Most people told me I shouldn’t pursue an MBA full-time while also working full-time in the pro AV space. Some told me it wasn’t worth it, others said I should wait… Most told me I would burn myself out, get sick of my routine, and end up quitting. Not that the people around me doubted my capabilities, but they wanted to make me see that undertaking such a huge workload could affect my work, my relationships, my well-being and my life in general. However, how could they know this if the majority didn’t have an MBA? The secret to setting goals (and achieving them) is to only listen to yourself and the reason why you’re pursuing those goals in the first place.
Here are the tools I used to conquer the time-crunch and educate myself while working full-time in the pro AV business:
Sometimes we get way too caught up in our existence, so it’s actually kind of refreshing to do something that pushes you to the limit, makes everything else fall into place. A full-time MBA won’t kill you, and I don’t think it needs to affect your pro AV business. Working a few extra hours each day is not the end of the world. A deadline at work… it’s all part of life, and maybe it means that you’re reliable and trustworthy of those deadlines and challenges.
Time Management Skills
If I told you that if you decide to undertake an MBA and work full-time, you’ll have no social life, no time to do the things you like the most, no energy to have fun… would you still do it? That’s what most people told me, but it’s not true. I still went out with friends, I still went away on vacation to Europe (multiple times) and had the occasional couch potato moments.
Most of my assignments were due Sunday at 11:59 p.m., so I knew I had a full 2 days to work on these assignments; however, your weekend does become a giant clock. The more you procrastinate, the less time you have to do a good job. Getting assignments done ahead of time saved me a lot of aggravation and anxiety. In addition, missing assignments in an MBA program is not an option! It’s all about managing your time! Realizing your priorities will help you allocate appropriate time for each activity in your life, whether that is study, traveling, hobbies, relaxing, or working at/running an pro AV business.
My Full-time Job Kept Me Sane
Coming to work in the morning, after an evening of business classes and studying late, was a relief. Believe it or not, it helped me unwind and take a break from the assignments I had due. Work is challenging on a different level. I looked forward to work because I could get my mind off of that terribly difficult accounting assignment on period costs, or forget about the fact that, once I left work, I would have to endure a 4-hour evening class and that I could only go to bed at 1am. It truly helped me pretend I only had AV business to think about. I can’t imagine not having work to make me think about something else other than Grad School.
Persistence is Key
At least a couple of times throughout the past year and a half, I tried convincing myself that I didn’t need an MBA, but that would be the easy way out. I’d have an extra few thousand dollars in my pocket each semester, more free time, and I could always work up to that level, right? Maybe, but not quite… Those were the moments I had to realize persistence was indeed my best friend on this journey. Sometimes that same persistence was intrinsic and sometimes it came from friends and family who helped me keep moving forward.
A Steady Income Gave Me Peace of Mind
Not having a steady income would have given me a lot more worries and headaches. There are many options out there for students who want to study full-time only but having a bank account with money and bills on auto-pay is an invaluable factor when pursuing your MBA. I know some students get scholarships, financial aid or even have their parents still pay for graduate school, but that wasn’t my case. There’s no financial aid for business school and I didn’t have access to scholarships. I have been living on my own since I was 19 and independent financially since I was 22.
Life in General is a Piece of Cake!
I’m not saying this one lightly, but if you manage to survive full time work in the pro AV business AND grad school full-time, you’re up for anything. Setting goals after Grad School is a very refreshing thought. I’m still working on my post MBA 5-year plan, but writing down the steps of how to accomplish some of these goals seems a lot easier in comparison to reading a dense 300-page on algorithms such as Naive Bayes, K-means, or support vector machines for an upcoming exam.
It’s Imperative to Have Work Experience!
I am so glad I had a few years of work experience under my belt before I started Grad School, otherwise, the class materials would have been very dry and hard to relate to. Income statements, balance sheets, financial reports, marketing plans and inventory level formulas among others won’t make much sense unless you have an idea of where those fit in an organization and why they are relevant.
Hobbies are Essential
Keeping my regular blog postings on my website was a good way to stay creative and get my mind off things. I needed a creative outlet to help me stay in touch with other creative people. Hiking and traveling were the two other activities that I kept pursuing while in Grad School. Telling myself the reward to getting things done ahead of time was taking a break here and there.
Winter (and Summer) Classes are the Hardest
I absolutely hated going to class on a cold winter day, when all I wanted to do was make myself hot chocolate and indulge on Christmas movies. Sometimes, I was sad that everyone else got to enjoy going home after a long and stressful day at work. But then again, this gave me the perspective I needed to keep going. In comparison to taking a winter class (which is 15 weeks of material compressed into 4 weeks), a regular semester seemed a lot easier and achievable.
Pursuing an MBA is hard, but there are tools and techniques you can implement in your life to make it happen. It’s all about persistence and balance. You’ll find hundreds of articles on why you should do it, and another couple hundred on why you shouldn’t. Just ask yourself: How badly and how fast do you want to accomplish your pro AV business goals?