Business Ethics – 4 steps to ethical decision making

Cutting corners, that is what we as human beings do. Now, that by itself is not wrong, finding a more comfortable, simpler way to get a job done is smart. But the line that separates ethical behaviour from unethical behaviour is narrow, and if you are not careful in your search for the smartest way to work, you could just end up crossing that line!

Before proceeding with the blog, I would like to wish all our readers a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year 2021!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year

What is ethics? 

It is merely the belief of what is right or wrong based on the individuals’ morals/values, which in turn might be dependent on the society or culture to which the individual belongs to. So, what does this mean? Simply put, ethics is very individualistic; what I believe to be right or wrong might be antithetical to what you believe to be right or wrong.

Having said that, as a society of human beings living in the 21st century, we generally have a consensus on what humanity considers ethical and unethical behaviour, as a result of which, laws are created to uphold and protect what we believe is ethical behaviour. Now, some of these laws might differ from region to region; however on the whole, most laws are put in place to protect the innocent and to uphold what society considers ethical.

Laws

Formal laws typically represent a consensus on ethical standards.

For companies and organisations, the laws and standards that are used to judge the ethics of an individual can be extended on a much grander and more detailed scale thus incorporating the ethics of society on a corporate level. So, if a company is known to follow the law, by implication, it is an ethical company. But that need not always be the case.  

Yes, laws can be looked on as a standard for companies to follow; however, they are just a basis for an ethical discussion. Because at the end of the day, the legal ethics will depend on whose eyes they are viewed from. For example, while stealing is considered illegal everywhere and therefore unethical, it is unfortunate and criminal that in some countries child labour is still legal and therefore ethical (at least from their point of view), even though a majority of the nations will consider it unethical (and in my personal opinion, it is).   

Ethical decisions

There are several factors, such as values, morals, culture, etc., that can have an impact on ethical decision making. For example, if you ask a group of individuals a precise and narrow ethical question, you might get as many answers as there are individuals answering the question because each person is influenced by their upbringing and life experiences.

There are also some circumstances when an otherwise unethical behaviour may be looked upon in a favourable light. For example, a town devastated and cut off from aid by a natural disaster might force some desperate people to contemplate unethical actions like breaking in and entering an abandoned home or store to scavenge items and materials required for survival. Is this behaviour ethical or acceptable? Maybe not. But until we are put in a situation like that, who are we to judge?!

The point is when we make a decision, all we can do is to make the best decision we can at that moment.

Ethical decisions in organisations

Most organisations today have a diverse and multicultural workforce. While this is undoubtedly beneficial, there are also a number of challenges to be overcome, especially when aligning decisions with ethics.  Not everyone is going to agree with the ethicality of a decision! Also, you don’t want an organisation where everyone thinks the same – “groupthink”.

So, how do organisations work towards overcoming these challenges? 

  1. Code of conduct/ethics – Organisations need to start a ‘written code of ethics or conduct’. It has to be a written, physical document that is easily accessible, prominently displayed (on notice boards, company intranet, etc.) in the organisation, widely circulated among employees, made a part of induction for new employees, and made a condition for employment. What a code of ethics does is outline what the organisation considers acceptable behaviour, giving a baseline of what is ‘okay’ and what is ‘not okay’. 
  2. Ethics programme – Set up training programmes for employees that will educate them on what the organisation considers ethically acceptable decisions. The best way to learn is by example, so ensure that most of the training is situation-based.  Show examples of decisions made in the past, the challenges the decisions makers faced while deliberating, their logical reasoning, and finally why they arrived at the decision they did. Make it into a case study to get an understanding of what the new employees think and the decisions they would have arrived at in the current work environment.
  3. Ethics hotline – Most organisations do not want unethical behaviour to go undetected for a long period of time. The longer unethical behaviour takes to come to light the greater the damage to the organisation. Most people do not want to be labelled a ‘snitch’; it is a good way to lose the trust of co-workers and get isolated within your organisation. It could also have an effect on your reputation, which will, in turn, have an impact on your promotions and future employment. But for the benefit of the organisation, unethical behaviour needs to be brought to light, and the sooner, the better. Setting up a hotline that guarantees anonymity, and gives protection to the whistleblower against retaliation will encourage reporting against unethical behaviour. However, the organisation also has a responsibility to investigate comprehensively and arrive at an independent conclusion to not only protect against false reporting but to protect all the parties involved.
  4. Leadership by example – We throw the term ‘work culture’ around quite often.   Work culture is corporate behaviour which is set or determined at the top and trickles down to the rest of the organisation, and ethics forms an integral part of this behaviour. Most people in any position of authority usually set an example of ‘do as I say, not as I do’, which clearly send the wrong message to their underlings, and this is what usually ends up being the norm that is followed. There are very few leaders that are able to set the right, positive and ethical example because of the temptation to bend ethics in favour of greater profits. Actions speak louder than words and leaders have to set the example at the top for the organisation to follow.

