Three time management skills you'll master in business school

By Brittany Voris

Most students come to business school to grow their business acumen and learn new skills in core subjects like data analysis, finance, marketing, strategy, and economics. And while the rigorous curriculum addresses all those topics, some of the most profound lessons happen after the professors are done teaching. The business school experience itself becomes a crash course in time management.

Ask any MBA student, and you’ll hear them admit it’s tough to juggle all the added responsibilities the program brings to the table. One of the most common fears students have when applying for an MBA is how they are going to fit such a large time commitment into their already busy lives. While it’s certainly a challenge, it is possible. Here are three time management skills you’ll master in business school.

1. How to tap into your resources

Business school has no shortage of activity. From lectures to assignments to on- and off-campus events and extracurriculars, you'll be busy all the time. You'll often have to switch tracks at a moment's notice. Adaptability will be crucial as you learn to get comfortable with multi-tasking.

The ability to be resourceful will also be crucial. The good news is you'll be surrounded by resources: your classmates, your professors, the nearby alumni network, and career management services—just to name a few. Take advantage of the vast amount of resources you'll have in such close proximity. Lean into your classmates' strengths, and work as a team to accomplish projects more efficiently.

“I felt very fortunate to be in the Bay Area as it gave me limitless access to various startups and accelerators focused on healthcare,” said Jane Alston, MBA 19. “There were so many opportunities for me to break out of my clinical silo and gain valuable skills within these nimble companies on the strategic and operational side of business. These experiences proved invaluable to me in future large scale endeavors such as hospital administration.”

2. The art of ruthless prioritization

Prioritization becomes key to completing your MBA and making the most of your time in business school. You'll learn prioritization strategies in your business management classes that you can begin implementing immediately. Between classes, group work, assignments, studying, and events, you’ll have a lot on your plate.

Not to mention everything you’ve got going on outside of school. You simply cannot dedicate 100% of your time, energy, and focus to every one of the commitments above. Business school forces you to develop a razor-sharp ability to prioritize. You do what you have to do, and then you do what you love to do.

Swetha Tupelly, MBA 16, had to learn how to balance her evening & weekend MBA program with her job as a senior product manager at Le Tote and as a wife and mother. “I like to succeed at whatever I do,” she said. “But with so much going on in my life – three really diverse areas of demands – I found I just couldn’t do it all. I had to prioritize the heck out of everything and make peace with the fact that I couldn’t excel all the time. What keeps you going are all the fascinating things you’re learning and the interesting colleagues you’re working with.”

3. How to effectively delegate tasks

You’ll find yourself doing a lot of group work during business school. You can’t—and shouldn’t—do everything yourself. MBA students get really creative when it comes to delegating different tasks within a group. They learn to lean into each other's strengths and work as a team

Of course delegating tasks will lighten your workload, but it will do much more to develop you as a strong leader. Delegating empowers your team, builds trust, and aids in professional development. It helps you learn how to identify who is best suited to tackle certain tasks or projects.

“We do so much group work in the program. I’ve come to understand that each group project is a bit like running a small company, so you’re learning leadership lessons all the time, in every class,” said Hannah Greenberg, EMBA 20. “In our groups, we need to function as a unit, to recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and to trust everyone to hold up their end.”

Are you ready to move forward in your professional life? There are many other skills you’ll sharpen as a part-time or full-time MBA student.

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Brittany Voris
Brittany is the Content Marketing Manager for UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. She hopes these blog posts provide you with useful insights into the Berkeley MBA experience.