IE Business School Online Masters
Novel Tjahyadi
October 29, 2008

Call me an amateur juggler. That’s my job now. Not in the real world though, but that is really what I think I have been doing ever since I hit my very first IXMBA text book about a year ago. (For those who are not familiar, IXMBA = International Executive MBA)

As a juggler, how many balls do I have to toss into the air? Quite a few. Let’s see…. I am a full-time employee, a husband, a father, an IE student and, of course, a sleeper. Those are my prominent balls. If I attempt to be just to all of them, each ball will equally get tossed 4.8 hours a day. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. There are times when I have to drop some balls. Which one? Obviously, not my full-time job. I still want my picture to be posted on the “employee of the month” wall in my office (kidding, no, I don’t work for McD). Don’t even think of sacrificing your family! Never do that, unless you want to end up being single after your graduation!). Should I sacrifice my study? Naaa… I have paid a fortune to do this. So, the only ball that that I have to drop from time to time is, unfortunately, my sleep!

Yes, sleeping is such a luxury these days. Actually, it is not that bad. I can still enjoy my nice pillow for at least four hours a day (not bad, huh?), then I usually continue my sleep on the metro on the way to the office (just make sure I don’t miss my next stop).

Well, I am not trying to scare you off with my story. As I said, it is not always that bad, because there are times when you feel like rewarding yourself with a 12-hour sleep having completed a tough quiz or a mind-blowing assignment. The good thing about IXMBA, a.k.a. online Executive MBA, is that you can manage your own time according to your own rhythm. You can study in a café around the corner, in the toilet, on a bus, at an airport lounge, in a park whilst watching your kids playing…. You have the choices. You can participate in the online group and class discussions anytime that suits you. (I personally like to do it early morning, as I am an early bird)

I know some of you will say in skepticism,”Oh, really? Is the program that flexible?” Certainly. I am not lying to you. (Why would they ask me to write on this blog if they knew that I was a liar? :-)) As long as you are committed with your choice, then the flexibility is yours! Yes, that’s what I like most about IXMBA. (Now I realize that the IXMBA program has been designed around the idea of giving a certain extent of flexibility to the students, as most of us are full-time professionals. We have the liberty to control our own learning pattern.) If I succeed, I am proud of myself. But if I fail, no one, but myself, is to blame.

So, finding your own rhythm is the key. If you are an avid tennis player like me, do not stop. If you are a jogger, keep doing it, because your body needs to relax too (after hours sitting and staring at the monitor.) Keep your hobbies on your agenda. Even if that means going to cinema with your loved ones, don’t give it up!

The first couple of months after joining IXMBA were, in my opinion, the most difficult period. Not only for me, but also for the people around me, my wife and my daughter. I obviously had to change my routines and they too had to adapt to it. If you are married (with or without kids) or living with your partner, make sure you get their approval prior to giving your commitment to IE. I remember a faculty member stated at the opening day last year,”If you are married, your wife would deserve half of your MBA diploma”. Everyone laughed, but I think no one now would disagree with such a compelling statement. My family might even deserve more than a half of it!


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