These are just a few guidelines an organisation can follow to develop and encourage ethical decision making. What are the steps followed by your organisation to encourage ethical decisions? Any instances that you know of where companies have cut corners in their search for easy profit, and what were the consequences? Comment below.

Our online master’s degree management programmes help you become a better leader, and business ethics forms an important part of it. Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our education advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time. 

#DILO (A day in the life of) a master’s student - Dina

Continuing with our blog series bringing you answers to some of the questions we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) get asked frequently by students who are looking to join one of our online programmes, we asked some of our past and current students to share their thoughts and opinions, to give their feedback on how they handled the challenges of online learning. Hopefully, this will help you make an informed decision.

Let us learn from those who came before and see if what worked for them will also help you become a better student!

Dina is from Jordan and has completed our online MBA programme, this is what she had to say about what worked for her.

An Introduction

Who are you, really?  

I am Dina, from Jordan  

Which Uni are you studying with?  

University of Cumbria, U.K.

Which programme did you choose and why?  

MBA in Leadership and Sustainability  

The Study Plan  

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

I took one module at a time, and I dedicated one day a week for studying – usually during the weekend, and that’s like 7-8 hours a week, and of course, I did more work for the assignments.

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

Weekends the entire day and sometimes early mornings before going to work.

How much time did you devote to each assignment?  

I used to check the assignment at the beginning of each module and take notes as I go through the week. I usually started working on the assignments pretty early so that I had a few weeks before the deadline to plan and manage my time.  

Travelling and Communication

How did travelling impact your ability to study?  

Travelling was not required for my work.

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

The forums really helped and made the communication process easier.

A typical day as a master’s student

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

I wake up, check my email, check the forum, go to work and read an article or study a bit before bed. But the majority of the studying was usually done on the weekends.

Any advice?  

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

I was sceptical at first, and I thought that I might lose interest in studying, but each module was different. All you need is a little time management and commitment.  


I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this space for similar blogs in the future. 

You can now chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.  

Risk Management – 5 steps to better manage risks

If this year, 2020, has taught us anything, it is that risk is a part of life for humankind. The sooner we come to terms with it, identify the cause, plan and strategise to arrive at effective counter-measures, the greater our chance to survive and prosper!

What is risk?

Organisations have a number of internal and external factors that make it uncertain to meet their vision, missions, values, goals and objectives. These uncertain conditions that persist are collectively termed “risks”. 

In general, our tendency is to try avoiding risks as a lot of these instances can lead to negative outcomes, but there can also be positive ramifications of risk. The positive results are an outcome of companies being able to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the risk.

Identifying negative risks and avoiding them, while at the same time being able to take advantage of the opportunities presented by positive risks can be a daunting task for a manager, as a wrong call might result in great loses or a missed opportunity for greater growth.

Risk is a future uncertain event and being able to predict the event and putting in place solutions or strategies to either avoid or take advantage of the event is what risk management is all about. But every organisation’s appetite for risk is different and that is usually directly dependent on the tolerance an organisation might have towards risk.

So, what are risk appetite and risk tolerance?

We have all heard the saying “no risk, no reward”. Taking big risks could lead to big losses, or conversely, could lead to greater rewards. 

The risks which are identified as opportunities should be low hanging fruits to deal with and to reap their benefits. 

Risk appetite is the willingness of an organisation to take risks, while risk tolerance refers to how much risk an organisation can bear

Risk Management

According to Douglas Hubbard (The Failure of Risk Management: Why It’s Broken and How to Fix It) – Risk management is the identification, evaluation, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities.

Risk management can and should be implemented across any industry or vertical, such as project management, operations, finance, military, medical, etc. Like any other department in an organisation, the risk management team should ensure that it is able to justify its costs by first creating value for the organisation by becoming an integral part of the strategy and decision-making process of the organisation. The team should be responsive to changes (both internal and external), systematic and process oriented about their analysis, transparent about their processes, and capable of adapting and growing. 

