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How to Succeed at Working and Studying for Your MBA

In recent years, online MBA programs have gained a lot of popularity due to the fact that they offer a more flexible and self-led approach to study that will often make the task easier for students. Unlike traditional programs where students would need to take time away from work in order to enroll, online MBA students can study mainly from home, allowing them to continue working full-time if needed and uphold other commitments without the need to adjust their lives massively to fit around their studies.

Getting an MBA can be an excellent way to advance your business career, no matter what kind of position you may be looking for in the future. Whether you hope to earn a promotion at your current workplace or are thinking of starting your own company in the future, getting an MBA can be an ideal way to meet your career goals with MBA graduates in very high demand in many industries around the world. It’s a well-known and well-respected qualification that can boost your resume and increase your competitiveness in your field.

However, getting an online MBA is not always easy, especially since many online MBA students are studying for this qualification while working at the same time and upholding other commitments which can sometimes be difficult to fit around one another. As a result, finding the time to study and focus on their degree can sometimes be a challenge, especially when enrolled in a very flexible online course that provides self-led options to students. Thankfully, there are several strategies that you can use to ensure your success when studying for an online MBA and make it easier to fit around your life.

If you’re considering enrolling in an online MBA program or are currently a student on one, here are some strategies that you might find helpful to consider for educational success.

Student preparing for exams

Choose the Right Online School:

The first step in the process is choosing the right online business school and program for you. Choosing the right program for your online MBA can make all the difference to your success since the programs can all be quite different and there are many factors that can contribute to whether or not the online MBA is the right option for you. Spend some time researching the various MBA programs and different schools before you start, keeping in mind that some schools are more experienced with and successful at online learning compared to others.

If you have shortlisted some programs that you like, consider the various factors that will apply to you before deciding on the right one. For example, Suffolk University’s MBA Online Program requires no GMAT, which might be helpful to you depending on your previous qualifications. On the other hand, some online MBA programs are more structured, offering an online class timetable to stick to which some might find helpful, compared to fully flexible programs where you decide when you want to study. Other programs offer a blended learning combination of both classroom and online study, which may be helpful for some. Some points to consider when choosing your online MBA include:

1.      School Reputation:

Don’t just consider the rankings – think about a range of factors that go into the reputation of a business school or online college, particularly when it comes to their experience and success with delivering online learning, which some schools are simply better at compared to others. Find as much information as you can online to help you determine the reputation of a business school and decide if it’s right for you, including talking to current and past students wherever possible.

2.      Flexibility:

Make sure that the online MBA program that you are planning to enroll in is going to accommodate your other commitments. If you’re working full-time in a 9-5 career, you might not be the best candidate for an online MBA that requires you to be online and ready for virtual classes in the morning. On the other hand, a completely flexible online MBA that allows you to study in the evenings and weekends after work may be a better option for you.

3.      Campus Proximity:

If being able to use campus facilities such as the library is important to you, then you might want to think about the physical location of the campus to your home and how easy it will be for you to commute there. In some cases, online students might find it easier to succeed when they are studying online at a local campus that they can visit to use the facilities provided when needed.

4.      Additional Student Support Services:

Find out what the college and program offer to students in terms of any additional support that you might need when studying for the degree program. Whether it’s extra financial support in terms of scholarships and grants or practical support such as help with childcare, we can all sometimes use an extra hand to help us through when taking on a huge amount of work.

5.      MBA Concentration:

Finally, think about the potential MBA concentrations that you may be interested in and whether there are any subjects that may be more appealing than others when it comes to your future career. Today you can find a huge range of different MBA concentrations in finance, business leadership, marketing supply chain, human resources, data and business intelligence, environmental issues, and more to help shape your future career and prepare you for the roles that you have in mind for yourself as a graduate.

