Beginning my journey on the Distance Learning MBA

28 February 2019

Distance Learning MBA participant, Carla Priddon, shares her reflections on the first few weeks of  her Distance Learning MBA programme.

It all started with the arrival of an e-mail from Warwick Business School, one I opened without realising I was holding my breath, until I let out a huge exhale that was commented on by my colleague!

Although the Distance Learning MBA programme officially started in January with inductions, the e-mail was where it all started. I swiftly joined the Facebook Group, WhatsApp Group, Slack Group (can you tell we’re the digital cohort?) and read the interesting careers and aspirations of my cohort. Everyone was friendly and engaging and from the initial tentative conversations, I felt extremely positive about the other people I was going to be working with and learning from.

Exploring the learning platform

Prior to our induction we were given access to my.wbs, this gave me the opportunity to explore the online platform and do some pre-module exercises. The maths was an eye-opener for me, and quadratic equations, alongside it being the first time I’ve formally studied in 15 years, made me wonder if I’d taken on too big of a challenge. I needn’t have worried. Everything is in place to help you succeed as long as you put in the time and effort you’d expect to when learning at this level.

Getting to know one another

Our first introduction sessions were full of information in a fun and relaxed way and were a great way to start the term. Several lecturers and staff introduced themselves and we all chatted in the chat bar – a common occurrence in lectures since. This makes online lectures an engaging discussion, rather than something that is done to you passively.

Pre-induction, we all sent messages to each other, photos of pets, children and breakfasts as a way of having an emotional connection outside of the course which made me feel part of a team. I also met my online learning group and it has been both interesting and reassuring to check in with them weekly, to work on tasks/prepare for our assessments and to spend dedicated time getting to know them. I had some trepidation about working with a group I won’t meet until March, but there have been no problems whatsoever starting conversations and developing shared work, despite us living all over the world and coming from a range of careers and backgrounds.

Finding the new normal

Since the introduction sessions, I have been continually busy. Weekly online lectures, reading, writing, thinking, exploring, debating and settling into a routine that can fit 15 hours of studying in around a (more than) full-time challenging CEO position and seeing my husband’s face occasionally!

It’s fair to say there has been some re-balancing of my life to ensure I can cope with the challenge; the physicality of the commitment in terms of time, but also the emotional and intellectual one. It’s exciting, but intensive, to learn every single day. Concepts such as Little’s Law, SPC Charts, circles of attention, and paradox of creative leadership buzz round my brain as frequently as budgets, board meetings and strategy. However, it’s a great buzz, I feel like I’ve been switched on!

I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the course. I feel like an exciting journey has just begun and that my future is being re-written with each day.

Find out more about the Distance Learning MBA