How to have a good work-life balance when getting your MBA degree
Many students tend to lose track of their lives when they choose to study an MBA degree. They find it difficult to maintain a work-life balance. This is especially the case if they are pursuing a full-time job along with their MBA degree. However, having a good work-life balance while studying any degree is critical as it means that your mental health stays stable and you have time to do things to recharge when working. In this article, we discuss how to have a good work-life balance when pursuing an MBA degree so you can get the best of both worlds.
What is an MBA degree?
Before we jump into how to maintain a good work-life balance, we must first define what an MBA degree is. An MBA is a type of postgraduate degree for those who want to study a business administration studies master’s degree. The study covers many practical business topics so that those who graduate from the program can easily progress up the business ladder and become managers. It can also earn you a higher salary or help you secure your own position. You can even select specific industries to dive deep into during the study program so you can become an expert in the industry.
To be accepted into an MBA program, you need to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- A bachelor’s degree
- A good GMAT or GRE score
- Professional work experience
- Fulfillment of prerequisite courses (if any)
However, it’s important to note that it’s a pretty costly degree, costing around 100,000 dollars on an average basis. Financial aid is possible to obtain if you aren’t able to afford this cost. If you are working, your employer may decide to help you pay for it as this can serve mutual benefits for both you and them. If you are studying full time, this program will be finished in two years. If you choose to study a part time degree, then it’ll take you about three years to complete it.
If you want to study a part-time degree, they are usually one of two categories:
Online MBA degree programs
Online MBA degree programs are usually cheaper and more flexible than in person classes. In this type of degree, you watch lectures online that are either live and pre-recorded, rather than going to attend the courses on campus. You also do projects and coursework online and don’t need to go to campus to obtain the degree.
In-person MBA degree programs
For this type of MBA degree programs, students will need to attend classes in person. These classes may be during any time of day, though sometimes they may call on weekends or nights to accommodate students who are working when pursuing their degrees. These programs are often more expensive than online programs and will need you to go to campus for classes, exams and projects regularly. However, they have the added benefit of networking opportunities with other professionals, colleagues and professors.
How to have a good work-life balance when getting your MBA degree
Next, we will jump into the topic of maintaining a good work-life balance while pursuing your MBA degree. It’s important to be able to have both a good work life, as well as a good academic and social life. This helps students become well-rounded individuals who are satisfied with their lives and are less likely to burn out. Here are some of the tips and tricks you can follow to have a good work-life balance during the course of studying your degree:
Choose a flexible MBA degree program
First of all, you should definitely choose a flexible MBA degree program if you will work during the course of your MBA program. Whether you are working on a full-time or part-time basis, going for a full-time MBA degree program will be impossible, so you’ll need to go for one that is flexible. These programs are usually either part-time or online degrees and are usually formulated with professionals who are working alongside their degrees in mind. This means these degrees will usually be more flexible than full-time MBA degrees, which require 100 per cent dedication to the master’s degree program.
It’s important to note that part-time and online MBA programs aren’t looked down upon by employers. In fact, they are treated as equal to the other full-time MBA degree programs. This is because they have the same curriculums as the other programs, though they usually take longer to be completed. The easiest way to find the right program for you is to make a list of the programs and schools and note down the pros and cons for each of the programs. Write down factors like cost, attendance and entry requirements so you can select a program that is suitable for your needs.
Talk to your employer
It’s also crucial to talk to your employer if you want to maintain a good work-life balance when pursuing your MBA degree. You should talk to your employer ahead of time, when you are applying for your program as this shows respect and dedication towards the company. They may also offer to help you pay for the program or figure out a plan that can be the best for both sides. You should talk about the level of flexibility that will be maintained and any expectations either parties may have. You can ask them questions like the following:
- Can the organisation cover part of the cost of the MBA degree?
- Could there possibly be some schedule flexibility or time off if there’s a critical deadline or exam?
- Is is possible to work remotely to be more flexible, either once a week or whenever you need to be on campus?
- What job expectations do you (the employer) have from me (the employee) while being enrolled in the MBA degree program?
However, be sure that most employers do understand the level of commitment needed when pursuing an MBA degree and will encourage you to do the best thing for you. Having a good discussion with your employer shows that you are dedicated to them and respect them, and they might offer you an option that you didn’t know existed. Be sure to keep communicating during the course of the program about how the study program is going along with work performance.
Create a good study schedule
Another tip to follow is to maintain a good study schedule. If you manage your time effectively, you’ll be more efficient when achieving your tasks and will be able to accomplish everything you need, whether work tasks or academic ones for your MBA degree. Fix your schedule by first placing the most rigid items like exam dates, project deadlines and important work deadlines. Also, factor in work meetings that are critical so that you know when to attend them. Write down if you’ll need time off in certain time periods so you can ask for vacations in advance for your employer. Examples of these times may be during exam season or during dissertation submissions, if your program has one.
You should also schedule in specific study times, whether before exams or on a daily or weekly basis, to keep up with school work and stick to them as much as you can. This will help you stay on track. Make sure your employer and your professors know of your deadlines. It’s crucial to have a support system that understands and supports your journey, so also make sure your family is on board to give you that extra push of motivation to stick to the good study schedule you have created.
Take advantage of technology
There are also many technological apps that you can use to your own advantage these days. Anyone can easily multi-task and achieve many tasks on an efficient basis. For example, you can use reading applications to do your readings on the train or bus to work and back or use a scheduling app to write down your to-do list for the day. You could also schedule in a quick Skype meeting with a work client or send some emails that are important. Take advantage of every second and every technological tool that you can. Another good idea is to record lectures and listen to them on your headphones while you are on the go so that you are always studying and staying up to date on your courses. This can save you time and energy before exams.
A critical point to follow is always to chill out and make time for yourself to unwind. When choosing to study a master’s degree such as an MBA, as well as working full-time or part-time and maintaining a family, it can be very overwhelming and stressful. You must make it a priority to always pencil in a little time for yourself. This downtime to chill is important to recharge and stay emotionally and psychologically balanced so you can handle everything on your (awfully busy) plate. Making time for yourself gives you emotional and mental space away from work and your studies. For example, you might decide to go out and meet your girls (or boys) for a coffee date or for a drink. You might go to the movies and enjoy one of your favourite movies. You might even just put your feet up and take a bubble bath and read your favourite novel or just walk your dog in the park!
Read more: 8 Time management tips and tricks
Maintain a good support network
Finally, a tip to follow to maintain a good work-life balance is to have a support network around you to keep you motivated. Keep your friends and family updated with your life updates and share with them your daily news. They’ll want to support you and sharing details means that they can help you in the way they know best. It also makes sure that everyone knows how busy you are and what to expect from you, so they don’t get offended if you cancel on that outing or coffee date! Work colleagues might also be a bit more lenient or stop asking for favours during busy study times. Your support network can also keep you on track if you feel stressed or demotivated by encouraging you to keep going and reminding you why you started in the first place.
There are many ways to maintain a good work-life balance when working and simultaneously pursuing an MBA degree. Choosing a flexible program, keeping your employer up-to-date and maintaining a good support network are only a few of the ways you can keep everything balanced. Having a reasonable balance between work, academics, and your free time means that you can achieve as much as possible and are more efficient at doing all your tasks. However, if you feel like you can’t find a flexible degree program, the educational experts at Udrus can help you find the perfect one for you so you can do it while pursuing your MBA degree.