For business professionals, earning an MBA can set you up for next-level success as it opens many doors to lucrative career options. It’s a worthwhile investment as MBA professionals command higher income than their non-MBA counterparts. But there’s no denying that completing an MBA program is no easy feat, even more so with a full-time job.
Although it makes sense to quit your job to pursue advanced education, everyone has different circumstances, and most people with financial commitments cannot afford to lose their job.
However, working full-time alongside an MBA is no walk in the park. You can easily overexert yourself while juggling school, work, and other commitments. However, with careful planning, striking the perfect balance between work and education won’t seem so elusive.
Here are five tips that help you learn all the best practices to maintain healthy dynamics between work and school life.
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- Find an MBA program that works for you
The first step towards successfully completing an MBA while working starts with finding the right program, whether you’re looking for something more affordable, flexible, or both. If you want to get your MBA without giving up your day job, you can take advantage of the many affordable MBA online programs designed especially for working professionals. Many MBA schools offer part-time and online courses that allow for added flexibility, enabling students to learn at their own pace.
Moreover, there is no real difference in program offerings; they offer the same value to the students. Plus, some programs even provide GMAT waivers for qualified candidates. To find a program that works perfectly for you, consider the following:
- Check out the list of accredited programs from reputed schools compiled by the AACSB (The Association to Advance Collegiate School of Business).
- Research the schools via welcome packages and attend virtual or in-person open days and information sessions to learn more about the program.
- Reach out to school alums to get insight into their experience and seek answers to any queries you might have.
Once that’s done, list all the programs you’re considering and write down their respective pros and cons by factoring in costs, attendance, admission requirements, etc., to narrow your options. Doing so will help you choose the option that works best for you. All that’s left is to get your application in order and prepare to address any questions that may come your way during the admissions process.
- Talk about your expectations with your employer
An MBA program is an investment of both time and finances, so it’s important that you talk to your boss about pursuing this program before committing. Meet with your employer and discuss your goals and objectives. Doing so in advance shows respect and determination. Plus, by defining how an MBA is mutually beneficial to the company, your employer may offer to find a solution that benefits both parties and considers your expectations in terms of flexibility and financial support.
Define your expectations in terms of the work schedule, time off, and financial support, and also ask your employer to define their expectations in terms of job responsibilities and deadlines.
Employers know and realize what it takes to complete an MBA, and open communication with your company demonstrates your determination to make it work. And even if your company cannot offer the flexibility you’re looking for, you may wind up with a benefit you weren’t anticipating. Maintain open communication with your employer and schedule regular meetings ever so often to review your educational progress and job performance so you can stay on top of things.
- Attend professional development seminars and networking events
To make the most of your new educational endeavor, whether part-time or online, you must participate in any networking workshops, seminars, events, and activities available. Doing so will provide insights into balancing study and work commitments and expanding your personal and professional networks. Moreover, such events can help you network with influential figures in your industry, making meaningful connections that can guide you throughout your educational journey and even link you with the right opportunities.
- Be ready to make some compromises
You can’t achieve great things without making the necessary sacrifices. Similarly, when pursuing an MBA with a full-time job, you may have to put a temporary hold on your social activities and hobbies. When you enroll in an MBA program, you’ll find that your workload increases dramatically, and temporary compromises may be necessary regardless of how well you manage your time.
Keep in mind that this is merely a momentary setback on the road to achieving your MBA and that it was well worth the effort. Work and school might be challenging but earning an MBA will be well worth the effort. Having an MBA under your belt will open myriads of opportunities and boost your marketability to employers. However, it’s important not to get lost in your work and to prioritize self-care so you don’t over-exert yourself.
- Create a schedule
Balancing work and study require effective time management, and creating a well-organized schedule can help you achieve that! Effective time management is a function of your ability to plan and prioritize, both of which are enhanced by a practical and productive schedule. To create a schedule that maximizes your productivity, set realistic goals and objectives. Think realistically about your time commitments to your work and study-related activities and set aside the time it would take you to complete those activities.
You’re more likely to stick to schedules that follow your personal preference and are realistic and achievable. After all, no one knows you better than yourself, and only you can create a schedule that works for you. For example, if you work your best at night, you can dedicate that time to studying to maximize learning. Establish a regular study routine by adding it to your schedule and sticking to it to make it so that it becomes a habit
Every person struggles in their unique ways to strike a healthy balance between work, school, and other aspects of life. Before enrolling in a program, reach out to your employer and define your expectations to get their support while you pursue advanced education. Most importantly, find a program that works for you and not the other way around. There are many accredited online and part-time MBA programs from reputed institutions that you can enroll in. Carefully consider your options before finalizing one. Lastly, consider these five tips to strike the perfect balance between your work and study commitments.