10 Tips for Excelling in an MBA Program

You completed your application, received notice of your acceptance, and formally enrolled in a Master of Business Administration program—now what? Completing an Online MBA is a great opportunity to advance your knowledge of the business world and gain valuable skills for a fulfilling career after graduation. But between enrollment and the finish line, there are tests to take, assignments to complete, and a lot of studying to do. To make the most of this time, you will need to be strategic to ensure you maximize your success as a student.

These 10 tips can help you to excel in pursuit of your Online MBA at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business.

1. Know what to expect

To increase your chance of success; you should have as much information from the beginning of the program as possible so you can plan your time accordingly. Look into what classes you should take each term and create a roadmap for the duration of the program so you know how much time it will take to complete your MBA and are prepared for what subject you will be studying at what point on that journey.

2. Create clear goals

What do you want out of your MBA degree? The confidence to start your own business? A promotion at work? By setting these objectives at the beginning, you will be able to plan your course of action for the length of your program accordingly. Having your end goal in mind will help you to choose the right courses and concentration, not to mention encourages you to keep persevering through the end of the degree.

3. Learn to prioritize

When you choose to pursue an MBA, especially if you plan to continue to work full or part time, learning to prioritize is critical. With so many important tasks vying for your attention, you need to be able to quickly identify which are the most urgent and address them accordingly. Being able to prioritize effectively will help you to succeed not only in an MBA program, but in balancing your commitments outside of school as well. And remember, you may not be able to do everything to perfection, a principle that applies to your career post-graduation as well.

“If you are serious about prioritization, you need to be able to drop something in midstream to focus on another task that has greater potential to drive results,” Jake Gibson, co-founder and advisor of NerdWallet, wrote in Entrepreneur. “You have to be willing to do things half way just to get more done with the higher chances to yield strong results. And that isn’t easy for high performers.”

4. Ask for help when necessary

Though your degree is meant to help advance your own career, you do not have to rely solely on yourself in an MBA program. Your instructors, classmates, alumni, and other program affiliates are generally available to enhance your learning experience. You may even find that you learn better when you work with others. Remember that there is never any shame in asking for help when you need it. In fact, schools typically offer a number of additional resources for students, from studying assistance to career advice.

5. Study strategically

When you’re pursuing an MBA, your time is more valuable than ever. Consequently, it is important to maximize the time you spend studying by developing good habits. To boost your daily productivity, Matt Mayberry, a speaker and maximum performance strategist, recommended in Entrepreneur that you plan each day’s activities the night before. Even just taking the time to create a to-do list and prioritize what needs to get done can help you to accomplish your goals.

6. Pursue your interests

Though earning your MBA can be extremely beneficial for your professional aspirations, it should not be the only way you are developing your career during this period. Look for opportunities to refine your knowledge of your particular area of interest through internships or workplace experiences.

7. Strike a work-life balance

To avoid becoming burned out, it is important to strike an appropriate work-life balance. Though your academic pursuits will likely be a priority during the MBA program, it is also important to spend time doing other things that you enjoy. If you are working while going to school, you may need to cut back a bit to make this possible. For instance, if you travel frequently while on the job, you might need to see if you can switch to a position that requires less time away. Or you might want to save some of your vacation days to use during finals week.

8. Build relationships

One of the major benefits of enrolling in an MBA program is the networking opportunities it provides. Take advantage of any events the school hosts, such as career fairs or professional networking evenings. And remember that your classmates could prove to be your most valuable connections. You never know who could be your next co-worker—or boss.

9. Make time to rest

Studying and completing coursework will likely take up much of your time when you pursue an MBA, but do not be afraid to take breaks when you need to. Though it may be tempting to push through your exhaustion and keep working, if you do so you may burn out and have trouble finishing the program. Taking a nap or going to bed early are certainly good options, but resting does not necessarily need to require sleep. You may find that activities like meditation or yoga are just as helpful.

10. Request informational interviews

There very well may be no better time to request an informational interview than when you are an MBA student. Business leaders are often excited to help students, and it gives you a good way to broach the topic. If there are people in your field whom you particularly admire, reach out to them to learn more about how they achieved their success.