The decision to complete an MBA is certainly not trivial. Potential students must weigh the demands of family life and the challenges at work to decide if working on a masters full or part-time is the best option. The benefits to receiving an MBA will often factor into the decision whether or not to pursue a graduate degree. However, the two to four year timeframe required to complete the program will impact all other areas of life. Achieving work life balance between school, work, and family life is essential for any student considering a secondary degree.
Evaluate your support system
This is most critical for those with minor children in the house. In addition to class time, the additional course work, study, and class prep time may have you out of the home more or at the very least not able to devote as much time to your children. Identify all sources of support that you can lean on to pitch in and spread the care and responsibility.
Spouses, friends, grandparents or even hired help are all great sources to help you focus the additional time needed on completing an MBA program.
Lighten the load at work
Depending on how you plan to finance your MBA, you may intend to continue working full-time. While this is perfectly normal, you may need to opt out of extra responsibilities where possible for a limited amount of time. You may need to press pause on working extra hours, serving on optional committees, or volunteering for projects that require extensive travel until you complete your MBA coursework.
As much as is possible, keep your regular position to within a regular 8 hour timeframe. This will help you maintain a workable schedule around your college program.
Assess extra commitments
While trying to achieve a workable balance during this period of focused study, determine which optional activities are essential. Take back the time required to participate in hobbies or non-work related commitments to free up quality time to focus on the program. Your friends and loved ones will understand that your schedule may need to be limited temporarily until you’ve earned your degree.
Take care of self
Make sure that you carve out time to maintain a healthy balance in your own life. Adding the extra pressure of completing and MBA can be difficult. Maintain a healthy diet, sleep schedule, and exercise routine in order to keep up with the rigors associated with an MBA degree program. When you operate a peak potential, you’ll be better able to juggle competing priorities during this focused time of study.
Make time for fun
Even though there will be limited time while juggling the demands of home, work, and an MBA program, make time for moments of pleasure. That could be as simple as going for a walk or having lunch with a friend. A little downtime is helpful to recharge your batteries and keep you motivated to take on the challenge of completing a MBA program while keeping the other areas of your life in tack.
Pursuing an MBA may be one of the most pivotal decisions as it relates to advancing your career. While this is not an easy decision to make – especially if you are balancing the responsibilities of a full-time career and/or family, the choice is one that can be managed. Review your resources, schedule, support networks, and remember to take time out for self. Know that completing an MBA is not only possible, you can do so successfully once you have the right plan in place.
Vera Marie Reed is a freelance writer living in Glendale, California. This mother of two specializes in education and parenting content. When she’s not delivering expert advice, you can find her reading, writing, arts, going to museums and doing craft projects with her children.