Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree can involve considerable time and effort. However, you should still make sure you have free time to pursue a hobby. Having a hobby can provide benefits that boost your academic performance and improve other areas of your life, as well. Whether you choose to focus on a hobby you haven’t enjoyed in a while or learn a new one during your MBA program, keep the following benefits in mind:
1. Prevent Burnout and Reduce Stress
The exams, projects, and tasks associated with higher education can sometimes create stress. If expectations are not managed well, it can lead to added and unnecessary stress and, sometimes, result in burnout. Having a hobby is an effective way to lower stress and reduce your risk of burnout. A hobby gives your mind something positive to focus on outside school. Since hobbies are activities you choose to do in your free time and at your own pace, there should be less pressure involved. You can also choose a hobby that you feel comfortable doing rather than something new to help minimize any hint of stress.
If you’ve been feeling a lot of stress during school, consider a hobby that is calm by nature. For example, knitting or journaling are calming activities that can help ease your mind and relieve stress. Alternatively, choosing a hobby that is more active is also a great way to reduce stress. Physical activity can release endorphins to boost your mood and emotional well-being, so taking up yoga or going on hikes may be a good hobby alternative. Whether you choose a calm or more active hobby, you can reduce the risk of burnout and help your mind focus when it’s time to get back to your studies.
2. Boost Confidence
Confidence is a big part of having a successful business career for an MBA graduate. Consider taking up a hobby that gives you the opportunity to boost confidence in your skills and abilities. Whether your hobby involves doing something you have experience in or trying something completely new, enjoying your hobby on a regular basis can help build your self-confidence. For example, you might decide to cook as a hobby. If you already know how to cook, learning to make more complex dishes can help boost confidence in your cooking skills.
Having confidence in one area can help you perform better in your MBA program studies. You might feel more at ease with taking exams or tackling school projects. If you do run into challenges in your degree program, the increased self-confidence you have from your hobby can help you find new ways to overcome these struggles. Focusing on your hobby on a regular basis can help ensure that you maintain this confidence throughout your MBA program.
3. Develop New Skills
It’s OK to roam outside of your experience or comfort zone to try a new hobby. Choosing a hobby that involves doing something you aren’t as familiar with helps you develop new skills. For example, you might take up photography as a hobby. Even if you’ve taken photos before, focusing on photography can help you learn new skills while developing a deeper appreciation of the beauty of the world around you. By studying photography, you’ll refine your eye for detail, explore different lighting techniques, and exercise your ability to capture a moment with your mind before capturing it with the camera.
When you choose a hobby you haven’t already mastered, it offers the kind of challenge that can produce benefits for your MBA education. Earning your MBA degree involves developing new skills. When you’re comfortable learning new skills—thanks to your new hobby—you can thrive both during your MBA education and in your business career. Developing new skills can mean stepping outside your comfort zone, such as public speaking opportunities that help build leadership skills for the future. The experience of working on new, unfamiliar skills can motivate you to meet new professional opportunities head on in the future.
4. Encourage Creativity
Focusing on a hobby that gives you a chance to exercise your creative skills can also benefit you as an MBA student. A number of hobbies involve some degree of creativity implicit in their very nature—sculpting, painting, knitting, and even writing stories. However, other hobbies, can also have elements of creativity. From choosing the flowers, rocks, and loam for your garden design to the artistic use of icing to decorate a cake, every hobby that “makes” something has that potential. Even playing a game or a sport can engage creativity and make something beautiful happen, as any person who appreciates a well-thrown pass or a perfectly placed tee shot knows.
Studying for an MBA involves learning about finance, leadership, organizational behavior, accountability, and other essential areas of business. Business classes may not seem like they require a lot of creativity, however, certain aspects of these classes do involve creative thinking. You may need to think outside the box for a school project on marketing campaigns, for example, or you might be asked to team-building exercises for classes on leadership or business management. When you develop your creative muscle in a hobby, you can better flex it when a project—or a career—demands a creative solution.
5. Improve Social Skills
Some hobbies, such as drawing or writing, are meant to be accomplished on your own. Others, however, can give you opportunities to be part of a group or interact with other people. You might go birdwatching with a local birding group or explore the latest mystery as part of a book club. Interacting with other people provides you with a chance to meet others who share your interests. You’ll meet some folks who are just starting out and you can learn the hobby together. You are also likely to meet more experienced hobbyists who can share the wisdom they’ve accumulated through their experiences.
Socializing with others as part of your hobby can help boost your emotional well-being and take your mind off of your studies for a while. When you interact with others as you participate in your new hobby, you’re also improving your social skills. These valuable skills play an important role for MBA students, especially as they look to their career futures. Being social and becoming comfortable meeting new people can make it easier for you to reach out to faculty, business professionals, and other individuals for networking purposes before and after you graduate.
If you’re looking for a school that offers high-quality MBA programs, contact University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. We offer flexible Master of Business Administration programs that you can take either entirely online or partly in-person and partly online. Our MBA programs help you develop the skills you need for a successful business career.