FOMO is going to torpedo that great plan you made


Be crystal clear on your relative priorities 

Your number one problem during the MBA will be making choices. In itself it’s great practice for future leadership positions. Many admits arrive to the MBA full of ambitions and end up being overwhelmed by the end of first term. Why? Most students have a good idea of what they want to explore during the MBA, but only a few of them actually think about how they will share their time between priorities and make decisions accordingly. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) takes over their lives. Your desire to make the most of the MBA will drive you to attend as many events, parties and trips as possible.  

Now don’t get us wrong, it can be quite fun to “just go with the flow” during the MBA. After all, when else in your life will you go back to being a student again? All that’s fine, but most students finish their MBA with a few regrets around spending too much time on this or not enough on that. Almost all of them will admit to being exhausted or overwhelmed during certain weeks. If you want to ensure that you really make the most of the whole experience while not burning out, a bit of planning will certainly help. Don’t forget that you’re in this MBA to become a business leader and the most successful among them constantly make radical choices on where to spend their time. 

How to proceed? A good start is to list out all activities and decide what share of your time you want to allocate to them. Below is a non-exhaustive list that can be of help:

  • Class time
  • Study time
  • Group study time
  • Club activities
  • MBA social life
  • Career time (research, networking, etc.)
  • Life admin time (emails, housekeeping etc.)
  • Down time (reading, watching movies, etc.)
  • Finding your future business partner
  • Family
  • Non-MBA social life
  • Sport/exercise
  • Transport/commuting time
  • Sleeping/eating

From your ideal split between those activities, you can work out roughly how many hours you can spend on each per week / month / term etc. We can tell you right now that you will in reality end up spending a lot less time on each, as a significant portion of your attention will be taken up by little things that are not even on that list. Keep that in mind and be ruthless on your ambitions. 

Find a system that works for you and review it regularly

How do you make sure you stick to that share of priorities? Well here it really depends on what works best for you. Some like to build a weekly schedule for each term and place time-blocks in their calendar for each activity. We recommend trying it to see if it works for you, but if it doesn’t, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. An alternative is to schedule a regular “life-priorities” review slot (every week or every day) to assess roughly if you’re spending enough time on your priorities.

Another great habit to get into is to plan your priorities and schedule in advance, e.g. the day before. This allows you to remove the “spontaneous” element of decision-making, and gives you extra strength to resist FOMO.

One big problem students have is that the MBA life is so full-on that they’re constantly running from one activity to another and never have any down-time to do such planning. Some people deal with this by getting up 30-60mins earlier in the morning. At 7AM you’ll unlikely to be bothered by your best friend wanting to go to vodka shots or by the Marketing Club president wanting that contact list you promised her 3 days ago…

Read on

This post is part of a series of articles to help you make the most of your MBA. Take a look at our other posts on the topic:

  • What to do before the MBA starts (link)
  • General Tips & Advice (link).
  • Career Focus during the MBA (link).
  • Networking during the MBA (link).