This is part of a new series to showcase all the details you need to know about the MIM program. The post below showcases time management and organization skills that have come in handy during the busy MIM schedule.
The MIM program is an intensive international MBA degree. Coursework that would normally take two years in most MBA programs is packed into just 15 months for MIM students, meaning that students in the program can expect to be busy with a capital B.
I myself can remember starting the program in the Fall of 2012 and feeling fine with the homework load for the first day or two, until the week progressed and instructors just kept piling on more and more assignments. The first term of the program was a wake up call, and made me realize that to keep up with everything I was going to have to kick my organization and time management skills into high gear.
Create an agenda for team meetings.
A lot of assignments in the MIM program and done in teams, so expect to have a lot of meetings with different groups each week. Creating an agenda for a meeting may seem like a no-brainer, but there have been times where the sheer number and frequency of group meetings makes them all seem to run together, and this kind of meeting fatigue can lead to laziness and a lack of focus.
If you can set an agenda for the meeting, even something as simple as deciding what it is that you want to accomplish and in what timeframe, that will go a long way toward helping you and your team stay on track and get things done. Simply knowing which case study or which research paper you are working on is often not enough; setting concrete goals and deadlines, however, will help you be much more effective.
Use Google Docs. And Google Drive. And Google Calendar.
If you haven’t used either of these Google products before, I highly recommend getting used to using them as a grad student in the MIM program. As collaborative tools Google Drive and Google Docs allow you to create and save documents online, and then share them with as many people as you would like. The ability to share these documents means that you can not only send a document to someone, but you can also view them and edit them together in real time, from multiple computers. Some of my most productive group meetings have been where we stop talking, but just each write our own part of various reports together in the same document at the same time, keeping track of each other’s changes and edits as we go.
As for keeping track of appointments and due dates, Google Calendar has proved to be the single best organizational tool for remembering what it is that I have to do. I find that I spend so much time in front of my computer these days that the quickest and easiest way to write down appointments is by adding it to my Google Calendar, where I can then set reminders for myself, share appointments with others, and even sync it to my iPhone calendar so that I can refer to it later when I am on the go.
These organizational tips were things that I only came to rely on through trial and error, but have helped me work more efficiently during the busiest points in the MIM program. If you’re an incoming MIM student, I hope they are equally useful for you too!
Josh is a full-time student in the Master of International Management program. After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in Japanese, he taught English in Tokyo for 3 years, before moving to China and teaching at a university in the city of Zhengzhou. Inspired by his experiences in Japan and China, he was drawn to the MIM program because of its regional focus on Asia, as well as for Portland State University’s reputation as a leader in the field of sustainable business. He is studying Chinese in the MIM program, but tries to keep up his Japanese whenever he can.