According to Mr Gary Ong Soon Hwee, 45, when one’s career is progressing well and work demands tend to be high, postgraduate study takes a back seat.
However, in recent years, he has been thinking of furthering his academic learning and obtaining business management knowledge to enrich his professional skill sets.
Change of perspectives
Not too long ago, Mr Ong experienced a moment of epiphany when his wife was faced with some medical challenges.
He says: “I decided to go on sabbatical for a while and spend quality time with her and the children while pursuing my Master of Business Administration (MBA) and rejuvenating myself.”
He signed up at the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) for the MBA awarded by the University of Sunderland in the United Kingdom.
It wasn’t easy hitting the books again after being out of school for 20 years, he admits.
But he quickly adapted, thanks in combination to strong academic concepts and his management work experiences.
Mr Ong has an academic background in management accountancy, and has worked in the consumer electronics sector and with multinational corporations.
Despite taking a work sabbatical, he opted for the 18-month part-time programme where lessons are held thrice weekly.
This allows him to attend to family needs first and focus on his studies in the evening, he explains.
“At the same time, it provides the flexibility of returning to work, when there is a suitable career opening,” he adds.
Preparing for the real world
Among the units he is taking, managing and leading people is his favourite module, as he feels an agile leader should be able to understand and think quickly in order to react in this rapidly changing environment.
Plus, people interaction skills are essential to an organisation’s success.
Mr Eric Lim, head of MDIS’s Business School, says that due to the highly competitive globalised marketplace and ever-changing economic landscape, those with just a bachelor’s degree applying for entry-level positions may not even be considered.
A postgraduate degree such as an MBA helps to provide job security and also opens up many more doors for employment.
Mr Ong agrees that postgraduate studies provide a platform for students to build on their academic learning and apply it to the working world.
He says: “Continued workplace learning can propel students towards professional career development and success.
“The MBA programme will further enrich my next commercial role and career assignment.”