Deciding to do an MBA was an easy decision and the decision making process was fairly simple:
Do I want to do it and can I make time for it?
Is there a university which has very good ranking and is close to home?
Do I want to do the course part time or flexible?
Which term do I join?
Can I gather all the application documentation before the term starts?
It took me approximately 3 weeks to become a student again.
The change to my routine was even more sudden than deciding to do an MBA. Tired acquired a new nuance of meaning. From receiving a big rucksack filled with a lot of books for term 1 only (I thought they were for the whole year!) to starting going to classes at 18.30 once or twice a week. What I soon learned was how to rework my diary. Suddenly Mondays became MPIO Mondays and Sundays became Bolman and Deal Sundays. Once I’d adopted the novel notion that a weekend only has one day, it became easier. I know that everybody says planning your time is key (and as a project manager I truly agree that this is essential), but equally important is the ability to be flexible and enjoy making time to study, because learning something new, immediately relevant and applicable to your day-to-day life is one of these precious moments that you should make the best of and enjoy.
I won’t lie that sacrifices have to be made – for example, going to a group meeting to discuss your assignment rather than staying late in the office, visiting the cinema or having a glass of wine with a friend. And yes, I sometimes do feel I have to carve out hours of my evenings to work on an assignment. But even if it all seems too much at times, the sheer joy and satisfaction when it is done is very rewarding.
Although I now see friends less often, I have had the opportunity to make new friends in my course. They come from different sectors, educational backgrounds and interests and each has a different story to share. The reasons for doing an MBA are as different as there are students: looking for a well-deserved promotion or a change in career, or simply wanting to learn something new. My reason was simple – I did my first degree in the humanities, but I work in the financial services with exposure to many areas in the business. I thought that doing an MBA would give me more focused knowledge of the business functions and put a framework around some of the knowledge I have managed to acquire during my working life. The MBA didn’t disappoint – not only are the core modules relevant to this objective, they also helped me understand better what drives the managers I have come across, what matters to them and how to (hopefully!) work with them better.
I am as excited about the course now as I was on day 1 when I got my MBA rucksack and explored with trepidation the contents when I got home that night. It is with that same enthusiasm I open each new set of books we get before each term.
I am very thankful to the Strathclyde MBA teaching and administration staff who make the experience so special, and also to my fellow MBA students who make it worthwhile to climb up Montrose Street at least a couple of times a week.