Student Perspectives: Time Management & Self-Care during your MBA


MP Guru
About Ann: Ann Lih (’22) is a first-year MBA candidate at UCLA Anderson. She comes from a background in healthcare, having worked as a hospital technician and in digital health prior to Anderson. Ann will be spending her summer internship as a healthcare consultant. Outside of school, she enjoys experimenting with new recipes, hiking across LA, and watching NBA basketball.

I recall numerous coffee chats before I started at Anderson, where MBAs warned me of the busy and consuming lifestyle of business school. Indeed, within the first week of onboarding, I found my calendar overwhelmed with new events and heard the phrase “we’re drinking from a firehose!” more times than I can count. Through the marathon that is your MBA, it’s easy to lose track of your priorities and get swept away by everything going on, leaving you drained. Having now survived just over two quarters of business school, I want to offer up 3 suggestions that helped me manage my time and stay centered.

#1. Prioritize your goals. When you’re thrown into the ring of business school, you can be quickly overwhelmed by the various things grabbing your attention: making new friends, navigating recruitment, studying for classes, exploring a new city…the list goes on. Without a plan of action, it’s easy to lose focus. I benefited from prioritizing these different experiences and when I was unsure how to spend my time, I would defer to my list of priorities. For me, my top priority was to secure a summer internship, followed by networking with peers and academic performance. Everyone’s priorities will look a bit different and it’s normal for the list to evolve over time. Regardless of the order, make sure to reflect on how each activity or obligation fits into your priorities and how they are helping you achieve your goals.

#2. Create a tradition. Before starting Anderson, an MBA told me no matter how busy she gets, she will never fail to miss her weekly Taco Tuesday dinner with friends. I took this advice to heart and was fortunate enough to have several Anderson neighbors living in my apartment building to establish a tradition with. Every Tuesday, we would gather for a weekly wine night on the rooftop patio to debrief on our MBA experience together. Creating a tradition gave me something to look forward to every week and keep a part of my schedule sacred; this time was set apart just for me to recharge and connect with friends. As an added bonus, knowing that part of my Tuesday evening would be occupied forced me to not procrastinate and stay on top of my deliverables! Find a meaningful way to set aside part of your schedule, whether it’s on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis, to honor a tradition and allow yourself to rest or let loose.

#3. Check in with your feelings. When we’re constantly on hustle mode, it’s easy to slip into autopilot. Be sure to consciously reflect on how you feel about the interactions, events, or obligations on your calendar and choose to surround yourself with positive energy and motivation. Given the limited time we have in an MBA program, be intentional about what you let into your life and choose experiences that are challenging, exciting, and fun. Take advantage of the amazing opportunities you have during business school to build meaningful relationships and learn, but be sure to set healthy boundaries to avoid burn out. With all that you can commit to, give yourself some time to enjoy the ride! Keeping a pulse on your energy and emotional capacity allows you to present your best self, while getting the most out of your MBA experience.

Student Blogger: Ann Lih ‘22

Undergrad: Rutgers University, ’17

Pre-MBA: Clinical Operations Manager at Enara Health

Leadership@Anderson: VP of Strategic Initiatives, Healthcare Business Association; VP of Professional Development, Women’s Business Connection; Marketing Director, Admissions Ambassador Corps; Riordan Fellows Mentor; Bruin Mental Health Advisory Committee Member


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