table with laptop, phone, and notebook that shows an organized schedule.

How To Excel in an MBA Program While Working Full-time

In today’s world, going back to school often means tackling academia and a full time job at the same time. While schools such as Antioch University offer MBA programs that allow students to enroll and complete classwork from anywhere, adding more to an already full plate is undoubtedly difficult. 

Following a few rules of thumb can help busy students take the academic steps needed to pursue their professional and personal goals without feeling overwhelmed.

Set Realistic Goals

We live in a world where we are often told that if we try hard enough, we can do it all. While it’s true that everyone is capable of more than they might expect, it’s also important to recognize what your own limits are.

The first step in successfully an MBA program with working full time, is to set realistic goals and expectations for yourself. You know yourself better than anyone. Be honest and realistic when approaching coursework. While you may love the idea of conquering a full credit load, overextending yourself can quickly lead to burnout and leave you feeling discouraged.

Set realistic goals that make sense for your life and your schedule. If one class is all you have time for, then start with one course. It is better to celebrate small successes than to feel overwhelmed and dismayed after failing to reach lofty, unrealistic goals. 

Know Thyself

In order to set realistic goals, students should take time to truly know themselves. Understanding your own personal goals, limits, time constraints, and needs will help you design a program that fits your life. 

To make the most of your program, look into formats and study styles that work best for your needs. For example, picking a program featuring asynchronous course work can be a great match for students who know that their life demands additional flexibility. For those who know they work best when held accountable, signing up for regularly scheduled courses, or forming a weekly study group to help hold you to deadlines can make a big difference.  

Create a Designated Study Space

It’s hard to get anything done in an environment that feels chaotic or distracting. Finding a designated study space in or outside of your home will help you stay on task, and enjoy higher productivity. 

Installing a small desk, finding a local coffee shop where you can enjoy uninterrupted focus, or even simply putting on a pair of headphones to block outside noise will help you move through your workload without unwanted interruptions.

Embrace Open & Honest Communication

Whether in class or in your personal life, mastering great communication skills is a key to success. Make sure your co-workers, friends, and family are informed about the degree you’re pursuing. Creating an understanding about what is on your plate will help you build a supportive team as you conquer this stage of life. 

If you’re part of a team at work or a group project in your program, opening an honest line of communication will help all parties involved know what to expect from one another. Many of the largest issues at home, in school, or at work, stem from poor communication. Emphasizing regular check ins is incredibly important to your success and mental health. 

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

When you’re in school and in work full time, it can be easy to accidentally let other important elements of your life fall behind. However, ignoring the parts of your life that bring you joy and relieve stress is unhelpful.

Make sure you are regularly scheduling time for all of what matters to you, including time with friends and family. And don’t forget to check in with yourself! Even 30 minutes of personal care time at the end of each day can go a long way to improving personal happiness and relieving stress. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Understand that working full time and enrolling in an MBA program isn’t easy! It can be common to believe that we should be able to do it all without help. But that simply isn’t true. When things get hard, or your schedule gets incredibly busy, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.

Your family, friends, teachers, co-workers, and loved ones all want you to succeed, and are happy to offer support and assistance when it’s needed. Don’t let feelings of stress overwhelm you. Reach out! You’ll be happy you did. 

Take the Next Step at Antioch University

Antioch is dedicated to helping students be a part of something bigger, giving them the tools they need to realize and lead transformative change in today’s evolving world. Whether you’re interested in cultivating leadership skills, learning about sustainable business, or looking to design your own individualized program, Antioch offers MBA concentrations for professionals looking to take the next step. 

If you’re interested in learning a graduate degree can advance your career, reach out to one of our advisors today to see how Antioch University can help open doors.