Every learner knows working and studying at the same time can be tough. For Master of Management (MM) graduate Prayashini Prabhaharan, known to her family and friends as Priya, one thing became abundantly clear while she was a learner: family matters when you’re dealing with challenges.

As head of the quality assurance (QA) department at a local firm in Pasir Gudang, Johor, Priya wanted to enrol in a Master’s programme to upgrade her leadership and management skills to better perform in her job. Her journey started at the Johor Bahru Learning Centre where she discovered the flexibility of studying at OUM. She especially liked the discussion forum as it enabled the exchange of ideas among learners and tutors.

However, tragedy struck when her father was admitted into the intensive care unit while she was in the second semester. She shares, “Between meeting assignment deadlines and caring for my father, I had my own medical crisis. I was on long medical leave due to a slipped disc and could barely sit up to do any work. At the time, I was just starting my master’s project. In my final semester, I was hospitalised again due to typhoid.”

Family matters when you’re dealing with challenges.

Priya believes it was unlikely that she could overcome these difficulties without the support of her family. “My husband was my pillar of strength. He completely understood the sacrifices that I had to make for me to succeed in my postgraduate study. His encouragement was a great moral booster.”

Born in Muar, this mother of two also credits her daughters for her success. She says, “My girls knew that I was busy with both office work and study, so they learned to be more independent. My father was also my source of inspiration as he kept motivating me and my siblings to reach for the skies when it comes to learning.”

Besides family support, the 39-year old says that planning is also crucial. With a tight daily schedule, Priya did not leave anything to chance.

“I would ensure that my assignments and project paper writing were completed on time. My daily routine includes spending up to two hours reading literature reviews or participating in the discussion forum. On weekends, I would allocate more time for study, normally spending more than six hours on revision and reading,” she explains.

Having graduated in 2020, Priya is already looking ahead and plans to step things up with a PhD. For others who may want to consider taking on work and study, this is what she has to say: “Find a university that can offer you flexibility. And importantly, always begin with the end in mind and discipline yourself so you can reach your goal.”