“Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other.” Bill Gates
We are changing the world with technology, with software being the big change agent. And the man who has been instrumental (the change agent himself) in bringing this technological change is Bill Gates. Bill Gates needs no introduction. I believe his name is synonymous with the innovation and change in the world of technology as the world sees it today. Bill Gates, one of the richest entrepreneurs, innovators, one of the most influential persons in the world and an immense philanthropist, revolutionized the technology industry when he co-founded Microsoft in 1975. And the rest is history.
Gates say the advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life. I am not going to lay out the advantages or importance of IT in business or as Bill Gates mentions, in our everyday lives. This is more about what is going on in the world of Information Technology and how new breakthrough technologies continue to disrupt the world.
MIT Technology Review has been presenting ten breakthrough technologies every year. And in this list’s history of 18 years, the 2019 edition was curated by none other than Bill Gates. There could not be a better person than Gates, sharing with the world which new technologies he believes are poised to deeply impact our lives.
MIT’s 2019 breakthrough technologies fall into 3 categories – climate change mitigation, healthcare and AI. These are some challenges and opportunities for our future society and communities. Based on Bill Gates’ beliefs, these chosen technologies indicate a trend of transition in technologies – from those that mostly made life longer to those that mostly make it better.
Here goes the list:
Robot revolution—robot hands that can learn to manipulate unfamiliar objects on their own
New-wave nuclear power—Development of both new fission and fusion reactor designs making them safer and cheaper
Customizable cancer vaccines— Companies like BioNTech and a treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to target only tumoral cells
Predicting premature babies—a simple blood test that can predict chances of preterm birth, potentially saving many children’s lives
Probe-a-pill—a swallowable device that takes image the gut and even performs biopsies.
Plant based burgers—The aim is to drastically cut emissions from the food industry by inventing both plant-based and lab-grown meat alternatives.
Separating and ‘Repurposing’ Carbon dioxide—Companies like Climeworks based in Zurich, are looking for economical techniques for absorbing CO2 from the air and locking it away. Companies aim to produce methane from carbon emissions and also sell carbon dioxide to the soft-drink industry
An ECG-enabled smartwatch— Electrocardiogram – popularly known as ECG – will be available as wearable technology. The wearable will be able to detect atrial fibrillation and continuously monitor people’s heart and health conditions, giving early warnings of problems.
Self-contained toilets—The low-income countries cannot afford the luxury of a sewer system. Gates says, “A self-contained toilet takes the human waste, liquid and solid, and in most cases does some type of separation. The solids you can essentially burn. The liquids you can filter”
All-capable AI assistants—Expect better conversations with AI Assistants that are capable of much more than just conversations like taking meeting notes and shopping online.
Bill Gates is not just a believer but an avid investor in the development of these innovative technologies that are bound to change the world. As he says,
“How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose.”
I for one believe the world is witnessing how IT has transformed businesses and is an integral part of its success. RKC providing online programmes understand the importance of tech and thus offers Online Masters that provide you with the necessary knowledge and skill to excel in the field of IT. Chat with our advisors on WhatsApp to know more about our 100% Online MBA specializing in Information Technology. Because in the words of Bill Gates,
Continuing with our blog series featuring our female students, we asked our students to share their experiences with us – the challenges of getting back to school, of managing work and study along with family, and the unique challenges they faced being female students.
Ms. Ilse Baxter is a graduate of our MA programme in Leading Innovation and Change (MALIC) through our exclusive partnership with York St John University, UK. This programme has been discontinued and has reincarnated as a 100% online MBA programme in Leading Innovation and Change.
Now, let us see what she has to say!
Who is …
A short profile
Sahil Devasia (SD): Who are you, really?
Ilse Baxter (IB): I am a forty-something, beach and nature loving South African who divides her time between Sandton, Johannesburg, Cape Town and my happy place – Hermanus. I have always loved music and the arts – and danced professionally for a short period in my early twenties.
