Finding Work-Life Balance in an Online MBA Program

April 23, 2024

Three OMBA students offer their best tips for thriving, not just surviving, in a uniquely busy season of life.

Between work meetings, kids’ sports practices, household chores and hobbies, there never seem to be enough hours in the day for a working professional. Adding an MBA program to the mix adds yet another layer of challenge but proves to be an immensely rewarding experience. 

We sat down with three Online MBA students to discover how they get it all done. Below, they offer their best tips for managing a busy schedule. 

Lexi LeBlanc

Residence: Dallas, Texas  

Undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Business Administration (Marketing and Management Information Systems), Baylor University 

Current position: Lead Project Management and Development; AT&T

What motivated you to pursue an MBA?

I wanted to start an MBA program when I had a few years of experience under my belt but was not so far out from undergrad that I was out of the groove. After three years in a corporate setting, I was ready to invest in my growth. As an alum of Baylor, I was already sold on the culture. The flexibility of an asynchronous program I could complete at my own pace was also a major factor in my decision. 

What does a typical day look like?

I typically get up between 6:30 and 7:30 and head to work by 8. My mom and my husband, who is finishing medical school, are currently providing childcare for our three-month-old son, Layton, while we search for a full-time nanny. I work a standard day at my office, which is 20 minutes away, with a lunch break spent listening to lectures and audiobooks for class. After work, I spend time with my family. If needed, my husband will take Layton for a walk so I can study or complete an assignment, but for the most part, I do my classwork after the baby goes to bed at 9. 

What are your top tips for getting it all done?

  • Never waste an opportunity to fit in schoolwork, however small. I spend every lunch break doing something for my class. During my 10-week maternity leave, everyone thought I was crazy for beginning a new class, but it ended up working out well for me because I could listen to everything on audio while I was on the couch recovering and spending time with my son. 
  • Know the time of day you are most productive. Some people are good in the morning; I am not. Late night hours are best for me, so I do most of my work between 9 and 11 at night, when I know I will be most efficient. 
  • Find a scheduling system that works for you. Instead of separating personal and work, I find it helpful to keep it all together on one calendar so nothing can fall through the cracks.

How have you benefited from the flexibility of the OMBA program?

I started my MBA program in March 2023 and found out I was pregnant in April. My advisor helped me plan out my classes in a way that made sense for me. Some classes are more challenging than others, so I scheduled the less challenging ones for the busiest points in my year and doubled up on classes at other times. Baylor is fantastic about meeting you where you are. You never feel lost or unsupported. 

John Briseno

Residence: Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas 

Undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Business Administration (Management Information Systems), University of the Incarnate Word

Current position: Business Continuity Advisor; USAA

Why did you choose Baylor for your MBA? 

My wife and I have twin boys who are currently juniors at Baylor. While we were researching schools for them, I came across the OMBA program and recognized the opportunity to not only further my own development and growth but also become an alum alongside my sons.

What does a typical day look like?

From 7:30 to 5 or 5:30, I work in a role that involves helping lines of business develop strategies to recover from disruption. After work, my wife and I make it a point to always have dinner together, especially now that our kids are in Waco and we are empty nesters. I carve out two or three hours every evening to do classwork, which works for me because I am more of a night person. I will often stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning, which gives me the opportunity to complete my work and still do things like spend time with my wife, play the guitar and work on the yard. 

What are your top tips for getting it all done?

  • Embrace your personal learning style. I am much more of a visual learner than an auditory learner. Even if I am listening to a lecture, I prefer to see examples of what is being taught to fully absorb it. 
  • Stay consistent but flexible. Time management will always be a struggle. You cannot always plan life. Sometimes everything goes smoothly and sometimes it all comes at you like an avalanche. For me, it helps to have part of the day structured, which is my work time, and the other part of the day more open-ended. For example, if I have a quiz due, I will work a normal day of work but eat dinner earlier than usual to accommodate the deadline. 
  • Set a sustainable pace. I look at the syllabus on the weekend and try to frontload the week by doing most of my work between Monday and Wednesday. This strategy allows me to work on papers or prepare for upcoming quizzes or tests while leaving me some flexible time to tighten up loose ends or enjoy much-needed rest.

Why would you recommend the OMBA program to another busy professional?

Continuing your education is a decision you will never regret. It is something no one can ever take from you. The knowledge and skills acquired in my OMBA classes, especially within the cybersecurity concentration, have enhanced my effectiveness in my current role. Also, in choosing Baylor, I have gained an academic support system of individuals who are not only responsive but understanding of my individual needs. 

Jennifer Beggs

Residence: Blue Ridge, Texas

Undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Business Administration (Accounting), Baylor University

Current position: Accounting Manager; Highland Homes

What motivated you to pursue an MBA?

Growing up, I was surrounded by family members, including educators, who instilled in me the importance of education. I started an MBA program soon after completing my undergraduate degree, but between a job change and life circumstances, I stopped pursuing the advanced degree. It always weighed on me that I didn’t finish the program because I am not one to give up on my goals. When I learned how flexible Baylor’s Online MBA program is, it gave me reassurance that I could accomplish my goal to finally earn an MBA degree. 

What does a typical day look like?

I am an early riser who is the most productive first thing in the morning. I am awake before dawn and will put in a few hours of schoolwork before getting my nine-year-old twins out the door for school and beginning my workday. I will also utilize my lunch break for schoolwork, as needed. During the day, I lead an accounting team for a large homebuilder. I usually finish work by 5:30 and spend the evening with my family, often attending my kids’ sports practices and games. Between softball and soccer, we are keeping busy!

What are your top tips for getting it all done?

  • Eat that frog! Years ago, I read a book called Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy on ways to prevent procrastination. Since then, I have been committed to starting my day with the thing that I least want to do. If I do not do it first, it will likely not get done or it will weigh on me all day. 
  • Methodically time block the week. On Sunday, I usually review all the work I need to complete for the week ahead and divide it into time blocks over five days. If there are 85 pages of reading assigned, I know that I need to read at least 17 pages a day. Looking at everything as a whole can lead me to feel overwhelmed at times but breaking it down into daily milestones helps alleviate this feeling. 
  • Stay focused and disciplined.  We are all capable of more than we think. I tend to get a bit apprehensive before starting every course, but once I am in it, I realize that I am making it happen along with the support of my husband and company. I am constantly praying to Jesus to give me the strength and knowledge for what is ahead. Writing motivational notes such as “Never give up” or “Just keep going” always helps, too, on days that are harder.

What advice would you give yourself on the first day of the program?

“Give yourself grace and take it one day at a time.” I have high expectations of myself, so it was difficult to admit that I needed some time off in between courses to adjust after being promoted to a new role during the program. Fortunately, I was able to resume classes when I was ready. The flexibility of Baylor’s program makes it possible to take it class by class, adjusting to whatever life brings. 

What’s Next

Are you ready to take on your next challenge? Learn more about Baylor’s OMBA program by clicking here or fill out the form below to speak directly with an Enrollment Coordinator.