Olga Bezlyudova, a current Distance Learning MBA participant, discusses how the flexibility of the Distance Learning MBA has helped her develop her career without compromising on a full-time job or time with her family.
Looking back at 2017, when I was already an experienced investment professional in one of the top Russian banks, I was thinking about my next career move. I had been in a leadership role for a while and felt that I had hit a career ceiling in the organisation. I was ready for a new challenge but lacked attractive opportunities.
The decision to apply for the Distance Learning MBA programme at Warwick Business School (WBS) came naturally for three main reasons which are still very valid. Firstly, an MBA degree increases career opportunities through additional skills and knowledge and a strong professional network. Secondly, WBS is among the highest-ranked international business schools. And finally, distance learning provides great flexibility allowing you to study in any location and at your pace without compromising on a full-time job or time with family. It was also important to me that the final certificate did not mention the remote mode of my MBA degree.
Being a mum of three small kids and working full-time, my schedule is permanently tight, that is why distance learning was the only possible option for me. WBS provides great flexibility in its Distance Learning MBA: you can attend live online classes or listen to recorded lectures, complete an MBA degree within two years or extend this period at your convenience, learn online or take face-to-face modules, take two electives per quarter, or just one etc. The online platform, my.wbs.ac.uk, is practical and convenient to control the education process and progress.
The list of WBS’s electives is updated regularly to reflect the actual transformation in the economic and business environment. You select a total of four electives depending on your professional and personal interests. My preference was in the area of finance and strategy and the final choice of my electives was Corporate Finance, M&A, International Business, and Strategy & Practice.
Overall, my educational experience at WBS was fulfilling, rewarding, and, perhaps most important, fun with lots of great memories. Currently, the school has had to suspended face-to-face and international modules due to the pandemic. These events provide inimitable networking opportunities in parallel with culture and experience sharing. I recall our Organisational Behaviour module in Singapore, led by Ashley Roberts, and this learning journey and networking with the cohort was truly inspirational and unforgettable. For the group assignment, we had the TVN case study centered on the organisational conflict at the leadership level at the large show production studio. We decided to act as an external consultant who should identify the problem and suggest to the board of director’s recommendations to overcome the issue. We prepared the slide deck and made a presentation with several practical solutions for the board. This case-based learning approach when module concepts and frameworks are applied to real-life examples benefits students in the practical application of theoretical knowledge. I have applied certain theories in my organisation and the outcome has been remarkable.
Finally, I would like to make several recommendations for students on how to complete an MBA degree and become one step closer to their next career move:
- Carefully plan time for completing assignments. While writing my first assignment I couldn’t imagine how much time and effort was needed to analyse the assignment, think about the practical example from the work experience, and get inspiration to start writing. My three favorite tips to overcome time and writing constraints are (1) to agree with family and friends on daily/weekly "writing" time when you are not distracted; (2) to find inspiration by reading new material or talking to your partner/friends to get ideas; (3) to take a break. Nevertheless, not all my writing experience was smooth, as I was finalising my thesis during annual holidays by the sea instead of swimming with the kids and taking a rest.
- Communicate and network with your cohort since it is a resource of knowledge, advice, and support.
- Be patient and motivated by the long-term goal. There were hundreds of times when I felt frustrated by essay writing. Feeling tired is normal if you stay focused on becoming an MBA graduate. With each finalised essay I felt this movement and gained motivation to continue learning. By the middle of my education, there had already been a reward - an unexpected job opportunity emerged, and I moved to the senior role within a large international private equity fund.
Therefore concentrate, be ambitious and dare to dream big – you will soon be amazed how fast your dreams come true.