A day in the life of an online MBA student

Harriett UoB Current Online MBA student, Harriet Jeckells, is over half-way through her studies with the University of Birmingham. Three months into the programme, she gave birth to her first child. Here’s how she manages to juggle her job, family life and her studies.

"I thought long and hard before applying to study my MBA online. Not entirely sure of how I’d cope with the demands of being a new mum, I was comforted by the additional flexibility online study bought with it (you have up to five years to complete the programme, but it generally takes two and a half). My main priority was that the programme could fit around my new family – as well as my job – and the modality of online study really did appeal.

With every new module, you are encouraged to rise to new challenges in a different and highly relevant field, creating a more rounded, successful version of your professional self as the course progresses.

Juggling this is certainly not a ‘walk in the park’. As I approach the birth of my second child, with a full-time job still firing on all cylinders and a very active one-year-old, there are times when I question my sanity in taking on so much simultaneously.

However, the thought at the forefront of my mind is, ‘If not now, then when?’

Studying won't be made any easier when I have multiple toddlers and, as the Online MBA adds so much value to my professional life daily, I knuckle down and just get on with it. I'm not a wonder woman heroine and, like many others on my programme, the key to this balancing act is having self-discipline and a robust support network (mainly consisting of my husband and mum!)

The programme recommends an average of 15 of hours study per week and, being 100% online, I have the luxury of being able to decide when studying suits – whether it’s during my lunch break, after work or on weekends. Mornings are out of question as the nursery-to-work rat race leaves no time for reading!

I do have a true partner in crime, so must mention my husband, who (after longer working days than my own) makes me dinner most nights, regularly picks our daughter up from nursery and does the bath, bottle, bed routine whilst I study into the night. It’s the support I have from those around me that makes study feasible. 

While I do sometimes wish for a shorter to-do list, I am also overwhelmed by appreciation for the opportunity to work, study and raise the family I have always wanted. The vast array of skills, contacts and CV kudos will last a lifetime. So, if you're thinking about your next career move or how to accelerate your professional trajectory - kids or no kids – I’d thoroughly recommend you consider an Online MBA and add the University of Birmingham to your list of contenders - you won't regret it!"

Author: Harriet Jeckells, current Online MBA student, Director of Brand Management.

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