My under-graduate studies were in the sciences – I studied computer science and maths – but balanced this with English literature studies just to keep sane. 🙂
I have over my career had the privilege of working in SA, the UK and the USA. These days I am a director of a niche management consulting company – heading up the Business Transformation practice. We have for more than 10 years helped clients in the Financial Services and Retail sector grapple with some of the toughest challenges they have had to face. I am absolutely passionate about the topic of Business Transformation! For fun I love travel, reading, yoga, painting, music and I’m a bit of a foody – so love love love all the wonderful restaurants and wineries SA has to offer or just cooking at home with friends and family!
Getting back into education
Your story of getting back to do a Master’s degree
SD: What was the driving force behind your enrolling for an online degree? Who inspired you? What motivated you?
IB: I don’t consider myself an academic at all – I never have. I am very practically/experientially minded by nature – but I have always been insatiably curious about things around me. In this – I guess I was inspired by my mother. At 88 this year she remains as sharp as ever, curious (and incredibly informed) about the world around her and eternally questioning and seeking to understand more.
In my forties I started feeling the need to back what I had learnt practically/experientially with a relevant and meaningful post graduate qualification. I didn’t just want to “tick the box” by adding a few letters behind my name – I wanted it to be something that really contributed to my practice and reflected my areas of interest. It took me a couple of years to find something that I felt reflected my interest areas and allowed me to study in a way that made sense it my personal and professional obligations…… enter MALIC.
SD: What were the thoughts/situations/people/challenges holding you back from starting (if any)? How did you overcome them?
IB: Firstly – TIME!!! How do I balance an incredibly busy life of running a consulting practice, helping clients through some of the toughest challenges they ever have to face (not a part time job), being there for my team, being present and there for my husband and family – and still find some time for myself (especially with all the pressure out there to stay fit, well and to achieve the illusive “balance” we’re all chasing)?!
Secondly – a PERSONAL CRISES. I had already been accepted into the programme. Literally the week I was due to start – my husband (and business partner – he is the Managing Director of our company) had a major stroke. This was a crisis not just personally – but for our business too. Initially he was paralysed on the right-hand side of his body. Also – the man I married spoke 6 languages. The stroke rendered him mute for about 6 weeks (language centre in the brain was at the locus of the stroke). And then we had to start from scratch – learning how to say vowels etc etc. It has taken years to recover his current facility in terms of both speech and writing. He recovered 100% physically quite quickly. But the language journey is one they told us could take 10 years. Nearly 4 years later now his speech and writing has largely recovered in English and he is starting to grapple with French and Spanish again.
My instincts at the time was to just cancel commencing with my studies. But – as always – it was my mum and husband that insisted that I continue. So, I asked for a reprieve to start with the next cohort (3 months later) and set out on a 3 year journey of learning.
To be honest – studying kept me sane. It gave me something outside of my circumstances to focus on. Our business has had to transform to adapt to our new circumstances – and in doing so it has thrived. We have had to adapt to our new circumstances – and although without a shadow of a doubt it has been the toughest thing I have ever faced – we have survived and thrived through it. Studying under these circumstances was – despite seemingly impossible circumstances (many clients and friends thought I was mad to continue) – the best decision I have ever made.
Thirdly – PEOPLE’s PERSPECTIVES (clients, family, friends) – asking me WHY I FELT I NEEDED TO STUDY FURTHER – you’ve already mastered this topic – what difference will this make to your life? Ultimately the decision to study was a very personal one. My job requires me to pour everything I know into helping my clients – this drains you physically, emotionally and mentally. In truth – I knew I needed something to build up my own internal stores – to inspire, challenge and grow again – so that I could be a better leader, a better advisor and a better practitioner. It has done all that for me and more!
SD: What surprised you the most when you started your studies?
IB: Firstly – That despite a seemingly impossible load – client assignments, running a business, study, family – there IS time if you really want to do something. Something shifts and what seems impossible becomes imminently possible.
