Are you still unsure how to balance work and school? These are five useful strategies to consider when you’re evaluating business schools or starting your studies.
1. Choose an Online MBA Program
Online MBA programs offer more flexibility than traditional on-campus degrees. They are also convenient for those who want to continue working while completing their MBA degree.
This will allow you to be more flexible in scheduling your classes and allows you to select courses that best suit your personal and professional needs. There’s no need to wait until the fall semester. You have three options for start dates so you can begin your MBA program whenever you are ready.
Online programs allow you to get a high-quality education while not having to move. You won’t have to limit yourself to the higher learning institutions in your area. You will be an Online MBA student at University of Maryland and you will participate in two brief on-campus residencies. You can still attend classes and do coursework anywhere else during the rest of your time.
You don’t have to be averse to taking online classes. According to the Online Learning Consortium, 90% of students believe that online learning is equal or better than traditional classrooms.
Students with hectic work/life schedules are increasingly taking advantage of online learning. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that more than 6.9 Million students took part in distance education courses in fall 2018. This means you will be among the best online MBA students.
Read more: Executive MBA for Entrepreneurs and Working Professional by IIT Bombay and Washington University in St. Louis.
2. Make arrangements for a flexible work schedule
If your company supports this, you might consider setting up a flexible schedule that allows you to work from home and take online classes. There are many options:
- You can finish your day earlier one day per week in order to attend an afternoon class or start a little later after a morning class finishes.
- Take a 2-hour lunch break to eat while listening to a mid-day lecture.
- You can work from home some days to reduce your commute time and give you more time to study
- Finals week: Request paid or unpaid time off
Is your employer willing to accommodate a school schedule?
Every company has a different approach, so it’s important to ask.
There are many other companies that offer the flexibility you require in your work schedule if your employer is not accommodating. Flexible work arrangements regarding location, shifts and breaks have increased in recent years, and this trend has only grown in the wake the COVID-19 pandemic. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), in a 2019 report, noted the following:
- About three-quarters of five employers offer flexible-time during core business hours
- Nearly one-third (33%) of employers offer workers flexibility beyond core business hours
- Employers offer compressed workweeks to employees, where they can complete 35-40 hours of work in less than five days.
- Only 15% of employers are open to four-day workweeks.
Are You able to take on freelancing work or self-employment during your MBA program?
You don’t have to work a traditional job if you are interested in working while you study MBA. Part-time or full-time students may be able to find part-time jobs that allow for more flexibility. Professionals can also shift gears to work as freelancers or self-employed. This arrangement allows you to work and study at your own pace.
Even if you are already a professional or in a corporate job, the idea of starting your own business might seem daunting. A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report found that self-employment is more common in older professionals who are more experienced than those younger workers.
Your MBA years are a great time for you to work on your business. You will be able to lead course projects that address business problems and grow your brand throughout the program.
Also Read: Top 8 Benefits of an Executive MBA Program
3. You can plan your school and work projects in advance
No matter what your class schedule or work arrangement looks like, it is important that you have a plan in place for how you will get things done.
Forecasting is a great way to find out when bigger projects are coming up and how they will align with your course load. Talk to your manager about the best dates for you if your job requires business travel, or attendance at important events. You might also consider sending a colleague to your place for a specific trip, or hosting an event remotely. It will be easier to arrange these arrangements if you plan ahead.
What can you do to prepare for an MBA program while working?
When you get your syllabus, make sure to note the class times, due dates, and midterms. You can work with your employer to add some flexibility into your work week, or take time off to focus on big projects and studying for exams.
When it comes to completing your MBA coursework, you should try to complete as many of the assignments as possible. You will be able to relax and unwind if you finish your homework earlier. It will also help you stay on track, even if you have unexpected professional or personal demands.
4. Maintain open lines of communication at school and work
When working in MBA programs, communication is crucial to your success.
Instead of keeping your academic pursuits secret at work, communicate with your management team. Tell your management team what your plan is and how your MBA experience can benefit the business and the entire team. Your supervisors will likely give you more support and enthusiasm if you have their buy-in.
Make sure you are clear about your educational needs and the flexible arrangements that you want. If your supervisor agrees with a plan, make sure you get a written confirmation.
Be open to communication with your MBA advisors and faculty members. You can coordinate with your advisors to find a way to receive notes from another student or record the lecture if you have to miss class because of a professional or personal conflict. Your professors will help you to manage these types of problems if you are proactive.
You may also be eligible to earn internship credit if your MBA studies are ongoing. You won’t find out until you talk with your professor, academic advisor.
5. Look for a system that helps you stay organized
A reliable organizational system is a great way to ensure success when you are trying to balance your full-time job or part-time work with the demands of an MBA program.
You should now be exploring digital productivity tools, online note-taking apps, and online document management software. These tools will help you organize your notes and make it easy to locate your papers and projects at a glance. You won’t have to worry about losing your term paper on a flash disk.
You should look for tools that sync with the cloud and can be accessed across multiple devices, including your smartphone and tablet as well as your laptop and smartwatch. You can see upcoming events even while at work, regardless of whether you use a planner app or a calendar app. You won’t have to worry about the exam being tonight or next week. It will be easier to track what you need, regardless of where you are.
What is the Work Environment After a MBA?
You’ll be able to open new doors once you have a master’s in business. An MBA degree will allow you to access challenging, engaging roles that showcase your leadership skills and business acumen. You’ll also have the opportunity to grow your career beyond what you can do with a bachelor’s.