How to Balance Work, Life, and a Part-Time MBA Programme: Anna Hylack Part 3
Anna has followed in the footsteps of some of the world’s best and brightest in becoming an LBS alumna. As a former Googler, Anna faced the difficult challenge of juggling her EMBA and her tech role during the pandemic. Lendwise is proud to have supported Anna in her life-changing journey and achieve a dream milestone.
In the third of a five-part series, Anna will offer some tips for how to balance work, life, and a part-time MBA programme.
One of the more challenging aspects of doing a part-time MBA programme is figuring out how to fit the programme into your daily life. It can be overwhelming to think about taking on classes and assignments on top of working a full-time job, raising kids, spending time with friends and family, pursuing other hobbies and interests, and trying to make time for yourself. There’s no perfect solution, but here are a few tips that helped me balance school, work, and life.
1. Be upfront with everyone about your new school commitments.
While doing an MBA programme, you’re going to have to say “no” a lot more often than you typically would. You may have to turn down opportunities at work because you need to be in class on a particular day, and you may have to miss friends’ birthdays and date nights with your partner to study or do schoolwork. Make sure that the people in your life know about the time requirements of the programme way in advance, and are there to support you and cheer you on rather than make you feel guilty about having to skip out on something.
This is especially important at work: you need to make sure that your manager is fully on board and signed off on you committing to this programme and taking the necessary time off from work for classes and school-related events. The same goes for your team at work. Share your schedule early on and give people a heads up when you’re going to be out and when you’ll be reachable or not during school hours. Be flexible with your schedule on the other days of the week so that you can make room for things that need to get done at work. And perhaps most importantly, let people in on what you’re learning! Sharing back about the classes you’re taking and what you’re getting out of the programme (especially where it benefits your current job) will help get your manager and coworkers on board.
2. Do what you can, when you can.
When you’ve got limited time, you have to make the most of whatever time you do have, and that means becoming a master multitasker. The trick is to find ways to cross off two items on your to-do list at once. Read case studies during your commute to campus. Work on group projects during your lunch break. Study for exams while you’re on the treadmill.
Text-to-speech apps like Speechify or Natural Reader are great for this – you can turn your class readings or notes into audiobooks that you can listen to while you’re running errands, cooking dinner, or working out.
The Microsoft Office and Google Workspace mobile apps are also game-changers, allowing you to edit docs and spreadsheets and presentations on the go. More than once, I put the final touches on a group project directly from my phone while queueing for coffee, then sent it through to the group Whatsapp for feedback – all before my latte was ready.
3. Make time – and save money – for fun and relaxation, too.
When you’ve got a lot on your plate, it’s important to take time for yourself, too. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and taking at least a few hours every week to do something that’s just for you, not for school or work. It’s good for your mental health to take breaks, and it will make you a better, more focused student, too.
There will be a few times throughout the year when you’ll have a break from classes, so make sure to take advantage of that time to book holidays and catch ups with family and friends. Travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to go or book some time to visit someone you haven’t seen in a while. The change in setting and perspective will help you refresh and reset before classes start up again and your life goes back into crazy busy mode.
Taking out a loan to help pay for your MBA programme can help with this, by giving you a little more time to pay back the tuition (meaning a little more pocket money right now). For me, this meant I could still take trips to Paris and Amsterdam and Rome, and treat myself to dinners out and spa days, while still paying back my loan.
If not, look into taking out a loan with Lendwise, as I did. Taking out a loan meant I didn’t need to deplete my savings, and I could worry less about money during my programme. I like the fact that I can pay it back on my own terms, over time, with reasonable interest rates. When you have so many other things to worry about – work, classes, getting that assignment in on time – it’s nice to know that the financial aspect, at least, is covered
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