Newly admitted MBAs, have you thought about how starting your MBA will affect your life in the short-term and how you will obtain work-life balance while pursuing your degree?
Adding an MBA program to your already busy life can mean disaster for your “work-life balance” or “overall well-being.” If work-life balance is an issue for you now, then starting an MBA program will add even more pressure to everybody involved: you, your employer, your coworkers, and your family. How well you manage the work-life or well-being issues can influence your performance in your MBA program, your satisfaction with the program, and the extent to which you differentiate yourself during the program.
Managing work-life balance is not easy for most of us. This becomes more pronounced with the excitement that always dominates when starting something new. Even with the excitement, a proactive approach to managing the associated issues involving work-life balance while pursuing an MBA appears to be the most sensible. A proactive approach could include:
- Identify how earning an MBA will change or benefit your life
- Identify the sacrifices you and others in your life will make while you earn your MBA
- Develop an action plan to mitigate the sacrifices and to optimize the benefits
Addressing the Benefits and Sacrifices for MBA Work-Life Balance
Benefits: In all likelihood, the perceived benefits of having an MBA motivated you to apply to, earn acceptance, and soon enroll in the MBA program you selected. Did you create a list of benefits or did you use the generic list from most recruiting materials? Perhaps a good starting point would be to create a list of benefits that will be uniquely your own. How will your life change by earning an MBA? Perhaps you imagined the following:
- A job that is both rewarding and fulfilling
- More available time to spend with family and friends
- An earnings stream that provides for your family’s needs and wants, now and in the future
- Excellent physical and mental health
- Community involvement that is both rewarding and satisfying
These are but a few examples of how earning an MBA can change your life. I am sure the list you created differs; however, the one thing both lists will have in common is that each item listed is a future value that will result from earning your MBA.
Sacrifices: Earning an MBA also requires some form of short-term sacrifice. Have you thought about what those sacrifices are? Now, imagine the short-term sacrifices you will make while earning your MBA. Possible examples include:
- Current job becomes less rewarding and fulfilling
- Less time is available to spend with family and friends
- Less earnings are available to provide for your family’s near term needs
- Increased stress and less time for exercise
- There is less time to spend in community activities
As you can see, earning an MBA involves tradeoffs to achieve work-life balance. Usually the tradeoffs involve short-term sacrifices for longer-term benefits. Do you agree? Where are you in developing a proactive approach? Have you identified the long-term benefits or life changes resulting from earning your MBA? Have you identified the short-term sacrifices associated with earning your MBA? Do you have any sacrifices or benefits you would like to share? Please share your thoughts in comments below.
Rodney G. Alsup, D.B.A., CPA, CITP
Founder of MyeEMBA.com