Earning your Master of Business Administration (MBA) brings with it a number of career advantages. With an MBA, you can comfortably apply to more lucrative job opportunities, and an MBA can help you stand apart from the competition when applying to those jobs.
Employers typically look for job applicants who have this advanced degree, since it means you’ve put in the time and effort to earn it as you developed important business skills and insights. Achieving this educational goal isn’t easy, though, so you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared. Understanding what is needed to be a successful MBA student can also help you determine what goals to set. Here are some tips to consider as you set goals for your MBA program.
Set Academic Goals — Give Yourself Something to Strive For
Setting academic goals can help you stay focused on what you want to accomplish. These goals can also improve your chance of succeeding in your MBA studies. When setting academic goals, consider using the SMART method. This involves setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Taking this approach to academic goals can help you avoid setting goals that aren’t realistically achievable.
With a SMART approach, you’ll be able to meet your goals, which can boost your self-confidence and help you stay motivated. What kinds of academic goals should you consider setting as an MBA student? You might want to set goals such as studying for two hours each day or honing a certain skill, such as communication or writing. You can adjust your academic goals as needed throughout your MBA program. For example, your goals might include preparing for exams near the end of each semester or working on your resume as you move closer to graduating. It’s good to push yourself, but make sure your academic goals are attainable.
Get Organized and Manage Your Time Well
Being in an MBA program means developing a wide range of skills necessary to a successful business career, so it’s important to stay on top of class assignments, lectures, exams, and other aspects of school. Being organized will help ensure you attend all your lectures and hand in projects on time. You’ll also be able to more easily keep track of upcoming assignments and exams, allowing you to prepare for them ahead of time, rather than scrambling at the last minute.
Part of being organized includes effective time management. You can use apps to keep track of due dates for assignments, tests, and projects. Being organized makes it easier to figure out how much time you need to adequately prepare for exams or complete projects and assignments. You can set aside time for schoolwork while also making sure you have time to handle any other responsibilities you have.
Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Health
To thrive in an MBA program, you’ll need to take good care of yourself, physically and mentally. Make sure you eat healthy meals and snacks that provide you with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Physical activity on a regular basis can also help you feel your best. Sleep is vital to maintaining your physical health. It gives your body—and mind—time to process and heal. Make sure you have a comfortable sleep environment, have a consistent sleep routine and schedule, and do your best to avoid eating or using your phone right before you go to bed.
Manage stress levels by setting aside time to unwind each day. You can reduce stress through relaxation techniques, such as writing in a journal, meditating, or practicing mindfulness. Taking time to do something you enjoy, such as painting, reading, or gardening, can also help you feel relaxed. Your organization and time management goal can help keep stress to a minimum throughout your MBA, as it will allow you to confidently balance school, work, and your personal life. Boosting your emotional well-being and mental health can help you focus on your studies and other school-related tasks more easily.
Find a Mentor
A mentor can help you successfully complete your MBA program and help prepare you for a business career. MBA alumni, faculty, and business professionals can all make effective mentors for MBA students. A mentor can provide you with advice and guidance while you work on earning your degree, discuss career options with you, and provide insight into what it’s like to work in a certain industry or field.
Mentors can also play an important role in helping you stay on track during your MBA program. Your mentor can act as an accountability partner, verifying you’re managing your time well, studying for exams, and completing projects and assignments on time. They can also provide you with feedback on how you’re doing as an MBA student, such as pointing out strengths and areas for improvement. You can then use this feedback to work on improving your academic performance.
Focus on Your Career Goals
Even though you’ll be in school, it’s not too early to think ahead. In fact, thinking about your career can help you stay motivated during your MBA program. You should consider your long-term career goals while you are an MBA student. Thinking about why you decided to pursue an MBA and what you want to do with it can help you determine your career goals. For example, consider where you want to be in five or ten years in terms of your career, such as in a leadership position at a certain company or in a specific industry.
When you figure out your long-term career goals, write them down so you can look them over from time to time. Reading through them can provide you with encouragement to keep going, especially at times when you might be feeling overwhelmed or stressed during your MBA program. Focusing on these career goals is a good way to remind yourself why you chose to earn an MBA and what you plan to do with it.
If you’re exploring school options for an MBA degree, contact The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga today. You can earn an MBA online or in-person from our Gary W. Rollins College of Business MBA degree program.