Our Distance Learning MBA participants discuss how the unique online learning system provided a convenient method for them to keep on top of their studies.
Distance Learning MBA participant, Frances Lasok, works in tech policy advocating on behalf of the UK's tech startups, and prior to that worked as a political strategist. In a voluntary capacity, she has also worked extensively on initiatives that increase access for women into politics. With a demanding work schedule, Frances shares why online learning suited her needs.
One of the unexpected benefits from a Distance Learning MBA (DLMBA) is thinking about time in a different way. Before the MBA, I would spend regular journeys on the Birmingham-London train, listening to music, looking out of the window and wasting time. After starting the MBA, I would board the 6.38am on cold and dark winter mornings, plug in my laptop, log into WBS and study, read or listen to lectures. Doors opened into macroeconomics, leadership theory or operations management whilst the countryside flew by outside.
When I starting thinking about an MBA, there were a few challenges that I came across. My unpredictable job and living in one city whilst working in another would make it difficult to attend regular lectures or seminars, plus I couldn’t afford to take a year off work to study. The remote learning aspect of the DLMBA promised a way to navigate these challenges as I could get to grips with the content without putting my life or my career on hold. It would allow me to change jobs once and run an election twice without missing any teaching.
Like many deadline-driven (impatient) people, I have always had a love-hate relationship with formal education. I love the spirit of inquiry but found the slow, steady pace of school and an undergraduate degree difficult, completing my work in half the allocated time and getting bored in the downtime that followed. The contemplative pace of full-time study clashed with a challenge-driven temperament and I jumped head-first into full-time work immediately after graduating. As I went into political campaign management at a somewhat eventful time, the next few years passed by in a blur.
When I stopped to draw breath a few years later, the idea of an MBA to blend practice with theory was appealing. But for me, analysing my own experiences as a way of learning not only illuminated several past mistakes but also re-instilled a love of academia, by taking it out from the lecture halls and libraries and placing it on the 6.38am train to Euston. Taught by practitioners who had walked the walk themselves and mixed in their own advice, academic theory changed from something abstract into a critical guide. The flexibility meant that work and study were not conflicting demands but that learning could be a continual presence throughout the working week, accessible by logging into Teams from the kitchen table to join a study group that spanned from Malta to Switzerland to Manchester, or opening My.wbs between meetings to hear a former actor talk about public speaking or former C-Suite executive talk about leadership.
And if I take one thing away, I hope it’s the ethos: the idea that academic theory and analysis aren’t things you pick up and put back down again when free time allows, but ways of thinking that run through your career and working week. And that you don’t always have to go to a library or lecture hall to find them, because they’re only a click of a mouse away.