With an average college semester typically lasting 16 weeks, it can prove intimidating to complete MBA level courses in half that time. We are oftentimes already so busy with our current schedules, it can be a struggle to find time to fit in class work. Regardless of your situation, whether you are a stay-at-home parent, you are already working full-time, or even both, you can still find time to earn your MBA with effective time management skills. It will not be easy, but it can be done!
It is important to understand that the MBA program is designed with professionals in mind, and that the assignments are manageable even on a very busy schedule. Typical courses require weekly readings, and then there will be a few graded homework assignments each week. For example, a course might have you read three chapters from your textbook and then complete a quiz for each chapter before the end of the week. Another course may have you write a one-page discussion regarding the weekly readings, and then provide feedback comments on your peers’ discussion submissions. Courses typically have a mid-term exam during your 4th week, and a final exam during your 8th week, and some may also require a research paper by the end of the course.
Because of the short time span of these courses, the professors will always have a syllabus with all of your expected deadlines for each assignment. I recommend printing off the syllabus and reviewing the course calendar as soon as you have access. Be aware that some courses will require written assignments as early as Wednesday of your first week, so it is best to know exactly when everything is due and not assume that you have until the end of the week. Pay attention to when large assignments are due, such as research papers. It helps to know what the subject matter will be so that you can start thinking about topics or saving articles that could serve as a resource. It is also important to know when your exams will be, and how long they are expected to take, so that you have adequate time to set aside to complete them. For example, in one class there was a three hour final exam, and I had to make arrangements for someone to watch my daughter while I took the exam. Once you start the exam, the timer cannot be paused, and so I could not afford to be distracted during that time.
I am a stay-at-home mom to a young toddler, who requires constant supervision, otherwise she finds creative ways to destroy the house. We always seem to be on the move, from sun-up to sun-down, so I found my opportunity to complete assignments after she went to sleep each night. She would go to bed at 9PM, I would do the dishes from dinner, tidy up the house, and then sit down at my computer around 10PM. I would work until about midnight, when I would drag myself to bed so that I could get a few hours of sleep before starting early again the next morning. In the beginning I would DVR all of my favorite TV shows to try to watch later, however I soon learned that unless it was something I could watch while my daughter was awake, I would never get around to seeing it later. It was a minor sacrifice, but now at the end of my MBA program, I can look forward to binge watching all of the shows I have missed for the past two years!
Having those two hours a night allowed me more than enough time to complete all of my assignments. I rarely needed all of that time to work on my weekly assignments, normally only 3-4 nights a week, so the other nights were dedicated to the larger assignments. If I knew what my final paper topic would cover, I would take those opportunities to do research. Some courses can be more demanding, whether the material is challenging to understand, or there are additional weekly assignments that require more time. The important thing to being able to complete these courses in such a short period of time is setting a routine and then sticking to it. Otherwise, it can be very easy to get behind in such a short period of time!