Finding balance - studying for an Executive MBA
25 August 2021
Executive MBA participant Nick Hodgson shares how he was able to balance studying for an MBA with work and family commitments.
I decided to study an Executive MBA as I wanted to learn academic theory and best practice to consolidate my experience of start-ups, which had been predominantly ‘learn by doing’ - and not always getting it right!
Warwick appealed as its London base at The Shard was close to my Farringdon office, and the evening classes could fit in well with my work commitments.
Everyone who does an Executive MBA is busy before they start the course. Most are busy with their (usually quite demanding) jobs and make time to see their friends and family when they can. Clearly, undertaking a part-time university course is going to eat into other parts of life.
As I enter my second year, my wife and I are expecting our second baby and I’m starting a fantastic new job all within three weeks of each other, so something had to give. The flexibility that WBS offered to move modules and temporarily pause my studies to make the MBA fit around my life has been fantastic.
Indeed, flexibility has been a core factor of my first year at WBS. The School offered all students the opportunity to attend lectures from home if they didn’t feel comfortable attending in person, I know one of our cohort used these online lectures as an opportunity to do her weekly yoga (double the flexibility!).
The opportunity to focus assignments on companies that we know well by writing our own case studies in Leadership and Strategic Advantage means I’ve benefited from the flexibility to move beyond standard MBA case studies and apply theory and learnings from these modules directly to work situations I have been involved with. For example, taking an academic view on a) the optimal growth strategy in the context of COVID-19 which reduced revenues by >70% and b) judging the value and impact of a business acquisition 12 months on.
Peers in my cohort have also massively benefited from WBS’ increased flexibility, with many opting out of modules to fit into their life events (e.g. supporting the NHS front line, starting a new job or COVID-19 induced home schooling). Some have even moved to the weekend modules (from our evening lectures) as that better suited their timetable.
Lecturers have also been highly accommodating with most replying to last-minute urgent requests about assignments over the weekend, understanding that this is when many of us write our assignments.
Overall, it would not have been possible for me (and many of my cohort) to study an Executive MBA while working unless the course was flexible enough to fit around work and life. I’ve found that it has been possible to balance everything because of the flexibility of the course.