Earning my Executive MBA Online at Washington State University was an ultimate time management test. For 18 months my calendar was booked solid 7-days a week from 7AM to 10:30PM. I was not alone. Any MBA classmate I talked to had a similar story: a constant juggling act between regular employment, classes, networking and social activities, homework and reading assignments.
If you are considering earning your MBA, any tools that help increase your efficiency will be critical to keep in your arsenal. Here are a few that I found helpful:
Anything I could do to save time through multi-tasking helped. Whenever a textbook was available on Audible, I was able to do my reading while exercising, cooking nutritious meals, and doing things that pile up (like laundry, and cleaning). One day, for example, I took a long hike and “read” all of my leadership textbooks.
I found a lot of value in the functionality and convenience of electronic versions of textbooks. Here are some tools that helped me save time and energy:
- By installing the e-readers on my phone, I was able to read my textbooks anywhere without having to carry around a backpack of books. This also meant that I could sneak in 10 minutes here-and-there while on the go.
- All e-readers that I was exposed to allowed me to use different colors to highlight while reading and synced between all my devices. It was also easy to filter by highlight color, so I could bring up my red highlights (topics on which I had questions) during class.
- I often wrote my discussion posts using the comments function while doing my readings, then copying/pasting into a word document for submission. I found it saved me a lot of time.
- E-readers are searchable! I often used the CTRL+F function to find keywords, passages and sections quickly. This function was especially helpful in open-book timed tests, like in finance, where I had to find formulas quickly within the textbook.
Bibliography in Word
I wish I found out about this function much sooner. Input your textbook once, and it will not only format your text citations correctly for you, but you will be able to build and select from your library of texts throughout the program.
Coordinating interviews for the Capstone project took a lot of time. A game-changer for me was finding Calendly, a free scheduling app (with upgrade options) that allows people to schedule a time to meet with you when you are available. There are a couple services available like Calendly, like Microsoft Bookings.
Find and connect with experienced classmates, even if it’s just through quick chats while in the live online classes, and ask them for advice. I can confidently say that almost everyone I met in the program would gladly pass on their knowledge. One graduating classmate was kind enough to send me her books from the program, an act I appreciated and gladly paid it forward.
May you find the right technologies and tools that work best for you. Good luck! Go Cougs!
By #CougaMBAssador Karli Barich