Work-Life Balance: Career Wellbeing While Earning My MBA

In this post, I want to show how Gallup’s assessment tool can help you manage the sacrifices, tradeoffs, and potential career well-being issues you may need to address while earning your MBA.

In a previous MyeEMBA Blog post, I referenced career well-being as “how you occupy your time or simply liking what you do every day.”  During our seven-day week, most of us spend it working at our jobs.  Yet, Rath and Harter, in their book, Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, point out that when asked, “Do you like what you do each day?”  – only 20% responded with a strong yes.  Based on their research, it appears that engagement is the differentiation for the 20%.  Therefore, the challenge for you while enrolled in your MBA program is to maintain a level of engagement at work that does not reduce your career well-being.

Why do I say this is a challenge?  An example of how career well-being is affected may be the best way to provide an answer.  Let us say you lead a team of eight people working on a client project requiring a lot of face-to-face time with the client and the people on your team.  You have a boss that is very hands-on, which means a lot of face-to-face time with you.  The project completion date is at the midpoint of your MBA program.  In addition, next month you start your Executive MBA, which meets every other weekend and requires a considerable out of class work, and involves team assignments.  Currently, everyone at work, as well as the client, views you as engaged and committed to the project.  Your Career Well-being index is high.  Can you maintain the same level of engagement and commitment at work as well as a high-level of engagement and commitment to your Executive MBA peers, team members, and faculty so you can differentiate yourself at work and in the Executive MBA program while maintaining your high Career Well-being index?  I think you can see this would be a challenge for most of us, even if an MBA were not part of our life.

Gallup’s Wellbeing Finder is an assessment tool that will allow you to measure your career well-being and help you identify the impact of adding an MBA program to your already busy life so you can better manage the challenge.  By answering a series of questions, a Career Wellbeing score is determined using a scale of 0 to 10.  Your score then allows for a classification of suffering, struggling, or thriving.  Obviously, the goal is to achieve a thriving classification.  The Wellbeing Finder  website stores your results each time you take it so you can trend your career well-being over time.  For the newly accepted MBA, I suggest taking the assessment before starting the program and at the end of each semester.  This will help you see trends and, should a downward trend occur in Career Wellbeing, you can then take steps to reverse the trend even while attending your MBA.

The Wellbeing Finder also provides suggested action items for you to manage your Career Wellbeing.  Although the suggestions are generic, they do provide a useful starting point.  Additionally, you can add your own action items.  For me, the biggest challenge is following through with each action item.  However, an alert function reminds you to follow up with some type of action or reassessment.  The problem is I sometimes ignore the alert.

What about your career well-being?  Have you used the Wellbeing Finder?  If so, would you be willing to share your score?  Do you have any career well-being goals or action items you would like to share?  Please share your thoughts regarding career well-being and the MBA in comments below.

In my next post, I will help you develop an action plan for staying engaged with your boss while completing your MBA so you do not jeopardize your career well-being.


Rodney G. Alsup, D.B.A., CPA, CITP
Founder of

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