The difference between a College and a University – is there even one?

Before we get into the rest of the article and try to go past the surface differences between a college and a university, let me talk about the difference as it relates to us (Robert Kennedy College) and our partner universities (University of Cumbria, University of Salford, and York St John University). 

The relationship between Robert Kennedy College and our partner universities

As a college, Robert Kennedy College (RKC), like our university partners, is a higher education institution offering a number of master’s degree programmes. However, we are not the ones who award the degree to a student who successfully completes a programme with us. The degrees are awarded by our university partners, who are recognised and accredited by the government (in our case, as our partners are British, by the government of the United Kingdom). 

As the degree is awarded by the university, we are required to maintain education standards as prescribed by the university. They are also the ones who determine which programmes we can deliver on their behalf and generally also the syllabus of the programmes we deliver.  

Now you might be asking – What exactly is RKC’s role in all this? 

We are the ones who deliver the programmes to our students. We determine the most effective methodology of teaching the syllabus to the students, evaluating and guiding them, and providing teaching support. Not only that, we market the programmes, filter and guide students through the admission process, and provide student support. We are responsible for developing and maintaining the entire OnlineCampus and for record keeping, and are the ones who ultimately deliver the programme to the students. 

We also share responsibility with our partners on delivering residencies – the one week face-to-face components of our programmes. With this year’s residencies affected by COVID-19, we have moved to an online delivery of this component, with great success even if we say so ourselves (well, our students agree too!)

RKC’s OnlineResidency™

So far, we have focused on the relationship between RKC and our partner universities. But, in today’s world, is there really a difference between a college and a university? I will argue there is, especially in the UK, however, more and more this difference diminishes, especially globally.  

The British perspective  

Now, as we are talking about British universities, let’s talk a little about the education system in the United Kingdom and get a basic understanding of it.

There are 5 stages to the education system in the UK: 

  • Early Years 
  • Primary Years 
  • Secondary School 
  • Further Education 
  • Higher Education 

The first 3 stages are mandatory and on completing secondary school, students have to sit for GCSE or A-Levels exams. After secondary education (high school), getting a better understanding of the differences between college and university becomes important in making an informed decision about the future. 

College

A college in the UK is an educational institution that offers higher education courses that can either be vocational courses or lead to specific degree programmes. A student attending college will be equipped with the skills and knowledge required to enter into a specific job or a university programme. 

College programmes in the UK tend to focus on practical and hands-on experiential learning, whereas university programmes tend to be a mix of both practical and theoretical knowledge. Colleges also offer more part-time study options, and are usually cheaper than a university programme. 

Some of the certifications colleges in the UK offer are: 

  • Diploma 
  • Foundation Degree
  • General Certificate of Secondary Education GCSE 
  • Higher National Certificate HNC 
  • Higher National Diploma HND 

 University 

In the UK, a university is a higher education institution which has the legal authority to issue degrees. The title of “university” is obtained by ensuring a certain quality of education that is specified and monitored by a duly appointed government authority. The degrees that are awarded are: 

University of Salford
  • Undergraduate degrees 
  • Postgraduate degrees 
  • Doctorate (Ph.D.) 

However, some British universities might have branch colleges under them that run different programmes like foundation degrees, helping prepare students for university.  


Now that you have a better understanding of the British educational system, and more importantly, the relationship between RKC and our partner universities, please go through the list of programmes we offer and make your choice! Which programme is right for you?  

Celebrating our Graduates – University of Salford

Get in touch with our team of admission advisers who can have a look at your profile and give you some advice on the programmes that best meet your requirements.  Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with our Education Advisor today! Or, if you have already made up your mind, click here to apply 

Women in RKC – Ilse Baxter, MA Leading Innovation and Change, York St John University, UK

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

Ms. Ilse Baxter

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!

Closing thoughts

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.

NEWS RELEASE – University of Cumbria’s quality education recognised on world stage

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, University of Cumbria

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.

Dr. iur. David Costa, Dean, Robert Kennedy College, Zurich, Switzerland said:

“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.

Finally..

Robert Kennedy College is proud to announce that the University of Cumbria Online programmes are now being offered 100% online. Get in touch with our team of admission advisers who can have a look at your profile and give you some advice. Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with our Education Advisor today! Or, if you have already made up your mind, click here to apply.

RKC Launches 100% Online Master’s Degree Programmes

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? 

What we offer

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. 

OnlineResidency™ at work

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.

