Working while Studying, Studying while Working (NBS Graduate)

Welcome to our second post of 2021! As promised in the last post of last year to be more regular in posting the various topics in this blog, we are catering to our management enthusiasts who may be on campus, or learning in other ways. As analysed in our previous post, we have quite a sizeable portion of student readers, we also wanted to create a post more catered to professionals who may want to go back to school to increase knowledge too! I previously shared about why I decided to return to school, but this post will be more targetted at my thoughts on schooling while working, and also while I was working while schooling while on my internship at KavoKerr. Here are some of my thoughts:

Improving Time Management Skills

I have received various questions on how I manage to work and study at the same time for last year, while also running an active blog. How do I find all the time? One of the techniques which I used was to have more time management. Part and parcel of my learning journey was to create pockets of time reserved for various activities. This meant scheduling time on my calendar to complete my coursework, as well as internship or work activities without cannibalising either activities. It helped that there was a timetable at school and I planned my internship around my remaining modules. The true challenge for me this month is that now I’m entrusted with a major work project, and how I’m going to continue to deliver with excellence, I believe that time management will be key. Do read more about time management in this post.

Learning to Prioritise

Knowing that we have limited time, knowing how to set our priorities is crucial in ensuring that we get the most.

For my current priorities, I ranked them as work first, classes and preparation next, blog post third (but rest assured you’ll see the posts you expect to see!), exercise, hanging out with friends, catching more sleep if possible (please don’t reduce sleep priority for too long, usually I’m an advocate that you sleep for minimally 8 hours a day, but please do not go less than 6 hours, I tried it before and do not recommend it!

Knowing this is only a 4 months long arrangement with 1 month having to work weekends too, it is something which I could manage. But that being said, I strongly urge you to know when and what you should prioritise, to prevent burnout. (It’s not the best feeling to have, felt it when doing 7 CCAs in Year 1 at school but that’s a story for another day!)

Maximising Value and Efficiency

Something I learned about studying while working is that we can’t be too perfect at everything, as we have limited time. Gone are the days where we could do multiple revisions of the coursework that we want to submit, in order to try to get the perfect score at school.

This is one of the times when we can apply Pareto’s Principle where we use 20% of the time to complete 80% of the work. While completing my coursework to a deliverable standard, I can gain 80% of the knowledge with just 20% of the time, this meant that I would be able to learn enough about what I am learning at school, without compromising on my work responsibilities.

Well that’s all for today’s reflection. If you’re considering to work while studying to gain more experience or study while working to gain more knowledge, I would urge you to consider your time, priorities and how you can maximise your efficiency, in order to achieve the best of both worlds!

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Image Credits: Original Image created by Tan Wei Xiang, using image by Wengang Zhai on Unsplash

If you’re still in school, here’s a post for you to make the most out of your business school experience.

If you are interested in pursuing the Mini Masters in Marketing Management, do check this post out on course reviews.


4 Internship and Work Rules to Succeed in Management Functions

November is coming to a close and it’s winter internship season for many students. While still relatively fresh to the working world, I have consolidated some working rules which I have learned from my previous internship experiences and current working experience.

Rule #1: Always Address your Customers’ Needs and Wants

The first rule, which I have always stuck to as much as possible. My first internship included a UI/UX design of a system for users across South-East Asia. The first set of designs, while sophisticated and theoretically sound, it was not user friendly enough for ease of implementation. My first internship boss shared with me the importance of always serving the customer, which I have borne in mind since then, even joining my current company where serving customers is a core value. If you are implementing a new project in HR, then your stakeholders are the HR people. If you are presenting to management, then they are your stakeholders.

Rule #2: Always Keep Things Concise

Another of the workplace mess ups I had been guilty of during my first internship. I did up my first research task, the topic which I can’t remember. I was really proud of the work I prepared. I was about to send in a 10 page Microsoft Word text report to my manager. My manager came to check in, so I showed the report to her, hoping to get some positive affirmation. She was clearly shocked, but she explained to me why the working world is different from business school. There is no luxury of time, especially as one moves into middle or upper management.

To keep things concise, she told me to do some annotations with pictures so that information is broken into bite size pieces in order to be more readily visualised and understood. Moving forward, I transited to using slides which were more concise and bring the key point across. (Sometimes I presented everything in excel too, especially when doing information gathering.)

Rule #3: Always Observe the Situation

A third rule I have is to spend time understanding the situation. On two separate occasions, on hindsight I could have observed better but guess it was nice to have colleagues pointing out to me.

I once had the chance to dine with the senior vice president and the team. I got asked to suggest a place to eat, and my manager and one colleague went off to the washroom. Not realising that the SVP does not like coffee shops, I actually suggested to walk to one, without realising some of the expressions on the other colleagues faces. Everything went downhill there, never had a chance to suggest lunch places with the SVP again during lunch hour. (Although we still had team lunch treats for a few times at some posh places. Lucky me!)

Anyway lots of other things to observe too and not going to spoil the fun for you. It’s a learning journey after all so we are all still learning! Try to spot things which you don’t usually notice when outside of work!

Rule #4: Always Speak to Your Colleagues

Some may be caught up with the mentality that spending your time churning away with the computer is the best way to manage workplace relationships and show that you are a hard worker. I do not agree. I personally believe that a large proportion of your time should be spent on aligning with colleagues, talking to them and knowing what is going on, and where the project you are working on fits into the bigger picture. As an intern or working adult, speaking to working colleagues with more working experience also gives you various perspectives on the working world and help with the big picture of things.

These are just my personal opinions and there are no set ways to succeed in management functions, Hope these rules I collated will get your started and propel you to further success in your career journey.

Still looking for an internship? This post may help!

Working from home during your internship? Here’s my work at work turned work from home internship experience!

Image Credits: Photo by K8 on Unsplash