April 3, 2020
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Expert advice from an OMBA alumna and Comcast employee who is currently working remotely

As classes and companies go remote during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kristi DeSimone, MBA ’17, has advice based on her experience in the Online MBA program for students at the Fox School of Business.

DeSimone pursued an online program so that she could tailor her class schedule and coursework to her career and lifestyle. “I chose the Fox Online MBA because I traveled a lot for work and wanted to be able to get my MBA while living my life,” says DeSimone. “I didn’t want to be tied to a classroom, and I wanted the flexibility to start a family. I actually finished my capstone while I was on maternity leave.”

Today, DeSimone works as a director at Comcast leading retail communication strategy. She also recently assumed human resources responsibilities after finishing her MBA with a concentration in human resource management.

For those transitioning to a virtual setting, DeSimone shares six tips on how to ensure minimal interruption to work, school and life.

  1. Stay organized.
    Organization is just as important for a virtual setting as it is for an in-person environment. Whether you’re learning or working from home, set goals on specific things you want to accomplish each day to ensure you meet your professional and academic deadlines. To support this, schedule start and end times for both work and class. Be sure to include breaks in order to maintain a healthy balance of work, school and life.
  2. Don’t ignore your family.
    In addition to taking care of your needs, you may need to take care of family members as well. Factor their needs into your schedule and keep them informed on when you are working, in class and doing schoolwork. As soon as you’re done with work and class, make time for them, too.
  3. See this new format as an opportunity to develop your leadership skills.
    As school and work move to an online environment, we all need to be able to collaborate with teams virtually. Your ability to manage projects, stay organized and meet deadlines in this new format will test leadership skills. Keep colleagues and classmates informed by communicating status, progress, issues and needs. This will help them feel confident and comfortable with projects and trust you as a team member and leader.
  4. Use tools that enable and support connections and networking.
    Enhance your team collaboration experience by using and downloading digital resources such as Google Docs, Zoom, WebEx and more. You can also use these tools, as well as texting and calling, to get to know your classmates individually and network.
  5. Continue to speak up.
    Now more than ever, be vocal on conference calls and in the virtual classroom by sharing your thoughts. To enhance your presence, use your webcam for meetings and classes; being on video will help keep you honest about staying engaged, especially during tougher calls and group meetings. Make sure your background and appearance are professional.
  6. Remember to mute.
    You, along with your colleagues and classmates, may have kids and animals at home. Limit distractions for yourself and others by staying aware of your mute status.

Stay informed at temple.edu/coronavirus and stay healthy, Owls.

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