The Student Guide: Working and Completing an Online MBA
Unlike a Bachelor’s, it is entirely up to you whether or not you wish to complete your Master’s degree full-time, part-time, or online. It is this freedom to choose that makes them so perfect to advance your career, especially when you look at an online MBA and what it can do for your career.
You may not have a Master’s already; you may hold a PhD. MBAs are different in that they prepare your existing skillset to take on management-level roles, or even teach you everything that you need to start your own thriving business.
Start Your Online MBA at the Right Point in Your Career
With some degrees, you don’t have a choice but to try to finish them ASAP. Engineers, for example, must go through many years of education and then be certified by the state through an exam before they can start to work as an engineer. It’s a lot of work, and after you are done the first thing that should be on your mind is getting your foot in the door.
Building up your career; not only will it give you the essential background you need to really absorb and understand what an MBA can teach you, it is actually a requirement for many programs.
There are a few times where you will be ready for an MBA:
- You may already be a manager, who wants to move up to the executive-level or be qualified to handle a regional or international office.
- You may be at the height of your career (as an engineer, for example), and want new skills that would allow you to lead successfully.
- You know the ins and outs of the industry and want to start your own business.
Choose the Right Certificates
General managers need to have a lot of skills and know-how to do their jobs spectacularly. Only when they go above and beyond, can their team grow and improve. General managers need to have an understanding of finance, strategic planning, ethics and social responsibility, leadership skills, business management, and even how to manage people and improve hiring practices.
Hard skills, soft skills, and intuition all play a part in what makes a manager successful. Thankfully, everything that makes for a successful manager also makes a successful business owner, so if your ultimate goal is to start a company on your own you will be making the perfect step forward.
A standard MBA, however, may not teach you everything that you need. You need to learn more about what an MBA offers, and even the certifications that you can combine with your MBA. Find out what you need to know so that you can double check the qualifications you need, and ensure the degree you are going for will help you learn everything you need to know.
It is also a good idea to choose an MBA that is designed for those in your profession. There are specially dedicated options for engineers, for example, that are specifically created to help top-level specialists gain the business skills they need to apply for management and move forward.
Ensure Your Choice Has These Resources
Before you enroll, always check to make sure that the MBA you are looking at comes with these resources and benefits:
MBAs are for working professionals, and very rarely will you be in a position to take time off from your career to take your MBA. Today, you don’t need to. There are options that were specifically intended to be completed online, so you can choose the best school and not worry about the distance.
Designed Around You
Great MBAs are also intended to be flexible, so you can work on them on your own schedule. If you work late nights, but have time in the mornings, then that’s perfect. If you are strict with your 9-to-5 then you can fit your online MBA around that as well.
MBAs are often taught by those who have worked in executive-level positions themselves. Go through and learn about your faculty, who will be teaching, and what their credentials are. If you see someone who has reached goals you are dreaming of, then they are an excellent person to learn from.
There should always be student resources and support; library access, mental health support, IT support, and so on. They are standard, and should be available with every online degree you see.
MBAs are designed for your career, but that doesn’t mean that you should not have access to the career guidance center. They have their own network that you can use to further your goals, so don’t ignore your career center.
Factors of Quality
Unlike your engineering degree, your MBA doesn’t need accreditation because there is no state exam available to prove your effectiveness at managing a business. That being said, there are definitely accreditations out there, as well as awards and rankings, that you will want to look at just to gauge the quality of the education you will be receiving.
Preparing Your Routine
Choosing the right MBA is probably the most important step of them all. After all, with the right MBA you will learn skills that can be applied the very next day at your work. Go back to class and you can ask for help and advice and build your skillset and approach as you go.
As online MBAs are flexible, you have greater control over your routine.
That is one of the most important components. It is how you can work your routine around a degree and a demanding career. Coffee isn’t going to be enough to keep you awake and alert throughout the day. A poor diet won’t sustain you when you are going at full gear day after day.
Get Eight Hours of Sleep
To start, you need to work out a way to get not just eight hours of sleep, but eight hours of deep sleep. The best way to start is to just try to be strict and go to sleep at the same time every day, and wake up at the same time.
Our sleep cycles rely on what is known as the circadian rhythm. By being strict, you can actually make your body work with you so when it is time to go to sleep, your brain is ready and you can get a deeper, more energizing sleep as a result.
Eat Better, On an Improved Schedule
Have healthy snacks near you at all times. Energy from food can help keep us going and keep our minds alert. Sugar is not enough, and the infamous crash can hurt more than it helps.
Choose foods like nuts or fruits as your go-to snack, and you will benefit from the boost in calories and vitamins and nutrients. To help sustain a healthy weight, eat these on a schedule, usually when you take a break.
Exercise Once a Day
Exercising regularly can help you manage your energy levels better, but more important than that it helps pump oxygen into the brain. This oxygen will help you feel more awake and alert.
The initial period when you start exercising can inhibit you, however. Sore muscles and fatigue won’t help you tackle your career and a degree. To counteract this, start your new exercise routine early, a month at least before you start your MBA. This way you can move past the fatigue and instead enjoy the energy and mood-lifting benefits of exercise.
Breaks are important for productivity and for mental health. You need to schedule them so that you can continue to work hard, and well, without burning yourself out. If you cannot do this during your working hours for whatever reason, then make it the golden rule for when you work on your MBA.
Work for a set period of time, take a small break. Work again, and when you reach an hour or hour and a half mark, take a longer break (usually with food).
There should also be periods where you do not work, like an hour or two before bed. Instead work to relax yourself and calm down your mind so you can destress and sleep more deeply.
Always Apply What You Learn
MBAs are designed to be useful from day one. You should be able to apply what you learn directly to the workplace. Not only will this help your career, it is also the ideal way to take the concepts you are learning and immediately apply them. Starting early will mean you can develop your own unique leadership style by the time you graduate.
MBAs build leaders, and leaders forge their own path. You will use what you learn to make smart, informed decisions and build on the soft skills until they are as natural as breathing. Start as soon as you can, because using these new skills and what you learn early is how you will move past any awkwardness or bouts of imposter syndrome and become a leader in your own right.