Secondly – How I could draw on my work experience to enrich my studies and how I could draw on my studies to enrich my practice …. not at the end of the process – but from the very first module.
SD: Do you feel there are unique challenges women face when deciding to get back into education?
IB: Time I think is the biggest one. The practice I lead is (not by design) predominantly female in profile. I have over the years observed the challenges (both practically and emotionally) that professional women face in terms of balancing professional demands and aspirations with family responsibilities (and aspirations) and the need to look after themselves (mentally, physically and emotionally). How do you take care of all these aspects of your life without compromising any of them? Is it ok to prioritise something that is seemingly just for your own benefit (aka potentially “selfish”)?
Getting the degree
The work to get the degree – what did you learn, how did you balance, what would you do differently
SD: Which programme did you do? Why?
IB: MALIC. Three reasons really:
It most closely matched my areas of interest.
It supported my area of practice.
It is set up in a way that allowed me to schedule my study obligations in a way that worked for my personal and professional circumstances.
SD: What is the single most important thing you learned during the programme?
IB: Not one – sorry! I loved studying again! In fact, I am considering going further after a “Gap Year” :). I absolutely loved doing research! (I never knew I would) This is opening up new potential opportunities as I move into a next stage of my career.
Most importantly – I discovered “I CAN”. I can do something for me without negatively impacting everything else that is important to me in my life. “I CAN” continue to grow and learn and evolve – even in my late forties 🙂
SD: How did you balance work and studies?
IB: Very very carefully! 🙂
Probably the most important advice I was given was in our first module by Dr Radu Negoescu. He encouraged us to do a plan and to contract with friends, family and colleagues. I took this advice to heart and “contracted” a way of work with my husband, friends, family and our team.
I am a morning person – so my plan involved getting up at 4.30 every morning and studying for 3 hours. Then having breakfast with my husband. before going to clients or attending to our business and team. I spent every evening with my husband or with friends and family. I also agreed terms for weekends.
By thinking through what it would take and how I could manage the impact on my life consciously – I had a routine that worked for us, my husband, our friends and family knew what they could expect from me (and what not) – so I could avoid feeling guilty for not getting to people/obligations and I had wonderful alone time every morning where I could focus on my studies.
One of the practices that evolved early on in this process was taking a photograph of the sunrise and just allowing myself to appreciate beauty, the privilege of doing what I was doing and the opportunity to enjoy that very special time of the day on my own. Although I am not studying anymore – I still love that time of day!
SD: Any particular challenges to being a woman and studying online, or do you think all students face the same ones?
IB: I don’t see any difference personally. The trick is finding something that you are interested in (not just something that is going to become a chore), a pattern that works for you and then sticking to it and a programme that is well organised and well enabled technologically!
Life post degree
What changed, if anything?
SD: What’s new in your life since graduating / starting your studies? Any visible impact already?
IB: A LOT has changed! 🙂
It has helped me focus on our value proposition from a practice perspective – and this focus really resonates with our clients! Our business has grown by more than 30% in the past 2 years as a result.
It has really changed my confidence in engaging with clients on certain topics. I am in the process of starting to write (journals) – something I have always wanted to do. I have started a complementary business – which tackles some of the findings from my dissertation. Exciting times ahead!
SD: Anything you are doing differently now because of the things you learned?
IB: I think the experience has really strengthened the approaches we take in our business practice. I’ve been able to draw on course content and also dissertation findings to really sharpen our focus. I also think that it has shifted many perspectives for me at a personal level. Not least of all what I can achieve when I set my mind to something! 🙂
SD: Do you feel that getting a Master’s degree or doing other online programmes can reduce gender discrimination in the work place?
IB: This is a tough question for me. Over the span of a 20+ year career I have never felt that I was on the receiving end of any overt discrimination at the workplace. This doesn’t by any means mean that I haven’t been on the receiving end of challenging or seemingly unfair situations.
