Choosing to study while working

3 minute read


This is often one of the first questions I get when I let people know that I will be starting a postgraduate qualification in Global Business at Oxford, while working full-time in financial services.

‘How are you going to handle that?’

‘Is it going to be really tiring?’

‘How are you going to start studying Business when you studied Law?’

I understand the concern! It's going to be really daunting and likely quite hard.

I enjoy working in financial services and I have also always wanted to pursue postgraduate studies. I wanted to take a few years after my undergraduate degree in Law to figure out what exactly that was. I wasn't so sure that I wanted to do more studies in Law at the postgraduate level, and any further studies I did had to align with my future aspirations.

I remember enjoying the Commercial, Corporate and Employment Law modules of my undergraduate degree the most - I found the overlap with economics and government policy fascinating. Working in financial services for a few years also exposed me to different ways of thinking, new subjects and potential career paths, as well as meeting lots of people with MBAs.

The more I worked, the more my aspirations and interests shifted, and after a few years I was ready to start exploring if I wanted to pursue postgraduate study. And if so, then in what?

I did lots of research. Loads. There are many options out there - full-time, part-time, in the UK, outside the UK. I am half French, and I considered pursing a postgraduate qualification in France to open up further geographical options and align with my identity. Choosing a subject and school is often a very personal choice, determined by personal experience and culture as well as the prestige of the institution.

One key non-negotiable for me was that I did not want to have a career break while pursing further study. This was very important to me, as I really enjoy my career and I did not want the loss of income. But it also limited my options, especially if I did want to go abroad. An MBA, therefore, couldn't be considered, as they are mostly full-time. Most MScs could be possible, as many are offered part-time over a longer timeframe, but this would take 2-3 years.

In the end, the Oxford Executive Diploma in Global Business was the best fit for me. It is a postgraduate qualification designed for working professionals, meaning it was viable while working full-time and lasts one year.

Most importantly, the modules I would be undertaking - Global Strategy, Risk and Reputation, Corporate Diplomacy in a Global Context and Challenges of Business in Emerging Markets - are directly applicable to my career. Topics I would be learning could then be directly implemented the following week. If I was going to spend the time and energy to do this, it should be as useful as possible!

And then, of course, there is the prestige of Oxford University. I am very grateful to have been granted admission to this great university as one of the youngest students of my cohort, and this only further adds to the motivation to handle this new chapter as best as I can.

Since announcing this new endeavour, I've received lots of questions from friends, colleagues and more, on studying while working, the programme itself, and much more.

I have started a LinkedIn newsletter* to answer these questions, for my network and for many others who may be considering taking on further study while working.

Over the next editions, I'll cover my experience on preparing for the course, navigating the module weeks and Saïd Business School, my personal development and any tips I can share on handling it all while working.

It'll be a journey, and I hope you can join me on it!


*Alexandra publishes new editions of her newsletter every month. To be notified, subscribe to her newsletter on LinkedIn.

Oxford Executive Diploma in Global Business