What can you study with us? 

100% Online Programmes offered through our exclusive partnership with the University of Cumbria

Online MSc Computer Science and International Business 

Online MSc Data Analytics 

Online MBA Artificial Intelligence 

Online MBA Digital Marketing 

Online MBA Information Technology 

Online Master of Business Administration 

Online MBA Energy and Sustainability 

Online MBA Finance and Sustainability 

Online MBA Media Leadership 

Online MBA Leadership and Sustainability 

Online MBA Public Health Management 

Online MBA International Healthcare Management 

Online MBA International Business 

Online MBA Risk Management 

Online MBA Tourism 

Online MBA Educational Leadership 

Online LL.M – Master of Laws in International Business Law 

100% Online Programmes offered through our exclusive partnership with the University of Salford

Online Master of Science in Global Management 

Online Master of Science in Project Management 

Online Master of Science in Financial Services Management 

Online Master of Science in Marketing 

Online Master of Science in Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain Management 

Online Master of Science in Human Resource Management and Development 

Online Master of Science in Information Systems Management 

Online Master of Science in International Banking and Finance 

Online Master of Science in Accounting and Finance 

Online Master of Science in International Business with Law 

Online Master of Science in International Corporate Finance 

Online Master of Science in International Events Management 

Online Master of Science in Digital Business 

Online Master of Science in Fraud and Risk Management 

Online Master of Science in Finance and Investment Management 

Online Master of Science in International Business 

Online LL.M – Master of Laws in International Commercial Law

100% Online Programmes offered through our exclusive partnership with York St John University

Online MBA in Leading Innovation and Change 

Online MBA in Coaching Mentoring and Leadership 

Online MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation 

Online MBA in Innovation Leadership and Consulting 

Online MBA in Leadership and Management 

Online MBA in Management Consulting

Which programme is right for you? Not a question I am able to answer via a blog post, I’m afraid, but if you want to find out, you can get in touch with our team of admission advisers who can have a look at your profile and give you some advice.  Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with our Education Advisor today! Or, if you have already made up your mind, click here to apply.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) — The future of Business. Here are 6 reasons why!

Technology has always been the change catalyst for how we do business and with the rapid changes in communication technology these changes are now taking place in real time.

One of the key reasons for the long-term success of big multinational organisations is their ability to obtain business intelligence (BI) from their customers. Most organisations still collect feedback from their customers after a sale or service provided using a standard feedback form that asks typical questions. The information obtained through this method provides valuable information about the customers and their experience, but still the information is very limited, slow to get and process, and depends a lot on the customers’ willingness to give feedback. 

Organisations that invest in artificial intelligence (Al) and machine learning (ML) derive a lot of other benefits that can impact and provide business intelligence to multiple departments within the organisation. Furthermore, with the advancement in cloud storage and computing, data and business intelligence can be derived almost in real time. 

The following are some of the benefits of AI and ML especially in the era of cloud computing: 

  1. Enhanced Customer Experience: Real time intelligence on consumer buying behaviour provides companies with data on a number of key parameters from the spending capabilities of their customers, products that are trending, products that are reaching the end of their lifecycle, seasonal information, etc. Analysis of these data can provide the organisation with insights on the best ways to reach its customers through marketing activities, product pricing, product placement, etc. 
  2. Operational Automation: Operations are the backbone of an organisation. Without goods and services being produced or delivered, there is no purpose to the existence of an organisation. This is traditionally where the majority of the workforce is centred around, where the most wastage of resources takes place and is also the highest budgeted department of the organisation. Through the incorporation of AI and ML, the entire department can be streamlined to operate with best efficiency and in a cost and human resource effective manner.  
  3. Data Mining: Most organisations produce a mountain load of data every single day and it is not possible to manually go through all the data and extract some kind of BI from it. AI and ML will be able to quickly surface important and relevant patterns and insights during the processing of big data.  
  4. Supply Chain Management (SCM) Automation: Like operation automation, the BI derived through AI and ML can help streamline and increase the efficiency of the entire supply chain management process. It will also help in the automation of the entire SCM process. 
  5. Recruitment: Most big organisations receive thousands of job applications every month for a handful of job opportunities, making it almost impossible to go through all the applications to find the right person for the job. AI and ML can help (and indeed do already) in analysing the job requirements and the applicants’ data to find the right person for the job. 
  6. Trend Analysis: This key BI is applicable across all the departments of the organisation and is available through the analysis of all the data each department generates. By effectively predicting the trend, it will increase the efficiency and reduce the operational cost for an organisation as a whole, and at the same time increase its sales and overall profit. 

