Newspapers, newscasts, radio programs and even our social networks are full of bad news about the health crisis (COVID-19) that we are going through and the repercussions it has on a macroeconomic and personal level, giving a 180 ° turn to our plans to 2020. However, in the face of this sea of changes that can bring discouragement, frustration, stress, among other negative feelings, let us keep in mind the quote from John F. Kennedy in one of his speeches as a United States senator “In the crisis, be aware of the danger, but recognize the opportunity ”.
It is true that not all of us are equally susceptible to recognizing these opportunities, so in this article we will talk about how to improve your profile through volunteering, that is, make it more competitive from this pandemic, oriented to your application for postgraduate studies in business schools. It is true that the admission process to MBAs has undergone important modifications with respect to the traditional dynamics – including postponing application deadlines, open visits to the campuses of the universities that offer these programs, virtual fairs, among others. However, something that has not changed is what is expected of candidates: that they reflect an attractive profile for the admissions committee.
The Great Lockdown freed up people time we used to spend in movie theaters, shopping malls, restaurants, coffee shops, family gatherings, even time spent in traffic, among many other places and situations. Investing this time in volunteer activities will positively impact your profile as a candidate committed to improving the community . Remember that the committee does not only value reasoning skills through exams, but looks for multidimensional professionals who show interests, commitments and passions beyond the academic and work environment.
At this point, you may wonder how I can do volunteer activities if for my safety, and that of others in turn, I must stay at home? Although it is true, COVID restricted us from developing many activities, it also opened an opportunity never seen before for postgraduate candidates, allowing them to demonstrate attitudes and actions aimed at supporting society through volunteering.
Even before such a situation, a prepared candidate will surely have already volunteered so, if this is your case, you can contact the organizations you collaborated with to analyze the possibilities of resuming this volunteering remotely. If not, or if remote volunteering with these organizations is not possible , there are other ways to do it. These can range from some very simple, but that will undoubtedly speak of your skills as an organizer, financier, among others, to some more complex. Here are examples:
Plan and coordinate donations
These can start by raising funds with the help of non-profit organizations, as these give greater confidence to donors, although do not rule out the possibility of doing it on your own. Later transfer these economic support to causes that are directly or indirectly related to the ravages left by the pandemic. What can these causes be? Acquire medical supplies, financial support for transportation or meals for the medical and support staff who are caring for victims of the disease, buy items such as face masks, antibacterial gel, gloves, masks, etc., to prevent the spread of the disease. Another alternative is to transfer these funds to organizations like UNHCR.(UN Refugee Agency) that will allocate it to protection, accommodation, health services and education for vulnerable people such as refugees. Likewise, a fund led by the WHO uses these supports to increase efforts to accelerate the development of diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines, among other actions.
The school years and semesters were modified and it is a fallacy to believe that absolutely all enrolled students have access to virtual classes. Some do not have access to a Wi-fi network, so implementing points that provide this connection to those who cannot afford it would be a sign of commitment to society. Similarly, not all the personnel of institutions, especially those of basic and upper secondary education, is trained to teach classes in an online model. Therefore, another alternative for you is to volunteer to provide tutoring or classes to these young people. Also, if your professional area allows it, you could develop programs or platforms that make it possible to continue or strengthen teaching in a virtual way.
Care for the elderly
Older people are the most at risk and the most vulnerable in the global context, as the risk of complications caused by COVID-19 increases with age. Therefore, it is extremely important that social isolation is respected as much as possible. Despite the above, keep in mind that these people need food, personal care items and, for the most part, medications to cope with the contingency, so you can volunteer to take what is necessary to those confined to their homes . A platform, “LivelyHood” has even been developed by a group of volunteer MBA students from Harvard Business School along with the support of designers and engineers. This platform allows healthy young people to connect with older people who as a consequence find their immune system compromised and at risk to make these deliveries. Developing this idea in LATAM will not be an easy task, but it will undoubtedly be recognized and valued by the admissions committee.
The pandemic has physiological repercussions, even for those who have not contracted the virus. In this social isolation, we are susceptible to mental health problems, such as depression, sleep disorder, anxiety, stress, among others. Hotlines serving those suffering from these problems have proven more valuable. Their work is so delicate that in the United States, for example, you must take training to be able to volunteer in these alternative therapies. If empathy in interpersonal communication is your thing, do not hesitate to support the community with this task.
If your professional preparation allows it, universities like Cambridge are looking for staff with useful skills for the research and development of diagnostic tests for COVID-19. The Barcelona Institute of Global Health also develops research programs where you can participate as a volunteer if your characteristics, skills and knowledge allow it.
In conclusion, there are many ways to serve the community in these times of crisis. It is even likely that while reading this article you may come up with other ideas that we do not mention here. The more innovative and high-impact this volunteer is, the admissions committee will undoubtedly give you value when reviewing your profile. In the same way, the more linked this experience is with your goals and programs to which you wish to apply, the greater weight will be given to your profile as a leader. Beyond earning some points for your profile, it is important to remember that in difficult times we must show our human side more than ever, organizations such as VolunteerMatch and Hacesfalta.org.mx allow volunteering virtual with proposals and causes already prepared that you can join. Go ahead and try these new experiences! And, above all, to rescue the best of adverse situations.