Effective implementation of risk management will provide an organisation with

  • Early warning to potential risk due to uncertain events
  • Better decision making through a good understanding of risks and their likely impact
  • Effective allocation of resources
  • Reassuring stakeholders

Risk management can be broken down in five basic steps

  1. Plan –  A risk management plan specifies the management’s intent, systems, and procedures required to manage risks, roles and responsibilities, and tools to be used in identifying risks. The plan will specify how the following four steps are to be executed by the organisation. 
  2. Identify – Identify the potential risks, their causes and their potential consequences. This is usually done by a team of subject matter experts  using methods such as brainstorming and tools like SWOT analysis, flow diagrams, Ishikawa diagrams, etc.
  3. Analyse – Once you have identified the potential risks, analyse them using either qualitative (a subjective analysis that is quick and easy to implement using tools like matrices probability and impact matrices) or quantitative (a detailed and time intensive analysis of risk using tools such as expected monetary value analysis, Monte Carlo analysis, decision tree, etc.) methods to classify them as high, medium, and low priority risks. Organisations may not have the resources to plan for all the risks and might be able to accept some risks without action, some with only periodic monitoring, and finally, some with a detailed action plan to take advantage of or to all together avoid the risk event. 
  4. Plan a response – Depending on the priority of the risk, a strategic response needs to be planned, and resources allocated with the goal of reducing the impact of negative risks, and capitalising on the impact of positive risks. Some of the strategies are avoid/transfer/accept/exploit.
  5. Monitor and control – Nothing in this world is static, change is the only constant. Risk monitoring and control should be an ongoing and continuous process. A change in external or internal conditions might result in a low priority risk evolving into a high priority risk or a high priority risk devolving into a low priority one. By monitoring them you will not be caught unprepared!  

This is why, not only is risk management an important module in a number of our online master’s degree programmes, but we also offer, through an exclusive partnership with the University of Salford, UK, a 100% online M.Sc. programme in MSc Fraud and Risk Management.

If you are interested, or have any questions, you can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programmes we offer, the application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.

What I wish I knew before starting a business -Robert Kennedy College Blog

Once upon a time (about twelve or thirteen years ago), I decided to try my hand at starting a manufacturing business. Why? I was in my 20’s, with an MBA and a few years of work experience under my belt, and I had a dream – to leave my mark on this world, to become the next Henry Ford or Steve Jobs, and I figured, if things go to hell, I was young enough to risk it and still have time to bounce back!

There is of course a lot more to this story and my thought process that lead to my decision, but this is not the point of this post. The point is, when you do decide to start a business there is this steep learning curve, and as the business is your own, there are a lot of factors that must be considered while making decisions. 

Many factors that must be considered while making decisions

Like me, if you came from the corporate world, still early in your career with limited managerial experience, you probably just had to look after a very specific task – sales, marketing, a small part of finance, etc. But when you are the head of your own business (no matter how small), you need to be involved in everything! Business Plan, Finance, Revenue, Marketing, Sales…

Strategic Management

When you have so much on your plate there is a risk of your dropping the plate and causing it to break into many tiny pieces (the “plate” here is your business :D).

Understanding how business works, the points to consider before making a decision, and knowing and correctly identifying the different sources of information on which to base your decisions is paramount for the success of your business. This is where strategic management takes on a whole new importance in your thought process. It does not matter how big or small your business/company is, start thinking strategically!! 

Think Strategically

Three principles underlying strategy: (1) Creating a “unique and valuable” [market] position (2) Making trade-offs by choosing “what not to do”, and (3) Creating “fit” by aligning company activities to one another to support the chosen strategy 

Prof. Michael E. Porter, Ph.D., Harvard Business School

The simplest definition of strategic management is “the formulation and implementation of the major goals and initiatives taken by an organisation’s top managers on behalf of owners, based on consideration of resources and an assessment of the internal and external environments in which the organisation operates.” Strategic management provides overall direction to a business and involves specifying the organisation’s objectives, developing policies and plans to achieve those objectives, and then allocating resources to implement the plans (source: Strategic Management for Voluntary Nonprofit Organizations, Roger Courtney).

A system of finding, formulating, and developing a doctrine that will ensure longterm success if followed faithfully.

Dr. Vladimir Kvint, Chair of the Department of Financial Strategy at the Moscow School of Economics of the Lomonosov Moscow State University

So, how do you go about making your life (business really) easier by implementing strategic management?

First, identify your goals – let’s say your goal is to increase annual sales, but what does that actually mean? It is just too vague. Quantify and be specific. As an example, our goal is to sell 100 ballpoint pens and 200 ink pens by the end of the next financial year.

Now, how do you go about achieving this goal?