The above are just some of the more obvious benefits of an AI and ML system. Every day, new BI programmes are being developed. These programmes best utilise the AI and ML systems’ data to provide organisations with unique and valuable data to base future business decisions on.  

If you are looking to formalise your AI and ML knowledge, or looking for a jumpstart into a career in Artificial Intelligence, Robert Kennedy College offers a 100% Online MBA Artificial Intelligence through an exclusive partnership with the University of Cumbria, UK. Click here to apply for the programme. 

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.

Women in RKC – Deidree R. Diño, M.Sc. Global Management, University of Salford, UK

Continuing with our Women’s Day series of blog posts featuring our students and asking them to share their experiences – the challenges of getting back to school, of managing work and study along with family, and the unique challenges they faced being female students.

This week we feature Ms. Deidree R. Diño, one of our student ambassadors who is a graduate of our M.Sc. programme in Global Management through our exclusive partnership with the University of Salford, UK. Let us see what she has to say.

Ms. Deidree R. Diño

Who is …

A short profile

Sahil Devasia (SD): Who are you, really?

Deidree R. Diño (DRD): I think of myself as a lifelong learner who is constantly searching for the next meaningful change, especially when it comes to my work.

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?

DRD: I knew that at some point I would want to move on and not remain stagnant. I realize that to be competitive, I had to have a higher level of education and a stronger theoretical background to complement my work experience in different industries. I know of people who were able to study and work full-time and despite the challenges, they never regretted it.

SD: What were the thoughts/situations/people/challenges holding you back from starting (if any)? How did you overcome them?

DRD: Finances and time were both serious constraints. While I don’t have children, I support my mother and pay for the house in which she lives in S.E. Asia. I also have to pay my own bills here in Europe. I was already a department head and leadership team member, which meant I was working at least 50 hours a week. I had to study part-time so completing my master’s degree took longer, but I did not want to work or study half-heartedly. It was important to do both to the best of my abilities.

SD: What surprised you the most when you started your studies?

DRD: I already knew how challenging it would be but I was pleasantly surprised at the frameworks and theories I learned. I also appreciated the strict requirements on researching for and writing papers. The dissertation was difficult to write but it was good to have gone through that process.

SD: Do you feel there are unique challenges women face when deciding to get back into education?

DRD: It’s particularly difficult for women who want to have children, study, and work, especially if they want to do well. It’s impossible to do all three without the support of their spouses or immediate family members. The reality of a running biological clock puts more pressure on women to set aside their career and educational goals in order to have and raise children.

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?

DRD: I completed the MSc in Global Management program. My career choices and work experiences have led me to believe that understanding management frameworks and effective practices in different contexts, in international organizations, and across industries will be a significant advantage if I change careers.

SD: What is the single most important thing you learned during the programme?

DRD: Effectively managing people and resources is key to organizational success.

SD: How did you balance work and studies?

DRD: I could not work part-time so I had to study part-time and use my vacation days to revise and complete papers and assignments. I decided not to go on real holidays and travel as much as I used to.

SD: Any particular challenges to being a woman and studying online, or do you think all students face the same ones?

DRD: Even while studying online is more flexible than going to classes, for women with management jobs and family obligations, it can still be very difficult and even frustrating.

Life post degree

What changed, if anything?

SD: What’s new in your life since graduating / starting your studies? Any visible impact already?

DRD: I applied several concepts I learned to my own work and even shared the knowledge with peers. I also decided to change employers – not at all for money but to learn something new and find out if I can handle different challenges.

SD: Anything you are doing differently now because of the things you learned?

DRD: I think what I learned mostly validated the knowledge and skills I acquired through my work experience. Having said that, I think I’m a more effective leader and my ability to foresee possible problems and complications has improved.

SD: Do you feel that getting a Master’s degree or doing other online programmes can reduce gender discrimination in the work place?

DRD: Indirectly, yes, the flexibility and accessibility afforded by online programs, especially Master’s degrees, ensures that women can earn higher qualifications that will help make them more competitive when it comes to job advancement and career opportunities.

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?

DRD: Getting an advanced degree is anything but easy – in fact it’s excruciatingly hard – but it is worth it. Investing in education and continuing to learn is a hundred times better than staying where / how you are and regretting it.

