Nicola Downes - MBA
Winner of The Pennine Healthcare award for the Best Part-Time Postgraduate Student
The main reason I chose to study the MBA at the University of Derby was for self-fulfilment and a sense of achievement. Having passed on going to university when I left school and opting to go straight into employment, I wanted to prove to myself that I could academically back up what I had learned over the years with a credible qualification. I also wanted to progress within the company where I had worked for 16 years and I felt that an MBA could help.
At first, the thought of starting university was daunting; assignments, dissertations, Harvard referencing were all alien to me. However once you complete the first semester your confidence really starts to build. You start to understand what's expected, you can navigate the library and more importantly, you start to think academically. You also meet some great friends who are a constant support, both during the course and after.
The lectures provide a good basis of knowledge, but much of the key learning is achieved through personal study - a workload which cannot be underestimated. This is the most challenging part, trying to achieve a balance between work, life and university.
The MBA has given me a broader business knowledge and has encouraged me to think much more strategically. It has also highlighted the need for critical evaluation which I now use daily in my work. On a personal note my confidence has grown and I now have that sense of achievement.
I am delighted to be the winner of The Pennine Healthcare award for the Best Part Time Postgraduate Student as it is recognition of the hard work I have put into the last three years. I feel privileged to have been selected and it makes graduating all the more special.