Study-work-life balance within the EMBA Global programme

EMBA Global offered by London Business School in partnership with Columbia Business School is an intense programme that requires an exemplary plan and balance between studies, work and personal commitments. If you are not currently used to having a routine in your life, this is one of the many skills that you will excel at while doing the programme.

One of the biggest advantages of enrolling into EMBA Global is emphasised by the flexibility of keeping your full-time job while studying 6-7 days/ month, with a couple of breaks in between as well. Therefore, the learning that you can apply directly into the work practice once you are back in the office represents a key reason why our students choose this programme.

Kwame Bekoe is one of our recent EMBA Global graduates who provided a full picture of the course structure and how he managed to go through the programme’s rigour but take advantage of the socialising aspect as well.

Could you please tell us a little bit about your background, what did you do pre-programme as well as post-graduation.

I’m an Aviation professional with an engineering background having spent my early career in civil aircraft design, transitioning to aircraft sales, marketing, financing and consulting with a strong focus on emerging markets. Given the trends in the industry and drivers shaping the future of the sector, over recent years sustainability has become a crucial subject, and for Aviation to sustain growth and acceptance, the industry made a commitment to reach net zero by 2050, a challenging target for this hard to abate industry. In the 2 years before my MBA, a lot of my focus was focused on working with airlines, governments, industry bodies and associations to create awareness and support their roadmaps towards sustainability.

The programme has indeed an intensive commute – London to New York and vice-versa – every month. How did you manage that? How did other fellow students residing out of the main two cities find the commute?

A great benefit of the program was the ability to work in the centre of two major metropolitan cities, London and New York, which brought a good balance and diversity within the programme and a wide range of activities and events to participate in during block weeks. The regular travel between both campuses made the experience both enjoyable but also challenging given the time zone constraints; for example, my study group was made up of six people living on four continents. As a cohort, given we were all going through the pressure of managing careers, businesses, family, friends and workload, we found that it brought us closer together through mutual understanding of the challenges faced but also created a support system which still exists today.

One requirement of the programme is to be in full-time employment. What has been the greatest challenge when it came to balancing all the work, study and personal commitments?

Studying and working at the same time is both rewarding, with the ability to apply learned frameworks and apply them in practice, but also comes with the challenge of time management to fit in both personal and business commitments. In hindsight, the two-year programme equipped me with the skills to navigate a rapidly evolving global society and time and resource management skills, which are crucial tools to use as we progress in our respective professions and businesses.

There are a lot of other activities happening outside of the studying week and we know that EMBA Globals find time to socialise and have fun as well. How did you also make time to participate in / organise various trips with the cohort?

When it comes to activities and extracurricular events, we were spoilt for choice. There were always events and trips being arranged, and the social calendar and events I attended throughout the programme for me proved just as valuable as the formal programme, even more so from a networking perspective. Without a doubt, some of the social events and association events have been the best I have attended, so whilst they did cost numerous nights which required lots of coffee, the lifelong experiences built during the moment make it all worthwhile.

Did the format of the programme (1x block week/ month) help you achieve all your professional, academic and personal roles? If the answer is yes, how?

The format of the programme helped me to manage my time and professional activities outside of the core block weeks, giving me the ability to focus completely during the dedicated block week sessions to learning and attending course activities. The space of time between sessions served to recover from the intensive week but also to reflect, relearn and complete course assignments in due time. Given the amount of travel that the course required between London and New York, the week-long core sessions provided sufficient time to adjust to the relevant time zones and settle into a routine, whilst reconnecting with other members of the cohort in weekly events.

What piece of advice would you have for the upcoming EMBA Global candidates?

Make the most of the time available, it goes by so quickly! Being exposed to such world-class establishments and professors together with a diverse cohort who will invariably come from different sectors and regions sets the stage for a unique learning experience that should be embraced. Participate in the various networking events organised and attend the talks, which give different opportunities to meet other students across different programmes. A significant part of the learning will come through the experiences of your cohort colleagues, so come with an open mind, ready to engage, share, and learn.

For more information regarding our EMBA-Global programme, click here.

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