Besides figuring out how to finance your return to business school, determining how you will manage your schedule of classes with a full-time job should be your next priority. A typical semester is 12 to 16 weeks long. If you are taking back-to-back semesters (such as with an excellerated program or summer term), there really isn't a break from the rigor of lectures, exams, and class projects. Therefore, the routine of days in the office, two to three evening classes per week, and weekends spent studying and keeping up with a household can be extremely exausting.
Pre-Plan Your Class Nights
For some students, it can be helpful to space out the nights that you are in class. For example, take a Monday and Thursday night class. This will allow you to have a break between your late nights on campus and give you a chance to prepare for each class during the week. Or, if you are someone that prefers to get your classes done at the beginning of the week, plan to do that. Although, this idea doesn't always work out when you have a semester that offers a class you need only on a certain night of the week.
Talk with Your Employer
Let your employer know that you are taking evening graduate classes. They may allow you to create a flexible schedule, as well as have additional time off during your tough parts of the semester—like exam weeks and final presentations.
Plan for Brain Breaks
If you have a full-time job that requires all day thinking and plan to take a full load of tough courses, be sure to plan time to give your brain a break. One of the biggest complaints of graduate students is that they become "brain fried" half way through the semester. This is why it is so important to plan downtime for your brain. For instance, choose a day of the week that you take off from studying and do something relaxing. Even if it is just staying home and watching TV all evening, a little time away from the books will help you clear your mind.
Set Yourself Up for Success by Choosing Your Courses Carefully
Hopefully, your program will allow you to choose your course load each semester (most do within reason...Although, cohort programs usually require you to take classes with a group of students, and all programs require that you take certain classes before you take other classes). If you have some flexibility, you want to avoid taking two or three tough classes at the same time. For example, taking finance, statistics, and accounting in the same semester can be very difficult with a full-time job, as these courses usually are demanding and tough for business students. Therefore, try mixing a tough course with other courses that you know you'll have an easier time with (such as ethics or management/leadership).