Ebru Bircan, Weekend MBA 2021-22, student at Imperial College Business School

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As a Weekend MBA student at Imperial College Business School, I am studying my MBA while also working full-time.

I have had a varied and highly successful career. Having worked in both Germany and Turkey I am now Head of Marketing Activation for GROHE UK, a leading global sanitary brand that is a key business in the LIXIL group.

It was a big decision for me to commit to a part-time MBA while also having a (very busy) full-time job. However, I wanted to develop myself both professionally and personally and felt the MBA was the right step to take for my future.

My experience studying a part-time Weekend MBA

The Weekend MBA is a unique programme format that gives you the opportunity to keep your current professional responsibilities and get your MBA degree in 21 months. This is a serious commitment that you need to align with your employer and your partner and/or family.

Just before I started this journey, my husband gave me a book called ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear. This book shines a light on how to implement good working practices and habits in order to succeed. Throughout the Weekend MBA you will need to develop a good routine and bring consistency into your life – more than you already might have or do.

In the first year of the Weekend MBA, you have once-a-month Friday – Sunday classes. The rest of the time you are required to self-study while continuing with your daily job. This means you need to juggle work, schoolwork, and the many deadlines for both.

There are times where it can get tough. Especially when deadlines draw near. Overall you are expected to put in 20 hours a week of additional self-study but be mindful that this can go up to 30 hours around deadlines.

This may sound intimidating, but you are never alone. You know that your cohort is in the same situation. You also regularly communicate with your syndicate team with weekly calls, even if it is just to lend each other a friendly ear.

There are some key actions that help me to maintain my work-life balance and I believe it could help you if you are considering a part-time programme as well:

1. Be consistent

Be consistent and try to do something every day. Whether that means getting up a little earlier, skipping an episode of your favourite Netflix show, or using your commute to study, try to do something every day. This will help limit the risk of the reading or assignments from piling up. There is nothing worse than feeling overwhelmed with work - so spread the workload!

2. Create a schedule

Plan your own assessments and your group assignments deadlines well. You can have up to six people in your syndicate teams. Sometimes people are in different time zones and all have busy lives as well. It is important to set milestones for deliverables and set expectations and clear accountabilities from the beginning. Plan it thoroughly if needed with your team – and build in a couple of days as a buffer. You never know – life can get in the way!

3. Invest in your network

Have an open mind to learning new things and meeting new people. Two years go by fast. We have a very diverse cohort that is representative of the different backgrounds, professions, and experiences throughout the wider Business School. There are numerous opportunities to meet new people and learn new things. Don’t hesitate to approach people and try new things.

4. Enjoy ‘me time’

Lastly, don’t forget to look after yourself and spend time with your loved ones. I try to squeeze in some Pilates and go for a run during my busy schedule. I need to have some 'me' time to refuel for the next big project at work or school assignment. Make sure to spend time with your family and friends who will be your biggest support. Somehow you will find the time to do activities that bring you joy!

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at times, but it’s also a lot of fun. I have learned so much already. If you remember why you are doing the MBA and what you are hoping to get out of it, it will feel easier.

And when it does get too much then don’t suffer in silence, talk to your family, syndicate team, or even the programme team. Everyone is there to support you and it’s worth it!

Ebru Bircan WMBA 2021-22

About Ebru Bircan

Weekend MBA 2021-22

Is the Weekend MBA right for you?