Self-Care Series Part 3: General Self-Care Tips to deal with MBA Stressors: VIDEO

MBA Stressors

MBA stressors

We’ve shared tips on how to reduce stress during the MBA application process in part 1 and part II of our series.

When you actually start your program, you’re introduced to a host of new potential MBA stressors. We’ve curated advice from MBA students, graduates, and wellness experts to help you practice self-care and mental wellness during the stressful yet exhilarating MBA experience.

Selecting clubs and student organizations

“My advice on clubs – pick a few select ones that you’re really excited about because it’s really easy to sign up for everything and then get a little bit overwhelmed when you have five events to choose from every single weekend.” Melina Flabiano, The Wharton School 

“At first, I felt a little bit stressed, trying to try to take advantage of every opportunity that there was, but over time, I tried to give myself some grace, because I was working full-time, I had a baby at home. And I also was going to school part time. So instead of trying to get to everything, I just focused on what I could do, so I can maximize those opportunities.” – Meg Amis, Villanova School of Business  

“It was really about prioritization– realizing I don’t want to be involved in every single club. I don’t want to go for the leadership position in everything. I was very thoughtful and cognizant of where I was putting my time.” – Bridget O’Carroll, The Wharton School 

Applying to jobs / internships

“I tend to take days off if when I’m in the recruitment process or maybe even when I’m doing exams or in preparation for exams and big projects. I prefer to be fully focused especially when you have so many things that are important for you.”  Andrea Gonzalez, UCLA Anderson School of Management

“Regarding hiring, I would say take a deep breath and don’t panic,  I know that’s a lot harder to practice than preach but for myself, I didn’t get my internship until April because in the startup world a lot of times, companies don’t know how many people they need until right before, so I really had to be patient and see my friends go into consulting and banking jobs and really just be confident that something would come through.” Melina Flabiano, The Wharton School 

Balancing work and school

“Block your time, mark your calendar, whatever you use to calendar or schedule yourself, it is your best friend. It is like you live and die by this calendar. Okay, and that calendar is going to include big open spaces that are going to be blocked and say things like spend time with family. Saturday afternoon from 12-3, I’m hanging out with the family, which means you’re not doing anything else. The same way that Thursday night, from seven to nine, when you’re prepping for your finance final, you’re not doing anything else.” – Shannon Demko, founder of MindfulMBA

“I had to be organized. I’ve never been so organized in my life. Every aspect of my life was allocated to do something for the program or to work… so that meant buy a calendar again, stickie notes, using outlook, everything to plan and stay ahead.” Laura Gallardo, Texas McCombs School of Business

Balancing motherhood and school

“I have the conversation with my children. They’re older now, and it’s like, look mommy has to start traveling again.  I have to start going out. I’m going to miss this, but we’re going to FaceTime and you’re going to tell me all about it. Ultimately, when I’m with my kids, I’m with my kids. I think that’s how I deal with the mom guilt because I know when I’m there, I’m 100% there.” – Stephanie Navasu, University of La Verne Business School

“Babies don’t realize that you have other priorities in your life. And so I had certain days of the week, Sunday afternoon, my husband was home and he was super supportive. So that would be my day to go to Panera or the library to just get the work done. And then that would be an addition to whatever night I had to go to class.” – Meg Amis, Villanova School of Business 

“At least for the program, I try to give myself a little grace. I wasn’t going to be around as much as I’d like. Try not to be so hard on myself because I knew ultimately if I wasn’t good to myself it was going to reflect in my performance in the program.” Laura Gallardo, Texas McCombs School of Business 

Beyond MBA Stressors: Watch our extended video on motherhood and the MBA

Juggling personal relationships

“Having that village of people who understand where you’re going and they’re actually in it with you was super helpful. I was able to have self-care through just having a village of people who supported me, so I didn’t have to give up on everything.” – Anique Russell, The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business

“There are certain times in your life where it’s okay to put yourself first and this is a window of time where you’re going to have to put yourself first if you want to, you know, finish the program, because otherwise, if you try to do everything, you end up just stressing yourself out. And that’s not good for anybody.” –Meg Amis, Villanova School of Business

“It’s a juggling act. Some balls are plastic, and some are glass. And you have to recognize which ones you can let hit the grounds. The plastic ones can hit the ground. But when your partner says to you, no, I need you to talk to me tonight, then you have to know that’s a glass ball. Right? That’s a glass ball. And so, the team is you’re going to have to meet with the team and others, right? It’s those shifts and knowing, but by the time we get to business school, we don’t like dropping any balls, we are supremely competent, right? But there are going to be when you add that extra thing into a really full life. And that’s okay. Watch some of those plastic balls hit the grounds and watch how nobody dies when they do. Nobody thinks you’re a terrible human. Even if they do, you’re not. You’re just doing the best you can.” – Shannon Demko, founder of MindfulMBA

Dealing with MBA Stressors

Photo from Jason Goodman

MBA stressors

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Shernay is a mom, entrepreneur, and lifelong learner who's been fortunate to spend her entire professional career telling stories. She has more than a decade of experience as a TV, print, and radio journalist for local and national news outlets. In 2016, she launched a content firm to help nonprofits and businesses tell their stories more strategically. Her passions: mom empowerment, entrepreneurship, and self-development.

She lives outside of Baltimore with her two sons.

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