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How to Ensure Your Academic Success in an Online MBA

08 Apr

Getting your MBA isn’t just about networking. It’s a holistic experience that will prepare you for a rewarding future in business, and you should take steps to ensure your academic success. Follow these tips to make sure that you complete your MBA experience with a strong sense of your strengths, a firm understanding of the principles of your discipline and a clear sense of your next steps.

Set Goals, Stay on Task

The flexibility and self-direction offered by an online program mean that your education is tailored to your life, but it can require a lot of discipline to stay on task. First, find a dedicated time and place to study, preferably in a place clear of distractions. If that’s difficult to find, don’t underestimate the value of noise-canceling headphones.1

Setting long-term and short-term goals is another way to ensure your own positive academic achievement. Keep your long-term goals in mind to inspire you as you work through mundane day-to-day tasks, and set daily and weekly benchmarks for hours logged studying and assignments completed to set yourself up for continuous improvement.

Keep Your Head Up

Business school will be a busy time in your life, so you have to stay focused and alert to the opportunities that come your way. Take this opportunity to try new things; for instance, take an internship in a field that interests you, or set up informational interviews with business leaders in your community. Your status as an MBA student will open a lot of doors, but you still have to put in the work to take advantage of them. Pay attention and figure out how to make the most of your experience before it’s over!2

Practice Your Study Skills

The basic academic skills you’ve used throughout your education still apply in business school, and taking the opportunity to sharpen them now will have long-lasting positive effects for your career. Note-taking, reading comprehension and writing skills are crucial in a variety of jobs. Take advantage of the opportunity to hone these skills as you complete your online MBA coursework. In addition, learn now to quell the urge to rush through tasks. Instead, research and focus on fully understanding the subject matter, then solve one problem at a time.

Take Time to Re-Energize

You are going to be busy—maybe busier than you’ve ever been before. So make sure to intentionally set aside some time each week to take a break and reset. You know the kinds of activities that will help ground and energize you, so make a list and refer to it whenever you need to take a break. Whether it’s reading a novel, baking a loaf of bread or exercising, self-care and mental breaks are a key part of ensuring you have the energy to keep going and avoid burnout.

Know Your Strengths and Lean Into Them

Possessing command over a certain task doesn’t necessarily make it one of your strengths. Take inventory of activities that invigorate you and make you stay focused and energized. This self-knowledge of your own strengths is important to apply to your work as an MBA candidate. On the flip side, understanding your weaknesses, or activities that slow you down or cause stress, will help you allocate the time required to manage those weaknesses.

Alternatively, you can actively seek teammates whose skill sets complement your own. More than likely, you’ll find someone who could really use your strengths to help supplement their own weaknesses—and vice versa.3

Take Advantage of the Flexible Online MBA From William & Mary

One of the keys to academic success is to take control of your own schedule and your own needs. With an Online MBA from William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business, you’re in the driver’s seat. Whether you’re studying on breaks at work or at night after dinner, the on-demand nature of this online program allows classes to fit into your life, instead of the other way around.

1. Retrieved on March 1, 2019, from elearningindustry.com/online-students-stay-focused-nowadays-ways
2. Retrieved on March 1, 2019, from forbes.com/sites/kimberlywhitler/2015/10/26/13-tips-from-mba-students-on-how-to-succeed-in-a-top-tier-program/#297ed65b50053. Retrieved on March 1, 2019, from cdn-media.leanin.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Claiming_Your_Strengths.pdf