Graduating by degrees with MBA flexibility

Part-time or 'mini MBAs' are helping UAE executives who want all the benefits of studying a Master of Business Administration but do not have the time to commit to a full-time course.

Moatassem Moatez graduated with a part-time MBA from Manchester Business School. Rebecca Rees for The National
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Around three-and-a-half years ago, Moatassem Moatez decided to change his life.

As a marketing manager for a large multinational company in Dubai, he was looking for a way to move into a top management role. The best way to do that, he concluded, was to study for an MBA, but it was not as simple as taking some time out of his career and signing up. He had responsibilities.

“Having a family, having certain obligations, having a career, you cannot just simply turn all this off and focus on your studies,” says Mr Moatez, 33, a father of two young children, aged six and two, from Egypt. “You still need to make sure that you are able to support your family.”

So he decided to do a part-time MBA. It took him a term to devise a study timetable which helped him juggle his family, career and coursework. But he did it.

Last week, Mr Moatez, who even left his job to start his own business with two partners halfway through the course, graduated with a part-time MBA from Manchester Business School (MBS).

“If you have the luxury to not earn money, not work, quit your job and dedicate 18 months for your full-time MBA, for your studies, then obviously this would be the first choice,” says Randa Bessiso, director for the Middle East at MBS.

“But for those who want to still gain the MBA, the same top-quality qualification from a top school, but without having to put their career on hold or have an interruption in their family or personal life, then the part-time MBA would be the answer.”

The main difference between the full-time and the part-time courses is the duration, at 18 months for the full-time MBA and 30 months for the part-time option. Full-time students are sent abroad to study, while that is not necessary for part-time students as they already work on international projects. The cost is also different at £40,000 (Dh229,863) for the full-time option and £26,000 for the part-time course. Aside from that, the academic content is very similar, says Ms Bessiso.

Last year, MBS added a third option – the executive MBA, which is designed for c-level professionals only. “They have requested over the years that they would like to have a shorter option to study but still part time and something that is designed for in the boardroom or about to enter the boardroom,” says Ms Bessiso.

“It’s only a group of 30. We take them on a journey around the world, so we literally take them out of their comfort zone and time zone.” At £51,500, it is the most expensive option, mainly because the course is taught in MBS locations around the world including Dubai and Shanghai. But for just 20 months, it is the shortest part-time MBA course MBS offers. It is, however, by no means the shortest “MBA” out there. Institutions including Probana Business School and the University of Salford both offer “mini MBA” courses in the UAE.

The University of Salford’s mini MBA is designed to offer a taster of the real thing for £3,549.

“The programme is five days long and includes a key introductory topic from each of the core disciplines from our normal MBAs – covering subjects such as marketing, HRM, finance, supply chain management, digital marketing and business,” says Yvonne Moogan, director of MBA at Salford Business School, University of Salford.

“Executives and organisations have less time today and a mini MBA offers a nice solution to this problem – taking only a short time out of their working calendar rather than doing a full MBA. In this sense, it provides an insight into a full MBA programme as the mini MBA covers the core components of a full MBA programme.” But is it worth it to make the time and study the real thing? Recruiters would say so.

“The MBA seems to coach people to think more broadly, to understand their broader impact in an organisation and ultimately to perform better, and therein lies the value of investing so much money in education. An MBA is an excellent personal development tool that we would thoroughly recommend,” says Toby Simpson, managing director at the Gulf Recruitment Group.

And Mr Moatez would too.

Aside from the content, the MBA gave him a network that has been invaluable to him as an entrepreneur since setting up Innovest Middle East, which works with entrepreneurs and SMEs to grow their businesses within the region. And it encouraged him to keep on learning.

“What they taught me well, forget about all the content, is how you can still keep this motivation of looking further for new information, for innovations. How you can still keep this engine or learning coming through. Everything I do now I think OK, how can I learn from this even more?”

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