When is it the right time to study an EMBA? | TopMBA.com

When is it the right time to study an EMBA?

By Niamh O

Updated July 8, 2021 Updated July 8, 2021

Natasha Persad, candidate on Trinity College Dublin's EMBA programme says "There’s really no substitute for work experience for this programme, work experience is a definite advantage."

The benefits of an executive MBA, from networking opportunities to enhanced specialised knowledge, mean that it’s never too late to enter the classroom. While interest in MBAs and other business degrees has grown among younger students, there are still many students on business school campuses around the world who arrive after 10 or more years of industry experience.

Natasha Persad (pictured), is from Trinidad and Tobago and a candidate on Trinity College Dublin’s executive MBA programme. So, why was now the right time for her to undertake her MBA?

Natasha Persad Trinity Business School

Career so far

Natasha says her journey towards the EMBA was more of a privilege than the norm. After completing the equivalent of the leaving certificate (A Levels) in Trinidad and Tobago, Natasha obtained enough points to undertake a degree in the University of West Indies.

As her mother was on her own and needed financial support, Natasha moved to London to join her. She wasn’t in a financial position to attend university full-time, so Natasha started working in the financial sector as a junior associate and attended night classes to complete her ACCA’s.  

She said: “I was progressing well but had to put my exams on hold as I accepted an opportunity to work in Paris.

“I returned to London four years later, recommenced my ACCAs, and then moved to Dublin. I was fortunate to work for State Street Bank and Trust who encouraged employees to complete their accounting qualification.”

She did this within a year, and with the Oxford Brooks and ACCA affiliation was able to complete a thesis whereby she earned an upper second BSc in applied accounting.

In between working and being a mother to two young girls, Natasha completed a few strategic management initiatives and a mentee sponsored course with the IMI. But a year ago, she decided now was the time to challenge herself again and complete her master’s degree.

But why Trinity? 

Natasha says the history and beauty of Trinity is something that has always captivated her. But she says Trinity’s team were also very accommodating and responsive to questions following the open day, so choosing the business school was a no brainer for Natasha.

What really sealed the deal for Natasha was her interview with the course director Amanda Shantz. 

Natasha said: “I have always been interested in social enterprise projects and NGOs and the way Trinity has aligned themselves in this area and as part of the MBA for the future resonated with me.

“Trinity is the right choice for me because their programme has the right mixture of assessments, projects and exams and this lessens the intensity of an all-exams based programme even though the standards are extremely high.”

Why now? 

Natasha says she craved knowledge and a new challenge and realised she was finally in a position financially to undertake further study. Plus, as her children are in their early teens, they don’t demand her time as much as they once did. 

She said: “I am a woman of colour that grew up on a small Caribbean Island and was not given as many opportunities as others, but I have worked hard.

“I feel now is the right time to be an example to young people that feel like the odds are stacked against them and show them anything is possible. It was always my dream to reach the highest echelons of education and for a long time it felt elusive, but it’s time to make it happen.”

The realities of being a mature student 

Natasha says there’s really no substitute for work experience for this programme, demonstrating that work experience is a definite advantage.

She said: “I would have been lost in my 20s and my reason for pursuing the MBA would have been solely for financial gains in my career. Now I see different solutions to problems that I may not have before, I am introspective and everything I am learning helps me approach challenges differently.”

Natasha adds that by having failures and successes from her career help when applying models and solutions from the programme. She said: “I strongly believe a sense of maturity is needed to successfully plan and handle the workload.”

But what can mature students bring to the table? Natasha says the voice of experience and sense of calm and patience. She said: “In my twenties I would have only wanted to power through and obtain a 1.1, and I’m not sure how much I would have retained aside from a grade and beating the competition.

“Now I see myself as part of a team, a group of people at various stages of our lives who want to work together and change the future for the better.”

Hope for the future

Natasha hopes to come away with good grades in all her assessments and exams, form great bonds and lasting friendships, and also benefit from potential collaborations with EMBA colleagues.

She said: “The calibre of teaching has been exceptional, and I would love to use some of the knowledge gained here to work more efficiently and innovatively.”

Post-graduation, Natasha sees herself working more with NGOs to help with a post-COVID regeneration programmes. She said: “The world will be in desperate need of transformation from an economic and social perspective.

“We have been challenged by racism, poverty, disease and mental, emotional and physical suffering in the last few years. There will be a need to rebuild, and I want to be part of the active solution and I think this EMBA will prepare our cohort for these challenges.”

Advice for prospective students 

Natasha says the timing has to be right as, without question, an MBA is challenging and requires a lot of time an effort, adding “you need to be ready in your head and heart”.

She said: “It is essential that you enter this programme knowing you are part of a team and there is no room for being selfish.

“Enter the programme with an open mind and always be ready to see the upside and embrace the moments of laughter because in the times of COVID those smiles, and camaraderie have really been so very important to all of our successes.

“Come with the attitude that we are all on this EMBA journey together and leave no one behind, but strong individual effort and commitment are also needed. This has been the greatest lesson I have learnt from Trinity EMBA so far.”

This article was originally published in July 2021 .

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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