Understanding University Rankings – humph!

So, when I decided to write an informative blog on university rankings to enable you the reader to make an informed decision, I did not realise what I was getting myself into. And after days of research and multiple migraines, I have decided that if I just go ahead and dump all the information here, you are just going to lose interest, get confused and finally just go away and never come back. 

Utility of Ranking Systems

To begin with, should we even look at rankings to base our decisions on? After all UNESCO did observe that rankings “do more harm than good” and you will find some of the reasoning for this as you read further. On the flip side they also observed that rankings have also become a measure of quality and have created an atmosphere of competition between universities. You can find more information on this UNESCO finding in the UNESCO Publishing – Rankings and Accountability in Higher Education: Uses and Misuses.

Like most things in life, rankings also have their good bits and their bad bits. To begin with, there is no almighty, all encompassing ranking system out there, because that is just not possible. There are just so many parameters that educational institutions can be ranked on, any ranking agency will just get overwhelmed with data and quite possibility put out a very confused and confusing report. There was even a ranking in the United States that ranked universities on squirrels (yes, the cute little rodent).

So, most agencies will pick and choose a few areas they feel are important and grade the university. This is where things start to look a little murky.

The Perspective

I remember when I was considering universities to apply for my MBA, I just opened a few of the top selling magazines and educational journals, looked at the top universities, made a list of universities that featured in multiple magazines/journals and applied to them. It did not ever occur to me to look into the parameters that the universities were being evaluated on and if they were even relevant to me.

There are many ways to reach your destination. The choice is yours!

So, make your own list, make a list of parameters you feel are important, may be campus job placements, alumni engagement, faculty, student to teacher ratio, campus, etc., and focus on rankings that evaluate on parameters that come closest to your list. Another point of view is to forget about the university rankings and look at subject rankings (say, Law). A particular university might not be ranked too high, but for the subject you are interested in, the university might be ranked 1st in the North West and 8th in the UK.

As we are looking at rankings that come closest to our list of parameters (and here comes the murky bit) there is usually no transparency. Most ranking agencies will not share their algorithm (and why should they, they have worked hard on it and have spent a lot of money on it) or for that matter, even parameters that have gone into giving a particular rank to a parameter. Why did university A get 8 points for Student Engagement, but university B get only 3 points? At the same time, last year university A was on 3 points, what has changed? So, look at rankings that are a little more transparent, they don’t have to open up their algorithms to you, but a little transparency will help you make an informed decision.

The Rich get Richer

There are also a number of ranking agencies, especially the smaller ones, that fall into the trap of ranking universities on their reputations. While I personally believe there is nothing wrong with this – to a very limited extent – after all, the university probably worked hard on developing this reputation and in all likelihood deserves it, basing a ranking system primarily on reputation will continuously reward only a handful of universities. For example, a reputation based ranking system will always rank universities like Oxford and Cambridge at the top while ignoring universities that are working towards developing their reputation by offering better programmes, teaching methodologies or more advanced and modern study environments.

Universities have also learnt to play the ranking game. Most universities have dedicated teams that engage ranking agencies, understand how their ranking system works and learn to either improve their offering and thereby improve their ranking or to manipulate the system and improve. Look at the older rankings of the university and mark their progression through the ranks, seek out explanations as to why a university has improved in a certain parameter but not in others. Try to seek out transparency on the change in rankings. 

Look at rankings that are updated on a regular basis, preferably on at least an annual basis. A university on top today may be at the bottom tomorrow.

Further Research

Finally, let me leave you with the link to the Wikipedia page (even though using Wikipedia in academic writing would get me wrist slapped by Dr Negoescu!) on the college and university rankings, where you will find information on a number of global and regional ranking agencies that should provide you with information you might find useful or you might just find confusing. This is the way the cookie crumbles, sorry! I wish you the best in your hunt for that perfect university, there is one for everyone.

It is worth it at the end

Since you are reading this blog, you probably already know that we at Robert Kennedy College offer more than 30 Master’s degree programmes in partnerships with 3 UK universities and we have been helping more than 14,000 students from almost every country in the world develop their skill sets, improve their CVs and advance their careers – you are in good hands should you consider taking the plunge. Have a look at our programme catalogue and get in touch with our Admissions’ team if you have any questions about the programme most suitable for your background.

Overcoming challenges of studying online

Most people decide to do an online programme because of the convenience and advantages online programmes offer. However, every coin has two faces and while the benefits of doing an online programme are many there are also a few challenges that students studying online will have to overcome in order to complete the programme with flying colours.

Here are some of the challenges our students face in online learning – holding that a better understanding of them will help you in your own ventures in online learning. 

Time management: Time management is one of the biggest challenges that a student faces. Being able to manage one’s personal and professional life while at the same time getting the space and time to complete all the requirements of the programme – assignments, readings, etc. – is a problem faced by most students. If you don’t manage time well – putting off assignments until the last minute, not completing the required readings, being unable to participate in classroom sessions – you will inevitably fall behind and struggle to complete the course. Balancing work-life-study is the key to successfully completing any programme. We have an entire post on how to overcome this challenge – have a read, but know that with a little discipline this is an easily surmountable challenge – be it for online studies, or your life in general, so well worth improving your time management skills.