  • Start by identifying what goods you are going to be manufacturing (in our example they are pens), then the market to which you will be selling these manufactured goods.
  • Next, organise the resources you will need to achieve your goals, like putting in place purchasing and supply chain management to ensure a timely supply of raw materials, people and equipment to carry out the manufacturing process, marketing and sales team to bring in clients, and employing or contracting an adequate support staff (if you are unable to do it yourself) to carry out other support functions.
  • There are also a number of external forces that can have an impact on your business strategy. One of the tools most used in understanding these forces and helping in developing a strategy is Michael E. Porter’s Five Forces Framework which is a business analysis model that helps explain why various industries are able to sustain different levels of profitability. The Five Forces model is widely used to analyse and determine the corporate strategy of a company.

Porter’s five forces are:

  • Competition in the industry
  • Potential of new entrants into the industry
  • Power of suppliers
  • Power of customers
  • Threat of substitute products
A graphical representation of Porter’s five forces

Understanding the principles behind strategic management might take time, but when it comes right down to it, you will find that it is basically logic. The challenge is in getting the right data from the right sources on which you can base your decisions, and of course the methodology you use to analyse the data to arrive at your decisions. A wrong strategic decision may end up costing you dearly.  


This is why strategy and strategic management is an important module in a number of our online master’s degree programmes

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programmes we offer, the application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.

Working from home… 5 ways how to avoid the “Aaaaaaaagggh” feeling!

Not all of us wanted to work from home. Some of us actually enjoyed getting up in the morning, making breakfast, dropping the kids at school and then driving to work. We enjoyed meeting our co-workers (some of whom might have even been our friends, or better still, our arch nemeses!), socialising over a bad lunch at the cafeteria, meeting friends for drinks (or coffee) after work, and finally, getting back home at the end of the day for a good night’s rest.

Meetings with co-workers

On the other hand, some of us have dreamt our entire work life of working from home, waking up late, dropping the kids off at school in our pyjamas, not being stuck in traffic, not having to see the face of that irritating co-worker/boss, and having the time to explore other hobbies and interests.

Whatever your preference, COVID-19 has ensured that we all need to adjust to a new way of working. And for most of us, that way is to work from home.

Even after this pandemic becomes history, the impact of COVID-19 on the way we work and live will continue to remain. How we live today (or at least a version of it), might become the norm. So, understanding the challenges of working from home, and how best to overcome them, is important for us to continue to be as efficient and productive as working from an office.

The new norm

Challenges

When the day becomes the night and the sky becomes the sea, When the clock strikes heavy and there’s no time for tea.

Cheshire Cat, Alice Through the Looking Glass

COVID-19 has not only forced some of us to work from home but has also made us an island unto ourselves, forcing us all to stay isolated and locked in our homes. Now, man by nature is a social creature and even those of us who worked from home before the pandemic still had the option of going out and socialising to their hearts’ content.

All of this is no longer possible. Social distancing is what needs to be followed by us to truly beat this pandemic. But the result is that every day starts to feel the same, bleeding into each other, there is very little to break the repetitive cycle. In addition, for those of us who were thrust into working from home, the merging of the workspace with the living space proved to be an additional challenge to overcome.    

Working through social distancing

Going to the office provided us with a structure – get to office on time, morning meetings with the team, understand the goals to achieve on the day, check emails, coffee break, work, lunch, work, may be an evening meeting with the team to recap, and then go home. But with this structure removed, as a result of working from home, one of two things might happen:

  1. lose track of time and goals achieved, overwork yourself and burnout quickly or
  2. lose focus, get stuck doing busy work and don’t get any real work done

The following are 5 simple steps that you can follow that might help you overcome some of these challenges

  • Dedicated workspace: The first thing you need to do is create a dedicated workspace. Remove all distractions from this area and keep everything you will normally need to do your work close to you. Maybe set it up similar to the workspace at your office. If possible, set up the workspace in a room that no one else uses, a room with a door. Closing a door behind you can make a big difference to creating an effective and dedicated workspace.
  • Dedicated worktime (schedule): Even those of us that don’t actively keep a schedule or a calendar, inevitably follow a semblance of a schedule when we work from an office. Get to office in the morning, review the tasks that need to be done by the day’s end, monitor the progress of the tasks that need to be completed by the end of the week/month/year, do busy work like checking emails and other non-critical tasks, work on critical tasks, go on breaks (lunch, coffee, etc.), and finally windup for the day. So, a good way to focus is to pretend that you are still working from an office. Create a schedule that is similar to your workday. Start by assigning a time to begin work and a time to end the workday. Determine the tasks that need to be completed by the end of the day/week/month and review where you currently stand and what needs to be done to stay on schedule. Take a break for lunch and coffee, like you would do at office, but do not exceed the break time.
  • Set boundaries: This step might be a little emotionally difficult. Getting your family, especially kids and pets, to understand that you are working and not having a day off might be a little difficult in the beginning. But once they understand your schedule and that the workspace is for you to work, over time they will give you space to work.
  • Celebrate the accomplishments: Many of you might not have noticed it, but at the office, when you complete a task and it is submitted to your manager for review, or announced in a team meeting (or for sales people, when you reach your target), there is a weight that is lifted from your shoulders. When you work from home, for the most part, you are on your own. There is no one acknowledging your success or failures on a regular basis (at least not as regular as in your office), and there is no relief to that weight on your shoulders. So, figure out ways of doing this yourself. When you have successfully completed a task, realise that you have, and acknowledge this fact! Stand up and dance like nobody’s watching!
  • Use the extra time: You are working from home, that means you will have extra time on your hands. On top of that, COVID-19 has enforced self-isolation and social distancing. So, breaking the monotony is important to remaining focused, motivated and sane. Take up something that will challenge you, something that you always wanted to do but never had the time before, something that will push your boundaries. Maybe learn how to cook/bake, workout and get fit (haha), do online programmes and learn new things, may be get that degree you have always wanted.

