A Part-Time MBA program is a lot of work. Here's how to approach that mindfully.
Pursuing an MBA is hard work at any stage of your career. Part-time MBAs are an increasingly attractive option for professionals in the early or middle stages of their career to focus on skill sets, develop networks, and cultivate relationships while still working full-time.
Regardless of your schedule, going back to school for your master’s degree can seem daunting. To that end, let's explore four valuable things to keep in mind when pursuing your part-time MBA to make the most of your time!
Know What You're Getting Into
Before you commit to a part-time MBA, it's essential to determine both the expectations you have for the program and yourself. Knowing what areas you're going to study and why you're going to study them is helpful so you'll be prepared when these subjects roll around.
By taking some time to walk through the different stages of your prospective MBA, you'll be able to identify opportunities to use your education in real life while constructing a more extensive, intentional route through the program. For example, you can view the Daniels College of Business Part-time Professional MBA course sequence to better understand your trajectory through the program.
Build Relationships (With Your Professors, Too!)
There's a popular saying in the business world: Your network is your net worth. The people you know and the relationships you build over your career can be just as important as the skills and credentials you cultivate.
Take some time to get to know your peers. Find out who they are, what they're interested in, and what skills they bring to class! An MBA program represents a valuable opportunity to cultivate professional friendships, and your future best friend or business partner may be sitting in class with you–only one conversation away. Your peers are also going to be at pivotal junctures in their professional careers, meaning that they’ll likely have both a professional network to tap into and a keen eye towards the future.
Having friends in your classes goes a long way towards bolstering your academic performance and improving your career trajectory as you move through the MBA program. It sounds like a no-brainer, but it can be easy to forget when class begins, and deadlines start appearing on your calendar.
"Build relationships" applies to your professors as well. In an MBA program, you can count on your professors being experts in their subject areas, so take advantage of their expertise! If you've got questions, interesting lines of thought, or need help, then never hesitate to reach out. After all, they're there to help you. While you might not be inviting them over for dinner parties after graduation, being on a first-name basis with your professors is a valuable lifeline in navigating your degree and rallying on academic subjects you're shaky on.
Don't Just Juggle Work and School—Look for Overlaps
Don’t be fooled by the phrase "part-time" in "part-time MBA." You’ve got plenty of work ahead of you, and plenty of things to think about. From day #1, you can expect plenty of complex subjects to consider.
If you're also working full time, then managing your schedule can be stressful. Instead of viewing your calendar as a maze to navigate, start looking for overlaps where you can lean into your professional life to finding academic resources–or vice versa.
A program like the Part-time Professional MBA at Daniels College of Business is designed to provide valuable, real-world context to the work you do. That means you benefit immensely from looking for opportunities to bring your education into your workplace or to use your workplace as a staging ground for exploring academic lines of thought.
Students have found success by framing their professional studies around real-world experiences they have, from developing new training methods to creating new ways for businesses to engage with their customers online, and everything in between! No matter what your job is, look for ways to use it as a frame of reference for your classroom learning. You'll quickly start to see ways to apply the curriculum of your part-time MBA program to your professional life, letting you turbocharge the educational value of your program.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but showing up is the single most important thing you can do for both your graduate education and professional life. Attending a part-time MBA program represents a fantastic opportunity, and being present when opportunities manifest themselves goes a long way in maximizing that time.
Make no mistake: there's a lot of work in your future. Any graduate program will come with a significant amount of late nights, deadline crunches, and double espresso drinks. Staying on top of class requires commitment on your end—remember that the single most important thing you can do is consistently show up.
Starting a part-time professional MBA program can seem daunting at first, especially if you're already working full-time. When you feel the stress start to pile up, take a deep breath and remember why you started. In some way or another, you're here because you decided to invest in yourself; remind yourself that you're worth showing up for and then show up.
What are your concerns about finally getting an MBA? Share in the comments.