Online MBA Work-Life Balance

A healthy work-life balance while enrolled in an online MBA program may seem illusive, but it is not impossible. Current online MBA students reveal their tips for managing work, personal, and school responsibilities while they earn their degree.

1. Lean on your family and friends.

  • It takes hard work and an understanding spouse. ([email protected], The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • My cohort and classmates help to keep me motivated and make the program that much better.  ([email protected], Syracuse University)
  • I have had to be more organized with my time and priorities, but with the support of my family and friends, I have managed the balance.  (Kelley Direct, Indiana University Bloomington)
  • I make it a point to always have dinner with my family and take one day out of the weekend to unwind. Sometimes that means staying up later or waking up earlier to finish my homework on time.  ([email protected])
  • My family support is tremendous, and without it I would have difficulty.  (Hofstra Online MBA Program, Hofstra University)

2. Practice some creative scheduling.

  • I can watch recorded lectures during my lunch breaks or my commute to and from work.  ([email protected], The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • Breaking up the work into smaller portions each day was helpful.  (Hofstra Online MBA Program, Hofstra University)
  • Most of my work is done in the morning when my family is still asleep which allows me to focus on my school work without interruptions.  (Online MBA, University of North Texas)
  • It is a challenge but I knew the MBA would be time intensive. I go to work early to work on homework and work during lunch.  (Kelley Direct, Indiana University Bloomington)
  • I could manage my work assignments in advance if [I] had plans.  (The Georgia WebMBA, Georgia College & State University)

3. Become an expert at prioritizing (which happens to be an extremely valuable on-the-job skill).

  • I really needed to schedule EVERYTHING and sometimes I needed to learn to say no.  (Online Executive MBA Program, Rochester Institute of Technology)
  • One of my greatest [new skills] has been time management and prioritization. I also work with greater efficiency in everything I do!  (Kelley Direct, Indiana University Bloomington)
  • It comes down to planning, which is extremely challenging when balance[ing] work, family life, and school. You have to learn to be efficient in every aspect of your life (including sleep!).  (The Georgia WebMBA, Georgia College & State University)
  • I'm able to maintain a work-life balance because our professors make the weekly agenda clear before the week starts, so I can lay out a ‘game plan’ and get my scheduling straight.  (Fox Online, MBA, Temple University)
  • You must be able to plan your time wisely on weeknights and weekends to study effectively, stay on track with the courses without getting behind and getting the most learning benefit out of the program. Your own self-discipline, desire to learn, and communication with your peers and instructors will play a big part in how well you will perform.  (D'Amore-McKim School of Business Online MBA, Northeastern University)

4. Understand that sacrifices may be necessary (but temporary).

  • Your hobbies might have to take a hiatus.  (Kelley Direct, Indiana University Bloomington)
  • Sacrifice is the operative word. If you want to make the most of it then you will have to put in the time. . . . You can maintain a very healthy work life balance but you will have to be organized.  (W.P. Carey Online MBA, Arizona State University)
  • The program is rigorous so it requires a significant sacrifice of one's ‘free time.’ However, if it were any other way, I would not feel as strongly as I do about the caliber of the program and the overall value.  ([email protected])
  • I am committed to the program and the results I believe I will get from it, so I don't mind having to make some sacrifices here and there for two years.  (Global MBA Online, Thunderbird School of Global Management)

5. Keep your eye on the prize.

  • My education has made a direct impact on my work already. I learn things that I can apply immediately.  (Master of Business Administration, Ball State University)
  • I am able to learn a new topic in the morning or the night before and immediately apply it in the workplace.  (Kelley Direct, Indiana University Bloomington)
  • It's definitely a commitment, but I enjoy the course content and I can see how it will benefit me.  (Information Security MBA, James Madison University)
  • Note: Business people love talking about business. Although it's schoolwork, it is so relevant to our fields, that it really is a fun experience.  (M.S. Pharm/MBA, University of Florida)
  • While coursework is definitely a rigorous portion of my evenings, I wanted it that way. You won't get a high quality education without putting in the work.  ([email protected])

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