One of the most challenging things about going to graduate school for your Master’s or Ph.D is figuring out how to work while doing it. Since many MBA programs not only favor, but often require, applicants to have a certain amount of professional experience, dropping out of the workforce to advance one’s education is probably not an option. In addition, most business schools are expensive, and there aren’t many people who can afford to cut back on a steady income while they take classes. Also, if the employer will help pay for the MBA, then the student should take advantage of that perk. The good news is that it’s possible to design a class schedule that allows the student to work full time while earning their MBA, and embracing a business mindset can help them do it. Here are a few tips on how to combine an MBA degree with work.
Part-Time or Online MBAs
It is definitely convenient to be living in the time of Generation Y as things have gotten a lot easier. Candidates can opt for a part-time MBA along with work and they will only have to spend around 15 hours per week for individual study, along with 1-2 evening attending lectures. Students also can simply log onto the website of their university of choice and begin an Online MBA. While it requires the same amount of commitment, it gives students a substantial amount of flexibility. Attending virtual lectures when not at work and simply emailing assignments is as easy as it gets.
Whether one has a full-time or part-time job, applying for a full-time MBA, as much as one would like it, is not an option. A full-time MBA truly means 100% dedication in terms of studying for that degree. Since this is not the case here, one will need to make a compromise and choose a part-time or online MBA, which is specifically dedicated to working professionals.
Part-time and online MBAs are equally acknowledged and valued by employers and they have the same curriculum as traditional full-time MBAs. So they are exactly what one needs in terms of schedule and career goals. The only downside is that it will require more time to complete it, usually three years instead of two. However, most online MBAs require two years of attendance as well.
Part-Time or Freelance Work
Candidates can find part-time work rather than opting for a part-time MBA. If part-time work still doesn’t suit them, technology once again comes to the rescue by giving them the option of freelance work. Numerous platforms online offer freelance projects and many pay a substantial amount for high-quality.
Make a list of bonus and minus points of the chosen MBA
It is important to create a smooth plan for getting one’s MBA. As such, he should look into further details in terms of costs, entry requirements, class attendance, curriculum, and other features and benefits of the MBA programme. An MBA is a serious commitment and the student should certainly want to make sure to make the best decision to get the full value from his business degree. He should verify his chances of being admitted and see if the curriculum fits with what he expects to learn from an MBA. He should also check if the business school frequently organizes workshops or any kind of business networking and events. These are important elements meant to enhance practical business skills.
Design the perfect study schedule, to make sure to see the MBA through
The first step in designing a schedule that will align with working full time is to figure out what the student needs in terms of flexibility at work and at home. If the student has rigid requirements from his employer, he will need to find a program that offers control over schedule design. He might even be able to integrate his school work into his job in a way that will also benefit his employer, and he may possibly need time off to meet an urgent deadline. Keeping track of one’s responsibilities for both one’s job and one’s MBA is very important. One should set up a calendar for important meetings and tasks from their job and a different one for assignments and tests. Creating specific study times and sticking with them is also imperative. This way, the student will ensure that he does not finish MBA assignments during work and does not work during MBA study time as well.
The same is true when it comes to the student’s personal life. If the student has a family that will be impacted by their educational plans, it is best to consider everyone’s needs so that he will have the support required to help him succeed. Basically, the student needs to build a team that both understands and supports the journey that lies ahead. He must make sure that his family is on board, and he must let his employer know of his plans.
Take advantage of practical gadgets to learn anytime, anywhere
With so many apps and tech devices available these days, anyone can become a multi-tasking person and complete many activities in little time. For instance, during their daily commute, the student can read some of his courses or schedule the work plan for the day or maybe even send some important e-mails or have a quick Skype meeting with a client. Recording his business courses and listening to them on head-phones while talking a walk is also a good way to multi-task. These are just a few and simple examples of how the student can benefit from technology to create a perfect study and work balance.
The benefits of technology cannot be emphasized enough. Whether one is travelling, at work, or simply does not want to be laden with books and notebooks, his tech gadgets can really facilitate his MBA. Downloading textbooks to one’s iPad or using Kindle to find research material can be very beneficial. Organizing himself with his cell phone and carrying his mini laptop with him to complete assignments is also advisable. These gadgets are not too bulky but can easily enable him to sneak in an hour of studying while riding shotgun or typing in a few paragraphs of his assignment while eating lunch. However, the student should remember not to overdo it and do justice to both. Simply put, the student should remember not to finish MBA assignments during work and not to work during MBA study time.
Squeeze in some time for relaxing activities
Although having a job, studying for an MBA and maybe even also taking care of the family may be overwhelming at times, the student needs to fit into his busy schedule a little time for oneself. A little relaxation time will help him keep a psychological and emotional balance. He should go out and meet his friends for a coffee, watch a movie or read a novel instead of his business courses. These are simple tricks that will help the student unload and focus better on what he has to do next with his studies and work.
If the student is over laden with work and MBA and can’t breathe then he is very likely to get agitated and his performance may deteriorate. The student must make sure to have a life besides these two activities as that can help him maintain a psychological and emotional balance. Walking in the park or reading a novel besides his MBA course books can really help the student relax. Besides socializing can promptly turn into networking if the student has the correct attitude. Talking to old friends can give him new information for his MBA project or give him some knowledge on how to handle a task at work. It is constantly easier to finish a task when the mind is already full of ideas. Breathing and thinking of other things besides work and MBA at times will help one truly succeed.
Managing the Schedule
One of the most important things to do is to practice time management skills and set a routine. The student may opt to be an early bird, a night owl, or manage his time during the weekends between work and MBA. He must make sure to be organized and should set up appropriate reminders for assignment deadlines, classes, business meetings, and all work-related commitments. This will prevent panic in tight situations as he will be aware of what is expected from him in advance. Good organization increases efficiency and this will amplify the time available for studying or pondering over a new business strategy.
In order to set a schedule which suits the student, it is best to know one’s strengths and weaknesses. If the student works best at night and is still able to get up in the morning then he should set up a night owl schedule. If he is fresher in the morning and is able to wake up in the wee hours at dawn to squeeze in study time, then he can choose that schedule. He should not choose a routine which inconveniences him, and there will also be no need to do so as he will have plenty of options.
Get started on the action: apply and enroll in an MBA
The key to design a schedule that meets one’s needs is recognizing what those needs are and planning or adjusting accordingly. Whenever it is best, the student must take the time to evaluate how he is doing and tweak his schedule as much as he can. Once he has assessed his needs, formed a plan, and selected a potential program, it is time to implement the next steps in the process. The student should carefully check the application deadlines, and he can even talk to a program advisor well in advance.