I am at the half way point of required classes for completion of my MBA at the University of Phoenix. I just completed a busy 18 weeks of classes and now I am taking another break. My plan is to complete three courses each year which will allow me to receive tuition reimbursement for each course. The duration of each course is six weeks and there is a lot of work associated with each course.The most demanding class to this point has been accounting which required a good understanding of all financial statements along with knowledge of the formulas and methodologies required to determine each component of the financial statement. My struggle was not with the math in accounting, but instead with learning each formula and understanding when and where to apply each formula and methodology.
Now that I am at the half way point and know that I can do the work, I wish I had started this process sooner. The three issues stood in my way were the cost of a graduate degree, taking the GMAT’s, and my age. What really turned me around was the fact that many of my peers were going back to school and a few of them were older than me. I figured if they can do it, I can do it, and started looking at schools that did not require the GMAT’s. I knew someone who was taking online classes at Northeaster University, and they really liked the format and the program. Northeastern required the GMAT’s, but I started to consider online programs and that lead me to the University of Phoenix which did not require the GMAT’s. From a financial perspective, MIT would reimburse me for 2.5 courses University of Phoenix courses each year, where the cost of Northeaster's online program allowed for reimbursement of 1.5 courses per year. The choice was simple.
My biggest struggle has been managing both work and school. Similar to any higher level class, you need to do the work if you want to pass, however the struggle with a six week class is the amount of work a such a short period. Each week requires about four to five hours a week of reading along with about ten to fifteen hours a week of writing and responding to others. With the exception of Accounting, the work has not been hard, instead the struggle has been finding the time to complete my assignments. This is a process that you need to commit to because you cannot afford to take a day or two off each week and maintain a good grade.
over the last 20 years, I have seen many individuals with no advanced education, move up quickly on persistence and good skill sets, however they often plateau on the technical side and cannot make the transition to manager or above because they do not have an advanced degree. When appropriate, I often share my experiences with these individuals and explain how you can take the long slow road to an undergraduate degree and still graduate. If there is one point to be made from this post, it is to consider going back to school. Whether it is undergrad program or a graduate program, you can start now, take your time and in two to four years earn a degree that will help you in the future. Online courses are not for everyone however they do offer flexibility and provide more options than the colleges and universities in your local community.