Three Tips for Success as You Pursue Your Business Master’s Degree

Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Student Insight: Steven Patton, M.S. in Economics Ambassador, shares three ways to balance b-school.

To all of the students admitted to the M.S. Economics program this year, I want to commend you for all your academic perseverance and diligence to get to this point.

Did you know the M.S. in Economics program began 30 years ago? I am so proud to celebrate how well-established and connected our program is, as the Belk College of Business also recognizes five decades of driving business in the Charlotte region.

As a second-year M.S. in Economics student, the best advice that I can give you is that you will reap what you sow. The personal growth gained throughout this master’s program can be likened to that of a farmer’s harvest.

Gardening Tools and Soil from Pexels

A farmer knows to reap a bountiful harvest, the soil must be tended and cared for, seeds must be planted in their due season, and crops must have the correct amount of sunlight and water. The farmer knows they can’t simply plant seeds…leave…and return to find any substantial return. If a plant requires so much work, why would your own education not demand even more attention?

1.) Take Care of Yourself

A goal without a plan is just a dream. You will need to have a set plan on how you are going to complete assignments, study for exams and still be able to make time for other priorities in your life. One of those priorities should be your personal health. To help yourself perform at your best, schedule six to eight hours of sleep a day, drink three liters of water a day and consume a balanced diet. Taking care of your physical and mental health will prepare you for the workload that will be expected in graduate school. The Center for Graduate Life and the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are also great resources with outreach groups and communities for current students.

2.) Put in the Work

It is very easy to plan to spend a few hours on an assignment and get caught up in life and barely touch it. Avoid procrastination by improving how you focus. Going into my first semester of graduate school I deleted most of my social media so I would not only have more time in my day, but also wouldn’t be as distracted while studying.

I can remember having to memorize the derivation for the OLS estimator (a common method used in statistics to minimize your errors in a linear model) my first semester as a graduate student. I spent hours on my own, as well as several hours with fellow classmates, working through and understanding the derivation. The time I took off of social media allowed me to plug in and focus on tackling classwork I would have otherwise not had the time to learn. 

Now, this doesn’t mean unplugging completely from social media (for instance, you should still keep your LinkedIn profile active), I just recommend being honest with yourself in how your time is spent each day. 

3.) Give it Time

It can take a seed two weeks from the time it is planted to sprout from the ground. Results aren’t going to be immediately visible, there will be assignments and projects where you spend hours and days on and get nowhere. 

For the past two semesters, I have been working on research towards my capstone project. There are times with my code where I will spend a day or two trying to build a single table. I would run into unforeseeable errors that took endurance to work through, and regardless of how demoralizing it could be, the more time I put into it the closer I got to the final result.

Recognize that patience is key and that to accomplish something you’ve never done before; you must become someone you’ve never been before. The daily goal should not be perfection, but a dedication to stay consistent, day in and day out, so that you are constantly growing and improving. 

Article Written by Steven Patton, M.S. in Economics Ambassador
Steven Patton, M.S. in Economics Ambassador

Steven Patton, a student in the Belk College M.S. in Economics, serves as a Student Ambassador for his graduate program. Learn more about Steven in his Faces of Belk College profile or connect with him on email or LinkedIn. 

Green and Gold Drive Business

The Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte has been driving business for more than 50 years, with the M.S. in Economics program celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Established in 1970, the college offers outstanding business education programs at the undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and executive levels. The Belk College is one of the Carolinas’ largest business schools, with more than 4,600 students, over 100 full-time faculty, and more than 33,000 alumni. Accredited by AACSB International, the college is committed to building strong partnerships in the greater Charlotte region and beyond as North Carolina's urban research business school. Learn more about how the Belk College is driving business at, and on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.