Keep Your Sanity During Your EMBA

finding balance in business school

Today’s business school applicants feel the call to reinvent themselves to become more well-rounded and employable, and the invaluable personal and professional connections forged during an executive MBA continue to be the primary draw for most applicants.

However, the need to maintain some semblance of work/life balance is especially crucial for EMBA candidates, who often already shoulder work and family responsibilities before adding school back into the mix. An EMBA student needs to keep up in the classroom; maintain high performance levels at the office; and dedicate time to spouse and family on a regular basis.

These expectations can be difficult to meet, so it’s important to figure out a way to keep your job, family, and sanity during an executive program. A new article in the Financial Times takes a look at how students juggle the demands of an EMBA, grimly noting that some people refer to EMBAs as the ‘divorce course.”

Many will have to adjust expectations of what they can achieve. Learning to manage time is also vital.

It’s critical to have everyone on the same page—including affected family members and employer—before contemplating a return to graduate school. Married applicants should make sure they’ll have total support from their spouse before applying, and research which programs have a strong support network for students’ partners during the course.

“Those who cope well in the programme are not necessarily the ones that do best academically,” notes the FT, “but those who have resilience, are good communicators and able to ask for help.”

Check out the original article to learn from several students who have encountered and dealt with the particular stresses inherent to those pursuing an executive MBA degree. Silvia McCallister-Castillo, EMBA programme director at London Business School, tells the FT, “We select people that we are sure will be 100 per cent successful in the programme. We stretch them to beyond what they thought was possible. But we knew definitely it was possible.”

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