Do the EMBA and live at the same time

19 de Enero 2018
Ramiro Caso

Doing an executive master's degree means embarking on an exciting but also demanding life project, whose success depends on the interrelationship between work, study and personal life. If some of these three areas start to generate a very high stress, it will affect the other two and can turn your time through the EMBA into a nightmare.

The key, therefore, is to manage those 14 intense modules with the least possible stress. We share you 10 consejos, divided into each of these three areas, to help make your passage through the EMBA not only enriching but also satisfactory. 

Personal life

Regardless of whether you live as a couple or alone, we all have an intimate social environment that adds value. An executive master's degree introduces significant changes in your routine and, especially, in your availability to attend and be part of the events of these social groups. 

Get the support of your family or social group.
Perhaps the most obvious but also the most important of the tips. The decision to do an EMBA is important and affects social and family dynamics, so it is not enough to simply inform, it is necessary to explain what it means to spend 14 weeks away from home. There is no better way to successfully achieve the EMBA than to have everything clear with your significant other.

Involve your partner or family in the EMBA experience.
If something defines the INCAE EMBA, it is the incredible experiences that are lived, especially in the international modules. Whenever possible, take your partner or family on trips and let them enjoy the magic of Boston, Madrid or Beijing. Doing so will not only enrich them, but you too. 

Show appreciation.
It may seem like a triviality, but various studies in positive psychology show the enormous benefits of expressing gratitude. In this case, few occasions can be more conducive to doing so than expressing how important it is for you to have the support of your loved ones in this important life project. Don't leave the thank you for graduation day, make it part of your routine and express it clearly. 

Laboral life

Of the three areas, this is the one that most concerns everyone who is considering doing an Executive MBA. Usually there are feelings of guilt and anxiety, from having to be absent for a week a month for almost a year and a half. However, with a few exceptions, EMBA students manage to go through the program without their work being negatively affected. On the contrary, the change in routine of the EMBA often allows generating positive effects in the work area that transcend the obvious benefits that acquiring new knowledge entails. But for this, you have to prepare:

Define a responsible person who can cover for you in your absence. 

The first and obvious recommendation is to clearly leave a responsible person to cover you during the weeks you are away. It does not mean that this person will do your job, but it does mean that it will be the one who, when the time comes, could assume some of your functions and guarantee that the processes in which you usually participate in your company do not stop. This is also an excellent opportunity to evaluate potential successors and contribute to the development of key people in your team. 

Set clear boundaries with your collaborators. 
It is important for everyone to know that the EMBA is as important as your job and that therefore you can only be interrupted in an emergency. Making it clear that you “won't be available” that week will allow everyone to adjust their routines to get the most out of you during your OFF-EMBA weeks. The worst mistake you can make is to make them think that even if you are out of the office during the modules, you will still answer emails and participate in meetings. If you are one of the people who needs, yes or yes, to stay connected to work, clearly define the exact time that you will dedicate to work during the modules and try not to exceed 1 hour. For example, you can say that you will only respond to emails from 7 to 8 am, before classes start or during lunch. 

Define with your work team what an emergency is, as well as the care protocol in your absence. 
Unforeseen events can always happen and you need to prepare for them. It is vital that you define with your team what defines a situation as critical and what would be the steps to address it. If you managed to follow the first recommendation in this section, the person in charge will almost certainly be able to help you resolve the crisis. In case your presence is essential, there are always ways for you to participate without putting the program at risk. The EMBA is designed for executives and therefore there is full awareness in faculty and staff that unforeseen events can occur and flexibility to help when needed. 

Apply and share what you have learned in the module as soon as you return to work. 
One of the advantages of the EMBA is in the possibility of returning and putting into practice what you have learned immediately. Doing so will demonstrate the value of the program to your colleagues and bosses, strengthening the commitment they must give you to successfully complete the program.  

Student life

Last but not least, there are tips to improve your life as a student. For many executives it is a challenge to return to the classroom after several years. Imagining yourself in front of a teacher or taking an exam often generates anxiety and fears. For you to successfully complete the program, it is vital that your experience as a student is as enriching as it is enjoyable. 

Prepare your study tools ahead of time. 
Today, technology offers countless options to make the study much more bearable, from apps like Evernote to the traditional Microsoft Office suite. It is important that you evaluate in advance which tools are most comfortable for you and have them ready. It is also very important that you know well the laptop you are going to use and, if you are not familiar with Excel, do a little review before starting the master's degree. Trust me, you're going to use them a lot. 

Lean on your classmates, it is the only way to have high performance in all modules.
The EMBA is a broad management program and as such, addresses a diversity of content, ranging from leadership and change management to the financial strategy of a company. This means that a student is unlikely to be an expert in everything. On the contrary, each one will have their own area of ​​expertise and will find it easy to find a module that for another person is very demanding. That is why the exchange with classmates and the definition of a study method that allows you to rely on them is key. If you are not an expert in finance, lean on a partner who is. At the same time, if you know you have strengths in one area, be generous with the class and support them where you can. That exchange is not only convenient but highly profitable. It is part of what makes the classroom experience so enriching. 

The EMBA is much more than study: enjoy it fully. 
While the EMBA is distinguished by its academic excellence, there are invaluable elements of the program on the social side. You will make spectacular friendships and live incredible moments. Don't let them pass! Play sports, get to know the cities, meet with your colleagues to talk and have a good time and, of course, participate in the parties. 

There you have them: 10 tips to help you achieve the necessary balance and make the EMBA one of the best professional and personal experiences of your life. 

Subscribe to our blog