SD: Imagine you could send an object back in time to your pre-degree self: what would it be?

DRD: A copy of my Master’s transcript and diploma.

Closing thoughts

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?

DRD: You’re never too old to learn; if you have the opportunity, take it.

Our own little contribution: As we continue to celebrate Women in Education, we are pleased to continue to offer bursaries of up to 4’000 CHF

We, at RKC, are proud to play a part in the ongoing efforts in reducing the gender disparity in education. We have already announced a special bursary on the tuition fees for all female applicants #EachforEqual!

During these difficult times, as we practice social distancing to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are pleased to extend the bursary to all our applicants. We hope this will help keep you occupied, help you learn something new and when this crisis is over and you get back to work, help improve your career prospects.

Have a look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything that interests you or chat with one of our Education Advisors on WhatsApp for more guidance!

Women in RKC – Iulia Maria Garbacea, M.Sc. Marketing, University of Salford, UK

These are difficult and scary times, and at least for me, it just highlights how much I depend on the strength of the women in my life to see me through. I pray and hope that all our readers are being safe, taking precautions, practicing social distancing and doing their little bit to fight the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Be safe! 

As we continue with these Women’s Day series of blog posts, we asked some of 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. Iulia Maria Garbacea

Ms. Iulia Maria Garbacea is one of our student ambassadors and is a graduate of our M.Sc. programme in Marketing through our exclusive partnership with the University of Salford, UK. Let us see what she has to say:

Who is … 

A short profile 

Sahil Devasia (SD): Who are you, really? 

Iulia Maria Garbacea (IMG): I am a 28 year old Romanian woman, living in Bucharest. I am a bit younger than the average graduate (or at least was when I graduated) but would not change it for the world. Professionally, I am working on the implementation of a new ERP project for a big telecom company. 

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? 

IMG: Well, I wanted to see how other education systems worked. I did my Bachelor’s in Romania, but for my master’s wanted something different. 

SD: What were the thoughts/situations/people/challenges holding you back from starting (if any)? How did you overcome them? 

IMG: It was intimidating having to balance a full-time job with studies, so it took me some time to decide to go for it. And I won’t lie, it wasn’t easy. I had to do a lot of work on myself – to avoid procrastination, to not be late with submitting my papers, to study on weekends, to take days off so that I could finish my papers. 

SD: What surprised you the most when you started your studies? 

IMG: That I can learn much more by researching articles/topics for my papers than I ever did by memorizing information. 

SD: Do you feel there are unique challenges women face when deciding to get back into education? 

IMG: It depends a lot I think on the period of life in which you decide to go back to school. In my case it was easier, since I did not have anybody else to care for (children) and I could use the free time to focus on my studies. But I think that even if it might be more challenging for women later in life, they are setting an example for their children – studying at any age is possible. I think it is important to invest in our children, by investing in ourselves. 

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? 

IMG: I studied Marketing because I believe this field has a lot of potential. I believe a good marketer is like a psychologist. 

SD: What is the single most important thing you learned during the programme? 

IMG: In my case, the most important lesson was not an academic one, it was one of personal development. I proved to myself that I am smart and determined enough to study in a language different from my own. I also had the luck to meet and make friends with people from around the world at our residency in Zurich. It was so much fun! 🙂 

SD: How did you balance work and studies? 

IMG: This was the most challenging part, especially when writing the dissertation. I worked on my assignments in my spare time, and also sometimes at work. I listened to a looooot of focus music to help keep my mind from wandering. 

SD: Any particular challenges to being a woman and studying online, or do you think all students face the same ones? 

IMG: Personally, I did not feel like I had it harder than my male colleagues. It was a very gender-neutral environment. We were all students in front of the professors. 

Life post degree 

What changed, if anything? 

SD: What’s new in your life since graduating / starting your studies? Any visible impact already? 

IMG: I switched from a more commercial role, into a more IT-focused position. 

SD: Anything you are doing differently now because of the things you learned? 

IMG: Yes, I am able to organize my projects better, to keep up with my commitments, and to be on time with delivery. 

SD: Do you feel that getting a Master’s degree or doing other online programmes can reduce gender discrimination in the work place? 

IMG: I feel that any type of studies can help reduce gender discrimination in the workplace. As far as I am concerned, the online programmes are a way of keeping up with the modern world. We can do almost anything online nowadays, why not study? As people start working, it is very difficult for them to attend night-schools, or weekend schools if they want to study in parallel. But studying online means that you can listen to courses while commuting, or while taking a break from work. 

