Getting an MBA degree is a huge investment and commitment. We’re talking about spending between $60,000 to $100,000 on a two-year degree. If that isn’t stressful enough, being catapulted into a new environment with new peers, learning subjects you might not be familiar with can push a person further down the pit of stress, anxiety, and depression.
However, at the end of the day, getting an MBA degree is worth it, especially for those whose end goal is to climb the corporate ladder. Overcoming the hurdles of today can help build character and equip you with the weapons you need to survive in the business world.
For the record, I completed my MBA at the National Taipei University of Science and Technology, and let me tell you: that was not an easy feat. It took me one semester of constant stress to realize that I had to tweak my lifestyle a significant amount if I was going to survive and graduate on time. Here are a few tested and proven methods that worked for my colleagues and me while striving to earn an MBA degree.
Let me be honest with you. Many MBA students are still children at heart, especially when they’re coming straight from a four-year bachelor’s degree. As such, we’re prone to fall victim to common student problems, like prioritizing the wrong things, spending time on activities we know aren’t beneficial for our studies (cat videos on YouTube), or getting deeply involved in extracurricular activities.
I’m not saying that these are all bad things. After all, sticking your nose in a book for 18 hours a day can accelerate burnout, which in turn leaves your mind dry and unable to process new information. So, instead of getting rid of “distractions” cold-turkey, I recommend allocating certain times in your day for your guilty pleasures.
In between study sessions, I’d allow myself five to ten minutes to watch YouTube or just chill out at a friend’s dorm. After that, it was back to the library or computer lab. Some have dubbed this the swap-it-don’t-stop-it method of learning. Whatever you want to call it, it works.
Creating and sticking to a schedule
Of course, managing your priorities correctly starts with creating a schedule. If you’re going to allocate a certain period in your daily schedule to slack off (no problems there), you need to have a schedule to begin with.
Creating a schedule is rather simple. What I did was I took my semester’s class schedule, calculated how much off-time I had after class, and dedicated roughly 75% of that in the library or computer lab—the other 25% solely for entertainment purposes.
Please feel free to use whatever weapons you have on hand to build a daily schedule. I used a simple notebook and pen, but now, there are online and downloadable apps to help you manage your work/study schedule from your smartphone.
Finding a conducive environment to study
The final tip I want to leave with you today is to find a study environment that works for you. You might feel more comfortable with a TV blaring in the background, or you might require absolute silence to retain information. Whatever the case, make sure you identify your ideal study environment.
Something I saw that helped my colleagues were breaking into study groups to learn at the university library. This wasn’t exactly my cup of tea since a lot of the times they were goofing off. But if studying in groups works for you, by all means, make a study group and schedule joint learning sessions.
I cannot stress this enough: make no exceptions when it comes to your optimal learning environment. If you need complete silence to study, find a spot on your campus that offers just that. I’ve heard pretty good things about noise-canceling headphones and their ability to block distracting noises in your environment. I can’t vouch for them, but if they work, by all means, a pair of high-quality noise-canceling headphones might be a great investment.
Getting an MBA degree for non-economic graduates can be stressful enough without the distractions of every day and campus life. However, a few adjustments to your lifestyle can make life easier and help you earn your MBA degree on time. I sincerely wish you the best of luck in your MBA program!