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Tips for a Successful MBA Experience

The MBA is a stressful few years that can be negative for some.

To ensure that you make the most of your time and money, Chartered Management Institute (CMI) – an accredited professional institution for management based in the United Kingdom – has released a few tips on how you can maximize your MBA experience.

Balancing Studies and Personal Life

Experts say finding the time to fit in your personal life with your studies can make your MBA experiences degrees better.

“MBA classes, projects and papers demand much of your brain but little of the rest of your body, so make sure you find ways to exercise and fit in other personal interests that allow you to take a break from the stress and mental focus,” Tara Case, an MBA graduate of Durham University Business School and now chief executive of Ways To Wellness, tells CMI. “If possible, look for ways to fit that in when you’re not otherwise able to be productive.”

Time management is a critical aspect of success in the MBA experience. But dedicating all your time to purely studying can have negative effects.

According to data provided by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, 1,180 students in the United Kingdom dropped out of university due to mental health issues in 2014-15. The data has risen 210% from 380 in 2009-10, The Guardian reports.

Dr. Daniel Prior, director of the executive MBA at Cranfield University, tells CMI that having a proper support network is crucial. “The people who tend to do well have dedicated time for their MBA studies, and have the support of their family, friends and employers,” Prior tells CMI. “This then empowers them to focus their energies appropriately – but it implies that time management is critical.”

Getting Discounts on MBA Fees

MBA fees can add up when you’re applying. Many schools offer discounts for early applications and scholarships that greatly decrease the MBA cost.

There are a number of ways an applicant can qualify for these scholarships.

“Making sure you highlight your managerial experience, academic achievements and future plans will put you in a stronger position to be awarded a scholarship,” Dr Julie Hodges, associate dean for MBA programs at Durham University Business School, tells CMI.

Additionally, Dr Kodwani, head of the Open University Business School, shares insight with CMI on other alternatives to the traditional MBA that are labeled with cheaper price tags.

“Some universities offer prices per module rather than for whole qualifications, which can help spread the payment over time,” Hodges tells CMI. “Some universities also offer fully online free learning resources through MOOC [massive online open course] platforms, such as FutureLearn, that can be assessed and count towards the MBA.”

Making a Career Switch with an MBA

Every business school will give you the fundamental skills of business, but they differ in the networks they offer.

Dr Kodwani adds that good business schools offer strong networking opportunities among fellow students and alumni.

“The peer-to-peer conversation and mentoring program involving MBA alumni can be a powerful networking platform that can facilitate career change,” Kodwani tells CMI.

If you’re looking to switch careers, you’ll need more than simply good grades, Kodwani says.

“That’s important of course but, if you’re looking to change careers, it’s perhaps even more important to make sure that you take advantage of other learning and development opportunities, such as personal and professional development, networking and extracurricular sessions that might expose you to potential career paths,” Kodwani tells CMI. “Choose assignment topics, too, that allow you to develop your knowledge of areas and sectors that you might want to move into, so that you can take full advantage of any serendipitous conversations or opportunities.”

Sources: Chartered Management Institute, The Guardian