Manage your time: how to survive (and enjoy) one year of Full-Time MBA

Prospective students or professionals interested in the MBA program have reached out to me lately to hear my say. One of the most recurrent questions I have had so far is about the effort it takes in terms of study-life balance. Commonly enough, I find myself recalling how challenging it was during the past months to deal with a very tight schedule including attending classes, submitting assignments and preparation for interviews. As I recognize this is a very relevant theme, I decided to put pen to paper to give my ultimate 3 tips + 1 guide to time management, or rather, on how to survive and still enjoy this amazing and sometimes overwhelming year!


1.       Do not procrastinate: do it and do it now!

Let’s be clear: after the first month of onboarding with the basics in digital phase, made up of clips to browse online and pleasant encounters at MIP with the students who have already relocated to Italy, the first trimester is the real challenge of this program. You will easily find yourself immerged in a full week of classes, most of the times followed by after-school talks and company presentations which you don’t want to miss, and at the same time you have to work, every weekend, on the submission of two assignments. Living around the clock will soon be the norm, so if you want to be on schedule, do not wait for tasks and deliverables to pile up (because you will have tons!), do not go through the same task back and forth seeking for a second, third or maybe fourth read. Do not wait for perfection: act fast and act now.


2.       Be in the moment

This is very connected with the previous point and it is something I learned from one of the most inspiring professors I had this year, Filippo Passerini. In his words, one of the most effective ways is to stay focused is “to be in the moment”. This is by no means achieved by a strong will not to get distracted by technology and social media, maybe leaving the mobile in your pocket on purpose for the whole duration of the class or taking notes on paper rather than on a digital tool, but also avoiding multitasking. As the human attention span gets shorter and shorter with digitalization (did you know it is shorter than a goldfish’s?), multitasking is indeed reducing this threshold. Being in the moment means getting rid of all those objects, thoughts and ideas keeping us from the here and now. If you want to take (and learn) the most from what is happening around you, set a blank mind. You cannot imagine how much time you will save later.


3.       Take that hand: people are here to help

We are all in this together. It might sound like the claim of a manifesto, but truly enough, your classmates are the best allies along the way. Setting up study-groups where you can dive deep into topics that were mentioned during class, asking for a read-through or a double-check on your assignment, rehearsing for an exam by exchanging notes and ideas, are all very common things you will find as you walk around the busy desks of the study stations at MIP. Rest assured, in your class you will find at least one person who was previously working in the same area of expertise as that of the subjects studied, and the good news is that everyone wants to lend a hand and help each other, to be cross-pollinated and to learn from other peoples’ experience. Take that hand, especially when your time is short, teamwork will help you eat the elephant piece by piece.


+1. Work hard, party harder

After all I’ve written and said, this might look contradictory, but no. The core of this experience is the human value coming from the network of people you will meet along the way. This program is really multicultural and diverse in its soul and what you will grasp from your classmates will make your day. You will work a lot, you will challenge yourself in many circumstances, at times you will be tired and stressed out, but on top of this, you will have plenty of aperitivos, calcetto (five-a-side football) matches, pizza nights, beers and drinks with the best laughs. You will eat handmade Chinese dumplings, learn how to dance salsa and hopefully become a huge fan of reggaeton, and your time  ̶  despite being short  ̶  will never be so rich, it will never be worth so much!


About the author
Marianna Trimarchi
I am a candidate of the International Full Time MBA at MIP. I have a background in academia as a PhD in Communication and Strategic Analysis and a career as content producer in the Media Industry. I have worked for the Italian Television as author and assistant producer for cultural programs as well as for other media outlets as journalist. I am passionate about understanding complex phenomena particularly related to internationalization and global development from a multidisciplinary perspective.




Managing work, being a mother and a student, on the i-Flex EMBA program


We all like to say: “If I had had more time then I would have read more/ worked out in the gym/ spent more time with friends or family/ participated in social projects/ made a dream come true/ learned new things… “

And then your baby is born…Boom!

And you start saying that now you’re totally out time… It’s true, now you have an official excuse to skip a lot of tasks, postpone your dreams and goals and just be a parent.
But, do you know what? I think that all this time-related stuff is just a type of procrastination, just a pretext to enable ourselves to be lazy when no-one can see us. I think that by using this excuse, people think that they look very important to others. However, in the end all of us spend a lot of time (masses!) on totally unimportant time wasters like Facebook, Instagram, PC games, YouTube, TV shows, etc.

Your counterargument may be the need to have some rest and do social activities. But let’s be honest, we could spend our time in a higher quality way with more positive outcomes than most of us do.
When my husband and I decided to do an MBA diploma we were already young parents of a beautiful four-month-old baby girl. At the time I was already the COO of an outsourcing company and I continued working remotely while being on maternity leave.

It is only a matter of time management

Attending a full-time MBA was not an option since, apart from the parenting, there are no accredited EMBA programs in Ukraine. So when we found the i-Flex program with distance learning for an Executive MBA it was like hitting the jackpot. We decided to enrol together and this is how we became student-parents.
My interview with MIP was really extraordinary. On the day of the interview, I came into the office in order to have the proper environment and atmosphere.

Our office is located in a Business Centre in the heart of a city. The call had just started when the Business Centre’s alarm went off with an announcement of a bomb threat in the building. I think that Maria Carulli, who was conducting the interview on behalf of MIP, was shocked. Since this was not the first threat of its kind, however, I told her that we could proceed.

I think that in this, I really showed myself to be a person who can handle stress.
There is no secret to managing work as a COO, being a mother and a student on the i-Flex EMBA program because it is only a question of time management, avoiding some time wasters (I am still working on this) and scheduling priorities.

How to study while working

So, how do I manage to study while working? I usually study early in the morning before everyone wakes up (from 5-6 a.m. until 7-8 a.m. depending on my schedule) or in the evening, after the baby has gone to bed. Also, I have optimized my time schedule at work so as to give me the opportunity to spend some time at work studying – for instance, during lunchtime.

Here I would like to give huge thanks to my trusted team, which I can rely on at any time.

An important part of my life is being a mother to my baby, Kira, who is my heart and soul. She has become used to staying with her nanny while I am at work, but I manage my schedule in such a way as to be able to spend all my free time with her without being distracted by a phone full of e-mails, messages and social networks. Also, Kira travels with me on all my business trips. It is challenging but I feel less stressed when I know that my baby is next to me.

I continue to work out in the gym three times a week, plus twice a week I go the pool with Kira. I try to visit different exhibitions, usually at weekends, which I plan really thoroughly so as not to waste even a minute. I am currently having weekly coaching sessions at 10 p.m. I certainly try to get no less than six hours’ sleep a night. What I miss is reading fiction. I really try to find time for reading but it is one thing that I have been compromising on for some time.
It looks as if I am managing to do everything – however, I feel that I am not managing to do anything at all. What I feel is that 24 hours is not as short a time as it seems. I am learning to fit in all my plans and hoping to upgrade this skill to perfection soon and use it – even after graduation – for good.