking. What helped her stay motivated during these times were a few classmates that she became good friends with: “We would constantly call each other to go over assignments and help each other out. There was a lot of collaboration!”
Not only did Alexandra find motivation while collaborating in class, but she was also motivated by being surrounded with her Concordia Stingers women’s hockey teammates. Alexandra was recruited to return to Canada by top-tier coaches and former Olympians, Julie Chu and Caroline Ouellette. Joining the Stingers was a great decision because of the outstanding culture within the team that aligned with her values: a team first mentality.
From the start of her first semester, Alexandra was quickly surprised at the level of research students were expected to do within the program. She needed to adjust to the new way of studying in a research-based graduate program, which differs significantly from an undergraduate program workload. On top of that, Management was an area of academia that was unknown to her. “Like most of the students in the program, we quickly learned how to read high quality research articles and were completely immersed in concepts that are fundamental to Management studies.”
Balancing academics and athletics
In terms of balancing academic and athletic responsibilities, Alexandra found it difficult, but, having managed sports alongside her studies for most of her life, she has already learned how to adapt and manage her time. “It sometimes feels like you’re spreading yourself out too thin, but it’s important to stay resilient and make sure you are succeeding in both.”
While succeeding in the MSc program, Alexandra was experiencing many thrilling successes with her hockey teammates. She was part of the Concordia Stingers hockey team that won the U Sports national championship in Prince Edward Island in March of this year. It is the third time the Stingers have gone gold since having won the first two championships in U Sports history back in 1998 and 1999.