When it comes to degree programs, there’s no denying that the MBA (Master of Business Administration) is one of the most sought-after and respected qualifications around the world today. So, if you’ve decided that studying for an MBA is going to be the best career pathway for you to follow, then you can rest assured that you are certainly making the right decision.
However, that being said – you can only get out what you put in when it comes to studying for an MBA and if you are hoping to land a well-paying, lucrative business career with plenty of progression opportunities in the future, then it’s absolutely necessary that you are ready to work hard, invest your time, and be completely dedicated to reaching your academic goals.
There are many different pathways to getting onto an MBA program – perhaps you’ve already studied for a relevant undergraduate degree and have been working in business ever since, or perhaps you have already got several years’ experience of running your own business behind you and want to boost your career prospects even further. Perhaps you are considering a career change and business management or administration is your choice, or maybe you’ve been working for somebody else for a while and have decided that it’s finally time to put the effort into getting qualified and improving your knowledge and skills before you get started with building your own enterprise.
Whatever your reason, getting the most from your MBA is crucial to getting what you want from it in the end. So, we’ve put together some top tips that you might enjoy.
#1. Choose the Right School:
While an MBA from any school will be just as respected as the other, the important thing is that you are able to choose the right school for you. Take some time to consider the type of program that you are wanting to study for and what you are hoping to get out of the school that you are studying at. For example, if you’re currently working full-time and want to continue doing so as you study, then you might want to find a school nearby that offers flexible learning options such as evening and weekend classes.
On the other hand, if you’ve got a certain school in mind, but are unable to relocate, don’t think that you have to change your mind – it’s always worth looking to see if there are any distance learning or online programs available such as this MBA Michigan online program, which you can study from the comfort of your own home, even if you’re in a completely different state.
Find out what else the school is offering for MBA students, too – what’s on offer in terms of networking opportunities, and who are your professors and tutors going to be? Will you be able to mingle with people who have extensive business experience and knowledge that you can learn from? Who’s been to and graduated from this school before in the business world?
#2. Remember – Grades Aren’t Important:
Passing might be necessary to get what you need, but bear in mind that in the future, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be asked to list your individual grades. When studying for an MBA, it’s more about facing your fears and taking risks, as this is going to eventually stand you in higher stead for business success compared to getting the highest grades. And when it comes down to it, it’s often more important to simply focus on learning more about the stuff that you don’t already know, rather than chasing the highest grades all the time and getting too obsessed with the numbers. Once you’re able to embrace this, it will be easier for you to start taking more risks when it comes to your learning, which in turn will help you significantly when it comes to a successful business career in the future.
Studying an MBA is all about preparing yourself for a cut-throat business world, so don’t take the easy route – challenge yourself to learn something new every day. Take classes in subjects that you’ve never touched on before and sign up for extracurricular activities that could be beneficial to your future business career. Join clubs that focus on topics that you know nothing about, but are interested in learning, and speak to people who have had significantly different life experiences to yourself.
#3. Treat Classmates Like Future Business Partners:
One of the most unique things about studying for an MBA degree is that you’re studying and learning alongside people who could well be extremely influential in your business career in the future. The people that you learn now could end up being just as instrumental as your grades and the knowledge and skills that you’ll learn when it comes to helping you achieve the successful business career that you are working towards. So, don’t let yourself feel threatened or intimidated by smart classmates, or try to outsmart them – instead, befriend them and learn as much as you can from them.
Bear in mind that studying for an MBA is effectively a massive networking opportunity, whether you are studying on campus or online. You will be faced with plenty of chances to improve your professional network of both students and professors and the people that you meet now may end up being people that you are extremely grateful for in the future. So, take the time to get to know people and share knowledge both ways – treat your classmates as future managers, colleagues and business partners as they may well end up being.
#4. Plan Your Time:
Studying for an MBA can certainly be a lot of work, especially if you’re trying to juggle it with other big commitments like running your own business, working full time for another company, or even bringing up your family. Even if you’re not juggling all of this, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the amount that you have to learn and the amount of work that you will need to do in order to succeed.
