How to Find Work-Life Balance While Earning a Part-Time MBA in Healthcare Management

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Returning to school to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) presents an exciting opportunity to augment your skills and knowledge while strengthening your resume. An MBA from Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University tells potential employers you have the mastery, discipline and perseverance to complete a challenging graduate degree from a highly ranked school. And adding a healthcare management specialization positions you for opportunities in one of the fastest-growing job markets in the United States.

The benefits of an online MBA with a healthcare management track

Thanks to the rise of online learning you can now earn a part-time MBA without ever visiting campus. That convenience eases the challenge of returning to school for innumerable professionals every year.

Consider the Online MBA with a Healthcare Management track program at Case Western Reserve. As an online healthcare MBA student at this top Ohio university, you'll enjoy these benefits:

  • Because the Weatherhead School's online live classes convene in the evening, you'll be able to continue working and progressing in your profession. You'll continue to earn money as you earn your degree, and you'll be able to apply what you learn in the program immediately to real-world workplace situations. The experiential learning you'll undertake as you implement healthcare MBA principles in the workplace is highly effective in promoting learning and retention.
  • Online study is convenient, efficient and cost-effective. You'll save money and precious hours by avoiding the commute to campus. Because significant portions of the online program content are available asynchronously, you can study whenever and wherever you have a computer and an internet connection. That's a critical convenience if you have a busy lifestyle—which you will if you work full-time and pursue an MBA.
  • You'll study a curriculum designed to develop creative, agile healthcare managers capable of thinking beyond the default responses to problems. The Weatherhead School healthcare MBA program emphasizes data-driven analytics and technological innovation, from Appreciative Inquiry to Artificial Intelligence (AI to AI). Armed with a mastery of management principles and a rich understanding of healthcare economics, you'll graduate with the skills and knowledge required to solve problems innovatively and efficiently.
  • You can work anytime, anywhere, with the confidence afforded by 24/7 tech support. When you need one-on-one guidance, you'll receive personalized attention during the faculty's virtual open-office hours. A curriculum emphasizing group work and collaboration ensures that you'll build lasting working and personal relationships with fellow students.

Attending graduate school as a working professional

Online learning makes it easier for working professionals to attend and complete graduate programs. That doesn't mean these students don't face challenges, however. Obviously, they are surmountable challenges—hundreds of thousands of students manage them every year—but they are considerable nonetheless. They include:

  • Schoolwork: Attending classes, completing assignments, meeting with classmates and keeping up with course content may require 18 to 20 hours per week in a part-time program.
  • Professional life: Most part-time students work full-time at jobs that can demand more than 40 hours per week.
  • Personal commitments: Students' personal commitments encompass everything from spouses and domestic partners to children to aging parents. Any and all can command a significant chunk of your time.

Navigating the two to three years it will take you to earn your online MBA requires time- and work-management skills and a healthy supply of motivation. The good news is that if you're the sort of person who is considering taking this challenge on, you're likely the sort of person who can handle the demands it will place on you.

Finding your work-life balance while earning your MBA

As in any endeavor, there are tricks of the trade that make it less difficult to complete a healthcare MBA while continuing to work. We've compiled a list of 10 well-tested strategies that should help you handle the experience.

Make a plan and stick to it

If there's one critical skill for managing your work-school-life balance, it's time management. You will need to use time efficiently to meet all your obligations with a minimum of stress. We recommend the following strategies:

  • At the beginning of each semester, mark all critical dates on your calendar: live class sessions, exams, assignment due dates and any other key benchmark dates. Set multiple calendar alerts to remind you of impending deadlines.
  • On Monday (or Sunday, if you prefer), identify your priorities for the week. Keep them in mind as you triage your many responsibilities. That way, you should achieve all your most important objectives each week.
  • Make daily and weekly itineraries and checklists. Amend them as needed. Make sure to set reasonable expectations that also keep you on pace to complete your coursework.

Give yourself time to get up to speed

If you've been in the professional world and out of school for a while, your study skills may be a little rusty. As you work your way back into learning mode, schedule extra time for every task. Depending on how quickly you regain your old skills, you may only need to do this for the first few weeks or through the first trimester. Before you know it, you'll be back up to speed.

Sharpen your multitasking skills

Get creative in figuring out ways to kill several proverbial birds with one stone. Do you ride the train or bus to and from work? Have you got five minutes before your next meeting? Are you sitting on hold? These are all study opportunities. Consider making homework time a family activity, with you and the kids working on your schoolwork in the same space.

Solicit support from your employer

Have you checked to see whether your employer offers education incentives? Many employers will contribute to, or pay for, employees' graduate degrees if that degree will upgrade their skill sets and make them more valuable to the employer (this type of support usually requires some post-degree commitment to remain with the employer for a defined period).

