Blog post

Achieve your goals at any age

Online MBA Global graduate, Thobekile Ncube, is in her early sixties and her goal is to retire with a PhD. Here, she shares her experience of studying online, the impact her studies have had on her life and her top tips for new online students.

By Thobekile Ncube -

About me

I am a Zimbabwean born in Bulawayo but brought up in the rural areas in Gwanda. My mother was a teacher in a rural school and my dad a bricklayer working in Bulawayo. I did my secondary education at an Anglican boarding school up to A level. I was the first student to leave my rural area and go through secondary education and up to university, I am the first graduate from that school.

I had plenty of dreams, but I had to take up the best available programme and did BSc Ergonomics. However, I enjoyed management accounting leading me to embark on CIMA qualification studies immediately after graduating. I then started my journey as a management accountant.

Enhancing my education

I needed to advance my education. Why online? My work schedule was too tight for me to have time for going into class. Also, I hadn’t done any further learning for a while, so I felt I need to upgrade myself.

I studied the MBA Global Finance with the University of Derby Online Learning, and this course equipped me to become a Chief Finance Officer with a broader view of my department, functions, the people I work and interact with and the academic staff cultures. As it is a global programme, it allows me to fit into any finance environment internationally and gives me the opportunity to work in the consultancy world, globally.

How I found studying online

The experience of online learning was new to me and initially, I was scared, but then I learnt that the lecturers are so friendly as they understand the impact of being distant. I enjoyed the commitment by staff, the lecturers and course co-ordinators, engaging with a diverse culture of people and classmates from all over the world. My classmates were friendly and supportive with a lot of online teamwork and social chatting outside the class as well.

I think online learning was very thorough and allowed a lot of interactions. I benefitted from openness to team and group work with my classmates as we all assisted each other with no competition. It was really useful being new to the use of online learning tools like personal blogs and various chat groups, writing skills, especially doing a research project (it was my first, so I really enjoyed the exposure).

Even such things as PowerPoint presentations, webinars, and face to face interactions with the lecturers and classmates. I even learnt how to research and learn on my own as well. Now I am confident I can do a doctorate, I am 63 years old now, so my goal is to retire with a PhD.

My top tips for new online students

I have a few top tips that I would like to offer new online students. These are listed below:

Thobekile overcame many challenges while studying with us, including water and electricity shutdowns in her hometown of Zimbabwe. Reading by candlelight was impossible, so she waited until the power came back on in the middle of the night. Learn more about the challenges she faced.

About the author

Thobekile Ncube
University of Derby Graduate

Thobekile is an MBA Global Finance graduate of the University of Derby Online Learning.