There was a saying that we used in the Marine Corps: “It is easier to keep up than catch up.”
This phrase mostly applied to things like running or forced marches in that context, but it seems to me that is is quite applicable to an MBA program as well. Time management is a crucial skill that is needed in order to thrive in this sort of environment. In the Marines they begin training in stress inoculation and time management almost immediately. It is not uncommon in boot camp for something simple, like making a rack (bed), to be given an impossible, or nearly impossible time restriction, and it progresses from there to more complex issues with seemingly impossible time constraints.
Time management and the ability to work under duress are two of the many valuable skills (along with leadership), that the Marines helped instill in me. So, back to the MBA program, during the program, there are a lot of priorities that need to be balanced. Some of the main ones are:
- School: Not just going to all of my classes, but doing homework assignments, studying, and working on projects.
- Future Careers: Especially for people like myself looking to switch careers, I need to actively work on building my professional network, attend company info sessions and events, job fairs, apply for jobs, hopefully interview for jobs, work on my resume, and meet with my career counselor.
- Student organizations: There are a myriad of student organizations at Fisher, and they all offer valuable opportunities to students. There is certainly not time to join all of them, but I have joined several, but each additional one requires an additional time commitment.
- Personal: This is possibly the easiest to neglect, but humans need sleep, and to eat, and every once and a while to relax. Things like going to the gym take time, but it is something that should not be neglected. Also, having a social life within the program is important. A big part of business school seems to be networking, so doing things like going to happy hours, and football games are important to building strong relationships with classmates.
All of these areas need to be kept in balance, and maintained, sometimes one is going to be more in focus than the rest, but that doesn’t mean the rest can be neglected. If I neglect an area, then I am going to fall behind in it, which means that in the future, I will need to expend the same amount of energy needed for it now, plus the energy needed for it in the future, in order to catch up. That is in addition to meeting all of the other requirements from the other sections of my life. So, a short term sacrifice now, causes long term harm if I decide to slack in one or more areas. So, even though it might seem overwhelming sometimes, keeping up with it all is easier than trying to catch up with it all in the future. I should thank my Drill Instructor for the life lesson.