Executive MBA participant Archana shares her advice for those looking to study a part-time MBA, including how to achieve the right balance between work and study.
The idea of studying and working at the same time may seem downright terrifying at first. But if planned correctly and approached with the right mindset, the combination, can work out, and be immensely rewarding. Right now, I am pursuing my Executive MBA at WBS, and the journey so far has been challenging yet enriching. There a few things I have learnt on the way which I would like to share with others who are doing an executive course like me.
Once you are ready to take up the MBA programme, the first thing you need to do is chalk out a strategy to balance work and study. This becomes all the more important if you are not working for yourself. In such a scenario, it is critical that you bring your employer into the loop before beginning your studies. There are many reasons why you may not want to do so – the fear of being seen as uncommitted, the possibility of missing a promotion or the chance of being viewed as someone who will resign soon after completing their studies, to name a few. But it is essential to put these worries aside and notify your employer. Winning their trust is critical because a supportive employer eases out things a lot.
Once you have notified your employer, it is time to make a plan for the months to come. Try to get your hands on your class, assignment and event schedule; at work, and gauge the amount of time and effort that you will need to put in, depending on upcoming projects, work trips, deadlines etc. Ensure that you put everything on your calendar, along with any personal commitments that you may have so that you can have a complete snapshot of your time at one glance. Get into the habit of scheduling everything into your calendar.
But remember – in the midst of everything, it is also important to make time for yourself and to do the things that you love. Don’t skip on your daily run if that is what helps clear your mind, and make time to cook once a week if that helps you de-stress. At the same time, there will be some sacrifices that you would need to make on the way. The weekends will tend to get shorter as you may find yourself studying or finishing up your assignments instead of going out. You should also try and build a dependable support system with family, friends, and colleagues who are willing to help the way they can.
It is vital that you take care of yourself – mind, body and soul – during this busy time. Although it might be tempting to skimp on sleep and get more work done, your productivity will eventually decrease and it will be detrimental in the long run. Ensure that you eat wholesome meals, get in your eight hours of sleep, drink a lot of water and make time for exercise. Above all, remember to keep your priorities at the top of your mind.
Despite the challenges that are involved in studying and working together, it brings plenty of opportunities too. It strengthens your networking as you come in contact with like-minded professionals. The incredible thing is that you can apply what you learn straight away. While your knowledge gets enhanced as you study, you simultaneously gain experience at work.