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How My Online MBA Is Helping Me Juggle Study, Work, Family, And My Own Business

Munyaradzi Chikwanda is halfway through an Online MBA at Birmingham Business School

By  Marco De Novellis

Wed Mar 29 2017

Munyaradzi Chikwanda is a South African software developer with over a decade’s experience in IT. He started a new job at a leading African financial services group in 2015. At the same time, he decided to launch his own business, training local people in IT. Now, he’s juggling family, work, his own business, and an MBA.

When Munyaradzi was looking at business schools, he knew he’d struggle to study an MBA full-time. Instead, he opted for Birmingham Business School’s Online MBA, the world’s first fully-online MBA to be accredited by AMBA.

At Birmingham, the Online MBA is positioned as a direct alternative to the classroom-based course. Fortnightly live sessions bring distance-learning to life, connecting groups of approximately 25 students together with tutors and lecturers in an immersive online learning environment. The sessions are two and a quarter hours long.

Munyaradzi wants a world-renowned, accredited MBA to help him build his IT training business and take his corporate career to new heights. When he graduates from Birmingham’s Online MBA, he’ll receive the same certificate as students on the full-time course.

Why did you decide to pursue an online MBA?

I wanted to sharpen my business acumen to help me identify and exploit opportunities which would benefit both my employer and my endeavor to establish my own business.

Being the primary breadwinner, my options for study were limited. Studying full-time was not going to be possible. I needed a quality MBA program that would fit in well with my family commitments and responsibilities as well as my hectic work schedule.

Why did you choose Birmingham’s Online MBA in particular?

I wanted an MBA program from an internationally-recognized and revered academic institution, which had a very strong and well-recognized MBA program.

Studying for an MBA from a university as prestigious as the University of Birmingham will open doors and introduce me to new professional networks, thus helping me realize both my career and personal goals.

What sets an online MBA apart from a traditional classroom-based program?

With the connect sessions, we’re able to make use of technology to simulate a classroom environment. In a classroom, shy students do not necessarily express themselves even if they have good ideas. Online, everyone says something.

How did the idea to start your own business come about?

I am passionate about empowering people to innovate and advance themselves using technology. Thus, I have established a training company which teaches people on using different technologies, and how they can benefit from them. I believe that, when applied, this knowledge can be a source of economic emancipation for the many poor people in my region.

What do you hope to achieve?

I plan on growing my training business more to include more services other than training, such as consulting and product development. I am also on a career growth initiative with my current employer, aimed at realized my goal of becoming a CIO later in my career.

The MBA will enhance my skills and knowledge on the financial aspects of business, project management, and risk management, thus increasing the probability of my success in any project that I undertake.