I was 31, had a full-time challenging job and a six month old baby daughter and yet I gave up every evening to work three hours or more to achieve my MBA through a distance learning course at Heriot Watt University over the next three years. I would like to share my experience and offer advice & tips to allow you to also achieve this, if this is your wish. The most important factor is to select a respected University that offers certified courses; unfortunately there are many scams these days that offer you a degree through your work experience. Do not fall for these as if you put the University on your resumé you will quickly be caught out by prospective employers. You need to select a course that suits your life style; there are many Universities offering distance learning (D.L.) degrees but if you are required to attend a two week summer School every year, will your family be happy with this? I selected a course which I could work on at my own pace with no deadlines to meet and you could enter into exams when you were ready. The problem with studying when you have children or holding a full-time job is that you cannot determine what crises may occur and when it will occur; therefore it is easier for you to manage if you control your work.

Financially undertaking an MBA, or any other D.L. degree is also a big undertaking and you have to balance the financial impact on your family, especially with children, against the benefits you perceive in your future career from having this qualification. It is worthwhile discussing with your employer about financial assistance for studying but beware there may be clauses that you cannot leave for a number of years unless you repay the cost. From my own personal experience my career progression accelerated rapidly after achieving my MBA but one cannot always equate that to a qualification or through a good job performance.

Your partner has to be 100% supportive of you in pursuing this path; whilst you are studying in the evening they have to do the chores that you may otherwise have done. If you do not get their full support then you are likely to discover failure. I managed to involve my wife and got her to help me in revision times but you cannot always rely on this support. Do not neglect your children - make sure you are still fully involved in their care and upbringing even if it means you have to start your studying 30 minutes later.

Undertaking a degree via D.L. is not easy! It requires dedication, motivation, money, time & commitment but the end result is rewarding.