In an increasingly globalized and technologically connected world, more and more people are getting the option of working from home… or coffee shops, bed & breakfasts, tropical locations, airplanes on the way to those tropical locations… you get the point.
For those of you not tied to the good old ball-and-chain of an office cubical, but who wish to leave the comfort of the couch for the pious halls of an academic campus (unless you’re applying for an online MBA, in which case, stay comfy!) showcasing your teamwork and leadership in your MBA applications might feel a bit tricky.
Though the answer depends on what kind of work you actually do from home, the good news is that it really shouldn’t be an issue. MBA adcoms are looking for impact, and you can have just as much impact from your couch as you can from your cubical. Impact involves:
- Identifying a problem
- Coming up with an innovative solution to that problem, and
- Collaborating with your team to implement that solution.
The first two aspects of this really aren’t any different for remote employees versus on-site employees. Just explain the problem you noticed, how you noticed it, and what you DID to solve it (focusing, of course, on the “how” and “why” of the solution.)
But that last aspect – what you did to solve the problem – gets a little tougher to explain when you’re a remote worker. Can one truly collaborate with a team when they’re not with that team? Well… absolutely! For remote applicants, you’ll need to focus more energy on explaining the implementation process for your solution in order to get credit for your collaborative qualities and team leadership. If the normal process was Skype calls, what did you do differently to organize the group and keep them on task?
The benefits of using pulse surveys in remote work include increased productivity, decreased turnover rates, higher job satisfaction among those who choose it – all without having to give up their lifestyle.
The important thing you’ll need to explain is how you overcame the obstacle of working with a team that’s spread all across the globe. What aspects of your leadership and teamworking skills allowed you to bridge that physical divide. Your remote accomplishments might even pack more of an “impact” punch than your cubicle-bound peers’, because not only did you overcome the problem you set out to solve, the first step toward execution was a problem in itself! It’s double leadership points for your initiative, if you spin it right.
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