So you’ve gotten into business school. Apart from sorting out the usual issues like accommodation and tuition financing, there’s also the tricky issue of telling your boss and colleagues that you’re leaving, period (for full-timers) or at least, leaving on the dot (for part-timers doing night classes).
For those doing full-time MBAs, leaving the organisation can be a sensitive issue. Management could have any of the following impressions:
“So…this place isn’t good enough for you.” Depending on the nature of your boss, he may be a little sensitive of your perception that he has been unable to help you move ahead the way you want to. Was he not good enough a mentor? Was it the environment you’re in? Somehow, directly or indirectly, your boss has been responsible for a good part of your work experience and it could reflect on him. So be tactful and positive, and thank your boss for the opportunities he’s given you.
“We could have worked out something if you told us earlier.” This is a tricky situation because you’re damned if you tell your boss about your MBA plans, and you’re damned if you don’t. One workaround for those in companies that conduct regular performance reviews is to mention in your personal statement of your intention to take further studies. This can be useful in diffusing accusations of any lack of transparency on the part of the employee.
“Go, with our blessing. Hope you come back one day.” This is the best reaction but it is hard to come by. If management is enlightened enough to tell you this, consider returning to the company at a higher position after getting experience elsewhere, because this is a place that trusts and respects its employees.
For those studying part-time, the issue is less sensitive. The most important factor is time management. You’ll still be working with the company, but remember that you may no longer be able to pull off a late-nighter in the office to meet a tight deadline. You’ll be in night class, and you need to focus completely on what the lecturer’s saying, not what the client’s demanding.
Explain to your boss that you need to leave the office by a certain time every day. Get him to agree to this at the very onset, so that no expectations will be mismatched. On your part, ensure that you also arrive at work early or punctually, so that colleagues will not envy you for clocking in less hours and getting away with it. You will need your colleagues even more so, now that you won’t be able to stay back late to finish any work.
It can also be mentally exhausting to work full time and head off to school every day. Make sure that you have support from your partner and family. Sleep regular hours, have a balanced diet and keep yourself fit. This is not the time to fall ill, because you’ll miss work (income, prospects) and school (knowledge).
Whichever MBA path you’re taking, be clear as to what your objectives are. Don’t use your MBA plans solely as a bargaining tool, because it may backfire. Don’t lie about the offers you’ve received because you may be found out - and that speaks a lot about your character. Stick to your chosen path.