Find out whether your employer offers flex-time arrangements; this can make it easier for you to fit your study sessions into your day or commit extra time to school around assignment and exam deadlines. Ask your employer whether they can establish a quiet study spot for you at work so you can spend your breaks on schoolwork rather than in crowded, noisy public areas or at your desk, where work-related distractions may prevent productive study. Don't be shy about asking; your skills and knowledge upgrade will benefit your employer as well as you.

Rely on family and friends

You're not in this alone: you have friends and family to support and help you. Work with your family members to arrange childcare schedules and other familial responsibilities. Join a school carpool to share the responsibility of getting the kids to and from school. Reach out to friends to see whether they can help get the kids to extracurricular activities. Commit to being there for them later when they need some extra help. Sometimes it takes a village to earn an MBA degree.

Rely on classmates

Group projects and teamwork are critical components of any business and health management degree program. That's by design: effective managers know how to delegate and how to divide complicated tasks. Work with your classmates to meet your school commitments. Form study groups to benefit from each others' strengths. These interactions will also provide invaluable networking opportunities with fellow students. That, too, is by design. Building a strong professional network is one of the primary benefits of attending a top school like Weatherhead School of Management.

Take care of yourself

Graduate school is a marathon, not a sprint. You can't complete a marathon unless you're in excellent physical and mental shape. To promote endurance, you need to eat well, get a reasonable amount of sleep and exercise. These three behaviors promote one another, e.g., exercise will encourage you to eat better and result in more effective sleep. You'll feel more in control, less stressed and more competent. When you take care of your body, your mind thanks you.

Accept that some short-term sacrifices are inevitable

Most online graduate students realize they will have to forgo some discretionary activities while in school. Your weekend golf outing? Your daughter's soccer game? Your cousin's barbecue? If you try to do them all and meet all your other commitments, you may not make it through to the end of the program. Just keep telling yourself that it's not forever and that the long-term benefits far outweigh the short-term sacrifices. Your cousin will understand.

Take the long view

You will occasionally get tired and frustrated in graduate school. At times, you may feel like quitting. When that happens, think about where this degree can take you and your career. Do you hope to enter top management? Impact the way healthcare services are delivered and administered? Feel you've achieved all you're capable of achieving? This degree can make that happen.

Enroll in an online MBA program

Online study is convenient, efficient and cost-effective. Merely by not having all the trips to and from campus, you'll save yourself many hours you can commit instead to study. You'll also save the expense of commuting. CWRU's online program is a 50/50 blend of synchronous and asynchronous content, meaning you can study whenever and wherever you have a computer and an internet connection. That makes it easy to study when you're waiting for an oil change or a doctor's appointment. Online programs are time-savers, and that's huge when you're juggling work, school and life commitments.

Is the part-time online MBA with a healthcare management track at the Weatherhead School right for you?

To answer that question, take stock of your career goals. Do you want to advance to the top levels of healthcare management? Do you hope to effect significant change in the way the healthcare industry operates? If the answer is yes, an MBA will help you reach your objectives. When you pursue that MBA at the Weatherhead School of Management, you earn your degree from the top-ranked university in the state of Ohio (and a top 20 part-time MBA nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report).

Because an MBA provides a business education that covers a broad range of business concepts and functions, it diversifies your skill set and qualifies you for many more opportunities. A healthcare management degree confers expertise in healthcare administration and management, qualifying you for leadership positions in a burgeoning job market. As a Weatherhead School of Management student, you'll benefit from the school's network of over 270 corporate partners as well as its 20,000+ alumni. Case Western Reserve's excellent relationships with Cleveland healthcare organizations, including the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, MetroHealth and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, deliver invaluable real-world opportunities and introduce students to a robust professional network.

If you plan to keep working while you study, a part-time program is the best—and perhaps only practical—choice. Part-time study makes sense for many reasons: you'll keep earning as you study, so you won't accumulate as much student debt. You'll pay less per semester, so your education costs will be more reasonable. Finally, you'll be able to apply what you learn in your MBA program in real-time at your job. That's a powerful way to reinforce learning.

Will you fit in at the Weatherhead School of Management? While there is no 'typical' student here, many students are mid-career healthcare professionals. They include MDs, dentists, nurses, physical therapists, pharma professionals, insurance professionals, biotech professionals and healthcare consultants. Others work in unrelated businesses but hope to pivot to healthcare. They are looking to supplement their current expertise with deeper business and healthcare system acumen. They value experiential learning. Does that sound like a community you would like to learn alongside and network among? If so, you may be a good fit for the program. Why not apply today?

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