I strongly believe – especially in the world we live in today – that we all have increased pressure to stay on top of our game. To continue to evolve, to respond to the world as it changes around us, to continue on a journey of being the best we can be – whatever that is. For me personally focusing on this mission is more important. In this mission – getting a Master’s degree is definitely a key enabler.
Advice for other women
Or other students, really.
SD: Imagine you could send a message back in time to your pre-degree self: what would it be?
IB: You CAN do this! (That doesn’t mean it’s not going to be super tough along the way & it doesn’t mean that you are not going to have days where you feel like quitting – it just means that if you persevere you will see the rewards!)
You SHOULD do this! (You deserve to give back to yourself – this investment is one of the best you’ll ever make!)
SD: Imagine you could send an object back in time to your pre-degree self: what would it be?
IB: Wow! These questions are something else! A beautiful tea pot and special cup! 🙂 This degree was earned over innumerous cups of tea!
SD: Anything else you would like to add that could help with the goal of increasing women’s participation/access to a Master’s degree?
IB: What may be useful is “support groups” – places where women considering studying, or current students can mix with current and past students – sharing experience, approaches, methods, etc., etc. (maybe these should be separate groups)? The diverse spread of students makes time zone/occupation etc. pairing a real opportunity – regardless of the hours people choose to study.
Now’s a good time to start
If you have been thinking about getting your master’s degree, proving to yourself and others that you CAN do it, now would be a good time to take the plunge. Have a look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything that could help.
You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programmes offered, application process, and for more information on any discounts we might be running in this rather strange period of our lives.
The University of Cumbria’s quality education has been ranked in the top ten of universities worldwide, according to the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, the only global performance tables that assess universities’ impact against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The university ranked 8th out of a total of 676 participating institutions worldwide and first in the UK for Quality Education SDG, which measures universities’ contribution to early years and lifelong learning, their pedagogy, research and commitment to inclusive education.
In other notable categories, the university’s gender equality credentials were recognised when it came joint 81st out of 547 participating institutions for ‘Gender Equality’ and 69th out of 268 institutions in ‘Life on Land’.
Overall, and as a relatively young university making its first submission to these rankings, it achieved an overall rank in the 201-300 range of 766 institutions, firmly residing in the top 40% of institutions worldwide.
THE believe that universities represent the greatest hope of solving some of the world’s biggest challenges.
The THE Impact Rankings are designed to shine a light on the commitment of universities around the world to making a positive social and economic impact within their communities and globally, through their work towards achieving the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; from providing inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting good health and wellbeing, to ensuring gender equality and taking action on climate change.
By participating, universities demonstrate the important role they’re playing in championing a better and more sustainable future.
Professor Julie Mennell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cumbria, said:
“As a university focused on serving our region’s needs many of the metrics within traditional (UK) rankings do not necessarily reflect our work or involvement within the communities that we serve or the impact we have globally through our local, national and overseas partnerships.
“Given the university’s mission and values, we felt it was important to participate in these specific rankings to more accurately highlight the world class outcomes achieved by our students and staff”
“Against the backdrop of the current worldwide crisis linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an opportunity for universities around the world to collaborate and help to refocus the global economic agenda on sustainable development in its truest sense.
“The University of Cumbria is committed to creating a sustainable legacy and joining our colleagues around the world in championing a brighter and more equitable future”.
Many of the university’s key international partners have come forward to offer their congratulations in response to the news.
“We would like to congratulate our partner, the University of Cumbria, for this outstanding performance and well-deserved recognition. The university’s continuous and relentless commitment to quality education and sustainability in all of their endeavours is an ongoing inspiration to us and our hundreds of international students worldwide.”
Professor Hamzah, CEO, Vision College, Selangor, Malaysia, commented:
“Vision College is proud to be a partner in providing both opportunities and a continuous sustainable effort in this region where we operate. I am confident that our students and staff have reasons to celebrate on your recent success and I look forward towards mutually beneficial outcomes of our collaboration”.
