This blog was written by a Cross Continent MBA student prior to the program’s merger with the Global Executive MBA program. 

The 10 or more days spent at a Cross Continent residency are fun, challenging and exhausting—they are the ultimate test of time management. With classes, Career Management Center sessions, club and team events, cultural excursions, corporate speakers and the constant urge to get out and explore the amazing cities we’re in, figuring out how to best utilize one’s time is a truly vital skill.

When I was beginning the program, I remember asking if there would be time to exercise while at residencies, and the responses I received ranged from weird looks to “are you kidding?” Then I met my teammate Caitlin who is the four-time North Carolina Runner of the Year and 2016 Olympic Marathon qualifier.

Not only has Caitlin managed to run at each residency, she is the captain of our unofficial Cross Continent MBA (CCMBA) running squad. Before a residency even begins, she researches pollution indices, weather, running routes close to the hotel, and culturally appropriate running attire. She does all of the work to organize the group so literally all I have to do is set my alarm and show up. While Katie Read (CCMBA colleague and former college athlete) is the only one who can actually keep up with Caitlin, they are both kind enough to circle back and ensure that the slow group (me) does not get lost.

Caitlin Bullock and Katie Read running back to the hotel after a visit to the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul
Caitlin Bullock and Katie Read running back to the hotel after a visit to the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul

Caitlin Bullock (also known as “Dragon Hair” from our residency in China), took some time to share her experience running in residency and provide some useful tips:

Q) How do you manage to find time to run at residencies?

Caitlin: The key to running during residences is time management. I don’t want to sacrifice academics for a run, so I try to get all the readings for every residency class done before I arrive in the country. This allows me to wake up early in the morning for a run, without sacrificing sleep or the academic preparation that is necessary to maximize my learning experience.

Q) What has been the craziest experience you’ve had running at an international residency?

View from the Bund in Shanghai

Caitlin: Other than seeing monkeys on my runs in New Delhi, nothing too crazy has happened luckily, but I have had some really great experiences on each one. In Shanghai, I ran along the river and captured this gem of a photo on a very clear day (which is very rare!). Also in Shanghai, I organized a run with two of our professors and a handful of classmates so we could see the sights on foot together, without the hustle and bustle of endless traffic. India was special because we ran around some of the most beautiful sites in Delhi every single day—back and forth between the Presidential Palace and the India Gate as the sun came up which was pretty spectacular.

My favorite part about running during a residency is that it allows me to see a different side of each country’s culture. I can observe locals opening up their storefronts, preparing street food or just walking their dog. It’s a very robust way to see the city from a different lens than if I were just walking around at lunch hour. Plus, I get to cover way more ground by running. My second favorite part is that running with my classmates has allowed me to form some really strong bonds of friendship. There’s a lot of conversation you can cover in a six-mile run with your classmate and it’s a great way to relieve some of the stress and tension that inevitably builds up during the intense week of classes.

Q) How many miles do you run weekly on average?

Caitlin: I run about anywhere from 65 to 80 miles a week outside of international residencies. During residencies, I run about 40 miles since it’s just exhausting during those days.

Q) What time management advice would you give to other CCMBA students who are looking to find the best way to get it all done?

CCMBA students working on their fitness with Professors Marx and Moreton in Shanghai
CCMBA students working on their fitness with Professors Marx and Moreton in Shanghai

Caitlin: It is indeed possible to still exercise every day during this program. Each week, you must plan out your schedule and set aside time for exercise and then dedicate a large chunk of time to homework on the weekend. However, the main caveat to my advice is that it’s probably only possible if you have a job where you work 40 to 50 hours a week. I’m fortunate to have regular, predictable hours at Bank of America that allow me to plan each week accordingly. I run every single morning at 6:00 a.m. and am ready to go at work by 8:30 a.m. This allows me to focus on my job and then my studies the rest of the day.

As you can see, Caitlin is great example of how proper time management helps you get the most out of the program. The CCMBA provides students with the unique opportunity to earn a degree while continuing with normal life, wherever that may be. Whether it be a time-consuming work project, children, or another part of our life, we all lead full lives and the CCMBA provides not only the opportunity to learn business fundamentals, but also real life practice in finding balance and managing our priorities—valuable skills for the road ahead. With a full-time job, a demanding MBA program, an Olympic level training schedule, Caitlin is proof that what we make a priority, we can achieve, even during a challenging and hectic CCMBA residency.