By Libby Beck, OMBA '22
As the world adapts to post-COVID life, it has become apparent that one skill set will be required by nearly every employer now and into the future: the ability to work well remotely.
I plan to use my expertise in remote work, which I’m acquiring through the Michigan Ross Online MBA Program, to secure my next position.
With the world forced to work remotely, it’s become obvious that not all remote work is effective. As anyone who fumbled their first Zoom call can attest, virtual work takes practice. Right now, I work at a U.S. Army healthcare facility in Belgium, connecting patients and doctors who are thousands of miles apart through telemedicine technology. Managing time independently, using technology smoothly, adapting content to specific audiences, and presenting well – these are skills needed in any work environment but are even more important in a virtual environment. Although most of the world can say they’ve worked “remotely” during this period, the Online MBA has given me the skills to deliver high-quality products over a long period of time. This fall, I’m excited to take the Living Business Leadership Experience course and partner with the Michigan Academy for Developing Entrepreneurs. I’ll be doing both LBLE and MAP remotely, and my resume will reflect a sustained ability to provide value from a distant location.
Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Traditionally, one of the biggest hesitations in using an online platform is that it “just isn’t the same” – something gets lost in translation. Communicating well in person is hard, but communicating and connecting online is even harder. Our online MBA cohort has overcome this by taking the tools developed for the leadership residency by Gretchen Spreitzer and Betsy Irwin and putting them into daily practice. This includes fostering small, meaningful connections. In addition to synchronous online classes, we also have an internal book club, fitness class, and pub quiz, and multiple chat streams and connections across a variety of media platforms. Being able to connect with someone on a personal level is what will make them remember you. Every person you call for a coffee chat, every recruiter you visit with at a career fair, each person you interact with at work – they have lives outside of the job, too. Whether applying for a new job or working with people in an existing position, being able to move fluidly between getting the work done and connecting with someone emotionally is what leads to success. As an online student, I’ve honed the skills needed to connect quickly and meaningfully.
Wally Hopp, associate dean of Part-Time MBA Programs, says that the online cohort is full of risk takers because we are willing to try something new. While the rest of the world got forced into teleworking by COVID-19, and are hopeful to return to their offices eventually, I chose the online program because I saw remote work as being increasingly prevalent in the future. That risk has paid off in spades during COVID-19. After the dust settles from the pandemic, those who have adapted well to teleworking will be poised to take on the next great opportunity… I know I’ll be ready.