If you have been thinking about doing a master’s degree, to challenge yourself and keep motivated, while at the same time being better qualified and prepared for the challenges to come, 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 programme that is right for you, the application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.

Women in RKC – Elizabeth (Liza) Rudolfsson, 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.

Liza 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?

Elizabeth (Liza) Rudolfsson (ER): Creative and hard-working business consultant with roots in the construction industry.

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?

ER: Interest in the subject. Hope that I could apply this new knowledge directly with my customers. Watched a test video with George Boak, which convinced me to choose YSJ.

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

ER: People around me were surprised (I’m 63) but supportive. Luckily, I underestimated the time it would take, or I would never have started.

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

ER: How much time was required! The high level of ambition. The fun of having ‘classmates’ from all over the world.

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

ER: Not really.

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?

ER: Leading Innovation and Change because I’m interested in – and work with – leadership, change and innovation.

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

ER: A ton of interesting facts, theories and models, but the most important learning was scientific, critical thinking and how to handle sources and references.

SD: How did you balance work and studies?

ER: I cut down on my work.

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

ER: I don’t know about other students, but I can’t see any particular challenges.

Life post degree

What changed, if anything?

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

ER: I sold a strategy project for small businesses right after the Strategy module. This is now a yearly event, thank you MALIC! Before, I had a lot of superficial knowledge and a lot of practical experience. Now I find that I have a steady foundation with deeper knowledge that also ties into my experience and brings it all together. I get a lot of comments from customers about my solid knowledge, and they appreciate how I reference everything so that they know where the information comes from.

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

ER: I reference everything! I carefully separate information and opinion. I venture into new areas. I always did, but now with more confidence.

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

ER: Probably not in itself, maybe combined with other factors.

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?

ER: Take the writing of assignments (and the feedback) seriously, that’s where most of the learning happens. Use your new knowledge right away to make it stick.


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.

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, application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.

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

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

Questions, questions, questions!

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 on your time and finances, and it is smart to get information before hand, cross your T’s and dot your I’s, before making your decision. 

Through this series of blog posts, we asked some of our past and current students to share their thoughts and opinions, to give their feedback on how they handled 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 blindly follow what they are saying, 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!

Learn from those who came before you

Folarin is currently doing our M.Sc. programme in Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, that we offer through an exclusive partnership with the University of Salford, UK, and this is what he had to say.

An Introduction

Who you are, really?

I am Folarin, from Nigeria

Which Uni are you studying with?

The University of Salford’s (UK), M.Sc. programme in Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Which programme did you choose and why?

MSc. Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain Management. I have been a professional in the chosen career since 1996, when I obtained the Professional Certificate of the Nigerian Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management, now Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria.

The Study Plan

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

I planned to be flexible, juggling work and study! The reality for me was planning, and studying between work hours. I cannot specifically count the number of hours I study per day – I study according to time-window of opportunity.

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

I work tight schedules and was always exhausted during the weekdays. So, I found weekends most suitable to study – Friday evening through Sunday.

How much time did you devote for each assignment?

An average of one hour per day.

Travelling and Communication

How did travelling impact your ability to study?

Travelling helps me to relate life events with studying.

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

I explore IT facilities and internet resources – Email and WhatsApp messages.

A typical day as a master’s student

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

Dividing my attention, schedule, and activities to perform as both a Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain Management professional and as a student. Balancing work and study as a mature man with the responsibility to cater for a family of 6.

Any advice?

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

Identify your area of core competence and/or SWOT analysis of your personality. Evaluate your financial capacity in line with your regular income before enrolment for the online master’s programme.


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, application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.

Evolution and Innovation of the Financial Systems. Can the Financial System be updated?

