The MBA + Part-time Job Combo

So, you’ve decided to pursue an MBA at UCD, hoping for a thrilling academic adventure. But wait, there’s a twist! It would be best to juggle a part-time job to keep your savings intact. Don’t worry: We’ve got some first-hand insights from MBA students who’ve walked this path of multitasking madness. So, buckle up and prepare to navigate the wild world of part-time jobs and the MBA!

My Personal Experience

I have been working in a famous Irish supermarket as a sales assistant. My part-time job paved the way for me to learn completely new skills I never thought I would try my hand at. Getting out of my comfort zone and choosing to upskill myself was nothing less than an achievement. Some of the skills that I picked up are better planning (planning is very important in inventory management), time management and better customer interaction & engagement. These skills will enrich my personality and add dimensions to my persona (hopefully).

Timing is Everything

Starting a part-time job while managing your MBA coursework requires careful consideration. At the start of the programme, you may find yourself drowning in modules and assignments, desperately trying to grasp the basics. There are better times to add another variable!

The consensus among seasoned multitaskers is to hold off on the part-time job until you’ve settled into your MBA routine. While the MBA timetable may seem to have free spaces, it’s important to remember that these are dedicated to coursework tasks like group meetings, reading, research, and homework. The schedule is designed to handle the significant workload of an MBA program. Seasoned multitaskers advise against taking on a part-time job alongside your studies, particularly during the program’s initial stages. Trying to juggle too much can result in a messy situation and hinder your ability to engage and excel in your coursework fully.

Jobs as Diverse as Your Classmates

You’d be amazed at the vast array of part-time jobs your MBA cohorts will embrace. There’s something for everyone, from supermarket shelf stackers to pizza parlour wizards, physiotherapists, nurses, movie side actors and warehouse warriors. Remember, many of these gigs require physical labour, so get ready to flex those muscles with your brainpower.

Filmmakers at work.
Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

The Art of Multitasking

Once you’ve taken the plunge and secured a part-time job, it’s time to put your multitasking skills to the test. Prioritisation would be your new best friend. Seriously, it cannot be stressed enough how crucial it is to prioritise your MBA work effectively. 

If you need help keeping up with readings, fear not! Explore the wonderful world of PDF-to-audio reader apps. Who knew your MBA journey could be filled with a symphony of readings?

Embrace the Irish Work Culture

Working part-time during your MBA will introduce you to the vibrant and lively Irish work culture. You’ll get first-hand experience interacting with people from different countries and cultures, broadening your horizons while stacking shelves or delivering pizzas. You might even learn a few choice phrases in various languages. Bonjour, ciao, and dia duit!

Financial Freedom and Fancy Purchases

One perk of taking on a part-time job is the newfound financial independence—no more hesitation before buying those fancy items you’ve been eyeing. Just remember to resist the urge to splurge your hard-earned cash on too many unnecessary treasures. Saving money is essential, even amid your MBA journey.

Photo from work, by the author

Not Everything is Hunky-Dory

Sometimes you will have to deal with people who may not be as polite as your co-workers from your pre-MBA life. However, it is for you to stand your ground and take on challenges as they come – you need to stand behind your work and build confidence in your abilities. You will surely come out on the other side as a stronger individual.

It’s Not All Doom & Gloom

While the MBA + part-time job combo may sound daunting, it’s not all bad news. The challenges you face will make you more resilient in handling heavy workloads. You’ll become a multitasking maestro, and prioritising your work will become second nature. Think of it as a crash course in professional development with a side of financial stability.

The Camaraderie of Cohort Gems

One of the silver linings of pursuing an MBA is the incredible support and camaraderie you’ll find among your classmates. In group projects and assignments, everyone is generally happy to adjust their schedules to accommodate their part-time job. But care must be taken to ensure that when pursuing part-time work, students keep in mind that they will also have responsibilities to their classmates and study team members. Therefore, consider yourself blessed if surrounded by a batch of true gems, ready to conquer the MBA journey together.

A group of students smiling together in the Common Room at UCD Smurfit
At work in the UCD Smurfit Common Room

Where to Find Part-time Jobs

To discover part-time opportunities, check websites like Indeed and For a more proactive approach, visit local shops and personally hand in your resume. If you’re interested in supermarket chains, apply through their websites. Lastly, don’t forget to tap into your network of friends already working part-time—they can offer valuable assistance.

In the fantastic journey of the MBA program, taking on a part-time job might seem daunting. However, you will survive this adventure armed with time management skills, a multitasking skill, and the willingness to prioritise. Remember, it gets a little more accessible daily, but you must consistently put in the effort. So, embrace the MBA, conquer your part-time job, and emerge from the MBA as a multitasking warrior with a bright future.

Roshen Sunil, FTMBA Class of 2023