How to study and work at the same time

Avenesh Mahtani graduated from Queen Mary University of London’s School of Business and Management in 2010. Since then, he has worked as a teacher in Germany teaching English language and Business English and, more recently, decided to pursue an MSc in International Business as a part-time, distance-learning course while continuing his work as a teacher. Here Avenesh tells us his tips for studying and working at the same time.

Support: Pursuing a distance-learning course can be difficult, as you can easily feel isolated due to the lack of regular daily contact with other students and lecturers. The support I received from my family and friends was invaluable and was a key part of working through the degree. It is normal to sometimes feel a lack of motivation and having good support is an important part of overcoming those issues.

Work-Life Balance: This is arguably the most challenging aspect of studying and working simultaneously. At times, you could have to do overtime at work and this can have an impact on your studies. Additionally, this also reduces the time you have for family and friends who can feel neglected, so it is important to try and find a good balance.

Discipline: This plays a key role. I create study schedules, which outline the work I need to do and I make sure I do it, because setting goals and managing your time effectively are key aspects. A major benefit of my MSc International Business was that I could choose to study between 1 and 5 modules per semester, which allowed me to set realistic goals and targets to achieve. As with any degree, leaving things to the last minute rarely works out well.

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Financial Situation: As I had worked for two years before starting my Masters, I was able to save up enough to pay for it. Financial burdens can be a major source of stress that can affect your ability to study, so this is something that should be taken into account.

Teaching: At my school, I have been responsible for teaching business English, covering a wide range of topics from finance to marketing to HR. This helped me a lot with my studies, as I was constantly forced to keep up-to-date with the latest business trends. My MSc also helped me improve my teaching by forcing me to think of business issues from both a practical and theoretical perspective, which I was able to use to help develop my students’ knowledge of business. A further great help came from my students. As a lot of them work in professional roles, they were able to provide me with insights and real-world examples into their jobs, which proved very helpful when tackling my studies.

As I prepare to write my dissertation, I can say that this was a good way to study for a Masters. Although working and studying is never easy, it forces you to become more disciplined and solve problems on your own, as you lack the conventional support a campus-based course would offer.  As it is not financially viable for everyone to give up their jobs to pursue a Masters, this was also a good opportunity to continue earning, which meant I did not have to rely on financial support to pay for my fees.

I have also been able to improve my CV by adding teaching experience to it and hopefully shortly that will be enhanced with an MSc in International Business. In this competitive environment, it is important to enhance your skills as much as possible and I do believe this is a good way of achieving that.

Over to you!

How do you handle working and studying at the same time? What advice would you give others?

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