Articles from Cass Knowledge

Balancing a full-time job while studying an Executive MBA

I managed to get promoted and started an exciting new role.  So, it has been possible to balance a full-time job and an Executive MBA successfully!

Only this week a senior manager joked during a team meeting “who on earth would volunteer to study for an MBA when we’re this busy?” Well yes, that would be me.

I’ve reached the 12-month point of my studies, my results put a smile on my face and professionally I managed to get promoted and started an exciting new role.  So, it has been possible to balance a full-time job and an Executive MBA successfully!

Here’s what I have learnt so far:

Be transparent with your manager

The first thing the last 12 months reinforced to me is the need for absolute transparency with your manager. From well before the EMBA began I ensured I kept my manager fully informed, putting all my lectures, coursework deadlines and exams in their calendar.  You might think this is overkill, but my perspective was no manager likes surprises. The adage “forewarned is forearmed” seemed apt.  I have been lucky as my manager has supported me throughout, but support is two-way; I kept them informed of my EMBA commitments and they provided the professional support I needed to succeed.

Share your EMBA commitments with your colleagues

Transparency was not just reserved for my manager. I didn’t want my EMBA to be hidden, and to be honest, why should it be? It’s a big commitment, it’s pointless hiding the fact, so I embraced it and ensured my colleagues were fully aware of the demands of the course.  I openly shared deadlines and I made them aware of my exam timetable. As a result, they too were incredibly supportive.  They re-scheduled meetings, engaged in conversation about my studies and on occasions went as far as insisting other meetings were finished early so I could have a break before lectures. All of this helped create an environment where I could commit fully to both my job and my studies.

Ben Fisher

Time management is key

It goes without saying, but time management is key.  From revision plans to weekend study schedules, it’s been imperative I structure nearly all aspects of my life.  With both lectures and work moving to Zoom, it’s been important to get time away from a screen, so I needed to find the time to exercise and socialise. Being strict with my time management ensured that I completed work on time and enabled me to achieve work-life balance.

It would be remiss of me to say the last 12 months have not been challenging; they have, in many ways. But by being open and honest with my work colleagues, and by being religious in planning my days to achieve balance, I’ve successfully juggled the demands of my work with those of an EMBA.