How to Succeed in Graduate School: Tips for MBA Students

A smiling student works on a laptop_Tips for MBA Students
A smiling student works on a laptop_Tips for MBA Students

In the highly competitive world of modern business, you should optimize your education and professional experience to distinguish yourself from the competition. Pursuing an accredited online MBA degree lays the foundation for such success. It can also lead to a lucrative career: The median annual salary of individuals with an MBA degree was approximately $92,000 as of May 2022, according to Payscale.

While high earnings potential offers one incentive, it can only be fully realized if you maximize your MBA experience to your professional advantage. By learning how to succeed in graduate school and get the most out of your MBA program, you can set yourself up for success in the current business landscape.


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MBA Degree Requirements

MBA programs require students to have earned a bachelor’s degree, although not specifically a degree in business. It can be in a related field such as economics, management, or accounting, or even something further afield—although some MBA degree requirements mean applicants from different disciplines must fulfill prerequisite courses. Some degrees may also have grade point average requirements, so it’s important to maintain a high-grade point average at the undergraduate level to demonstrate your competence.

Some programs also prefer relevant work experience prior to enrolling. This demonstrates that you have the capacity to apply your knowledge in the real world. It can also help the university determine your potential trajectory after earning the degree. Universities may also require you to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) prior to enrollment, although some institutions, such as Suffolk University, waive this requirement.

Tips on How to Be Successful in an MBA Program

MBA programs can be both rewarding and challenging. Here are a few tips that can help you succeed in graduate school and make the most out of your MBA journey.

1. Tackle Time Management

One of the best ways to maximize your online MBA program experience is to establish a realistic work and study schedule from the very outset. One of the biggest perks of pursuing an online MBA program is that you can continue to work and gain valuable professional experience while also completing your coursework.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to continue to log extended work hours and still perform well in your classes. Take your commitment to your online MBA program seriously by treating assignment due dates like work deadlines and by scheduling the necessary time to engage with all of your course materials on a weekly basis. Planning in this manner can help you digest and retain the insights of your online courses so that you can call on this learning more easily in the future.

2. Take on a Team Focus

The value of any MBA program goes beyond the course readings and curriculum; equally important are the discussions with faculty members and the insights and perspectives offered by other students. To get the full benefit of your online MBA program, it is important that you see yourself as part of a team with which you can interact. Use the space of discussion and message boards, for example, to engage with your classmates and create online study groups.

You should also participate in online webinars and listen in on broadcast seminars or lectures that are relevant to your studies. Taking advantage of these opportunities can afford you the enrichment that extends your class time learning. They can also provide the opportunity to network with established professionals, which can be an asset later when you are ready to explore the job market.


3. Create a Strong Support Network

One of the best ways to stay focused on your MBA studies is to minimize distractions and time constraints. This can be achieved by building a network of supportive family members, friends, and coworkers.

One of the ways your network can support you is by doing what they can to help you prioritize your education. For example, a professional colleague can refrain from assigning you excess work, or a family member can avoid asking you for time-consuming favors. Additionally, a close support network of loved ones will likely understand if you miss social events or gatherings to complete projects or coursework. Together, these small actions can give you more time to focus on your studies, which can reduce the stress of juggling school, work, and family obligations.

4. Disconnect Daily

Commitment to your online MBA program is essential, but taking time for yourself is equally important. Regularly disengaging from your studies is crucial to avoiding burnout.

Schedule time to pursue activities you enjoy just as you would schedule work and study time. This might be as simple as planning a brief meditation during your lunch hour or a long weekend away on vacation; whatever the activity, it should offer you a chance to disconnect from work and reconnect with yourself, your family, or your home life.


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How Long Is an MBA Program?

How long an MBA program takes varies depending on the type of program a student selects. Full-time MBA programs commonly take two years to complete. Some universities offer accelerated full-time programs that wedge the curriculum into a 12- to 18-month window.

Some part-time MBA programs may stretch out to nearly twice the length of traditional full-time programs, taking roughly three to four years. The variance depends on the individual’s course load throughout a given year and the program they are taking. Suffolk University’s online MBA program requires 36 credit hours, which can be completed part-time in as few as 16 months, or four semesters.

While this route may lengthen the process of earning an MBA for some programs, it may offer students an extra measure of flexibility in their schedule. This could be particularly helpful if they are concurrently trying to meet the demands of a full-time job.

Excel in a Postgraduate World

These tips can help anyone wondering how to succeed in graduate school. Ultimately, they allow students to add extra value to a program. Applying these ideas as you undertake Suffolk University’s online MBA program can help set you up to succeed.

Suffolk University’s exceptional curriculum focuses on improving your business foundation and building key business skills, such as strategic agility, global awareness, and analytical change. Complementing the program with efficient time management, a team-focused temperament, and a healthy work-life balance can maximize your online MBA experience. Learn how we can help prepare you to emerge as a leader in the world of business.

Recommended Readings

5 Finance Careers for MBA Graduates
6 Ways to Build Your MBA Network
Why MBA Experience Makes a Difference