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? 

IMG: It takes a lot of commitment and a lot of hard work, but at the end, the knowledge you gain is something that no one can ever take away from you. Also, those annoying focus music tracks from YouTube – they are a life changer. I still use them today when I need to work on important things. 

SD: Imagine you could send an object back in time to your pre-degree self: what would it be? 

IMG: The ‘How to write you dissertation’ handbook – absolutely necessary! 

Closing thoughts 

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? 

IMG: Just that investing in a woman is an investment in a generation of people. 

Our own little contribution: March Women’s bursaries of up to 2’500 CHF! 

We, at RKC, are proud to play a part in the ongoing efforts in reducing the gender disparity in education. We have already announced a special bursary on the tuition fees for all female applicants during the month of March in celebration of the International Women’s Day, only a few days to go, don’t lose out! #EachforEqual!

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.

International Women’s Day – is that enough?!

One day! – to celebrate the mothers, wives, sisters and daughters in our lives. We say we live in modern times and consider ourselves enlightened and educated, but even now, in many parts of the world women are discriminated against, not being given even basic human freedoms. And I am not just talking about third world countries: even in the so called “first world nations” women are discriminated against, looked at as objects and paid only a fraction of what is paid to a man for the same job.

I do not understand the reason for this discrimination. My father was an officer in the merchant navy, which meant that for most of my childhood he was away at sea and that meant my mother was the one who looked after all our landbound affairs, and I can tell you that if my father was in charge, things wouldn’t have gone nearly as smoothly as they did.

We have made some progress already – things are better today than they were in the past. Women were considered the weaker sex and seen only as a companion, caregiver, housekeeper, cook and breeder. Men on the other hand were stronger, the hunter, the protector, the main bread winner and because of this they were given some education and seen as smarter. There was no need to educate women as it would have been a waste of money and would not have been in their job description. I can’t believe this is what men thought and, in some cases, still think!

In fact, some western countries gave women the right to vote only about 50 to 100 years ago, mostly during the interwar period – Canada (1917), Britain and Germany (1918), Austria and the Netherlands (1919) and the United States (1920). Notable exceptions in Europe were France, where women could not vote until 1944, Greece (1952), and Switzerland (1971).

Women have had to fight at every step for the right to be treated as equals to men.

Gender Pay Gap

Female filmmakers protesting the gender pay gap and other inequalities in the film industry, during the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

Even today, in several countries (including in “enlightened” first world countries), women are not paid on par with men for doing the same job and just as competently. There are a number of social reasons given for this disparity in income – from motherhood (perception that women cannot work as long or as hard as men) to jobs that are perceived to be male dominated (construction, manufacturing, mining, transportation, etc.).

For example, the following graphic shows the women’s weekly earnings, employment, and percentage of men’s earnings, by industry, in 2009, in the United states.

The OECD was showing the following gender pay gaps (unadjusted) in 2008.

The unadjusted gender gap according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 2008.

There’s been positive change since, with numbers from 2015-2019 showing improvement overall. Lower numbers are better – and Belgium is leading the pack.

Gender Education Gap

What is more shocking than this disparity in income, is the disparity in education.  

Learning is the cornerstone for growth and self-discovery, so what happens if educations is denied or restricted to a part of the population. This part of the population will not have any growth or self-actualisation.

A world map showing countries by gender difference in literacy rate. A detailed Robinson projection SVG map shaded by country using two equally distributed colour palettes (red and blue) according to the difference in literacy rate between men and women (i.e. higher rates for males denoting positive numbers). x = difference in literacy rate and countries without data are light grey. The figures represented are almost entirely collected by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) on behalf of UNESCO with 2015 estimates based on people aged 15 or over who can read and write.

The countries with the largest difference between men’s and women’s average years of schooling are Afghanistan and India. 

Top 10 Countries with the biggest difference in mean years of schooling (2017) 

Country Male Female Difference 
Afghanistan 1.9 4.1 
India 8.2 4.8 3.4 
Equatorial Guinea 7.3 3.3 
Togo 6.5 3.3 3.2 
Congo (Democratic Republic of the) 8.4 5.3 3.1 
Cameroon 7.6 4.7 2.9 
Nepal 6.4 3.6 2.8 
Pakistan 6.5 3.8 2.7 
Liberia 6.1 3.5 2.6 
Central African Republic 5.6 2.6 

Human Development Data (1990–2017); www.hdr.undp.org (as on 15 October 2018) 

Even in developed countries, according to OECD 71% of men graduates with a science degree work as professionals in physics, mathematics and engineering, whereas only 43% women work as professionals and fewer than 1 in 3 engineering graduates and lesser than 1 in 5 computer science graduates are female. 