Reacting to the news, Mr. David Chew, CEO, FAME International College, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia said:
“The recent achievement of University of Cumbria – being ranked in the World’s Top 10 “Quality Education” (in The Times Higher Education Impact Ranking 2020) – is definitely well deserved, and FAME International College, Malaysia, is honoured to associate with such an esteemed partner.
This achievement highlights the university’s serious endeavours in developing, maintaining and providing high quality education to empower individuals and equip them with the knowledge and wisdom to build a better and more sustainable environment. Well done!”
Hsu-Cheng Chua, Dean of the Office of International Affairs, Shih Chien University, Taipei, Taiwan, added:
“As one of our most valuable partners around the world we are delighted that the university has been recognised for the quality and impact of its education. The University of Cumbria is a popular choice for our students because of the excellent learning environment and the dedicated and fully rounded support they provide. For us, it is definitely the best choice in the UK.”
Dr. Yvonne Klose, Director DAA Wirtschaftsakademie, Dusseldorf, Germany, concluded:
“Great news, and indeed, justified! Our partnership with the University of Cumbria reaches back to 2011. Since then we have been sending cohorts of our business students to the university to accomplish their final year. The students graduate with great results and take on successful careers in various areas of business. This year we will crack the 100 mark of successful graduates within this partnership.”
This is the second edition of the THE Impact Rankings, which launched in 2019, and included 766 universities from 85 countries.
Top of the list was New Zealand’s University of Auckland, while three Australian universities complete the rest of the top four: University of Sydney, Western Sydney University and La Trobe University.
Japan is the most-represented nation in the table with 63 institutions, followed by Russia with 47 and Turkey with 37.
I promise this is not another COVID-19 update, myths and truths or uncovering the facts where and how this deadly disease started, blog. There is more than enough information out there – and I’m talking about reliable sources only – enough to overwhelm most of us.
These are challenging times for us as individuals and for society at large – humanity some might say. The global pandemic has changed the way nations operate and has impacted the global economy. The greatest and gravest impact of the pandemic, however, is on the healthcare systems around the world. With about 3.8million COVID-19 cases in 210 countries and territories (as of May 9th, 2020), the healthcare systems worldwide are immensely stressed. (https://covid19.who.int)
Healthcare systems are hit hard both directly and indirectly (too many patients at the same time, too many doctors becoming patients, lacking resources, inability to attend to other conditions, etc.)
The World Health Organisation said so much:
Countries will need to make difficult decisions to balance the demands of responding directly to COVID-19, while simultaneously engaging in strategic planning and coordinated action to maintain essential health service delivery, mitigating the risk of system collapse
WHO, March 2020
So, if this is not an update, nor a myth-busting blog, what is it?
I would like to focus on the positives of this situation from an educational point of view, thinking especially of those who envisaged a career in the healthcare sector, people who are looking to switch careers, or someone already in the healthcare sector looking to verticalize their career path. Now is the time to “quarantine” and study!
Choosing a career for yourself might be one of the biggest decisions you take in your life. Some of us are fortunate to follow our passions and interests and make a successful career out of it. Sometimes after pursuing a career for a whole number of years, we realise that it is not something we want to do for the rest of our lives. We’ve got to rationalize our interest and weigh the pros and cons a career offers. If you have been thinking what’s in it for you, here is what a career in the healthcare industry has to offer:
While every profession tends to serve society in some way (well at least that is what I like to believe), in my opinion, healthcare is the noblest. The potential of changing and saving lives puts you on a higher pedestal as a professional compared to any other. If you have an innate desire of helping others and uplifting humankind, healthcare is the right place for you.
Tremendous Growth Opportunities
Surveys and labor statistics reveal that healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries with an estimated addition of 1.9 million new jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in healthcare occupations was projected to grow 14 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Healthcare occupations are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups. This projected growth is mainly due to an aging population, leading to greater demand for healthcare services.
