Higher education is such a vast world that brings so many challenges to all those who enter it. Be it an MSc or MBA, pursuing extra studies is not only a financial investment but an intellectual and time investment too.
The beauty of MBA and MSc programs is that they, in a lot of business schools, bring together people from around the world with diverse professional backgrounds and academic formations, but this also means that many of these students are working professionals, household caregivers, mothers and fathers, and entrepreneurs. So the only way to be ready to tackle all the time consuming challenges of their programs is to properly anticipate the workload.
Higher Education And Actual Workload
An already established fact is that the hard work begins from the moment candidates start their application. Once they’re in, it is important to be ready for an overwhelming amount of individual and group work, because between attending courses, maintaining a personal life balance, and resuming their professional activity, students will have less time to keep up with their old lifestyle. With projects, papers, reports, case studies analysis, assignments, and presentations, the workload can create a lot of schedule conflicts as well as the need to reprioritize personal commitments.
In fact, since most higher ed classes provide an opportunity to obtain real hands-on experience through case studies, a lot of them take it a step further and include in their program a consultancy project as well as an internship. This will allow and encourage students to apply the knowledge they have acquired in their programs as well as their previous/job positions.
Moreover, as exciting as it is, having an internship included in the program also means that a big schedule transition is going to happen, and this leads to a lot of compromises that need to be made for students to be able to stay focused on their work mission. With an intensive pace of work, managing an agenda and developing a clear timetable will ease the pressure and help reprioritize tasks according to the personal needs of students as well as the academic requirements they must fulfill.
Going into business school is very exciting and students tend to sign up to all clubs, extracurricular projects, and events without thinking ahead; assuming they can do it all. Coming to campus with pre-set priorities will not only help students filter the activities they should go for but also which ones they can simply disregard. Overcommitting will only push students into becoming physically and mentally drained from the start.
Learning to say no does not mean that students are not taking their higher education program seriously, but rather means that they can exercise a bit of self-management, even when they are tempted not to, which leads to the following point.
Managing oneself before others
Many students come from a professional working environment and might be used to being managed; however, going back to school means having to manage oneself by organizing a schedule, balancing team work and personal assignments, as well as becoming more independent. Training to do so will help students gain more confidence and learn from their mistakes, because no amount of preparation can make them avoid small setbacks, but it could help soften the fall if/when it happens.
A big part of making the experience more enjoyable and stress-manageable is to take more risks. Not to contradict the first idea; it means keeping an open mind when it comes to working with new people in different projects, doing additional research, and exploring other potential career directions in the industry. Just like real life, business school programs will prepare students to what is waiting for them and allow them to discover different personalities and sectors in their field.
Accepting such challenge means seeing the big picture and tackling the small pictures one at a time, and what’s the best part? Accepting the successes and small failures as part of the journey.
Learn more about EMLV’s higher education programs.