Learning Methodology: Until choosing to do an online programme, almost all of us would have received our education in a physical classroom, having attended schools and colleges for almost two decades in our formative years. As a result, most of us would have developed skills and methodologies to best meet the challenges of an in-classroom learning environment. As a result, for some of us online education might come as a culture shock and might take some getting used to, while for others this adjustment might come quickly and naturally. This is another skill that we just have to accept we need to develop – and make the most out of the flexibility afforded by the online interaction.

Distractions at Home: In my personal opinion, for most professionals, the benefits of studying from home far out-number those of studying full time in an on-campus programme. For most of our students this would not even be possible, since they are working professionals. However, at home there are a lot of distractions that can derail your study plans as well. The best advice we can offer on this challenge (verified by many of our students) is to set aside dedicated time slots for your studies and to protect those at all costs. Do not let anyone  distract you during this time (which is why getting your family on board before starting is crucial). Set up a dedicated study space at your home, which will act like your own personal classroom, this will help keep distractions out and your focus in.  

Dependence on Technology: While it is true that technology has changed the face of education, online education is entirely dependent on technology. You will need to ensure that you have a reliable and fast internet connection, laptop/ home computer or other mobile devices that will help you create and deliver assignments and stay connected with the college. But once you are connected, technology can also help ensuring all your work is backed up and you never have to blame the dog for the missing assignment!   

Doing it Alone: Human beings are social animals. One of the biggest benefits in doing an on-campus programme is the social interaction you can have with your peers, whether it is building long lasting relationships, group studies or just hanging out to relieve stress. 

In our programmes we use online forums, live classroom sessions and residential week-long workshops to try to mitigate the impact of the missing face to face social interaction. The residencies are indeed some of the most appreciated parts of the programme, attesting to their value (but also to the fact that face-to-face interaction is indeed a challenge). 

Students of Robert Kennedy College attending the week-long residency at the University of Cumbria campus

We have more than 30 Master’s degree programmes and we have been helping more than 14,000 students from almost every county of the world develop their skill sets, improve their CVs and advance their careers – you are in good hands should you consider taking the plunge. Have a look at our programme catalogue and get in touch with our Admissions’ team if you have any questions about the programme most suitable for your background.

Points to consider before starting your career in Marketing

Philip Kotler defines marketing as “Satisfying needs and wants through an exchange process”. The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines marketing as “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”.

Philip Kotler

This is what you get when you Google for the definition of marketing. While these definitions leave me personally a little confused and strangely unsatisfied, I cannot argue with them as

  1. I understand they are academic definitions.
  2. One definition is by one of the recognised Gods of marketing and the other by an organisation that has the words Institute, Chartered and Marketing in its name. 

But these definitions really do not help you understand how big the field of marketing is, what one has to do to get into this field or whether this is even the right career for you.

The following are a few steps to follow that can help you make an informed decision.

  1. Marketing is a broad field with specialisations such as social media, SEO specialist, media manager, copywriter, just to name a few, and marketing being such a dynamic field this list is constantly evolving. 
  2. Due to the number of specialisations available in the marketing field, it is not possible for one person to have the adequate knowledge to perform all the jobs with any semblance of competence. Hence it is important to know which specialisation you wish to build your career in, and a better understanding of the specialisations is important in making an informed decision. Keep in mind, not all specialisations will pay the same, offer the same career growth, require the same qualifications that you currently have or even be able to keep your interest in the job over time.
  3. Once you have identified the specialisation you wish to build your career in, work towards building your knowledge base and competence in this specialisation. There is a lot of information that is available free of cost online, on sites like youtube.com and other e-learning platforms. There are also a lot of e-learning platforms offering paid but high value certifications and programmes that offer more specialised knowledge. 
  4. Marketing is also all about networking and another way to increase your knowledge in the field and help you make an informed decision, that could also be fun, is to attend marketing seminars and networking events. If this is what you want to do then spending time with like-minded people will be fun and will have the added benefit of creating opportunities. 
  5. If you have the time and motivation, may be look at doing an internship or short-term assignments in the specialisation of your interest. There is no substitute to doing to get a feel of the job.
  6. Once you have decided to become a marketeer, it is important to keep updated and motivated and the beauty about marketing, being such a dynamic field, is someone is always doing something interesting and new, and being a marketeer, will definitely be blowing his or her trumpet for all to see. Hence information on this new and innovative marketing methodology can be found online. Keep reading, learning, growing and innovating. 

Robert Kennedy College with 31 Master’s degree programmes (including MarketingMedia LeadershipDigital Business, etc.) and almost 14,000 students from almost every county offers one of the most diverse, accredited and globally recognised online master’s degree programmes in both Business Law and Management through exclusive partnerships with British universities. For more information download our programme catalogue.

