Managing work and family whilst studying for an Executive MBA

23 August 2022

Executive MBA participant, Uday Sankar, shares how the flexibility of the Executive MBA programme allowed him to balance work commitments and study. 

Being a full-time executive usually means you have well-established routines to balance life and work schedules. Thinking about broadening your knowledge frontiers through an Executive MBA, means that these well-established routines would be disturbed, adding the extra requirement of juggling between academic and work schedules. Discussing with family, friends, and colleagues can prompt more challenging aspects such as time management between family, work and studies, and the advantage of learning while working.

This blog is about managing work and academic schedules, and the advantages of the flexibility the Executive MBA programme provides to support studying whilst working.

Before applying:

When you decide to pursue an Executive MBA always discuss the topic with your family first to seek their support as you’ll need to sacrifice a lot of personal time for academic schedules. Commit to a plan on how to manage personal commitments, especially if it includes carer responsibilities. You should also speak with your employer and discuss the reasons for taking the academic route to enhance your skills. Even if you will be self-funded, discussing potential career paths with your employer, as well as support required during your academic schedule is essential. When working in a service industry, such as IT or Consulting, it may also help if you informed the clients you are working for too, as this has further advantages that I will discuss later.

Pursuing studies is an investment of finances and time, which become more complicated when working. The academic schedules will hugely impact on your routines and it will help if you are clear on: 

  1. what the gaps are that you want to address through your academic studies
  2. how you want to apply your new learnings in day-to-day responsibilities

Addressing these questions will help unfurl your priorities, study approach, and planning.

During the Executive MBA

There are three different planning stages to look at: pre-sessions, mid (during) sessions and post-sessions.

Pre sessions

Effectively assessing the skills you have gained through work experience and identifying the gaps that need addressing academically will help you reduce the amount of module pre-reading you need to do and will also prepare you for the module sessions. This will give you sufficient time to concentrate on work and family during this stage, tying into the scope we discussed earlier.

Mid (during) sessions

There is no escape during these sessions, going back to listening mode, networking with your cohort and working on the group assignments. This is an excellent opportunity to discover the cohorts’ experiences on the topic and understand the applicability of the frameworks, models and theories during the group sessions. 


These sessions will teach you how to apply what you have learnt in the real-world, as well as how to find opportunities to apply your new knowledge across work and assignments. Marketing, finance, economics, and strategy modules (to name a few) will have high impact, changing your perspective and approaches at work.  

Benefits of flexible learning

The Executive MBA allows trying novel ideas/thinking hypothetically (try implementing cross-industry or cross-functional theories, models and frameworks) during group sessions and assignments. These ideas are validated by peers and professors (I consider them SMEs’), which reduces the risk or challenges you may face when introducing them yourself at work. Both client or employer environments offer good platforms for you to trial your learnings in the real-world.

As a leader, it is crucial to think analytically, especially when analysing and comprehending various business segments. The Executive MBA enables you to examine challenges at work in a structured way through the frameworks, models and theories taught in class and also prepares you to handle a wide range of other issues at work. 

An Executive MBA offers countless advantages to organisations and individuals who frequently underestimate the value of gaining management and leadership skills. It is time to put your persuasive skills to work for you and your business, as you are already a skilled executive.

Find out more about the Executive MBA programme here

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