When it comes to pursuing an MBA degree, there are substantial time and financial commitments involved that can make it difficult to achieve a suitable work-life balance.
One source notes that it can cost between $30,000 to $90,000 annually — and possibly even more at private schools — to earn an MBA, and the workload at business school can reach epic proportions with course readings, individual and group assignments, and exams.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to achieve a good work-life balance, but it’ll take some creativity and determination to prevent business school from overwhelming you to the point where either your personal life or your academic studies suffer.
What follows are tips for working an MBA into your work-life balance. If you’re thinking about applying for business school, these recommendations will help you to achieve the right balance.
Schedule Off Time
One expert recommends working an MBA into your work-life balance by scheduling a couple of “off duty” periods every week — one that you use for what you want to do and the other that you use to spend time with the people who are important to you. During these periods, spend time connecting with family, friends, and others.
As you no doubt already know, it’s possible to take an MBA program online. In an online MBA program, you’ll be better able to plan your studies around your life or job than would be the case in an in-class MBA program that is more regimented in terms of actual in-class time. So, consider the online option to get the flexibility needed to honor your other commitments. If you have studied for your GMAT online, or plan to do so, you’ll get a feel for the benefits of online learning.
Know Your Limits
Before starting your MBA program, you’ll need to come to grips about whom you must make time for and whom you might not be able to make time for. Be as honest as you can and inform acquaintances whom you might have to spend less time with that your studies will translate into less recreational time. Of course, there will be people in your life whom you will and should make a priority, but it would be unrealistic to expect you to necessarily make everyone a priority.
Curb Your Ambition
While it might be tempting to load each semester with a tonne of course credits, you should avoid doing so in business school. One expert notes that doing more than nine credits per semester could drain you mentally and physically, which will make achieving a good work-life balance hard.
When you’re studying in business school, you might find it difficult to keep up with some of your other responsibilities. So, if you, for instance, need some help with mowing your lawn, cooking meals, or cleaning your home, you might want to consider hiring someone to help out. This will free up some time that you can use to study and to stay in touch with those important to you.
Working an MBA into your work-life balance is certainly possible. Before enrolling, figure out what work-life balance means to you, and use these tips to balance life’s various commitments.