Moving forward

It saddens me that in this day and age, there is still so much sexual discrimination both at work and in education. Doesn’t this get you worked up? What can we do to change this status quo?

We at Robert Kennedy College are pleased to see an upward trend in the number of women students enrolling for our online master’s degree programmes in management. Over the past 7 years, we have seen a steady year on year (YOY) increase in the women to men ratio, shown below – we are off to a flying start in 2020 (Jan and Feb numbers counted so far), so we hope to see this trend continue and this disparity in education between men and women being greatly reduced in the years to come.

The trend of the percentage of female students over time. Color shows relative year on year (YOY) change in this value. After a slight dip in 2011-2013, the trend is clearly upwards, with 2020 (based on just Jan/Feb so far, of course) showing an encouraging spike towards the 50-50 line.

Our own little contribution: March Women’s bursaries of up to 2’500 CHF!

We are proud to play a part in the ongoing efforts in reducing the gender disparity in education, and today we are announcing a special bursary on the tuition fees for all female applicants during the month of March in celebration of the International Women’s Day! #EachforEqual! 

* the button above will connect you with our team over Whatsapp.

If you have been thinking about getting your Master 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.

Residency week at RKC: Listen to what our students have to say about it. Make an informed decision!

From the very start of my time with RKC, one of the questions I get asked the most is: What differentiates RKC’s online programmes from those offered by other universities?

I used to answer that RKC has been around in online education for more than 20 years, has developed the experience and technology to deliver a top-quality online education experience and has exclusive partnerships with three very recognisable and government accredited British universities, all of which are very valid and important points. 

However, in my opinion and, more importantly, in the opinion of a vast majority of our students, the biggest differentiator is the one-week residency programme we conduct either at the college campus in Zürich, Switzerland or at the university campus in the United Kingdom. 

This is a mandatory part of most of the programmes we offer (we have just launched a range of fully online ones too though) and you will have to attended one such week if you intend to graduate with the master’s degree. Now, I know that traveling for the residency is not easy: you will have to take time off, there is the added cost of stay, flight tickets, visa, local travel and food, etc. But the response to this part of the programme has been overwhelmingly positive from our students. 

Most of our students haven’t been in a classroom environment in a very long time and this one week is exciting. You get to go back in time and relive your school/ college experience, but in a whole new light, with the added benefit of experience and the confidence of an accomplished professional life.

You enjoy interacting face to face with the professors and fellow students, clarifying doubts and having fun doing it. Most times the focus of the residency is on preparing you to start your dissertation – research methods, discussion of actual ideas with colleagues and professors. You also get to network with your fellow students, not only forming lifelong friendships beyond this one week but also potential future business partnerships. 

Here is a short video of our students talking about their residency experience, you can judge for yourself the value and takeaways our students derive from the residency programme.     

So, which programme is right for you? Not a question I am able to answer via a blog post, I’m afraid, but if you want to find out, you can get in touch with our team of admission advisers who can have a look at your profile and give you some advice.  

Explore the number of specialised master’s degree programmes offered by Robert Kennedy College through exclusive partnerships with top British universities. Or, if you have already made up your mind, click here to apply.

5 EASY Steps to Successfully Start Budgeting

I have never been one for budgets. In my youth (and I still consider myself young at under 40), whenever I tried to keep a budget sheet on Excel or an old fashioned passbook, I have always found it boring, tedious (yes, I know it means the same as boring, but that is how I feel about it) and ultimately it just got me all worked up and confused. In short, I hated keeping a budget.

Rocket Science or Budgeting!?

And so, I stopped keeping a budget and just left the money in the bank using it as and when I needed it. I figured as I got older, I would get more responsible and would start budgeting. But that just did not happen, until one day it all just hit me – wife, kid, mortgage, car loan, living expenses, school fees, etc., etc., etc. – scrambling to keep afloat. Forget personal development – it’s all about survival.

So, I sat down, introspected and approached the budgeting issue as any other problem. It all starts with understanding the what and the why.

What is a budget?