So, avoid getting overwhelmed by planning your time out wisely. This is especially true if you are studying for your MBA online and don’t have a set college timetable to adhere to; the time that you study and how long for will be up to you, so it’s important that you are disciplined and able to hold yourself accountable in order to avoid falling into patterns of procrastination and falling behind. Take some time to sit down with yourself and go through your regular week; this will give you a chance to determine when you have free time to study and if there are any things that you could move around in order to make more time for your studies. Once you have a routine that you are able to easily get into, it’ll become much easier for you to stay ahead of your studies.
#5. Look After Yourself:
Putting yourself first is crucial when you’re studying for an MBA, and along with taking steps to make plans so you’re not getting too overwhelmed with your studies, find other ways to help yourself manage, too. For example, if you often find yourself studying for hours without any breaks and getting overwhelmed and burned out as a result, then it’s worth scheduling in a short break after every hour or so – set a reminder on your phone, so that after an hour of hard work, you can take five minutes to grab a glass of water, a snack and rest your eyes for a little bit.
And, don’t dedicate every single day to studying – at least one day of the week, take a full break from your studies and do something that you enjoy instead, whether that’s meeting up with friends, watching your favorite TV show, seeing a movie, doing some arts and crafts, spending time on a hobby, or just relaxing in the bath or getting a health or beauty treatment. Long story short – don’t neglect yourself – it’s important that you are able to take some time to look after yourself as an individual rather than a student, and make sure that you are still keeping up with the little things that make you, ‘you’.
#6. Get the Right Equipment:
Studying for your MBA is always going to be easier if you have the right equipment for the job, especially if you’re studying online and don’t have access to campus facilities like campus library computers and study rooms. Whether you are studying from home or on campus, it’s always a good idea to create a quiet, distraction-free and dedicated study space that you can use whenever you need to focus; this could be a spare room in your home or a corner of an existing room. Having your own desk to study at can make it easier to motivate yourself to study or revise at home, but don’t worry if you struggle to study at home – the campus library or a local library, a shared working space or even a local coffee shop can be a great place to get stuff done.
In addition, make sure that you have the right tools for the job. If you’re trying to work on an old, slow laptop or computer then you’re going to get frustrated very quickly, so now’s a great time to treat yourself to that upgrade you’ve been hoping for. If you like to work on the go, then why not treat yourself to a tablet that you can use, or upgrade your smartphone to a newer model with more storage space so that you can download more study apps. And sometimes it’s just the little things that count – a high quality speaker can play inspiring music to keep you going on your revision.
#7. Ask for Support When You Need It:
Developing the ability to ask for support when you need it will be one skill you can definitely benefit from in your future career, especially if you are planning to start your own company one day. So, practice asking for help whilst you study for your MBA. Sometimes, the prospect of admitting that you are struggling and need some help and support can be a scary one, but it’s always worth taking the plunge and doing it – you’ll feel much better for it afterwards.
When it comes to getting support, there are many different people that you can turn to. If you feel more comfortable, ask your family for practical help or speak to a trusted friend who you know will listen to you if you feel that just having somebody to vent to and get things off your chest will help. If you need help with something at school, then bear in mind that your professors are always there to help, whether you just need something explaining again, want advice on a decision that you need to make, or are struggling to meet an assignment deadline. And, don’t forget your fellow students – chances are they will understand what you are going through and many will have previous experience that they may be able to share with you which could help.
Finally, if everything seems to be getting too much for you, then remember that there is no shame in getting professional help. Mental health problems amongst students are on the rise and when you are studying for a high-pressure, fast-paced degree like an MBA then it’s completely normal if you are often finding yourself feeling anxious, stressed or even depressed when it comes to everything that you need to do. If you are struggling, don’t go through it alone – speak to a college counselor or make an appointment with a therapist who can help you make sense of what you are feeling right now and come up with healthier coping mechanisms and strategies to help you reach your goals.
There’s no denying that an MBA is a respected and sought-after college degree, but to really stand out as a graduate it’s important that you work hard to get the most from your qualification.