Finance has always been my Achilles’ heel. It was my weakest subject during my MBA, the subject in which I scored my lowest grades. Never understood anything about the subject, but now that I think about it, it was probably because finance never interested me. And, as fate would have it, the first job I got straight from college was with a bank, and a few years later, the second job was with an insurance company.

So, whether we like it or not, finance will always be a big part of our lives. And if you think about it, you have been involved with finance ever since that day your mother gave you that coin to buy that candy from that shop near your school. And today finance is part of everything we do.

In today’s world, without a financial medium there is very little that can be done – no shopping, no job, no entertainment, no companies, no products, etc., etc., you get the picture! Finance is one of the key fulcrums around which the human existence revolves.

Today’s financial system is a product of thousands of years of financial evolution. The world’s financial system is very complex, formed by the overlapping of multiple, global financial networks that move trillions of dollars a day to serve billions of people. People who in turn use it to improve their quality of life – purchasing, trading, and investing.

Like everything huge and complex, there are a number of drawbacks. The system’s size and complexity makes it slow, expensive, lacking in transparency, and hence open to fraud. It is a system that thrives on speculation and seems to create concentrations of wealth. In today’s age of information and globalisation, is it possible to create a more functional financial system?

A complex system, formed by the overlapping of multiple, global financial networks that move trillions of dollars a day to serve billions of people

So, what is a financial system?

Simply put, it is the information layer that records and mediates economic activity. Finance serves the function of accounting for, and exchanging of, economic value. Financial systems enable funds to be stored and moved between the people involved in an economic transaction. Enabling the economic players involved, be it individuals or organisations, to share in the ownership of the economic activity, with the associated risks and returns.

Evolution of the Financial System

A financial system has always existed, and throughout history it has evolved from a community based financial system, to an industrial age centralised system, to today’s new global financial institutions centred around information technology. There are of course a number of factors that have contributed to the development of the modern financial systems, from double entry accounting, to nations adopting a single, common economic system that spanned a relatively large geographic area, and finally, to capitalism and large investments in industrial infrastructure.

Capitalism and industrial investments lead to the amassing of great wealth, which in turn resulted in even greater investment in industry. This resulted in the need for bigger, more sophisticated institutions for the regulating, storing, investing, and distribution of financial assets. Due to industrialisation, organisations moved from a more local/regional level to a national level, as a result, small local community banks with their local financial systems could not meet the demands of the industrial age. This naturally resulted in a centralised national/federal/reserve banking system coming into existence, which was the driving force behind the industrial economy.    

With the world economy becoming more accessible and deregulated, financial systems have evolved to become more standardised at a global level, becoming a system that manages a large flow of capital, organising the assets and liabilities of people and organisations around the planet.

The financial system continues to evolve and innovate to serve customers better, and move money more efficiently – from credit cards, to SWIFT interbank exchange, to ATM’s, online and mobile banking, and finally to financial products that are heavily based on speculation.

While the modern financial system continues to innovate, evolve, and improve the lives of the people using the system, there are also a number of challenges that impact the system.

A large percentage of society today is only interested in making the “quick buck”. This has resulted in the creation of financial products that are based on speculation, and this is where most people are investing their money. As a consequence of this, the actual investment made to the economy, and industry is reduced, and makes the system unstable and prone to collapse.

  • Global financial systems, while having a digital façade of simplicity, are in reality very complex and expensive to create and maintain, requiring a number of intermediaries to keep the entire system functional. All of this adds to the cost of the system, making the system inaccessible to billions of people around the world.
  • The system is made closed on purpose to protect the data it contains, as a result it lacks transparency, which from time to time, results in people on the inside taking advantage of the system to commit crimes and abuse trust.

45% of financial services organisations have suffered frauds in the last 12 months

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Sixth Global Economic Crime Survey – Financial Services Report
  • Like any system centred around information technology, security is a major concern, and back doors into the system can always be found by a determined hacker.
  • The modern financial system can be complex and difficult to understand, especially with the evolution of FinTech (finance + information technology). Technology companies have entered the world of financial services, offering a number of products along the value chain, but are still not able to offer the full services that a traditional financial service provider offers.

The financial system is once again starting to evolve with the internet driving innovation, pushing the financial system into a more decentralised model. Blockchain, distributed ledgers and tokens are showing the potential for the new forms of the financial system. With the internet providing the platform to record, store and exchange value independent of centralised institutions, resulting in an economy wide accounting system that is secure and transparent. Is this the future of the truly global financial system?

This is all truly complicated to be covered in a blog post, and especially not by me!


If you are interested in learning and being better prepared for the opportunities and challenges in the world of business, have a look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything that could help.

