“The lecturers have been so supportive and this is making the whole experience easier! I have always been assisted on queries or issues I've raised whether by email or face to face. If I have a problem, I definitely know that I will be assisted”
– Listone Longwe
Listone Longwe is 33 and from Malawi. He's currently studying the Masters in Marketing
Having worked in the Travel Industry in Malawi for seven years and studied the IATA/UFTAA Standard Diploma, I decided to make a career change as I wanted something challenging. It was when I came across a CIM magazine that I decided to pursue a career in Marketing. I studied the CIM Professional Postgraduate Diploma and graduated in 2009.
This made me want to achieve even more, and I strongly believed that a masters in marketing would not only move me up in my academic career ladder, but also increase my knowledge and professional skills, both of which would make me be a better manager and person in future.
Applying theories to practice
Though the work has been challenging, it has also been a worthwhile experience. One of my recent modules has required me to conduct research on a company of my choice and present the findings as part of my assessment. It was really fascinating interviewing top level business executives and observing how theoretical models that I have been learning in topics like organisational buying behaviour, relationship marketing and internal marketing are used practically.
Helping me academically...
The lecturers have been so supportive and this is making the whole experience easier! I have always been assisted on queries or issues I've raised whether by email or face to face. If I have a problem, I definitely know that I will be assisted.
I have also been able to make friends on the campus due to excellent networking programmes that various student bodies organise. And if I don't happen to have ample time to read the notice board about what's happening around campus, I am not worried because I know I will get an email on every single activity happening. Communication is just brilliant!!
Though I live in Nottingham, I love Derby as a city. Driving around Derby on my way to and from campus has made me realise that the city is ideal for people from various backgrounds. Whether you love shopping, history, or quiet country life you will find it in Derby. The public transport network with other towns, and even the university buses to the city centre, is just excellent and affordable. Being an international student, I could say I have found my niche in Derby.
Balancing work and study
Being able to study for masters part time at Derby University has made it easier for me to balance my study, family and work lives. The adaptation of the course structure to the students need is second to none, and I believe you can hardly find universities in the country to match this. For those of you who have a quest for higher academic qualifications but are not sure on how to cope with the daily routine pressures especially if you are working, I would recommend you to try Derby. They will definitely have something for you!
Since my secondary school days, I have always been fascinated by tourism, and to get my first job in one of the industry's related sectors was the icing on the cake. With the knowledge and skills I have gained so far, my wish is to return to this industry sometime in the near future to help promote and develop my country's tourism as I believe the industry has the potential to contribute towards the country's economy.
This is the reason why my dissertation looks at the role of marketing orientation in Malawi's Department of Tourism (a government department responsible for promoting Malawi as a tourist destination). Even though my research is still in its preliminary stages, I have received full support from my Supervisor and also from some of the individuals in Malawi whom I am going to interview at a later date.
The highs and lows
The course has offered me the opportunity to learn from my fellow students, some of whom hold top level jobs in their organisations. The work experience that they share has broadened my knowledge and skills on how to deal with my own issues both at work and in class.
The presentation of some of the modules where theory has been used to underpin our real life experiences - both work and personal - has enabled me to improve on several of my skills like decision making, leadership, time management and motivation.
However, it hasn't been all rosy. Sometimes after a rough day at work, being attentive in class in the late hours of the night has been hard. Also, much of the work around the course involves a lot of research and wide reading. It has been challenging to manage my time properly to complete some of the tasks assigned.
Bringing learning to life
Even though the job that I do is not marketing related, I have found the skills and knowledge gained still to be useful in the context of my work. For example, my work requires me to deal with different departments and I have found the knowledge of customer communication theories to be useful in this context. Also being an international student, I have been able to compare and contrast what effect culture has within an organisation and how this impacts on its performance. I believe I have learnt a lot from this course so far, and it still continues to shape my future as a person and a manager.