Student Life

Class of ’20: Living in the Moment with Sasha Clements

The fourth-year international student talks about his time at the Comm School and what he has enjoyed most about it.

Sasha Clements

Sasha Clements (McIntire ’20) is in lockdown like the rest of us—only he’s in Malta, where he was raised.

But as easy as it might be to simply await the return to a more opened-up world, Clements is making the most of what he has now, both with his education and his time at home.

He credits one of his favorite McIntire professors, David Mick, and his teaching on mindfulness with helping him to deal with the challenges of this strange moment:

“I think during this time it’s so easy to just sit around and try to wait for normality to resume. Well, I’ve used Professor Mick’s teaching on mindfulness to make the most of the situation. Of course, I know that many people are struggling, and for many, there is no easy solution to the disruption that this pandemic has caused to their lives. But I do think that mindfulness is a powerful tool to increase one’s well-being, even or especially during the crisis we currently face.”

While Clements considers himself very fortunate that his family and close friends are safe and healthy, he says that having that peace of mind has freed him to read more and take advantage of Malta’s less severe lockdown to exercise in the countryside and take up surfing. He’s also been volunteering at a food bank two mornings each week, becoming part of a network helping to feed more than 500 families in need across the island nation.

As an international student, he says he felt welcomed by the Commerce School for the value it places on diverse opinions and experiences of its students. He also credits McIntire’s Commerce Career Services and its programming, along with the vibrant international community within the School, for helping him along. “I also love that the Maltese flag hangs alongside all the others on the second floor!”

After graduating, the London-born IT concentrator will be relocating to New York, where he’ll be taking a position with Bain & Company. We spoke to Clements to find out more about his time at the Comm School and what he enjoyed most about it.

What McIntire professors and courses will stay with you?
There are so many fantastic professors at McIntire, and I really valued all the professors who taught ICE for Block 1. However, I’d say that my two favorite McIntire courses were “Business Analytics with R” with Professor David Dobolyi and “Wisdom and Well-Being” with Professor David Mick.

Professor Dobolyi taught his class in a very comprehensive way in order to cater to beginners in programming but also treated us like adults and gave us a lot of freedom and help when it came to assignments and writing code. One could just tell from his teaching style that he knew loads about the subject and his passion for teaching really shone through.

I had Professor Mick for a Marketing class and got to know him through that, but I really understood his kindness and—funnily enough—wisdom in “Wisdom and Well-Being.” He’s designed this class that links business with psychology, philosophy, literature, and wellness to create a learning experience that is genuinely thought-provoking and has made me see myself and the way I treat others in a new light. I think this was my most valuable course at McIntire.

I’d also like to mention Jeff Leopold, who I first met as my COMM 1800 professor but later got to know better as a TA for the class. It’s been great getting to know Jeff, and I think he’s the perfect professor to start to get first- and second-years interested in business before they’ve applied to McIntire. I’m really grateful for the relationship I’ve developed with Jeff, and I’m sure we’ll keep in touch after college.

What’s been most memorable about your courses since they moved online?
Taking part and listening to my classmates in Professor Marcia Pentz’s “Advanced Business Speaking” class has been a funny experience. I had my doubts as to how well a public speaking class could transfer online, but Professor Pentz’s high energy and enthusiasm ensured that not much changed. Listening to my classmates go through comedy routines was both bizarre and memorable at the same time, and produced more laughs—mainly from Professor Pentz—than I thought they would!

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