Time management is tough enough as it is when you’re working full time, going to school part-time, keeping your personal life intact, and trying to have some semblance of a social life all at once. But when you throw travel into the mix, that changes the game completely. Most professors are pretty accommodating when it comes to work-related travel so if you need to miss a class or two, it’s rarely much of an issue. However, missing class creates other challenges – catching up may take time, you may miss important announcements, you may miss team meetings, etc.
So here are a few pointers when planning your travel
- Timing – If you can help it at all, try and plan around class. For example, if you have a class on Mondays and Wednesday nights and you have to go to a conference in another city on Thursday, try flying out after class or on Thursday morning if you can.
- Recordings – Many classes are recorded so if you have to miss class, remember that you can view lectures outside class. Typically, professors use an Echo capture and share the link on the course site immediately afterwards. If the class isn’t recorded, ask classmates what you missed.
- Class Participation – remember that this is a key component to basically every class in business school so make sure to make an extra effort to speak up if you know you’ll be missing a class or two. Additionally, it may be a good idea to ask the professor if there’s a way to make up the participation mark for a class you’ll miss – sometimes you can write a one-page paper on the topic or case to be discussed in that particular class.
- Keeping Tabs – Look ahead on the syllabus and class schedule for important due dates and topics and tell your professors in advance – the last thing you want is to miss an assignment or the professor to take attendance and question why you were not in class.
- Team Projects – Same goes with team members – there are lots of team projects in business school. Communicate with team members regularly and tell them in advance so there are no surprises and you can pull your weight in other ways or at other times if necessary.
- Intensive Courses – Common sense will tell you that if you are taking an intensive course (a course that is completed in less than 2 weeks) or a course that meets very few times to begin with and need to travel during that time, you probably need to pick another class to take. A lot of professors will require that you not miss a class – find out ahead of time!
- Personal Travel – I can’t stress this enough, but it’s great to wind down, relax, and recalibrate in the middle of everything you have going on. Don’t discount it and make it a priority from time to time if you can because it will actually make you more focused and more productive when you get back into the grind. (This applies once you graduate as well, by the way.)
A lot of this you will pick up as you get into the program, but this post is meant to be a primer for what you can expect. Sometimes you just have to miss class and that’s perfectly fine. Just stay organized, plan ahead, and have a process and you’ll be A-OK.
NOTE: Some professors are a little more strict with their travel policy, so you may either need to take that into consideration when choosing to go forward with a particular class or you may just have to plan around it if possible.