How to Finish Your MBA Successfully

by Kevin on August 10, 2009

(Photo by John Rush)

Last Wednesday I took my final exam in my final class for my MBA program. I found out a few days later that I passed the class with an A-. Woohoo!

I thought I would share some tips I learned along the way in reaching this goal. While you may not think this applies to you if you aren’t enrolled in some sort of Masters program I think the tips apply to any big goal you are chasing.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

I’m definitely the kind of guy that keeps his eyes up and looking at the next task. This can be a positive thing because I am always looking forward to the future. Unfortunately it can also be a negative in that I don’t take time to enjoy today, the moment.

With my MBA program I had no problem keeping my eye on the day to day. Homework and big projects tend to keep your focus on the moment.

This worked well with my forward looking mentality that I have naturally. I was able to count down the weeks to when each class would finish and track my overall progress toward the degree.

Have a Strong Support Team

Just like the guys who ride in the Tour de France have a support car riding behind them in case they get a flat tire you need a strong support team to complete a Masters program. Riding alone is never a good idea!

Thankfully I am blessed with a strong support team:

  • my wife who encouraged me when discouraged and reminded me that, oh yea, I do need to study for that test
  • my work that let me leave 10-15 minutes early on the nights I had class so I could arrive on time and also paid for more than 50% of my tuition costs
  • my parents that continually told me they were proud of what I was doing and kept my spirits up

Of course there were countless others involved. For any goal you are striving to achieve — getting out of debt, furthering your education, or learning how to cook — a strong support team is a necessity.

Keep Tabs on Your Student Loans

I financed my education with student loans. That may seem unthinkable for the author of a personal finance blog that tells you to get out of debt. But I took the loans because I didn’t have all the money up front to pay for my education, and my student loans wouldn’t require repayment until 6 months after I graduated.

Free money (thanks to my reimbursement) with no interest and deferred repayment? Seems like a win-win to me.

The only problem: two of my loans weren’t subsidized. I thought they were.

I’ll tell you about that discovery tomorrow.


SingleGuyMoney August 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Congratulations Kevin! I had planned to get my MBA by the time I turned 30 but I am 2 years to late.

Kevin August 10, 2009 at 9:05 pm

There’s no time like the present. I took night classes and thus was able to keep my income (and work paid for a little more than half, too).

Studenomist August 12, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Man don’t even worry about the student loans. You now have a Masters Degree! For the rest of your life no one can take that away from you. Not to mention I’m sure your earning potential has increased substantially.

Kevin August 26, 2009 at 11:10 am

Yea that hasn’t really sunk in yet… in my mind I’ve always associated MBA and Masters separately… even though the MBA IS a Masters!

Shadox August 22, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Dude, congrats! Not to lessen your achievement (which is great), but I found it is virtually impossible NOT to graduate from business school. In fact, the toughest thing about business school is… getting in…

Maybe your experience was different.

Kevin August 26, 2009 at 11:11 am

I wouldn’t agree 100%, but it definitely has some factors like that to consider. There were people that I had class with that were complete slackers and their grades suffered for it. (Made me wonder why they were even there.)

Getting in wasn’t so bad, but I didn’t go to a top tier school. Let me just say… I hate the GMAT. And the GMAT has nothing to do with getting your MBA. Literally nothing.

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