Five Minutes With... Lucy Hickling

BA (Hons) Business Studies, University of Derby Online Learning

Lucy Hickling works as a Product Supervisor for a plastic raw materials distributor in Leicestershire. Whilst working full-time, Lucy studied for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Studies through University of Derby Online Learning, and graduated last year. As a result of her qualification, Lucy has been nominated and selected as a finalist for the Apprentice/Trainee of the Year prize in the upcoming Plastics Industry Awards.


Why did you choose to study a business degree?

I've always had a passion for business, with a particular interest in Human Resource Management. As I was already in work when beginning the degree, I wanted to learn things that I could immediately apply or relate to in my current role. This degree offered exactly what I wanted, and my performance at work has improved since completing my degree. It’s also gained me a promotion to a more senior role within the business.

What attracted you to online learning?

Online learning worked for me as I was already working in a full time role; I could keep my job and learn in my spare time.

Why did you choose the University of Derby Online Learning?

I was able to attend the University of Derby’s Open Day and speak to representatives of the Online Learning team. I was very impressed, and as well as gaining an awareness of the University's good reputation, I found the right course for me. I was also attracted to the fact that, despite being an online learner, I would be able to use the on-campus facilities such as the Library should I need to.

What were your goals and aspirations when starting your course?

My main goal during my degree was to always complete my work to the highest standard and, as a result, gain a degree that would allow me to be taken seriously in the business world. Despite facing many challenges along the way, I am very happy to say that I achieved a first class degree and a promotion at work, which makes all the hard work worth it.

How did you balance your study around professional/personal commitments?

My employer was extremely accommodating during my degree, allowing me one day of fully paid leave a week to focus on my studies. This went a long way in helping me to find time for my studies, but I was still studying most evenings and weekends. The way that online learning allows you to pick up where you left off at any time of day, in any location, really worked well for me – for example, I could continue to work during business travel.

How would you describe your online learning experience at Derby?

Online learning for me was at first a challenge due to the level of self-motivation required, but I found the online forums and ongoing tutor engagement extremely useful in keeping me on track.  I had concerns about feeling 'alone' whilst studying for my degree online, however, the online forums made me feel part of the class and allowed us to talk about subjects and really engage.

What was your most memorable moment during your time at Derby?

I will never forget the moment when my final grades came through and I was awarded with a first class honors degree. Graduating was a fantastic moment, making all the hard work worth it, knowing that I really did achieve my full potential on this course.

How has your qualification helped your career?

My academic achievement has led to higher paid roles within the business and, as a result of my extended knowledge, higher management now seek me out for my opinions on business subjects. I really feel that my career prospects have improved significantly due to my degree.

What would you say to anyone considering an online course at Derby?

Do it! Don't be daunted by the prospect of 'going it alone' online, as the support networks are fantastic. Studying a University of Derby Online Learning course has changed my life for the better and I'd recommend the University to anyone looking to study a degree.

See the range of business and management degrees that can be studied online with UDOL.