How fast can you earn an MBA at Nexford?

Anna Johnston
04.11.2020·4 min read

Ahmed Elmasry earned his MBA in just five months after getting stuck abroad in a global pandemic – and opting for very little sleep

For Ahmed Elmasry, time had been a thief. With so many options to consider when thinking about taking an MBA, time and flexibility had been a major factor. After more than a decade out of higher education, in February 2020, Ahmed earned his Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate.

“I managed to gain my PMP in one month,” he smiles. Based in Iraq, Ahmed, a Regional Information Technology Manager for Elsewedy Electric Power System Projects, took his Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) certificate. He did so in a matter of weeks.

“It was all leading up to my MBA,” he explains. “I was thinking about my masters for a year, but I didn’t have the chance to enroll.”

“The best thing about the pandemic has been learning. All I needed was time.”

Take a cursory glance at Ahmed LinkedIn’s profile and you will see a credential collector. LinkedIn Learning digital badges and his project management certificates frame his profile like an elegant picture. Zoom in, and you’ll see that at the height of the global pandemic Ahmed was stacking up more than badges. In April 2020, he enrolled in Nexford University’s MBA. By September 2020, he had graduated. How did he do it so fast?

Stranded – studying on standby

Ahmed got stuck on vacation in Egypt, visiting his family. Countries across the world had shut down borders, grounded flights, and pressed social isolation in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

In the Middle East, countries like Iraq took measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. “I was working in Iraq and I went back to Egypt for a vacation. Then lockdown happened and there were no flights back. So, I was working on vacation and I had nothing to do except study for my MBA.”

Some days, he studied 18 hours a day, he admits. “It turned out to be a good thing! I accomplished something great, something to advance my career. In the first month, I got to know how online programs work. The assignments, deadlines, external references, where to find content in the library.” With his GPA good, Ahmed made a deal with himself. He could achieve more. He accelerated to three courses at once.

It seems urgent, maybe a little addictive. Not to Ahmed. “It was 13 years since my undergraduate, without any learning, without any development. I came to learn. If I didn’t achieve something right now it would be too late for me.”

Learning relevant in-demand skills  

Apart from the speed at which Ahmed could progress with the flexible MBA, he was impressed with the content. “Lots of the resources from the university were up to date, related to COVID-19, and embedded in my program and assignments. I used to wonder how you manage to update it that fast!” he laughs.

As IT regional manager at one of the leading companies for construction in the Middle East, Ahmed is well-versed in leading large IT projects. He was looking for a program that would be technical and also speak the language of business.

“I’m already an IT expert. Yet, there’s lots of deep information, like cybersecurity, that I found out for the first time. I’m using these new skills in my current career.” Almost any business leader could understand these technical courses, Ahmed clarifies.

Decide how you want to grow yourself 

It’s an exciting process to learn more about yourself. Self-reflection creates an internal energy that can’t be bought online on Amazon. It’s a life-long journey.

Ahmed has uncovered things he never knew about himself – he’d like to take a PhD, for example. He doesn’t need as much sleep as he thought. He can study, work, and still have a life – he has a wife and two young children. You can change the order of importance in your beliefs and even add depth to your value system.

Ahmed ends: “I came across this quote, I don’t know exactly who said it.

“‘If you spend one day without adding value, then it is a lost day from your life.’

“I already lost many years dedicated to my work, my career and along the way, I forgot to develop myself for the future. You have to study and learn new skills to help you – not just in your career – but in your life, and for your family.”

Build new skills and make your LinkedIn profile stand out: choose a program now

About the Author

Anna Johnston

Anna Johnston is an award-winning Head of Content, who tells galvanizing stories with a creative team at Nexford.

Anna was the overall Award 2020 winner for the business case: Satya Nadella at Microsoft: Instilling a Growth Mindset, with Professor Herminia Ibarra and Aneeta Rattan. She is formerly a writer at London Business School, consistently ranked among the world’s best its MBA.

Anna’s work has been published in Forbes, Thomson Reuters, Huffington Post, HR Magazine, the Financial Times, and thought-leading firms such as Accenture and McKinsey & Company.

Anna is a speaker, coach, and presenter. More information about her can be found on LinkedIn.

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