UL MBA Insider

Springboard to Success: How Returning to Education Can Transform Your Career

Returning to education after years in the workforce can be a daunting experience. Further education often requires a big commitment in terms of time and cost, and many older prospective students may also wonder if they are be too late to discover the benefits of an MBA programme.

With an Executive MBA, however, student demographics tend toward an average of 40 years of age, according to Academia Insider. Such courses are, in fact, designed specifically for older applicants who have significant work experience in their field, usually accompanying a busy home and community life, and are now looking to accelerate or develop their career further.

And so, the question of pursuing an Executive MBA changes from “is it too late to study for an EMBA?” becomes “how do I get the most out of my Executive MBA experience?”, regardless of the applicant’s age and industry background.


Identify Your Goals

The first step towards a successful learning experience is to identify your personal career goals, looking carefully at the knowledge, skills, or qualities you want to acquire, and how they align with your longer-term designs.

It’s also important to consider what the Executive MBA course means for you personally, so that your time on the course can provide you with the best opportunities for the personal growth you’re aiming for.

Are you looking to progress in your current organization using EMBA skills to develop your leadership and management capabilities? Or maybe you want to lay the foundations for a strategic career move, such as changing roles, switching industries, or changing your location.

At University of Limerick, we can prepare you for all of the above, through helping you to develop necessary critical thinking and decision-making skills using a combination of case studies, active projects, and discussion with peers. The EMBA course also places a strong emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship – ideal as a platform for those who want to launch their own business.

My primary objective in studying for an MBA was to develop a deeper business awareness ... but I was also excited to explore the entrepreneurship modules, which promised to fuel my own startup ambitions.
- Ken Stockil


Recognise Your Fears

It’s always a good idea to acknowledge that there are risks in returning to education, whether your concerns centre around the cost or on juggling work, study, and additional commitments.

After all, although an EMBA is often associated with an improvement in salary and career prospects, it is not an automatic guarantee for future success – if you don’t have sufficient time or energy to invest in your EMBA course, it’s unlikely to deliver the results you anticipate.

Open discussion with family and colleagues can help you weigh the risks and benefits, along with thorough research about the course content, structure, and calibre.


Focus on Time Management

One of the main advantages of the Executive MBA from UL is that it is delivered in a flexible format. This means that you can pursue your studies without giving up your current job or salary.

With its two-year part-time course structure, the EMBA at UL is delivered in three-day blocks once a month on campus. This arrangement is designed to fit around the busy home, work, and life schedules – but it’s also a good idea to consider the following time management strategies in order to successfully juggle both your job and studies:

  • Prioritise and Schedule: Allocate specific time slots for studying around your work commitments, ensuring key study sessions are aligned with your most productive hours.
  • Utilise Short, Intensive Sessions: Try to establish focused bursts of 25 to 30 minutes during breaks or downtime at work.
  • Optimise Resources: Use digital tools for organisation and engage with any online study aids or technical support services offered by your college.


Enlist Support

In addition to the backing of close family, you’ll undoubtedly need support from your employer to commit fully to the Executive MBA programme. At the least, your employer must be aware of your time commitments made to the EMBA. In many cases, they may also provide financial support, with some employers paying most, if not all, of the tuition fees.

This is frequently an inviting prospect for employers because investing in your Executive MBA has numerous benefits for their business. It can, for instance, provide new insights into business processes, with an emphasis on applying classroom learning in real-world situations.

I wanted to effect change within an organisation rather than respond to change, and the MBA seemed the perfect way to enable that transition.
- Sean McGowan

Students also develop key management and interpersonal skills, learning best practice in all areas of business strategy as well as gaining practical experience in doing business internationally that could support your company’s global ambitions.

The programme at UL is particularly designed to enhance your leadership, strategic thinking, and decision-making skills – directly contributing to your ability to drive innovation and growth within the company. It also demonstrates your employer’s commitment to talent development, fostering loyalty and retention as a result.

For more ideas on garnering employer support, our Employer ROI Brochure demonstrates how the MBA programme will benefit your own professional skillset while boosting your organisation’s resilience.


Reap the Rewards

Ultimately, studying for an Executive MBA can pay dividends for dedicated students – delivering increased earning potential, an extended business network, and enhanced career fulfillment.

You’ll graduate with practical skills, vital insight, and effective frameworks to navigate complex business challenges and drive organisational success – and in the process transform your career.

Depending on your current career trajectory, the EMBA could help you kick start progression if you have reached a plateau, or provide the expertise to explore a different industry. At the very least, you will gain confidence in your abilities with an MBA making you a more valued and experienced employee, whatever your age.

And so, as the saying goes – you're never too old to learn something new. What you get out of your Executive MBA simply depends on you – get in touch today to find out more.

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