For nearly the last two decades, I have been a full-time student for the majority of my professional career. I have had a family for the length of that period as well. I share this as a means of offering support and encouragement to others considering pursuing a doctorate of business administration (DBA) from ISM. With a support network plus the right school and curriculum, anything is possible.
I realize that having a family and working full-time while pursuing graduate coursework is not for everyone. However, my experience has been that my career has benefitted from these experiences. Without them, I would not have received the opportunity to work on the rich and diverse projects that I have been afforded in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Further, the networks that I have built as a result of working full time and studying have exposed me to a diverse student body that has enriched me both professionally and personally beyond measure. These experiences have made it worth every late night.
Typically, my day begins waking up early to get my three children off to school and then looking at my work email to see what I have going on. By the time I make it into the office, I am already busy and rarely have an opportunity to look at anything related to school during business hours. However, so much of what I read for work is applicable to the course work and studies, it is not fair to say the two components of my life exist separately. In fact, one of the most important benefits of the DBA program is, first and foremost, you are a practitioner and your studies and coursework are complementary and supportive of a learning culture that demands deep understanding, application, and testing of the latest business models and trends.
At the end of the workday, I will typically do some academic reading and research in preparation for picking up my studies later that evening. After ten hours at the office, I rush home and help the kids with homework and dinner. Within about three hours, I am back at the laptop responding to urgent work emails and then I begin a couple of hours of uninterrupted study and writing. I am usually in bed by midnight and back at it about 6.5 hours later. Therefore, most days only find me working on school assignments for 2-3 hours with weekends doing the heavier lifting. The schedule can be tiring, but it is motivating to have coursework that is so highly applicable to your profession, which invigorates and maintains the learning process of study, practice/apply, repeat.
Three of the primary reasons I chose ISM was because of the flexible schedule, timely coursework, and caliber of working students that could bring their professional experiences to the classroom. In support of the working professionals that fill most classes, ISM provides course offerings that support personal and professional decision-making. For example, I am able to pick up and temper my course loads based on my schedule both professionally and personally outside of school. ISM’s flexible model of in-person and online classes supports an ability to pick travel timeframes and online courses that create the balance and flexibility needed for an undertaking of this size and scale.