You can chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.

Event Management during COVID-19

Well, I have said it before, and I am saying it again – we live in difficult times. But the more I think about it, maybe “difficult” is not the right term to use. I think the right word to use here is “challenging”, and “challenging” isn’t as bad as “difficult”. And what challenges give us, are opportunities.

This “opportunity” (and I know it might seem crass to term COVID-19 as an opportunity or as something positive, because it is definitely not positive, and I wish it never happened!) might not have been a choice and was forced on the world by COVID-19, but this is not the first time that the world faced a widespread pandemic and it will not be the last. Every time we faced something like this (global pandemic, world wars, etc.) in the past, we have come out of it stronger and better prepared for the future, so we might as well try to make the best of a bad situation now too.

Companies and individuals around the world are seizing on this opportunity that the challenge of COVID-19 has provided. New ways to think and work, new processes and operations, new businesses and technology, new products and services, and finally, new ways of managing events.

One of the sectors that have suffered greatly, at least in the short term, is Event Management. I mean, one of the basic ways of preventing the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing, and that is the antithesis of a successful event.

The following are some of the challenges and/or solutions that event managers have come up with in dealing with COVID-19.

Cancellation: Events are being cancelled, primarily because the fear and risks are real, and it is always better to be safe than sorry! However, the silver lining is events still need to take place, especially in the corporate world. New products and services still need to be announced and launched, Comic Con needs to take place to announce new movies and television shows, and to keep the fans hooked.

A royal wedding event in times before Covid-19

Opportunity: While events like “grand weddings” might be a thing of the past, at least for the immediate future, the opportunity still exists to plan for a classy, intimate, and yet a memorable wedding. After all, the wedding day will always be one of the most important days in a couple’s married life, and couples still need to get married (life doesn’t come to a halt because of COVID-19) and make their day special. A grand wedding reception can always be planned for when things return back to normal, until then, recordings of the wedding can be shared with extended friends and family. Planning for an intimate, yet memorable wedding can challenge the creativity of an event planner, but in this case, it is the challenge to overcome.

Technology: That was on the personal side of things. I believe it is a lot simpler on the corporate side. Technology has made it a lot easier to plan corporate events and products launches. Earlier this month, Samsung had their Galaxy Unpacked August 2020 event, and unlike previous years, their entire audience – from the media, to reviewers, to creators – joined them virtually. Also, most of the product launches looked like they were pre-recorded and professionally edited (I felt it gave it a more completed look overall, polishing out the rough edges that were visible in previous years).

A similar strategy was adopted in this year’s Democratic National Convention, in the United States of America. Apart from the day’s presenters, most of the key speakers, spoke from their home through pre-recorded messages for the nation. Only the candidates, whose acceptance speeches had to be live, addressed a greatly reduced live audience. And even here the event was planned in such a way that it tried to adhere to COVID-19 safety measures – like having the live audience being seated 6 feet apart and wearing a mask.

Democratic National Convention 2020

Events similar to Comic Con have adopted a similar strategy to Samsung, having invited their audience to participate online, hosting pre-recorded interviews of creators, developers, and stars that the audience can view. While at the same time, having interactive sessions through video conferencing/streaming with live chat options with the stars and creators of new shows.

Staffing and Salaries: With the cancellation of events comes loss of business and revenue, and by extension (maybe) downsizing and layoffs. Because, lets face it, if companies don’t earn, they can’t pay. For those that have not been affected by downsizing, the beautiful thing about being an event management professional is the ability to work from anywhere, at least most of the time. All that is needed is your mobile phone and your laptop (and something, or someone, to occupy the kids).

Training and Planning: For the bigger event management firms that have a large clientele, this time is a great opportunity to train their staff and plan for the future. All events take time to plan and having the right vendors in place with an optimised supply chain will go a long way in bring down costs and the turnaround time in executing a successful event. Because once things go back to normal, I have a feeling that there will be a rush of back to back events, to make up for lost opportunities.

RKC's residency event - before and after Covid-19
RKC’s residency event – before and after Covid-19

If you are interested in learning and being better prepared for the opportunities in event management, Robert Kennedy College through our exclusive partnership with the University of Salford, UK, offers a 100% Online MSc in International Events Management to better prepare you for the challenges to come.

You can chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.

Challenges facing Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain Management professionals in Africa

Once I started writing this blog, I realised my folly. The topic of my blog might sound simple, it was anything but, especially for me – (1) my knowledge of Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain Management (PLSCM) is entirely academic, and (2) I am not African, nor have I ever worked or even visited Africa.

