We all have a finite amount of time in each day. Pursuing an MBA while continuing full-time work and raising a family can require an artful balance of competing priorities to be successful. Many MBA students decide to go back to school once they’ve begun a career in order to seek advancement and additional training. While doable, this decision is not without its challenges. Taking advice from students who’ve develop strategies to help them successfully complete their MBA program while managing career and home life can help you overcome the challenges.
Manage Time Effectively
Marci Reynolds is an executive who completed her MBA while working full-time. She assessed her strengths and most productive time of day. She then adjusted her routine to support her efforts to be successful during the MBA program.
“Since I am a morning person, I would often get up extra early (ex. 5am) to write papers or do homework. I studied during my lunch hour at work and I would go to the library on weekends to limit distractions and get as much work done as possible in short time increments. There were several occasions I used vacation days to study for major exams or finish large projects.”
Allocate Time to Priorities
Kara Nicholson is an international sales manager and new mother who pursed an online MBA while working full-time. She found that sticking to a schedule helped her manage the competing priorities in her busy life during the program.
“Allocating time for each section of my life is the hardest but most important thing I do each week. During the day, it’s job first, no question. I am a dedicated mum and wife before the working day and then again after the work day, but from 9-5 my brain goes into work mode and I chip away at endless to-do lists and presentations and trip preparation. I just completely compartmentalize, so that when I’m focusing on work, I don’t allow myself to think about looming MBA deadlines or my family, and then on my dedicated MBA evenings or weekend afternoons, I go into the same compartmentalized mode with my studies. Easier said than done sometimes, but I try to keep calm and just completely plug into one ‘persona’ at a time, giving more hours to work or MBA when major deadlines or exams are on the horizon.”
Develop a Supportive Network
Camila Gerhardinger balanced her full time job, family life and MBA studies by developing a supportive network. She leaned on support from everyone in her life – from her manager to her husband. She encourages MBA students to assess their supportive networks and make sure they have the right mix of people to help you achieve success.
“I have a supportive husband, who really shares the responsibilities and a very adaptable kid. I believe it is also important to identify your values and priorities to understand to what extent you can engage in all the activities going on at INSEAD. For me personally, it is very important that I spend quality time with Lucas every day. So for example, I prefer to pick him up early at nursery and only do the readings after he goes to bed. Exhausting, but it has been completely worth it.”