Graduate-level study in any subject is stressful, but the additional competitive nature of an MBA program can pile on additional pressure. If you’re worried about your ability to follow through on your commitment to earning your MBA, relax. There are proactive steps you can take to ensure you preserve enough energy to go the distance.
- 1. Know What You’re Getting In To: Take the time to talk to recent graduates of your MBA program and find out about their experiences—what they loved, what they hated, how they made the transition to life after graduation. Also, if they are willing to discuss it, find out how they've been dealing with financing and paying for their program.
- 2. Organize Yourself: You’re a professional, so you probably know that failing to plan is planning to fail. Break out time in your schedule for studying, socializing or family time, and work—and stick to it. Review the syllabus for each course so you know what you need to read and what assignments you need to complete well ahead of time. Then make a plan for completing each one.
- 3. Break Tasks into Sections: When you’re hitting the books for sustained periods, take breaks. Plenty of neurological evidence shows that most people work best in blocks of up to 90 minutes before they begin to lose steam. Take advantage of your natural programming and plan a short break, even if you just step away from your desk to do push-ups or look out a window for a few minutes.
- 4. Expect Periods of Struggle: As a business professional, you’re probably used to achieving. An MBA program may test that regularly. There will be parts of the program you’re not so good at and times when you just can’t seem to wrap your mind around a concept. Don’t let it get you down. Try to analyze why you’re struggling and isolate areas where you can improve. Then seek advice for doing things better next time.
- 5. Take Care of Yourself: Eat. Sleep. Work out. Laugh with friends and loved ones. Your MBA is important to your career and your self-worth, but it’s not all there is. Keeping perspective on what else matters in life—and making sure you’re adequately fueled and rested—can help you approach your MBA with confidence. Good luck!