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Tips on Juggling a Part-time Masters’ Program with Your Life

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Old 10-08-2009, 01:45 PM   #1
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Tips on Juggling a Part-time Masters’ Program with Your Life

Tips on Juggling a Part-time Masters’ program with Your Life

Juggling part-time studies with family responsibilities and a full-time job may seem to be a difficult and overwhelming task. But it is definitely possible with good time management and discipline. There are already thousands of graduates in Singapore who have completed their studies this way.

Flexibility is also essential – you should take into consideration the class schedule and whether the institution offers the possibility of deferring your studies in times of heavy workload at your job.

Many working students are concerned whether or not they should let their bosses or co-workers know of their study commitments. This is a highly individual decision which depends greatly on your work arrangements, how much the studies will affect your work, and how well you get along with your boss. Bear in mind that a boss's job as well as yours is to act in the best interests of the company. If you balanced well, pursing a part-time program while working should have minimal impact on your job performance. In fact, it could, in many cases, enhance your performance.

Employers also vary greatly in their flexibility regarding time-off. Be creative in using your annual leave. You might need only half a day’s leave to study and prepare for assignments or you might skip lunch to leave an hour early for exam preparations. Most employers are likely to be supportive of their staffs’ educational goals.

Studying part-time while having to work and care for a family requires stamina, self-discipline, resourcefulness, and dedication. Being a part-time student will also have a profound impact on your home life. If you pride yourself on keeping an immaculate house, you may need to lower your standards. Family members can vacuum or run the dishwasher, but only you can study for your exams. However, your family might not always give you the support you need. You may come home from class to a kitchen sink piled high with dirty dishes, an overflowing laundry basket, and two chapters to study for the next day. In cases like this, hiring a cleaning service or sending out your laundry could well be a worthwhile investment.

Finally, and most important of all, take time for yourself every day. You should still pursue your hobbies and spend time with your family - it can do wonders to refresh you physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Any other tips on juggling studies with work, family and other responsibilities?
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Old 27-09-2009, 08:45 PM   #2
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Plan your schedule carefully, especially the thesis work. One of the greatest challenge is finding time to do research. The internet is a great tool as you can still work from home, but if you need to do field work to conduct surveys, make observations or simply read up on journals at the library, it becomes very difficult. Other than the need to be physically present, the challenge is in the area of contextualising the information. U need to plan the research topics, structure of the paper and divide it up into parts to process and analysis.
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Old 20-11-2009, 01:42 PM   #3
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Finally a thread like this......I am taking M of Actg. So far still doing ok *cross fingers*. Some tips:-

1.Let your superior and your workmates know that you are doing a part-time course, so that they understand when you have to go off early/on-the dot or take several leaves for your assignments and exams. Your superior and workmates can be yr moral support and help out in your work.

2. As koxinga mention, plan, plan and plan....plan your work and projects around your assignments and exams. Let your workmates and studymates know about your plans so that they won't get surprises. Always always try to stick to your PLANS.

3. If you can, try to download the e-version of your readings and read during lunch.

4. ....

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Old 13-01-2010, 01:35 AM   #4
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Tackle your work environment

I have graduated from a part-time master of science programme.

Just a couple tips regarding your work:
1) Always let your direct superior know. This gives your superior background when you negotiate your working hours and leave-taking.

2) Understand the politics. If you need to leave work on the dot, will you need somebody to do your work for you? When you take leave for exams, does your colleagues cover your job scope? Know what is happening, be nice to your co-workers, and don't take unnecessary advantage of the situation

3) Set up an informal "club" in your office. Find out if there are co-workers doing the same programme or similar programme with you. This helps build your network and ensures you have a support group in either schoolwork or officework.

4) Plan your work in advance. Make plans 3-6 months in advance. De-conflict that the "heavy" period of your normal work with the exams and project deadlines. This is easier said than done. Know when you need to ask for help.
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Old 13-05-2010, 09:23 PM   #5
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Smile Just enjoy the process and experience

this might sound naive. i took my MBA from MGSM and MSc finance. Both on a part-time basis.

Yes it is hectic but you made the choice. Just take it easy, most programs are modular in nature and as such in worst case scenario, just deferred a couple of modules if u really cant cope.

also peer support is extremely critical, all your coursemates are in similar situations so constant encouragement and support from one another helps to keep the motivation going.

treat it like an "investment" - yes you need to sacrifice your weekend, but short term pain for long term gain. in the end you will always come out a winner.

talk to the alumnis or senior coaches - visit www.edupoll.org - they have many gurus there to help and give advise on higher education.

To lend a quote from aristotle - The roots of education is bitter but the fruit is sweet. when the going gets tough, ask yourself, why are u doing this ? its not for yourself but for your family and loved ones.. so bite the bullet and it will be done and dusted in the blink of an eyes.
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:08 PM   #6
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Most importantly, you must have family support for this. Wife must be understanding to the burnt weekends and late night classes (especially if it's a part time course)

Ensure that you have enough savings to cover the course, you don't want to drop out halfway because of the lack of funds.