Develop a Study Schedule:

Once you are a part of an online MBA program, it is a good idea to come up with a study schedule that will work well for you. This might involve attending classes at set times or simply coming up with a schedule to catch up with the classes and complete the work at times that suit you the best. The additional freedom and flexibility are often the major benefits of online MBA programs compared to studying for your MBA on-campus. It can be much easier to succeed around working and other commitments when you are able to select the study hours that work best for you. In addition, some online students will have more freedom in terms of elective modules and even when it comes to how long they want to take to complete the online degree.

However, this can be challenging for some people, especially those who are not used to online study and have always experienced a classroom setting where things tend to be more structured and there is a much lower level of personal choice involved. To succeed with an online MBA, it’s important to get good at managing your time and making sure that you are putting the effort in, especially if there is nobody checking whether or not you have kept up with online classes. And sometimes, being in charge of it all yourself can make it easier to procrastinate when you have had a long day at work or elsewhere. Creating a study schedule that works for you is one of the best ways around this potential problem and can help you stay on track at all times.

Set Up a Study Space:

A study space that is dedicated totally for you to complete your online MBA work is always a good idea if you are able to create one. Since most online MBA students will complete this degree from home, the last thing that you want is to be faced with distractions when you are trying to get some work done. And sadly, our homes can be filled with distractions from chores to the other household members at times. Trying to study from the living room when your family is there eating dinner and watching a movie is probably not going to make it easier for you to focus. So, set up space in your home that is to be specifically used for study purposes. If you work from home, using your home office space can be a good idea, or set up a desk in a spare bedroom, a sunroom, or even your garage if it’s comfortable enough. Make sure that you have got everything that you need in your study area to avoid distractions as much as possible and make it easier for you to focus on what you need to do.

Man working on computer

Set Small Goals:

Studying for an online MBA while continuing to work full-time and trying to live your life as normal can be overwhelming for some. After all, the MBA, in general, can be a very intense program and there will be a lot of work involved with succeeding with this program. Setting smaller goals as you go along, however, can be an ideal method to use to make everything easier to achieve. Rather than placing all of your focus on the final achievement and goal of getting the degree, which can feel a long way off and out of reach especially at the start, focus your energies on one small goal at a time with a series of small goals to achieve along the way that will eventually help you get to where you want to be and lead to you achieving the MBA. Doing things this way will often make sure that you stay focused because you are only thinking about one smaller step at a time. And, it can make it easier for you to manage your progress and track how far you have come, which can also be encouraging.

Build Your Professional Network:

One of the factors that might feel a little concerning for online MBA students is that there may not be as many opportunities to network with peers and professors in person when studying for an online MBA compared to getting an MBA on-campus. You will be spending most of your time studying from home, alone, compared to being in a classroom spending time around the other students. However, the good news is that this does not mean networking is out of reach for online MBA students, and there will be several opportunities for you to work on building your professional network while studying online. Many online programs provided by business schools will offer a range of different channels for networking that you can make use of such as online chat rooms and social media groups, or you could go out of your way to find and network with your peers online at sites such as LinkedIn. Regular networking events that may sometimes be held in different areas of the country to make it easier for students in different locations to attend are another popular option for online MBA students that are worth taking the time to go to in order to build your professional network as much as possible while studying and make sure that you get the most out of this degree program.

Get a Good Support System in Place:

Studying for an online MBA while working full-time and running your own business alongside upholding any other commitments in your life will often likely leave you feeling in need of support. It’s important to make sure that you have a strong support system around you for when you need additional help, whether you’re leaning on important people from your personal life or the student support services that are available through your business school or college.

If you are upholding a lot of different commitments in your life while studying for an MBA degree online, it’s important to be prepared for the amount of work that you’ll be faced with. Stress and anxiety can be quite common if you’re overwhelmed with the workload and getting the right support system in place means that you may find it easier to deal with any of these feelings that might arise.

Online MBA programs have become a popular alternative for those who work and study. However, it can be a heavy workload to take on, so the right study strategies are crucial for your success.

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