#DILO (A day in the life of) a master’s student – Anthony Cairns

What is the best way to study online? Should you do an online programme? How to better manage time when learning online?

These are all questions that we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) get asked regularly by students who are looking to join one of our online programmes. Undertaking to do an online master’s degree programme will be an additional commitment to your time and finances, and it is wise to get information beforehand, cross your T’s and dot your I’s before making your decision. 

Through this continuing series of blog posts, some of our past and current students have shared their thoughts and opinions and given their feedback on handling some of these choices and situations. Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision. 

Learning from those who came before you is smart. I am not asking you to follow what they are saying blindly, but to take what they said worked for them and see if it will work for you, maybe make a few changes (or a lot). In the end, only you know what works best for you!

Anthony Cairns is one of our successful students who graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Leading Innovation and Change (This programme has been discontinued, we now offer a 100% Online MBA in Leading Innovation and Change in its stead). Anthony says that his experience in doing an MA via RKC resulted in his now doing a PhD. 

On the left Anthony Cairns – Graduation Picture – 18th November 2015, and on the right Anthony Cairns being awarded his master’s degree by the Archbishop of York in 2015 John Sentamu

Once you get the academia bug, there is no stopping the roller coaster! 😉

Anthony Cairns, RKC Graduate

An Introduction

Who you are, really?

I am a software test management consultant, specialising in software testing, governance, and ISO standards.

Which Uni are you studying with?

I studied with York St John University for my MA. 

Which programme did you choose and why?

MA in Leading Innovation and Change 

The Study Plan

How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? For example, how many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?

I decided to study 2 modules at the same time, the reality being that I achieved this, but with detriment to perhaps I could have gained higher marks had I studied one at a time. But the end result was I managed to gain my MA in less time than I would have otherwise taken. Although I was working full-time as a contract consultant test manager, I worked every evening from around 7pm until about midnight. I then got up early at around 6am to do a couple of more hours before going to the office.

What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)

I used to personally love the 8pm to midnight, as well as the 6am (if not earlier).

How much time did you devote for each assignment?

Hard to say when I did 2 at the same time, but perhaps I estimate about 20-30 hours each week across 2 modules.

Travelling and Communication

How did travelling impact your ability to study?

Not at all, as when I travelled it was via flight and it gave me extra time to work on my MA.

How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?

There was no real time difference as such as I worked whatever time I need to allocate to get the work done and delivered.

On the top we see Anthony Cairns sitting in the front row with his graduating class, and the bottom picture shows Anthony Cairns with his lovely family

A typical day as a master’s student

What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?

Get up early, do some University work. Go and perform my daily paid-for-work. Get back (to home or hotel), then do another couple of hours before dinner. Stop for an hour or so for dinner, then do another 3-5 hours after dinner in the evening.

Any advice?

Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.

Perhaps work on a single module at a time. Take all the advice you get from your supervisor, as they have been there many times before. Read, read, read, then read some more. Research is paramount. Give advice and guidance to fellow students who may need a little help and guidance. I did this all the time and found it also personally very rewarding.


I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this place for more similar blogs. You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, and the application process.

Meet the Dean, Dr. iur. David Costa – in an exclusive Live Session

The Dean of Robert Kennedy College, Dr. iur. David Costa recently held an online presentation and live discussion session about our 100% Online BA, MSc, MBA, and LLM programmes. The online Master’s programmes are offered in exclusive partnerships with the University of Cumbria, the University of Salford, and York St John University. The participants – the potential and current students accepted into our programmes –  had a chance to ask the Dean questions directly.   

Introducing the Dean  

Professor David Costa is one of the founders of Robert Kennedy College. In his current capacity as Dean of Faculty, he oversees the faculty review process and several of the college’s academic programmes.  

He holds a Dr. iur. (Doctor Iuris, Doctor of Laws) degree from the University of Basel, Switzerland, where he researched the law and regulations related to synthetic investment products. With other Law degrees from Scotland (Robert Gordon University, LL.B), England (the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, LL.M International Trade Law), and the United States (Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, LL.M in U.S. Law), he has acquired extensive expertise in Comparative Law.   

In addition to his legal qualifications, Dr Costa holds a BA in Business Studies from the University of Derby, an MBA in eCommerce from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, a PhD in Strategy, Programme, and Project Management from the École Supérieure de Commerce de Lille for which his doctoral thesis was a study of index-based commodity investments. 

David is a frequent guest on business TV channels such as CNBC Europe and Bloomberg Television. His recent research on risk-adjusted portfolios with both stocks and commodities has been used for the creation of a Swiss publicly traded investment certificate issued by the second-largest German Bank, Commerzbank AG. In addition, he is the author of The Portable Private Banker.  

Professor David Costa lectures at Robert Kennedy College in Contracts Law, Transnational Business Law, Investment Law and Money Management  

The Presentation  

Professor David Costa began with a short presentation providing details about each of our exclusive partner universities. Then, he introduced the programmes offered – the MBAs, MSc, LL.Ms, and the BA (Hons) that was recently added to the list of the wide range of programmes RKC offers. He then gave the programme overview and explained what makes our Master’s programmes so unique. Here are some of the highlights that set RKC’s Online programmes apart:  

  1. Duration – Minimum 12 months and maximum 5 years  
  1. Contemporary, practical courses  
  1. No Exams. Evaluation based on assessments   
  1. Flexible Learning  
  1. 100% online courses  
  1. British Degrees that are recognized worldwide  

Further, he dived into the real reason they were all gathered together, and it was the pursuit of higher and quality education. David himself has been studying for over 20 years. With several academic degrees and two PhDs, he said that education had been his best investment, and each programme he studied gave him the best return on investment. He went on to tell why: 

  1. Knowledge  
  1. Self-confidence  
  1. Career progression  
  1. Discovering new horizons  
  1. Applicable learning – learn it today and apply it today!  

Finally, the Q&A round! The Dean himself answered several questions by the students from the questions about the programme, the payment plan, eligibility requirements, the study schedules, and many more.   

Watch the recordings of the live sessions held by Dr. iur. David Costa to find out for yourself if any questions that you might have have already been answered.  

Zoom conference recording 1
Zoom conference recording

It is indeed a very informative session. Would you like to attend a similar session in the future? Let us know in the comments section below, and we will notify you of the dates for future live session.