EMTM and Business Travel: A Balance is Possible
EMTM truly is a global program. If it wasn’t before, it sure is now. In my first term in EMTM, I’ve worked on assignments while geographically located in New Jersey, Washington, DC, Hawaii, Norway and South Korea. All neatly nestled between six EMTM class weekends and finals in my first three months back to school. While it’s not the preferred transition period of most graduate students away from academia 8+ years, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Like most of you, Grad School had been in my plans for several years before actually enrolling. The main reason for delaying was travel. I’ve got the bug and I’m not afraid to admit it. Actually, my career aspirations have always included substantial travel, and I wasn’t ready to give that up. So, how did I get my cake and eat it too? The answer is flexibility, prioritization and the ability to contribute virtually.
EMTM classes are in session on alternating weekends, leaving you the flexibility of scheduling the completion of homework, studying and group assignments. For many students, this flexibility leads to increased procrastination, which you need to mitigate. However EMTM assumes a level of sophistication and maturity of its students that requires planning, prioritizing and discipline.
Do I still stress out and ask myself how I’m going to get this all done? Of course I do. I wouldn’t be enjoying myself in the EMTM program if I didn’t feel like I was pushing myself. I’ve done school work on planes and trains and have come to really appreciate the quiet of a private hotel room to get things done.
What about group work? You will find in EMTM students with a professionalism that is expected at an Ivy League collaboration of successful businesspeople. As such there is an inherent understanding that students have other commitments. It is not uncommon for me to request upfront portions of a group project to submit prior to a business trip leading into a class weekend. I’ve found that individuals in my group appreciate the early jumpstart and pick up right where I left off. An hour or two of review on Friday night before submission is all it takes to bring it all together after the other members have added their contributions.
There have also been times where I leave for business travel the day after classes and return the night before. I honestly try not to schedule trips this way, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. In these situations I take the show on the road and work virtually. We’re all technologically savvy professionals, so we take full advantage of the multitude of available collaboration resources.
Bottom line is that yes, traveling extensively for work while meeting EMTM commitments is difficult. More importantly, it’s absolutely possible and a fantastic challenge. Quite simply, the flexibility of the EMTM program and its participants mixed with your dedication and prioritization can be a wonderful fit, despite extensive travel.
Brian White, EMTM’13