Managing Significant Life Events

Newly matriculated Weekend Executive students  are advised during the initial residency that missing a weekend for personal reasons is not an option. Rightfully so, as weekend residencies are tremendously integral to achieving the program’s goals. What’s more, weekend residencies are great for bonding with classmates and submerging yourself in Fuqua’s culture. Because of this, many new or prospective students may be concerned about their chances of completing the program unaffected by significant life changes.

I am a testament to the fact that completing the Weekend Executive MBA program is feasible regardless of how busy your life becomes.

While the chances of avoiding significant life events during the Weekend Executive program are slim, there are a few ideas that will allow you to reasonably balance the challenges of life and school. First, recognize that you’re not the only one. Personally, by the time I graduate I will have moved twice, changed jobs, married and had a baby. I took final exams while surrounded by moving boxes, and panicked when I realized I had packed away my calculator. I eventually dug it out (naturally I found it in the last box I opened) and I frantically completed the exam before time expired.

Despite the significant events that have occurred, I’ve taken comfort in knowing that many of my classmates have experienced the same. Talk to your teammates and classmates over dinner, beers or during breaks from class, and you’ll quickly appreciate that everyone is juggling similar demands. Take pride in your ability to multitask and promote yourself as a time management expert. In a recent job interview I was asked to describe a time when I had to manage my time. Naturally, I referred to my MBA experience. Your ability to simultaneously handle demanding situations sets you apart — it’s an asset and a major reason you’re considering, or have already chosen, Fuqua.

While there is no secret formula for successfully balancing life’s demands and the challenges of the Weekend Executive program, rest assured that you’ll be surrounded by an exceptional support community (family, classmates, professors and staff). Leverage the community, talk to your classmates and take comfort in knowing that we’re all in this together.

Greg Ryan

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Weekend Executive MBA, Class of 2012. Find out more about me...

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