It is a plan. A planed and controlled way for me to spend or save my money, knowing exactly where, when and how much I will need, how much I will be paying and how much I will be left with after.

In other words, budgeting is the ability to be able to say what each individual swiss franc ( or dollar or pound or rupee or naira or euro or whatever your currency is) is meant to do. Some francs will be tasked with paying your phone bill. Some with paying rent. Some might have no job at all – so their job would be called “emergency fund”.

What should I (someone who hates budgeting) consider when I start planning?

I promised you five easy steps to start budgeting, so here we go.

  1. Know your monthly budget (income): At the start of every month (for most people) fresh funds hit their bank accounts; maybe from a salary, parents, or a trust fund. It doesn’t matter where you get your money from, but this is your starting point. So, be clear when and how much money you get every month, this is your money available to budget. We’re talking net income (after taxes) and not gross income, unless you get taxed as self-employed / independent contractor / freelancer / whatever the word is in your country, in which case this also means you need to account for those taxes coming in later on. Important!
  2. Split it: I wanted to keep my budgeting simple. I started by splitting my budget into three groups or funds.
    • Needs: I started by making a list of my fixed monthly expenses: utility charges, telephone and internet charges, loans, insurance charges, housekeeping and maintenance charges, school fees, fuel and travel, etc. These are your fixed expenses and money have to be allocated to this fund. You can of course reduce your expenses here in a number of ways, such as moving to a cheaper or less expensive telephone and internet plan, saving on water and electricity (switch off the light when you leave the room), move to a house with a smaller rent, etc. Not rocket science, but worth mentioning.
    • Wants: This fund is put aside to improve the quality of life. Some people might say that this is not important, and you can do without, but I am definitely not one of those people. Going for movies and dinner with family, meeting friends for coffee, taking the kids to the arcade, subscribing to Audible or Netflix, buying a gift for the wife; I could do without any of this, but I would be miserable. There may be times when I might have to cut back on this, but that is alright as long as it is only for a short time. I would put aside about 50% of the budget remaining after the Needs fund.
    • Savings: The remaining 50% goes into my savings fund. My aim is to have at any time a minimum of 12 months Needs+Wants fund in my savings, with the sky as the upper limit of the fund.
  3. Use your credit/ debit card: Credit cards have a bad reputation and for good reason, a lot of people have failed to pay their cards back on time and have been penalised heavily and disproportionately by the card issuers for this mistake. It will also mess up your credit score. So, if you are someone who does not have the willpower or awareness to spend within your limits or pay the card on time, then do not use credit cards, just use your debit card. On the other hand, if you are like me (at least till now, fingers crossed), someone who ensures money is there in the bank to pay for every penny spent on the card and who has never missed a payment due date, the credit card can be awesome. 
    • They help you keep track on your spending and help you analyse your spending habits.
    • You earn points for every spend, which in turn translates into saving either in cash or purchases using points.
    • Most credit cards will offer some kind of discount, offers, insurance or cash backs – again savings.
  4. Be a hunter: Before making any purchase, lookout for offers or delay your purchase until a sales/ discount season. Check multiple stores for the best deal on the item you are looking to purchase. Even RKC, generally known for its frugality and already low costs, will occasionally run some promotional campaigns, driven by our desire to level the playing field for all sort of candidates, regardless of gender or cultural background. If you are signed up for our newsletter, you should know this – if you are not, what are you waiting for?
  5. Limit your expenses: Before making any purchase, ask yourself: 
    • Do I really need this? 
    • Do I have sufficient “Wants” fund for this purchase?
    • Can this purchase be delayed until a sale comes along?
    • Will a less expensive and lesser known brand work for me?
    • There’s a nifty trick for this one (in particular the delay option) – keep your credit card separated from your phone, which you presumably always have with you, and do not save its details on the browser. That will require you to stand up and go look for it every time you need/want (budget verbs!) to buy something – do not underestimate the power of inertia!
Keep track of your expenses, no matter how bored you get.

Budgeting might be the most boring aspect of your month/week/day, but it goes a long way in helping you get financial security, independence, and peace of mind. It is also the only way you can be confident you can afford big expenses such as a house, car, or an investment in your future in the form of a Master’s degree – yes, shameless plug. But it is the truth.

Can you actually afford a Master’s degree? Now is as good a time as ever: we are launching a number of new online master’s degree programmes, and we’re offering a limited time bursary on the tuition fees. If your budget is in good shape for it, and you believe in yourself, do check in with your RKC education advisor