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I had two main concerns when I first toyed with the idea of pursuing an MBA. At work, I had just been entrusted with bigger responsibilities which required more time commitment. At home, my freedom is at the mercy of one of the world’s most feared tyrants: my 2-year-old daughter.

So I had to weigh in these factors before taking the plunge. I could probably squeeze in an hour on working days to catch up with the case studies during lunchtime. In the evenings and on weekends, however, my schedule is controlled by the movements of the little oppressor at home.

But it has been almost a year now, and I am half-way through the programme. I have survived three terms with two more blocks to go, and a thesis to be delivered by the end of next year. That said, I thought I’d share five pointers for parents out there who aspire to pursue their MBA dreams while raising a child (or 10).

1. Study in their sleep

As a morning person, I function and absorb information better earlier in the day. Thus on weekends, I try to wake up earlier and spend the few quiet hours in the morning to study or work on assignments before my daughter wakes up and demands for pancake. This routine is however only feasible if your child is on a 12-hour sleeping pattern, and you are not.

2. Avoid textbook tragedies

Since growing infants and toddlers are at a stage where their motor skills are being developed, it is always wise to keep your textbooks away from them. This is crucial for two reasons: 1) a child’s motor skills include the ability to tear papers into shreds and 2) textbooks cost a bomb.

3. You don’t need trigonometry to change the channel

Most business schools only allow certain types of scientific calculators during exams, and just like textbooks, these instruments can cost an arm. So you do not want to lose them. Unfortunately, children are easily attracted to devices with buttons and since a calculator can resemble a remote control, it is wise to keep yours out of their reach. Otherwise you would end up like me and do log calculations (wrongly) by hand.

4. If you must, study in a cave

Another thing that you should keep away from your child apart from your calculator, is yourself. This is especially crucial when you are working on an assignment on the laptop. Toddlers have a tendency to associate things with a specific memory and unfortunately, my laptop reminds her of the Peppa Pig YouTube channel. If you haven’t tried it already, you could probably guess that calculating hedging ratio with Peppa Pig running in the background is not easy.

5. It’s never too young to pursue an MBA

When all else fails, I tag her along and play, “Let’s get an MBA!” This activity involves the both of us holding a pen and a piece of paper each with a textbook on the table. I would then proceed to take down notes from the textbook and ask her to do the same. This activity is slightly advanced for children her age so naturally, she will get bored and make her way to bother her mother instead.

Asrif is studying our Global Online MBA programme.

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Asrif Yusoff

About Asrif Yusoff

Asrif Yusoff studied on the Global Online MBA from 2015-17