Flexibility of studying online with the Distance Learning MBA

29 October 2021

Distance Learning MBA participant, Ned Lamb, explores how the flexibility of online learning enabled him to navigate the changes of moving abroad and the pandemic.

In 2019, my partner and I put our house on the market, left our jobs in Westminster, and packed our bags for Lagos, Nigeria. We’d considered Mexico, Peru, and the United States among other options, but it was Lagos that came calling first. My partner, a diplomat, took the job, I quit mine, and within six months we were settling into a new apartment in a mega city of 20 million people, in the largest country in Africa.

Boarding the flight I had no real idea how I’d spend the next three to four years. I wanted to be open to new work and life opportunities, and have the flexibility to say yes. To whatever that may be. I wanted to do everything possible to facilitate this and make the most of our Lagos experience.

Ultimately, I decided that setting up my own consultancy might offer me this flexibility. In theory, I could work at the times of day that suited me and take on clients that interested me (idealistic but unrealistic). However, I also had an early but timely conversation in Lagos with an alumni of Warwick Business School’s Distance Learning MBA. Tempted by what I heard and with a sense that it could help shape future opportunity – and flexibility – I submitted an application.

To my delight, I was offered a place to start in June 2020! Then Covid-19 hit. Previously apprehensive about taking on the MBA, as a decision I’d made pretty quickly, suddenly I was incredibly relieved to be embarking on this journey; to be using this time of great uncertainty in a productive way. This proved true. While the world’s workforce was adjusting to successive lockdowns due to Covid-19, I was fortunate enough to have the flexibility to focus more on my MBA and build my consultancy alongside it.

At its core, the Distance Learning MBA has provided me the right level of flexibility to do this. With a little organisation, I have been able to get through the key stages of the MBA alongside starting a business and building key networks, whilst making a life in a new city.

The MBA has also allowed me to develop and make new connections. In my first study group, I had course colleagues (now friends) based all over the world in all manner of different fields with herculean work schedules. A banker, an elite athlete, an executive producer, a restauranteur, a doctor working in digital innovation and a product manager for a world leading financial institution. The lives we lead and the breadth of our backgrounds and experiences would be very difficult to fuse together in any other environment.

Our group has taken different approaches to studying, but landed at similar places. Most of us, through a fair amount grit, determination and mutual support, are doing our last electives and are about to embark on our dissertation journey.

Yet what is undeniable, is that underpinning our varied approaches is the flexible nature of the Distance Learning MBA and the digital platform it is delivered through. It seamlessly fits around your life. Whether reading course texts before breakfast, watching live lessons in a Lagos café, or interacting with course tutors and colleagues through the engaging lesson content late at night, mostly I have the flexibility not to make unnecessary sacrifices in other parts of my life.

Clearly, the hours can be long and the psychological burden is significant, but I’ve never felt unable to make the most of my life in Lagos. So I’d encourage those thinking of applying, to make some choices about what’s important to them, to consider how they’d fit a Distance Learning MBA into their lives, and plan a way of making it possible. The ride is worth it.  

Find out more about our Distance learning MBA programmes here.

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