But I do know that Africa is the future and has the potential for dramatic growth (if she is able to tap into that potential), and effective management of PLSCM will play a pivotal part in this future, given the resources in raw materials that Africa has.

And hence my topic, and my folly, and something I felt needed to be done.

What I didn’t realise when I picked this topic was the resources I had on hand. As of today, Robert Kennedy College (RKC) has a very large number of students from Africa who are doing or have successfully completed our 100% Online MSc programme in Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, and this is the resource I tapped into when writing this blog. 

I conducted an online survey of these students (of which about a hundred participated) and asked them about the challenges they face as PLSCM professionals in Africa, the image below indicates a country wise breakup of the response we received from our students to the survey.

Country wise breakup of the survey response received

The following are the top five responses I got back from the survey. Now, while this blog is Africa-centric, I find that these challenges are universal, and effect Africa as a whole, other developing nations, and even the developed or “first world” nations to some degree.

Top 5 challenges facing PLSCM professionals in Africa

Infrastructure – is the foundation on which a strong PLSCM function is built. The whole point of having a streamlined and efficient PLSCM department is to effectively purchase (at best costs) and move raw materials and finished products from point to point in a timely and less resource intensive manner. Efficiency also means having the products readily available, while at the same time not leaving them idling in a storehouse somewhere. To enable this, state of the art, physical infrastructure is needed – from roads and railways to airports, seaports, and safe and secure areas (such as industrial zones, etc.) for manufacturing and storage.

“A change in policy is required as there is a lack of willingness by African governments to invest in infrastructure development.”

Current student of our MSc programme in PLSCM

Corruption – the universal bane to businesses, and something that is global, encouraged and fostered by everyone involved, willingly or unwillingly. It is easy to blame a corrupt official for delays and holdups, until palms are greased to get thing moving without looking at the reasons why. Are you encouraging the behaviour by paying the bribe? Is your competitor paying bribes to hold you up? Why does the official need the money, is he paid enough? Are the laws strict enough to prevent corruption?

“Effective specially designed civic education programs at the grassroots level, to empower the people to make the right choice of leadership to drive the change that is needed.”

Graduate of our online MSc in PLCSM

Policy Change – As one of my former managers once told me “If you are comfortable then you are not growing”. And while this is true, who doesn’t like being comfortable? From our survey, this seems to hold especially true in Africa. For policy changes to take place, something big should have happened for the powers that be to even consider a change, and even then, comities have to be put in place to suggest the changes and then review the suggested changes, all this taking forever. By the time the policy change comes about, it will usually be outdated.

“A paradigm shift from traditional procurement method to e-procurement method. Also, government policies need to be critically reviewed across the board in order to encourage small and medium scale enterprises in Africa. Manufacturing sectors should not be left out as well as they are the process owners.”

A suggestion from one of our online MSc in PLSCM student

Stuck in time (Slow to incorporate modern methods) – A follow on to the previous point, it is not just the people in power who are slow to incorporate change, but also the people who do the work who are slow to embrace change as well. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But what people don’t realise is, it is not about fixing it, it is about bettering it. People get comfortable and don’t want to change or learn new ways of doing things, and then complain about the people above them making life difficult by not embracing change and current best practices.

“Changes in technology are associated with high set-up costs. Financial constraints are a major drawback, especially in some developing economies, when it comes to capital projects. Modern procurement is now taking place online, but many companies still haven’t adopted to these technological changes. Most functions now and procurement is done online while in Africa most countries still do their procurement manually. This is basically because of poor infrastructure, weak strategic alliances and reluctance to change that makes people not adopt these changes.”

A thought from one of our MSc PLSCM students

Cutting corners to save time – another universal truth. After doing a job for a period of time, we begin to believe that we know best, and can make a process better by cutting corners. But what we fail to understand is that we are but a single, small cog in the machine, and a process is in place to help the whole machine run smoother. By cutting corners and not following the process, all that might be achieved is to throw a spanner in the works. If you believe there is a better way to do something, take it to the management and make you case, it might just increase the efficiency of the whole machine.  

“Build Collaborative supportive systems and structures that work for both governments and stakeholders.”

Suggestion from a graduate of our online MSc in PLCSM

These are just some of the most basis challenges that a PLSCM professional faces in Africa. I am sure there are a lot more complicated and technical challenges out there that will confound even the most seasoned PLSCM professional. Constantly learning and getting your knowledge up-to-date is required to stay ahead of the curve. Robert Kennedy College, through our exclusive partnership with the University of Salford, UK, offers a 100% Online MSc in Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain Management to better prepare you for the challenges to come. Here’s what our students said about this in our survey:

This is what our students had to say when asked during our survey

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.