Update: Deborah is now self-employed and works as a Sustainability Consultant.
As a one-year program, the CBS FTMBA can be intense. Long days of class are followed by group project meetings, guest lectures, career networking, and of course studying. And while time management has certainly been an essential aspect of navigating the program, the real challenge is maintaining the energy needed to get through it all. Some days are overwhelming, stressful, or exhausting, and improving how I manage my energy has helped me to enjoy and take advantage of this unique experience.
For me, energy management starts with sleep. While it can be tempting to put in a few extra hours of studying some nights, I know that I’ll be sacrificing an entire day of productivity tomorrow for an hour or two tonight. I do my best to get a full night of sleep every night so that I feel mentally sharp every day.
In addition to sleep, improving my breathing, meditation, and self-acceptance have helped me to succeed even through the pandemic-related changes. (Alas, there’s no instructional guide for how to navigate your pandemic MBA!) Some days are less productive than I’d like, but having compassion toward myself has allowed me to pick myself up and move forward.
The other essential element of my MBA survival is my peers. Study groups and peer discussion have helped to lessen the workload and keep me accountable to my academic and career goals, and some of my classmates have shared study techniques or academic expertise along the way.
I’ve also learned to set a schedule for my assignments so that I don’t endlessly procrastinate, and I try to get my studying done as early in the day as possible while my mind is still fresh.
While pandemic restrictions aren’t ideal for any of us, sharing the ups and downs of this time with my classmates has brought us closer together and we have a thriving group chat for our class that complements sledding in the park and walks through the city. And when we can, small dinners or movie nights between just a few people minimise risk [of infection] while still allowing us to feel connected and supported.
Sometimes, laughing with friends is the perfect way to re-energize and prepare for the next day’s challenges, and making time for that laughter is important to my success.