Most online MBA students tackle their studies while working full-time, juggling a range of other commitments and a full schedule simultaneously. While all students will aim for success in their studies, that can mean something different to every student. For many, their goal while studying is to simply pass and power through the programme. Others are motivated to achieve their best with each grade and maximise the learning opportunities while they study the programme.
At AIB, we endeavour to support our students to not only survive the MBA journey but also make the most of the transformative learning experience they’re participating in. For techniques that assist students in doing that while also maintaining a sustainable lifestyle, read on.
Set goals at every stage
Goal setting is one of the most effective techniques MBA students can apply to their study plans to maintain motivation and minimise study fatigue. At the beginning of the MBA, set yourself a few goals that directly relate to how you want to succeed in the programme, as well as medium and long-term career goals to drive towards after graduation.
Before commencing a subject, stop and think about why it is a part of the MBA and how you foresee yourself leveraging its learnings. Then, set yourself goals to position yourself for success with the subject. Whatever your motivations, write them down as goals and keep them handy during the subject.
Read more: How to Set and Stick to Your Study Goals
Prepare yourself physically
Unlike a marathon, business school won’t require you to prepare months ahead of the degree. What we mean by physical preparation is your physical environment, and ensuring that it is conducive to a good study session before you begin. Regardless of whether you will do the majority of your in-depth study from home, work or both – your efficiency will suffer if you do not have a proper study environment. When considering a study location, ask yourself if it’s comfortable, if it’s quiet enough, whether it’s in the way of colleagues or family members, and whether you like being in the environment. These factors will all contribute to your productivity, so be mindful not to overlook their importance. To minimise the temptation to procrastinate, limit technology and other possible distractors to those required for the study session, and leave your phone in another room.
Plan and manage your time efficiently
As someone who is attempting to study full-time while also working, the need to manage your time well should come as no surprise. The main thing to remember is that studying takes time. If you’re planning on rushing through your studies and doing the bare minimum to ensure a pass, perhaps consider whether now is the best time for you to take on your next subject. This approach may result in failure to maximise all the learning opportunities that could later provide useful in your career. Recognise when it makes sense for you to take a study break, and schedule these into your timetable when needed.
Those prepared to put in the hours to get the most from their MBA journey should plan their time weekly, considering individual study patterns, the time required for the particular subject, the standard of work to be produced and the amount of time available. From there, consider the best days and times of the week as per your schedule, and remember to include time for sleep, relaxing and family time. It is also worth investigating if your workplace offers study leave, or even planning some annual leave around busy periods such as exam time.
Read more: How to Manage an Effective Study Schedule
Fuse your MBA with the workplace
While studying and working full time can sound like a complex proposition, the two actually complement each other and can add value to the MBA journey.
As the practical business school, AIB has always championed a practical approach to learning, utilising relevant and up to date business practices and case study’s throughout the course. This means that when theories are delivered, they are linked to business examples and students are guided on how to apply the learning in their own workplace context.
By applying what you’re learning at work and basing your assessments on your workplaces and past professional experiences, students can experience tangible benefits sooner than they think and graduate with an education that is truly relevant to their work environment.
Read more: Your Work Experience Will Supercharge Your MBA
Don’t neglect what’s most important
When we’re busy with work and study, it can be easy to neglect some of the most important parts of life. These include family, friends, relationships, nutrition, sleep and exercise – all of which contribute to a happier, healthier and more productive you. Maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle should be number one on your list, as it is most important to your present and future.
It’s also important to make time for your relationships, whether they be with your partner, family, children or friends. Make a conscious effort to spend quality time with those important to you – as it will not only help to maintain existing relationships – it will also make you feel more supported throughout your journey. Anything is possible when there is a balance, so don’t forget to look after yourself and continue to live your life while studying the MBA.
As AIB CEO, Jo has almost 20 years’ experience in senior operations and has held multiple c-suite positions at some of Australia’s most iconic companies including iSelect and Compare The Market. Jo’s academic qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in communications, complemented by an MBA completed in 2010. Connect with Jo on LinkedIn
*The Australian Institute of Business (AIB) is Australia’s largest provider of MBAs. Source Ready, B. (2023) Domestic Enrolments Surged During COVID After International Students Locked Out, MBA News. Available at: MBA News.