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Does anyone have experience of doing an MBA/masters whilst also working full time and being a mum

(15 Posts)
Hoolahula Sat 01-Mar-14 18:32:07

Any tips on how this can work? Also any tips on funding if employer won't? Thanks

chibi Sat 01-Mar-14 18:42:13

i did an MA part time over 3 years (with another year out on maternity leave, oops)

i had a 18 month old when i started, and was working 4 days a week, so not full time, but as close as dammit

the hardest thing was learning how to write again, i.e. >5000 word essays. the first two years laid the groundwork for this though, so that my final year i felt confident in carrying out my research and writing a dissertation.

i got a distinction!

i did a lot of the work during holidays, but i also used free time at work to find journal articles and email them to myself.

i also had an amazing advisor, and that was a tremedous help. my partner was a big help too and shouldered a much bigger proportion of domestic stuff to give me time to work, taking kids out for hours the weekend etc.

it would have been extremely difficult if i hadn't had his support as we have no other family here.

it was a lot of work, but worth it; i have just found a new job, and i know that having an MA made me an attractive candidate, especially because i did it while working and with two small children underfoot

chibi Sat 01-Mar-14 18:45:18

the hardesr part is ringfencing time for yourself to work. this also includes finding and reading research in your area. not everyone appreciates that this is work though! whoever is in your life, family or partner needs to be 100% behind you.

i would repost in feminism and womens rights if i were you, a lot of the women there are academics and could give further advice, including on funding i would have though.

good luck!

Pendulum Sat 01-Mar-14 18:51:01

Hi, I'm just about to finish my Masters, which I have done part time over 2 years while working. For the first year I was working part time then for the second year full time. I also have 2 children at primary school.

How I have made it work:

- studying between 5am and 7am every day plus evenings when I had an essay on
- using train commute to write
- taking a day's annual leave or getting DH to take the kids out at the weekend when I had a deadline looming
- if you have to spend a certain number of days having face to face tuition like I did, it is worth asking your employer if they will give you paid study leave for at least part of it. This might be a compromise if they won't fund your course.

It has been tough at times and I have felt bad that I can't spend as much of my spare time with the kids as I would have liked. But very worth it- I am going to miss it very much.

Hoolahula Sun 02-Mar-14 20:06:11

Sorry was offline for a while. Thanks for the replies. Will also post in feminism as keen for lots of opinions. I'm wondering if saving up so postponing the start date is my only option?

Hoolahula Sun 02-Mar-14 20:07:05

Ps well done to you all of for the amazing achievement!!

Jinsei Mon 03-Mar-14 07:55:19

I'm doing a part time MBA at the moment, as well as working full time in a demanding role. Have 1 dd at primary school (8yo). There are only a few women on the course, and all of the others are childless!

I started this year, and am doing well so far (distinctions in my assignments!) but have found it really difficult to juggle everything. However, that's partly because I tried to do too much in my first year, so I've put more pressure on myself than I needed to. In hindsight, I should perhaps have slowed it down a bit, and taken a bit longer - I'm aiming to complete in 3 years, but will actually get nearly half of the credits this year. If I could start again, I might not have been so ambitious this year. Some people are aiming to spread the course over longer - 4 or 5 years - and that obviously makes it a lot more manageable.

It has been hard work, and I am feeling severely sleep deprived at the moment, but I've come through the worst bits of this year now, and I have survived! It has helped that DH was very supportive of the idea from the start, and has been willing to do more cooking, cleaning and looking after dd at the weekends etc. I also talked to dd before I started, and asked her how she felt about me doing the course. She has been brilliant, and has thoroughly enjoyed cracking the whip at me over my assignments and testing me on stuff before exams! However, I haven't been a whole lot of fun over the last few months, so looking forward to making it up to her during the summer!

Overall, it's been hard, and I am more exhausted than I can ever remember, but I am really enjoying it - it's great to meet different people from different sectors and I'm enjoying the opportunity to explore new ideas. I'm also getting stuff that I can apply directly in the workplace.

No advice on funding, I'm afraid, as I'm fully funded, but if you have any questions, let me know!

