MBA Program Update: Halfway Point

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated you guys about how the program is going! I’m at the halfway point of the MBA program and still have another year to go, how time has flown! The past year has taught me so much about my potential and life. This journey has been super challenging at times and came with high points and low points. There were times I celebrated drinks with my MBA friends and boyfriend, and times where I felt like I couldn’t physically do it anymore. The program wasn’t the reason for my occasional teary sessions, but it was the feeling of overwhelm from balancing life.

One thing that’s certain is that going back to school in your late 20’s is vastly different from university. Although you’re making sacrifices to progress in your career, sometimes everything else in life feels like it’s at a standstill. This could be sacrificing social events and vacations to study, or as large as delaying progressing other areas of life to accommodate going back to school. Feeling like you’re at a standstill in your late 20’s to early 30’s is a very frustrating feeling! Although it may appear like everything is fine and dandy from the outside, most of the time I feel overwhelmed. Sometimes the stars don’t align and there are issues in multiple areas of life. A mortgage, student loans, career, family issues, self-confidence, school deadlines, the list goes on. There were points where I felt so overwhelmed and depressed. There were months where I contemplated going to a therapist to help me better cope with everything. Add on my roof leaking, car issues and some other matters, it’s proved to be a bit more than I could handle at times. There were points where I felt I could no longer balance everything and took sick days to rest and recover from exhaustion (and mainly to catch up on laundry and clean my house :P).

Some of you have asked me whether you should pursue a part-time or full-time program. To be completely honest, the answer depends on you. Both involve making sacrifices, however, both involve different types of sacrifices. Personally, if you’re able to do it on a full-time basis, I would recommend it. Usually full-time MBA programs are one year, as opposed to two years for part-time students. A full-time graduate program will have it’s challenges, however, focusing on a one year long challenge may be less overwhelming than balancing the dramas of both work and school. There were times when I had multiple work deadlines, would get home by 9pm, work on an assignment until 2am then wake up the next day for another 8-10 hours of work. However, not everyone has the option to go to school on a full-time basis.

On the other side, there’s a saying that says the “hardest situations lead to the biggest growth”. I feel like the MBA program has taught me to think more strategically and critically about situations. I’ve also learned how to better prioritize my life, learned to “not sweat the small things” and learned to think about what my purpose and goals are in pursuing an MBA degree. I’ve also learned the importance of “me-time” and how vital it is! I am proud that I’ve consciously been putting aside time to go to the gym at least 3-4 times a week to force myself to have some personal time. Despite the hardships and challenges, I have to honestly admit that I’m not the same person from when I started the program. I can admit that I was a bit naive when I started, but this program along with juggling life and adulthood overall has forced me to prioritize myself and have a different outlook on things, which has been such a positive growing experience.

I’m currently finishing up my first elective course which counts towards my business analytics specialization and a mandatory research course which prepares us for the MRP over the summer. In the research course, we draft the proposal for the MRP to be approved by our supervisor. Hopefully the final details can be smoothed out so my partner and I can start focusing on the actual write up of the project. Over this spring/summer semester, I’ll be working on my Master’s Research Project (MRP), which is a pivotal point of the program. I don’t have much experience writing long academic papers so I’m a bit nervous, but I’m sure it’ll be challenging and rewarding. This year, the structure of the research paper has changed, so instead of doing it individually, I’ll be working on it with a partner, however, the length of the paper is doubled. Our topic focuses on the correlation between affordable housing and labor shortages and what HR practices companies can use to retain skilled labor in expensive metropolitan cities. I’m so happy to be over the halfway point after this semester and look forward to finishing this year with a bang! Here’s to one more year of MBA school! Wish me luck! 🙂

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