Dean’s Letter: Resilience and wellbeing; physical, mental and financial…and tulips

A message from Professor Paul Kofman, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics.

Dear Students,

I hope you had a restful Easter break. I fully appreciate that a long weekend is usually one spent with close friends and family. I thank and admire the commitment of everyone in our community not to be complacent of the physical distancing rules in place at this time and maintaining links with those close to us via the many online channels available.

It is with this sentiment in mind, that the University this week launched its Virtual Campus. Despite being physically separated, our University community remains strongly connected. I hope you will take the time to explore this new virtual campus, which is a great resource for all of the online offerings available to you. One of our Department of Finance academics, Professor Carsten Murawski, has been involved in putting together student focussed financial information and tips for our new community, so today I wanted to draw on some insights from Carsten’s recently published Pursuit article on Financial Resilience.

I am very mindful that you or someone close to you may have lost their job as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19 and this is undoubtedly very difficult to cope with. Carsten writes that there is a clear correlation between rising unemployment and depression and anxiety. So, while there has been a strong emphasis on looking after our physical and mental wellbeing at this time, our financial wellbeing is paramount to achieving this.

Carsten notes that the move to a more ‘cashless’ society during COVID can also cause people to spend more. Studies by MIT on credit card vs cash and a study on mobile payments in China, show the potential to increase spending if not kept in check. Another potential issue is using credit cards when there are short-term drops in income. However, there are simple steps people can take now, as well as put longer term measures in place, to minimise the impact. While it may sound elementary to a business and economics student, going back to the basics of setting a budget, monitoring spending, considering upcoming financial emergencies and avoiding unnecessary debt are all things we at the Faculty teach for successful business practice, it is equally important for people to consider applying these same lessons at home. For the full list of tips, I recommend you read and share Carsten’s article.

Finally, in keeping with our financial wellbeing theme, I hope that if you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 that you do utilize the University’s financial support. Vice Chancellor, Duncan Maskell recently announced the launch of the Emergency Support Fund, which is designed to provide assistance to students suffering financial hardship. In addition, student support grants are available to international students who were affected by travel restrictions in Semester 1. If you're in need of an emergency grant, you can learn more and apply online before 31 August.

My mom in the Netherlands tells me that it is peak tulip season over there, a feast of rainbow colours splattered across the landscape. It is an astonishingly beautiful sight as people go driving, cycling, and walking just to watch. But not this year. It’s strange to miss an entire season of Spring when nature awakens. Nostalgia for what has been or could be is a powerful emotion, so please hang in there while we all do our part to flatten the curve.

Stay safe and healthy.

Kind regards,


Paul K Small circle