Try not to leave school work to the last minute since it'll cause tremendous stress on your work and love life!
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Old 10-08-2010, 03:11 PM   #7
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try not to get too stress over it.. the killer is usually lack of sleep and no time to go out have fun.. but once you can overcome this and find fun in studying part time you will find it easier to survive
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Old 20-08-2010, 05:13 PM   #8
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Spouse and "brothers" support

Just to chime in here, some of the factors that helps is to have a good support network within and outside the MBA course's network.

Some E.g.:
- coming back home after evening class to a warm home-cook meal is good.
- coming back home after evening class to a warm home-cook meal and happy kids (thanks to spouse) is great.
- coming back home after evening class to a warm home-cook meal, happy kids and a spouse who has already done MBA before (and can throw ideas/tips around) is priceless.

Saying it not from personal experience, but from a buddy's experience.
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Old 21-08-2010, 10:30 PM   #9
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thanks for the advice!
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Old 23-08-2010, 01:25 PM   #10
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Just be concentrated and away from your computer and entertainment system
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Old 30-08-2010, 12:39 PM   #11
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Even better

Disable the home entertainment system, and uninstall the complex games from one's laptop/PCs/etc. :-)

Keep the "entertainment" to quality entertainment -- e.g. one fav movie at cinema per week....and work for that (self-)reward!

Rem, All work and no play...makes AhBeng(Lian) a "si beh sien" person.
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Old 23-10-2010, 12:14 PM   #12
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Disable the home entertainment system, and uninstall the complex games from one's laptop/PCs/etc. :-)

Keep the "entertainment" to quality entertainment -- e.g. one fav movie at cinema per week....and work for that (self-)reward!

Rem, All work and no play...makes AhBeng(Lian) a "si beh sien" person.
i graduated from NTU with my masters about a year ago..

Some tips:

1) When doing ur coursework or thesis, do not take a long break,u will find the momentum lost very hard to start again. DO it and go all the way in one momentum

2) Inform everyone ard u, ur comapny,friends and family abt ur studies. U will notice they will also play their part to push u and also make flexibility to accomodate you.

3) Car Pool: Most part time courses finish late into the night. If u can, get a couple of friends together and get a driver. do not wait for him to ask, give him money for his or her help. help to give some for his petrol once in a while

4) Gather a group of 5 or more frens from the course who are reliable to share tips and notes. as a part timer, i dare say u will or might skip 1 or 2 lectures,u need them to help u

5) Spare and save ur annual leave for those time when u need to revise or do ur assignments.
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Old 27-10-2010, 01:37 AM   #13
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I am completing my part time masters of science in another 2 months. It has been a long journey as I adopt a slow and steady approach during the first year.
My sharing is that you will have to be consistant and revise your work whenever you can squeee time out. If it snowball until you have to cram , it's going to affect the quality of life you lead.

More importantly, be passionate about course you do. Don't study for the sake of paper chase
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Old 29-11-2010, 06:47 PM   #14
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Cool MBA - its a Journey , not a Destination....

My 2cents worth , recollecting my thoughts about the journey.

My MBA has really serve me well, great network, good faculty, career advancement.. its was tough juggling work commitments and study commitment. But looking back , it is a matter of perspectives and expectation. A MBA Degree is not a means to an end, its a journey of lifelong persuit for knowledge. Thus its important to get into the "right" mindset before you embark on one, else the journey will be a hollow and fruitless one.

A couple of useful pointers

  1. Maintaining a "Learner's Mindset" Whist you might possess significant experience, MBA courses can be thought provoking and requires you to "unlearn" and "relearn", as such it is advisable that you approach each class with a learner's mindset and seeking to learn , share and exchange ideas. Be receptive to different views and perspectives. Also please note that the faculty is NEVER always right.
  2. Choose your course mates properly, birds of the feathers flocks together. You will need to exercise some care in choosing your team mates. They dont necessary needs to be from the same industry or possess the same qualifications. As a matter of fact, the more diverse your team mates are, the more you will learn. Carefully check if the group shares different expertise and are willing to support and exchange ideas amongst them. Dont accept FREE loader in your team, you might also learnt to professionally dispense your MBA course mates who isn't matching the team criteria- a job that is not an enviable one but a very critical life skill to have.
  3. Effective Time Management. All of us have 24 hours, Evaluate both your family and job situation and decide accordingly. There are sacrifices, struck off those "luxury" items - golf, weekend movies, football games @ pub.. i know its hard but you need to allocate your precious time carefully, dont neglect your family.
  4. Gain Your Employer Support: The biggest challenge for working executives is to secure the endorsement of their immediate supervisor. Balancing between the career and study can be a daunting task. You might have to take leave occasionally to complete your studies. Hence, taking your immediate supervisor into confidence is the best decision for you.
  5. Focus Reading & Research: The volume of material is enormous. Hence, rely on Pareto's 80-20 rule - 20% of your effort to secure 80% result. Most MBA outline/syllabus will clearly specific the important chapters, go deep into these chapters 1st.
  6. Family Support: Your family is your biggest supporter and their cooperation is the best thing you can demand. If you really want to concentrate on your study and want to get the best result from your efforts, it is important that you discuss the situation with your family.

“Every day is a bonus, so let’s carry on.”

Last edited by systeo; 29-11-2010 at 06:48 PM.. Reason: spelling error
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Old 15-12-2010, 11:13 PM   #15
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YeS! Just completed my last module!
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