There are a variety of reasons why you might wish to earn your Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) degree. Perhaps you have your eyes set on climbing the corporate ladder at your place of employment, or maybe you hope to start your own business one day and know that the skills and knowledge you acquire through earning an MBA will help you be more successful in your ventures.
Whatever your reasons for earning your MBA might be, it is important to note that doing so isn’t going to be the easiest undertaking of your professional life. Not only can the program take anywhere from 18 months to three years to complete, depending on how much time you can dedicate to your studies, but it is also filled with challenging courses and projects that will require your full attention and dedication. Even if you opt for an online MBA, you will still be met with your fair share of obstacles.
Earning your MBA can very well be one of the most important career moves that you make in your professional life. Therefore, it is important that you dedicate the right amount of time and energy to the process. Moreover, the right preparation for your degree program can go a long way to making a big difference in your ability to complete all of your work in the designated time frame.
If you are about to enroll in an MBA program, here are six tips that can help you along the way.
Choose the Right Format
There was once a time when earning any sort of advanced degree meant that you had to be available to attend classes and lectures in person at designated times throughout the week. This more traditional in-person format can make it quite difficult to maintain a full-time job and earn your degree at the same time. This is why the option of earning an online MBA has become vastly more popular among those who work in business.
Just because you aren’t required to attend classes in person, though, that doesn’t mean that earning an online MBA is necessarily the best option for your personal circumstances. Finding success in earning your degree is going to depend heavily on your ability to select the right type of program for you.
An online MBA would be the right option for anyone looking for maximum flexibility as well as the ability to work remotely from home or another location. This offers the type of freedom to learn at your own pace (within the designated time frame set by the school, of course) so that you can continue to excel at work as well. However, if you aren’t the sort of person who can properly stick to deadlines of your own accord without needing a professor there to help enforce them for you, then an online MBA might not be the right choice.
That being said, if you are the sort of person who is a self-starter and has no problems finding motivation on your own, then an online MBA can be an excellent way to continue to work and grow in your current job while also completing your degree. In this way, you can place an important emphasis on your professional development without missing out on opportunities at work.
Furthermore, online degrees, including an online MBA, tend to be more affordable for students. If you are looking for the most cost-effective way to earn your degree, an online MBA might be worth considering.
Know Your Goals
Whether you decide to attend an in-person program on a university or college campus or if you decide to earn an online MBA, you will need to find ways of keeping yourself motivated throughout the process of earning your degree. This is particularly true for those who are going to be working while they are earning their degree.
Before you ever start your MBA, you need to be aware that there are going to be times when your motivation is going to falter, and you will be overwhelmed with the amount of work you have before you. In such moments, it is important to know precisely what your end-goals are. By keeping your eye on the prize, so to speak, you can find the motivation to persevere and carry on with all of the work that you have to accomplish.
Take the time to engage in some self-reflection. In doing so, you can list out your specific career goals and motivations. You might find it helpful to physically write out those goals so that you can have something tangible to reference during those times when you feel that your motivation is at a low point.
Create a Designated Workspace
Earning your MBA is going to require a fair amount of work outside of the classroom, whether you choose to enroll in an on-campus program or an online MBA. This means that you will need to have a designated workspace that is entirely dedicated to working on your coursework. Furthermore, if you do choose to partake in an online MBA program, you will need to have a quiet place in which you can attend virtual lessons and watch lectures online.
Some people might have access to a quiet and more secluded area at their current place of employment where they can go to work on their degree several times a week. Most people, however, will need to take it upon themselves to find a separate place to do their coursework in their home.
Start by selecting a place in your house that is set apart from any noise or distractions of daily life. A room that you can go to and close the door is going to provide the best privacy for doing your work. Your space should also be void of any typical distractions like television.
You should also consider investing in some quality furniture that you can use when you are working. A comfortable desk that has enough space for all of your course materials is essential, while a comfortable desk chair should also be a priority. You don’t want to find yourself less motivated to work because you know that the moment you sit down, your back will start to ache.
Other things that your designated workspace should have to include is a strong internet connection, proper lighting, and enough storage to help you keep the place neat and tidy. Working in an untidy workspace can be distracting, so do your best to keep things as organized and put-together as possible.
Lastly, it is important that anyone else in your household knows and understands your workspace’s purpose. Make sure they know that whenever you are in your workspace with the door closed, you are going to be completing important work, most likely on a deadline. You shouldn’t be disturbed, and others in the house should do what they can to keep the noise levels to a minimum whenever possible.
Don’t Neglect Your Wellbeing
During the months or years that you are going to spend working on your MBA, you are going to face a variety of challenges. You are going to wonder just how you are going to be able to manage to balance your job with your schoolwork. Moreover, you will find that your social life will take a backseat to your other obligations during this time as well.
Throughout all of the stress and challenges associated with trying to balance your schedule, it can be all too easy to neglect your wellbeing. However, doing so would be a grave mistake. Even though you are bogged down with more work than you know what to do with, you still need to take the time to keep yourself physically and mentally fit.
Make a point out of getting some form of physical exercise several times a week. While you won’t have the time to spend hours at the gym every day, you can take 30 minutes or so to go on a jog or play a group sport that you enjoy. You should also avoid the temptation to eat unhealthy fast food on a regular basis simply because it is quick and readily available.
Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine is going to help you manage your stress levels throughout the time that you are earning your MBA. Furthermore, such things will help you to ensure that you get good, quality sleep at night, something that is essential to keeping your stress at a manageable level.
Never underestimate the significance of getting the right amount of quality sleep each night. When you sleep at night, your body and mind recover from the work of the day. Failing to get the right amount of sleep on a regular basis can result in a foggy mind and lack of focus throughout your day, something that you cannot really afford to have happened at this point in your life.
Investing in yourself physically and mentally will help you to find success at your work to earn your online MBA.
Work on Your Time Management Skills
When it comes to earning an online MBA while working full or even part-time is naturally going to present a fair number of challenges. This is why it is so important for anyone who is undertaking something of this nature to place emphasis on developing their time management skills.
Time management is how you divide up the time available to you throughout the day to maximize your efforts and get the most work completed. This isn’t a skill that comes naturally to everyone, but if you hope to keep up with your job, complete your degree, and keep yourself physically and mentally well, you will need to work on your own time management skills.
Start by performing an audit of sorts on the work that you will need to be doing and the various things that you will need to dedicate your time to in the coming weeks. You should know more or less what sort of time commitment is required of your job and be sure to account for necessary breaks throughout the week as well. You should also receive information about each of your courses that can help you estimate roughly how much time should be spent on classwork each week.
Once you have a clearer idea about where your time will be going, make up a realistic schedule that works for you. Bear in mind that changes to your schedule might become necessary as you get a better idea about how long certain things take. It is important that you never abandon things mid-task, even if something on your schedule is running late.
Lastly, learn to prioritize important deadlines that come up with work, school, and your social life. Remember that events in your social life are also important to dedicate time to. Neglecting such things can lead to more stress in your life and a feeling that you aren’t accomplishing everything that you should.
Know Your Limits
Even if you have your goals listed out and you have chosen the right online MBA program for you, there is something to be said for understanding your own limitations in life. When you are earning your MBA, you are going to find yourself being stretched outside of your personal comfort zone. You should be prepared to embrace this transition and know that such challenges as you will be facing are going to prepare you for future success in your career.
That being said, everyone has their own limits. You should take the time to know and fully understand what those limits are so that you can recognize when you are approaching your breaking point. At such times, you will need to take a step back and ensure that you keep yourself in a positive mental state. Suffering from burnout will only prevent you from reaching your goals and accomplishing everything that you hope to accomplish.