BusinessUnusual Mon 03-Mar-14 08:15:40

Hula, as you are working you may be able to get a career development loan from your bank, or have alook at Student Funder who do MA finance.

Your work may give you additional unpaid leave if paid study leave is not possible.

Jinsei Mon 03-Mar-14 08:26:11

As an afterthought, some business schools are quite keen to attract more women - might be worth asking if they have any scholarships/bursaries that could help. MBAs are bloody expensive otherwise!

TweenageAngst Mon 03-Mar-14 08:29:58

I am doing an MSc the same way as jinsei . Technically over three years, started in October and have completed over half the taught modules. I wanted to get the modules out of the way so I could concentrate on the original research I need to do for my dissertation for the remaining 2 years. I have a nearly full time job and 3 children.
I will be honest and say it is killing me. The assignment load is relentless and a substantial amount of reading is required and revision for exams. It requires organization with military precision and it is fair to say my DH and DC's have suffered. Essay writing on Christmas day being one example.

venusandmars Mon 03-Mar-14 15:03:23

I started my MBA when my dd1 was 9 months old. At the time I was working half-time over 3 days. The MBA lectures and tutorials were two evenings per week, and assessment was a mixture of exam based and assignment based.

When dd was 18 months I moved to a new job which was full time.

At times I felt myself to be under huge pressure, and even now, many years later, I remember sitting up at 1 or 2 am writing essays / assignments - but then last minute work was always part of my habits! On occasions I felt overwhelmed by it all, but when I did I promised myself that if I felt the same a week later, then I'd give something up. And at least I felt I had options to either defer my course, or to reduce my work hours. And I always found that a couple of days after the overwhelm crisis I was feeling back in control and more on top of things.

For me personally it was the best thing I ever did (even though I paid my fees myself). It brought me into contact with a whole new group of people, it made my brain work really hard, and it did wonders for my self-esteem.

It also taught me the best ever skills in time-management. Because it was a part-time MBA all the students were working. In the first term I think we tried to approach it like full-time students, to go to the library, read a lot around the subject etc. By the end of the 3rd year we were all massively more efficient at knowing which bits of information were essential, what was interesting (but not essential), and what was just a distraction. That is a skill which has been more useful to me than any other part of the course.

And I had the most wonderful social life grin

It helped that I was not (and am not) a perfectionist. I think if you needed to be the perfect Mum, the perfect employee/boss/co-worker, and the perfect student, then you would drive yourself nuts. I trusted my dh to look after dc on the evenings when I was out, I stopped working ridiculous hours at work, and I let go of my need to be the star pupil in the class (but still driven enough to get good grades). I also think that because I was out a couple of nights a week, dh had to become a very hands-on-dad - useful when we spilt up seven years later.

Bonsoir Mon 03-Mar-14 15:05:25

A friend of mine did this in 2012/13. She already had two DC (6 and 4) and managed to fall pregnant with no 3 just as she was starting her MBA, which required several 14 day stays away from home (including 1000s of kms away) over 18 months. She completed her MBA near the top of her class.

EBearhug Mon 03-Mar-14 20:42:34

I haven't done it myself, but a couple of women at work have, and talked about it. They said you need to be really self-disciplined - one got up at 5am and did a couple of hours before the children were up, and also did some time at the weekend. That would probably kill me, but I think you do need to make sure you get the time without interruptions somewhere, even if it's not 5am. If you're not good at time management, that absolutely has to change. Social life pretty much disappeared, and you definitely need support from your partner for things like cooking when you've coming up to a deadline, and childcare and housework and so on.

Good luck!

KatieScarlett2833 Mon 03-Mar-14 20:45:19

I did it.
It was tough but not impossible.
You have to be very very organised and a bit selfish about protecting your study time.
However, your family will one day like you again smile

jellymaker Mon 03-Mar-14 20:57:16

I waited til my last child went to school. OU is brilliant as I have done it all at home. No lectures to attend. It works really well but I have kids that go to bed reasonably early and a husband who does the bed time routine well. I also got a cleaner and will keep her at least until its up.I'm in year 3 now. I found that paying monthly with OU was affordable for us. Look at OU if I was you.

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