MBA: Mastering the balancing act for Galway students

A Masters of Business Administration (MBA ) is renowned worldwide as one of the most prestigious business/management qualifications available. “The MBA is a general management programme which enhances and develops business and management capabilities and prepares students for strategic leadership roles” says Dr Alma McCarthy, Programme Director at NUI Galway.

Most students study the programme part-time while continuing to advance their careers, which takes commitment, dedication and a lot of hard work and effort. The decision to undertake part-time education programmes is not taken lightly, given the need to balance the demands of work, personal/family life, and study.

This week, 30 professionals will get their final results of the Executive MBA programme that they have been studying since September 2010 at NUI Galway. Some of their stories are very relevant for anyone considering returning to education and show how a critical part of successfully studying part-time is about Mastering the Balancing Act. The JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway has been successfully offering the Executive MBA programme for 40 years.

The programme is aimed at offering management executives the skills that are needed to run and manage contemporary organisations in a dynamic environment. Students on the current MBA range from engineers, to teachers, to scientists, to administrative managers and the course is designed to enable participants to learn and benefit from the diverse backgrounds and skill sets of the class members. Both the private and public sector are well represented within the class setting.

Suzanne Ryan from Galway City was forty when she decided to return to University and study the Executive MBA programme at NUI Galway. She found that having just turned 40, working full time and parenting five primary school children, she knew that she was not your typical student. Ms Ryan says that “one of the greatest skills that the programme taught me was the skill to balance a number of balls in the air. The intensity of the programme coupled with running a busy home and working full time meant that it was a constant balancing act over the past two years”.

However, in hindsight those are life skills that she will take with her. She found that there was comfort in the fact that her classmates were all in similar positions, working full time, balancing home/study and ensuring that nothing would slip through the cracks. However, all the effort has paid off. Ms Ryan commented how the study and qualification has been wonderful for her career having taken on a new position and a subsequent promotion since she commenced her studies. Indeed, a number of the MBA students have either changed career paths or been promoted since starting the MBA programme.

MacDara Hosty, another MBA student from Galway, also reflects on the challenges of the transition back to education and balancing multiple demands. He says “one of the big concerns I had starting the MBA was whether it would be possible to successfully maintain a healthy and productive life balance after adding the MBA to the mix. Thankfully everything worked out really well. In fact, I’m pleasantly surprised at just how much I was able to achieve over the two years”.

Both Ms Ryan and Mr Hosty would recommend the return to study at any age stating that the journey of discovery and learning is a challenging but very rewarding one. “The great thing about studying as a mature student, is that it opens your mind and exposes you to some wonderful new learning and insights. The camaraderie within the class meant that I have made friends for life, given the fact that we were all in this balancing act together” says Suzanne.

The next intake of the NUI Galway MBA programme will commence in September. A limited number of places are still available. For information contact Dr Alma McCarthy, on 091492846 or by email to [email protected].

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