Before I started my MBA at Frankfurt School, I asked myself: “Do I want to do the MBA part-time or full-time?” Of course, both programs have their advantages and the main differences are the duration and the additional workload in addition to a full-time job. I thought: “If I choose the part-time MBA, the biggest challenge would be the work-life-study balance” – and I was right.
Everybody knows this kid from school, who studied all the time to be the best in class and it seemed he or she did not have any fun in life. Then there was the other kid, who did the minimum effort and got through, too. The MBA is not comparable with middle or high school, but it is normal that you have people following different study types in your class. Therefore, everybody has to find his or her own rhythm to achieve the best results. In other words, everybody has to find his own work-life-study balance, because you need to be motivated every day to get through your busy day. This challenge will not work, if you have a burnout after 3 months. The part-time MBA is a marathon, not a sprint.
My advice: Organize yourself. Decide what to do and when, block these times early on in your calendar and find activities to get back to your personal equilibrium – like doing sport or meeting friends.
Personally, I experienced the first couple of months in the programme very intensively. In my job as a salesman for B2B customers at Vodafone, I needed to figure out a clear study schedule before and after my working hours, in order for me not to experience a drop in working performance. At the beginning, I studied from 7-8 in the morning, I was in the office from 8am until around 6pm, went to the gym or to my Taekwondo class from 6pm until 8pm and got back to my desk to study at 9pm until sleeping time around 11pm. On the weekends I tried to organize the next week and revised whenever necessary. Obviously, these were full days with no freedom for spontaneous events or much free time.
After three months, I got into my rhythm and I could estimate the study workload for the upcoming weekends in a better way, which led to more flexibility regarding study hours under the week. Of course, there might be fellow students, who have not regularly found the time to go to the gym or had to reduce their free time. However, I have found a way to manage my time efficiently including the part-time MBA: I have a girlfriend and friends, who I see regularly, and I still do sports to keep my personal balance, which is very important for me. Overall, time got more valuable and I feel more satisfied to reward myself with family time after a stressful week.
I would have never thought that I can achieve so much at the same time with less time than before. It may sound unlikely, but the less time you have, the more efficiently you use it. Personally, this is already one of the biggest learning effects of the part-time MBA: You can achieve everything if you are consistent, organized and have a clear time management to follow your goals every day.