"I am a better-equipped and accomplished professional today" My Executive MBA journey

07 March 2023

We are excited to be welcoming the 50th cohort of the Executive MBA programme at WBS, to celebrate we are looking back and sharing some of our alumni stories. Archana Dhankar, who joined the Executive MBA programme in 2016, shares her MBA journey.

Pursuing the MBA was not a lifelong dream – but even as I warmed up to the idea, I weighed long and hard at the time about how spending three years getting back to classroom mode would affect my very-adult life. Today, I can proudly look back and say it has been the best decision I have made for myself.

There are many milestones in my career that led me to pursue this path. I graduated from Delhi with a Bachelor’s of Engineering in Computer Science and eventually found my calling in the ever-evolving world of digital marketing. I had a great career journey and was heading the Global Marketing team for Aspire, a specialist recruitment agency for the digital, media and marketing communications industry. I also had my very own fashion and lifestyle content platform – FashionForRoyals, which now is more than just a passion project with a community designed to empower other women. Nevertheless, at the time, I felt like I wanted to develop my strategic leadership skills, and strengthen my understanding of core business concepts and logic, to grow within my current job role.

The flexibility of the Warwick Business School’s (WBS) Executive MBA programme was a great advantage, as it allowed me to continue to work and apply my learnings in real-time situations. The delivery of lectures and in-class interactions were always engaging, as they involved working on current and relevant case studies and discussing the latest developments in the world of business and commerce with my fellow students.

I was able to implement all of my in-class concepts practically in real-life situations, and even today, I feel like I have the confidence to strategically assess and act upon a situation better because of the knowledge I have gained during the course. It equipped me with better decision-making and problem-solving skills.

On this journey, I also strengthened and expanded my network by interacting with individuals from different cultural and professional backgrounds. Working on projects and studying together has truly been eye-opening as it allowed me to understand and work with individuals and/or organisations with different values and mindsets more effectively. I became more open-minded and empathetic, and in the process, developed my communication, teamwork and leadership skills.

And perhaps, most importantly, the programme has allowed me to work on my time management, often but now skilfully juggling between my full-time job, FashionForRoyals and my family. And though it has helped tremendously to have such a support system at home, I credit the programme for empowering me with the belief that as a woman in business and a mother, I truly can achieve and do it all.

The course is competitive and compelling - it can be challenging to cope with study, work and family. Going back to a classroom environment after years of working can also be overwhelming. But I suppose that is one of the most important things this course rigorously prepares you for – finding the work-life balance that best fits your individual needs. Therefore, although challenging, pursuing an Executive MBA has been rewarding and fulfilling and has significantly contributed to my overall growth.

To future candidates who still feel doubtful about going down this road, like I was, there is a way to participate in classroom activities and contribute equally to other aspects of life. Chalk out a strategy to balance work and study and get into the habit of scheduling everything into your calendar. Don’t miss the induction week as it helps you to form relationships, break barriers and gives you a better understanding of WBS, as well as offering an opportunity for you to meet the faculty and alumni before the start of the course. Building a solid network is one of the most significant benefits of a course, so take full advantage. I have made life-long relationships professionally and personally with like-minded individuals. Make sure you give yourself time too and achieve a balance so you can do the things you love alongside the course.

It always amazes me to look back and see that, although seemingly different, my journey from my formative years back in India to my professional career choices led me down this incredible journey with invaluable experiences and relationships. I am a better-equipped and accomplished professional today because of it. However, more importantly, I am confident I can rise to the occasion and comfortably navigate different aspects of my life.