Work-Life Balance While in EMBA Program

June 01, 2017  |   Latest News   |     |   0 Comment

News_LifeBalanceAs a Ross School of Business EMBA student you are expected to complete university assignments, collaborate with colleagues at work, and spend quality time with your family and significant others daily. These expectations can be difficult to meet – unless you’re a superhero – so it’s important to plan how you will achieve a work-life balance while you’re enrolled in this EMBA program. Consequently, I’ve compiled a list of tips to assist you on your journey to obtaining your EMBA with as little stress as possible.

Ask for buy in and support from people in your everyday life. Your close relationships and family play a fundamental role throughout the UOM EMBA program. The EMBA is a joint project that needs the support of all the people who share in your everyday life.

Designate “off duty” chunks of time each week – one for you and one for any significant others where you are free of school work. Be serious about using these chunks of time and seek support from your significant others to follow through.

Be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot do. Make a list of your most important priorities while you are in the EMBA program. Decide what activities you can give up to provide more time for the interactions and or endeavors that are most important. For example, maybe you can give up watching your favorite program on Netflix to create quality time with the most important people in your life.

Tip: Develop a support system (grandparents, other family members, close friends, etc.) when possible to help with school pick-up and after-school activities.

Involve your spouse or significant other whenever possible. Your cohort may seem like your new family as you dig deeper into your advanced business education, but don’t forget about your special relationships back home. The Ross School of Business will hold a number of events where your family members and significant others will be encouraged to attend, so they can get to know your classmates, the facilities, and the entire Ross team. In addition, we encourage you to bring your significant other to an occasional residency.

Let people know outside your immediate family that you won’t be as available as before, and that you would appreciate their understanding and support for the next 21 months.

Outsource and delegate wherever possible. Students have been known to hire services such as TaskRabbit ( to handle chores from major cleaning to minor repairs. Also, consider hiring a food delivery service to save you time and to have healthy food on hand.

Set expectations at work and communicate with your employer. It is assumed that prior to joining the UOM EMBA program your current employer is supportive of the time you will need to study and attend school related commitments. Once you are enrolled in the EMBA program, it is important to provide your employer with updates and to share what you are learning and how you are applying your new skills to your work. In other words, Take Your Learning to Work. Most students find that the line between work and school soon starts to dissolve when they begin taking classroom learning to work.

Tip: If you’re out of the office for any period, you may consider compiling a short presentation or report for your manager about what you covered over your EMBA weekend or electives week. Opening these lines of communication will ensure that your manager is aware of the skills you are gaining for the company while you’re out of the office, and you will feel satisfied that your superior is aware of these improvements.

If you experience a change in job, promotion, or you have a new boss, it will be important that you communicate clearly with your boss that you are enrolled in an EMBA program that will occasionally take you away from work. Having clear expectations in this area that you both agree on is critical.

The question has come up to whether a person should change jobs while in the program and the answer depends on each person’s situation. The more support you have, the easier it will be to complete the program while changing jobs. However, be honest with yourself about whether you can take on the added stress of a new job during the program.

Exercise and good nutrition is critical for you to be at your very best. When we move our body aerobically, we strengthen our brain. Exercise has so many benefits (improved sleep, better problem-solving ability, reduces stress, improved mental health, weight control, etc.). Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is paramount to achieving a work-life-balance. To perform at your best, your body needs to receive a balance of nutrients as well.

Tip: If you have a family, find ways to spend quality time together biking, walking, hiking, and playing outdoors on the weekend.

Get enough sleep. According to Dr. Daniel Siegel, sleep allows us to give the brain the rest it needs to consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day. Also, to keep your body energized you need sufficient sleep (7 to 9 hours daily for most people). If you are not getting sufficient sleep, your work-life-balance will suffer.

Tip: Most students find that they are sharper in the morning, so instead of burning the midnight oil, go to bed at a decent hour and wake up earlier in the morning to study before going to work. Also, this will allow you to be prepared for team meetings in the evenings.

I understand that maintaining work-life balance can be challenging, but students tell me that strengthening their time management skills and honing a razor-sharp ability to prioritize are among the abilities they gain in the process.