“I did find full time work and studying quite a challenge but my lecturers and managers were motivating and supportive and I took to it like a duck to water!”
– Julie Basford
Julie Basford studied the MBA part time and via distance learning. She graduated in 2010 winning the The Pennine Healthcare award for Best Part-Time Postgraduate Student.
A new challenge
When I started on the part time Postgraduate Certificate in Management Studies I never imagined that it would lead to an MBA and to me living in Abu Dhabi before moving to Perth, Western Australia. My previous employers Derby City Council sponsored my first two years at the University of Derby to give me the additional skills to lead a small team as well as manage the council's property assets. I did find full time work and studying quite a challenge but my lecturers and managers were motivating and supportive and I took to it like a duck to water!
An opportunity for personal development
The first year was a period of huge personal development with the highlight being a trip to Cwm Pennant Activity Centre in North Wales. This gave the students the opportunity to bond early in the course and to work in teams to apply the techniques we were learning. I still have the problem solving wheel on my office wall and use it most weeks to focus on solving the cause of problems rather than the symptoms. During the second year I did struggle with competing demands on my time and found it a difficult period. This forced me to review how I used my time and I was able to apply what I was learning to make improvements
Studying by distance learning
When my husband was offered a contract in Abu Dhabi it seemed like an ideal time to complete my studies by distance learning although this required far more self discipline. All of my modules were available online and included set reading, suggestions for wider reading, case studies and exercises. Lecturers gave me full support via email or on the phone, coaching and guiding me to figure things out for myself.
Transferring my skills to the workplace
When I subsequently moved to Australia it was tempting to have a complete career change. However when an Asset Management job was advertised at my local council, it seemed like fate. It is a complete culture shock in many different ways but having studied international culture as part of my MBA I was much better prepared. Without the knowledge and skills learned during my MBA studies I doubt that I would have even have embarked on the changes in my life and certainly now have tools to embrace the new challenges and thrive in different environments.
Winning the award
Winning the Pennine Healthcare award for Best Part-Time Postgraduate Student is a real honour and acknowledges that the extra effort I put into my studies was worthwhile. Regrettably I am unable to attend the graduation ceremony in January as I will be in Brisbane but I will have a "tinny around the barbie" and reflect fondly on my time at the University of Derby.