A healthy work-life balance? Tough, but possible

It is hard enough to combine a 9 to 5 with a busy personal life, not to mention adding studying for an MBA into the mix. However, this is what our MaastrichtMBA students have to juggle. How do they find a balance between study, work and personal life? We spoke to 3 MaastrichtMBA students who told us how they do it. It’s tough, but it’s possible.

With an average age of 38, many students who begin the MaastrichtMBA programme are raising children and balancing ambitious careers. This makes the transition even harder. Yet, every year students all over the world decide to participate in an MBA programme.

Help around the house

Gaston (36) is one of those students. He works as a Principal Scientist at F. Hoffmann-La Roche in Munich and participates in our MaastrichtMBA programme. Having a family with 2 small children doesn’t make it easier. How does Gaston manage to find a balance?

“Of course I discussed my participation with my wife in advance. She is right behind me, which is important. Without that support, it would have been a tough call to begin with. Before I started with MaastrichtMBA, we hired a housekeeper and a babysitter to reduce the workload at home. In addition, we order our food at HelloFresh. My employer sponsors me with extra days off, so I can study and participate in MaastrichtMBA. I am quite lucky on that part. With all this help, I can spend enough time with my kids.”

Study planning

Roger, also 36, is a Staff Advisor to the Board at Envida. He and his wife are expecting their second child. They didn’t arrange any extra help at home, like Gaston did. “I just start early with preparing for the modules and continue to study at set times so I don’t have to catch up later”, says Roger.

Jeffrey, Business Development Advisor at MUMC+ and 43 years old, agrees with Roger. “With the modular system of MaastrichtMBA it’s easy to plan your work”, he says. “If you skip a few hours in the weekend, you know you have to catch up later. Although it’s less than before I entered the MaastrichtMBA programme, I still have enough time to spend with my daughters of 8 and 10.”

Roger: “Let’s not forget that we deliberately chose to participate in this MBA programme, so we know that for a few years we will have less free time. There will be evenings, days and sometimes even weeks when I am not at home. But when I am at home, I study when the rest of the family is asleep.”

Jeffrey: “That is also my approach. And if an assignment is relevant to my daily work, I am allowed to spend some hours per week on that assignment during working hours.”

“I am not that lucky”, says Roger. “I do however get extra free time from my employer to participate in the 8 modules of the programme. In addition to support from home, it is nice to have support from your employer as well. It makes things easier.”

Know your boundaries

“It is also important that you know your boundaries and know when to stop studying”, says Jeffrey. “When you’re tired, stop for the day and continue the next day. Because studying when you’re tired isn’t productive. In addition, you need to learn to say no occasionally. At home and at work. It is simply impossible to keep doing what you did before you entered the programme.”

Course on work-life balance

An advantage of MaastrichtMBA is that a course on maintaining a healthy work-life balance is part of the obligatory introduction programme. In this course, Ellen Schiffeleers will share tips and tricks for MBA students.

Do you want more information on the MaastrichtMBA programmes? Please visit the Programme page on this website.