Challenging situations like the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 have created a need for strong healthcare leadership. The present outbreak is far from over, and the healthcare sector is operating at maximum capacity. There is an urgent need to adequately plan and utilise limited resources. At the same time, it has become all the more imperative for the healthcare systems worldwide to be prepared for any future events, as the COVID-19 pandemic is definitely not the last one.
The sector offers a number of growth opportunities that are wide ranging, beyond the conventional patient care field of being a practitioner, nurse or therapist. There are opportune avenues for both horizontal and vertical growth in the sector. As the healthcare paradigm continues to evolve, there is a greater demand for innovation in healthcare technology, guided by the vision and sharp business acumen of a strong healthcare professional.
Most days, a healthcare professional will bring new challenges and should bring with them joys and job satisfaction. Demand is changing and so are the roles in this industry which adds to its dynamicity.
Healthcare offers flexibility in three ways. First the flexibility on choice of profession. You have a plethora of options to choose from: patient care services, government relations, human resources, planning and development to name just a few healthcare management positions you can get yourself into.
Then you can choose the environment you want to work in. The healthcare management professionals are not limited to jobs in just hospitals. There are great career opportunities in consulting, state and federal agencies, insurance, laboratories and universities.
Thirdly, this industry is not bound by borders. The experience in the field is highly regarded across nations making you a valuable asset wherever you go (with few exceptions where licensing might be necessary).
Last but definitely not least, healthcare sector jobs are well paid and rewarding in the monetary sense as well. On an average, the median salaries of healthcare professionals are higher than the annual wages of all other occupations. (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm)
A master’s degree could provide you ‘the edge’ to make a move into or to grow within the healthcare industry. The enhanced knowledge and multifaceted skillsets will allow you to make progress by leaps and bounds in the field.
Because let’s be honest – who hasn’t had a bad “boss”? Highly competent people with tremendous skills in their profession, parachuted in leadership positions without preparation. That “joy and job satisfaction” we were mentioning earlier are highly impacted by leaders who are not fully prepared to lead other people too.
Our Online MBA Healthcare programmes will help you understand international perspectives and also how to analyze the constraints and trade-offs in developing and implementing national health strategies, health care financing, economic evaluation, the role of effective change management and technological development.
Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the healthcare management programmes offered and the application process. Remember to ask about our “quarantine” discounts and check your eligibility.
On behalf of the entire RKC team, a special thanks to all healthcare professionals across the world for working tirelessly to keep our communities safe. Our gratitude to all of you responsible citizens for staying home and helping stop the spread. #thankyouheathcareworkers
In today’s world of “social distancing”, online education has taken on an unprecedented importance. To remain professionally relevant, we must constantly find ways of self-improvement and adding more value to the organisation we work for. Online education is one of the easiest ways through which we can achieve these goals, all while maintaining social distancing!
Who are we?
We have been around for more than 20 years, and in the world of online education, that makes us one of the pioneers!
We have partnerships with multiple British universities to exclusively deliver some of their most popular Master’s degree programmes online.
Until now, one of the unique value propositions of RKC’s online programmes has been the one-week mandatory residency programme, which was conducted either in the university campus in the United Kingdom or the college campus in Zürich, Switzerland.
However, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic and to cater to the changing requirements of our students, RKC and its partners have moved to an online delivery for the residency as well, therefore all our Master’s degree programmes are now 100% online.
There’s a caveat here – we really do like, and know students benefit greatly from, face to face residencies. It is likely that, as the pandemic ends, some of the programmes may go back to face-to-face residencies for new students.
What does an “OnlineResidency™” look like? We’ve just finished our very first delivery this last week, and, some small technical challenges aside, given how everyone is online and video conferencing these days, we believe the experience has been successful and useful to our students, who learned about designing and conducting research for the Master level dissertations.