While I was doing my MBA program people often asked me how I managed to study with family (wife and two kids). Well I not only managed but I also graduated with a distinction!
Full-time MBA is often extremely stressful with one year programs being harder and tougher. You will find that MBA is not an easy task if you wish to excel. Sure you can slack, exert minimum effort, and barely pass. However ask yourself, is that why you have paid so much? Do you want to just waste all your efforts you have put in to get this far?
If you are planning to do an MBA or are already in an MBA Program, follow these 10 steps and you will survive with flying colours. I am going to share my secret with you now.
1. Always be on time
You would probably study in a multi-cultural environment during your MBA. Definition of "on time" is very fluid from culture to culture. Some cultures do not adhere to time as strictly as others do. Nonetheless when you commit to a certain time, be it for a team meeting or a reach class ALWAYS be on time. It would be better if you try to arrive early. One of my professor believed that if you are on time; you are late! Become known as the dependable and reliable person. This is one habit that will help you the most in your MBA program.
2. Never miss ANY class
The temptation to skip a class is immense at times.
Perhaps there is this one professor you don't like much, it is just one class, what harm will it do? The attendance policy allows me to take 2 classes off so why should I not? I deserve time off as I have just finished this big assignment/project/presentation!!
All of these and more will come up in your mind now and then. Don't fall into the trap. Especially since these days class participation has such a big role to play.
I never missed a single class except one due to an unavoidable circumstance. Such issues will come for you as well. It is better to have leeway than be sorry later.
Furthermore, no matter how boring a class is, you tend to absorb from the environment when you are present. No notes or detailed filling-in by your class fellows can make up for the missed time. Perhaps the difference between an A grade and a B+ can happen due to just one casual comment in the class when you were not there.
3. Make friends
Your class fellows are now your lifelong valuable assets. Find the common ground with them and expand it. Not only by doing so will you make your life pleasant during the MBA but this friendship will also go a long way into the future. Conflicts and clash of views are bound to happen. The important part is to view them as they are; i.e. professional difference of opinions. Learn not to convert these to personal grudges.
Spend time with your class fellows. Hangout, take part in extra curricular activities, or eat together. Don't just tolerate them, enjoy their company.
4. Study in groups
If you can teach something to another, it is then that you can truly learn that thing. When you try to study a topic to explain it to someone else, you try to look at it from different angles. You look for the best possible way in which you can explain it. If you find a subject difficult, volunteer to teach a group of your class fellows that topic. You will find that when you explain it to others, your knowledge of the subject would be unshakable.
When you study for a subject, always find a group with whom you can work with. If possible divide the material among each other and explain it to others in the group. If you cannot study in a group and need time for yourself alone, then by all means do that. But keep a group revision session. If groups still frighten you, find one person whom you can teach.
5. Celebrate success
Always acknowledge and celebrate a success no matter how small it is. Don't wait for the module to end or after the teacher posts the pass grades. Success has many definitions, such as submitting an important paper, getting through a tough week, or giving a presentation. Birthdays are another good thing to celebrate. I do not suggest partying at each instance, rather just taking out time to acknowledge and give importance to the "success". Find small successes in the lives of your "friends" and share yours with them.
6. Take self time-off
In between the hustle and bustle do find time for yourself. This is your time-off. Do what you love doing to relax in this time-off. Remember, this is alone time. No hangouts, no clubs, and no drinking. The idea is to relax the mind not to numb it.
Some people like reading, some like listening to music, some play games, some watch TV or a movie (you should do this when hanging out with your class fellows). Do what ever makes you relaxed. This time-out is must once in every 3 days. It need not be longer than an hour but it is a must in your routine.
7. Never skip meals
There will come a time when you are rushing and decide to skip a meal.
NEVER SKIP MEALS!
Pack it, eat it during the commute, or do whatever possible to not skip a meal. Breakfast is a must in the morning, so is the lunch in the after noon and so is the dinner at night. No meal is more important than the other, each is equally important as the other.
It is a good idea to have something to munch during team meetings. Make it a tradition to have drinks and food available while brain storming, you will notice vast improvements in the results (and moods).
8. Make coffee thy friend
If you love coffee before starting your MBA, you might change your mind by the time you finish. It is not just needed at times, but required. There are plenty of deadlines which would be hard to meet. A dozen cups or two a day will get you through such times.
You don't like coffee? Well too bad because you will have to take it none the less. I would suggest try a smoothie or other such thing and start loving it. At times you will need to go beyond your usual human capacity to deliver.
9. Never pull an all-nighter before an exam
No matter how tempted you are. Never ever stay awake and cram the night before an exam. It will only be your down fall. You are doing your MBA, manage time well and get full sleep before exams.
10. Don't put life on hold
You are mentally prepared. You have learned that studying is very important. You know times will be tough. You are ready to hunker down and take the studies head-on.
So you are doing an MBA, that does not mean that you stop living and only focus on your studies.
Time never waits for anyone. If you do not live now this time will never come again. You have already managed to get into a good program. I am sure you know how important this year will be. I am equally sure that you can wisely spend your time and not hold back on life. Do what you can do, when you can do. Live. Enjoy. Do not look back and regret not doing something because you were too busy with your MBA.