The learning journey never ends, even after marriage and parenthood. In the midst of their Master of Business Administration (MBA) course, Mr Tey Wee Meng, 36, and Ms Ooi Sian Yee, 33, found out that they would soon become parents.
Luckily, the MBA course they selected — a tie-up between Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) and the University of Bradford (UOB), UK — had the flexibility to accommodate their schedule.
The couple deferred the fourth term of the first year of their studies when their daughter was born, and took an extra four months to complete the twoyear programme. They graduated with Distinction — an achievement given to only five out of over 40 students in their cohort.
The programme’s flexibility was what attracted Mr Tey, a business excellence project manager in a US based MNC in the automation industry, when he was choosing a MBA programme more than two years ago. They were given up to five years to complete the entire programme during which they could stop any time due to work commitments or personal reasons, and resume later.
Other factors that swayed him to pick the MDIS-UOB MBA programme were its class structure, excellent track record of consistently high global rankings and affordability. Mr Tey had also got positive feedback from his then-manager who was attending the same programme.
He had wanted to pursue an MBA to learn how successful businesses are managed — knowledge that will help him scale greater heights in his career. He says: “I love the feeling of going back to school to acquire new knowledge.”
He decided on the UOB’s programme as its structure comprises three hours of weekly classes held over seven weeks as opposed to some MBA programmes that squeeze 20 hours into three to four consecutive days.“
The structure suited my learning style as I prefer to understand basic concepts sufficiently before moving to more complex topics,” he explains.
Inspired by her husband, Ms Ooi, a senior mechanical engineer and currently a stay-at-home mother, decided to join him. She was fully convinced with the choice of UOB after reading up the course description that addressed her interest in business and management.“
Although I had not thought of doing my MBA then, I had a strong urge to broaden my limited knowledge on theories and models of business management to overcome some bottlenecks at work,” says Ms Ooi.
Mr Tey and his wife enrolled in the evening class part-time programme and tackled one to two modules each time over three months. The greatest challenge for him was in delivering results and meeting deadlines both at work and in his studies.
Ms Ooi says: “I challenged myself to work smarter and more effectively by focusing on the crux of the problem and making fast decisions. We had to balance studying, working and baby-sitting. Wee Meng and I took turns to study while the other one babysat. We were blessed that our parents were very supportive.”
The programme consists of 14 modules and a management project. Lecturers from UOB fly to Singapore for a three-day intensive workshop for three modules. Students can opt to complete two elective modules on-campus in UOB.
Strategic management and business economics were Mr Tey’s favourite modules — they provided him with knowledge on business strategies in dynamic and complex business environments under varying economic conditions.
Their class had about 30 students from different backgrounds including financial, engineering, government sectors, education, logistic, business — this gave the couple a variety of discussions and viewpoints.
To anyone hesitant about doing an MBA while holding a full-time job, Mr Tey advises: “Go for it! It is something that you won’t regret — the breadth of knowledge you gain teaches you to evaluate situations from various angles.”
Says Ms Ooi: “Don’t wait. You have to believe that now is the best time to do it. As long as you are committed, you will be able to make it. If there’s a will, there’s a way.
“I’m grateful for the chance to study together with my husband. Besides discussing and sharing information, we encouraged and motivated each other to succeed.”
By Teo Kuan Yee
Source:[The Sunday Times 812012] © Singapore Press Holdings Limited.
Reproduced with permission