Technology In Education

Technology has changed the way we live our lives, having an impact on almost every aspect of our daily activities. From the outside it might look like the education sectors missed out on the technological revolution and in some ways, this is true, the teacher is still surrounded by students as they educate and impart their knowledge. But in many other ways technology has changed education itself. 

For centuries, only the children of the very rich, noble or higher casts could afford or were permitted the privilege of education. For one, books in the past were very expensive and rare, hence access to them were restricted and protected. Most education centres were centralised and very few, hence most families who wished their children to be educated had to send them far away and with a healthy stipend to pay for the education they were about to receive.

With the advent of quicker modes of transportation, the world took its first step towards becoming a global village. Enabling both teachers and students to travel to the farthest corners of the Earth, spreading and absorbing new and diverse knowledge. However, it is Information Technology and the Internet that has and is continuing to revolutionise the education industry.  

RKC Graduation 2018 @YorkStJohn
RKC Graduation 2018 @YorkStJohn

Today people around the world, who do not have the time to attend or even do not have access to schools can gain a formal education from a globally recognised and respected university. And through the almost constant advancement of telecommunication technology, the online programmes that most colleges offer are at the same level as those which are being offered by traditional on-campus programmes in terms of the quality of education and knowledge delivery.

The internet offers massive amounts of information on almost every subject imaginable through ebooks, audio and podcasts, images and videos. These unprecedented learning opportunities are offered to everyone right at their fingertips and in most cases, at costs lower than ever before. 

One of the traditional advantages of a classroom education was the opportunity to collaborate and network with other students. However, with the advancement in communication technology the barriers that were perceived in online education have also begun to fall away. Students are able to collaborate at levels comparable to those offered in on-campus education using technologies like group video conferencing and chats, emails and cloud technology to collaborate with each other “virtually” live.

With the amount of information and knowledge available online the traditional role of a teacher is also changing from that of an imparter of knowledge to that of a guide, guiding students to the endless sources of information and helping them make sense of it all and in the process learning new things themselves.

Technology has transformed education in many ways, from giving access to multiple sources of information, to helping teachers create new and more interactive study materials, to helping students from all over the world come together and collaborate in projects seamlessly and most importantly, taking education to everyone. 

Robert Kennedy College with 31 Master’s degree programmes and almost 14,000 students from almost every county offers one of the most diverse, accredited and globally recognised online master’s degree programmes in both Business Law and Management through exclusive partnerships with British universities. For more information download our programme catalogue.

University of Salford Graduation 2019

Years of hard work and sacrifice culminates on successfully completing your masters degree programme and the reward is being awarded your degree!

Linda Karitanyi – Living her dream and fulfilling her aspirations!

We at Robert Kennedy College are pleased to share with our readers the joy and happiness of one of our students’ – Ms. Linda Karitanyi, who has successfully graduated from the University of Salford with a Master of Science degree in Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

Linda choose to attend the graduation ceremony at the university to collect her certificate.

Linda Karitanyi – Sharing her joy with friends and family
Linda Karitanyi @ the University of Salford, UK

Robert Kennedy College with almost 14,000 students from almost every county in the world offers one of the most diverseaccredited and globally recognised online master’s degree programmes in both Business Law, Leadership and Management through exclusive partnerships with British universities. For more information download programme catalogue.

Student Testimonials – Part 1

Investing in an online education programme can be a big decision for any professional, with time and financial considerations being the main concerns.

We at Robert Kennedy College encourage all our applicants to do their research and find the best programmes that will meet their requirements and expected standard of education. Online education is fast becoming one of the key gateways through which people are able to realise their educational and professional aspirations.

Through this series of student testimonial videos we hope to answer some of your questions and doubts, by sharing with you the experiences of our students, both current and past. We show you their hopes, fears and challenges and how we at Robert Kennedy College worked with them and helped them in some small way in realising their dreams.

Below is the first video in the series – Christina from Germany – filmed at graduation in York last November.

York.mba – student’s story – Tina

Click here for more information on the online programmes offered by Robert Kennedy College through exclusive partnerships with British Universities.

University of Cumbria ranked 28th in 2019 WhatUni Student Choice Rankings

It is with great honour that Robert Kennedy College announces that our partner university, the University of Cumbria, has been ranked 28th out of 131institutions in this year’s UK WhatUnisurvey results table. The University of Cumbria has marked a consistent improvement in its rankings over the last couple of years, moving up the ranking by 67 places in the last two years itself. 

One of the key differentiators that separates the UK WhatUni survey results from other rankings is that it is solely driven by the opinion of current students and not historical data.  Demonstrating sustained improvements in student experience over the last five years, the university’s ranking has risen annually since 2015 – from 112th in 2015 to today’s 28th position – as has its overall point score (3.51 in 2015 to 4.17 in 2019).

For the WhatUni Student Choice Awards, students give their university an overall star rating of one to five; those results are averaged to create overall ratings (out of five stars) for each university across eight categories of student experiences.  Existing students also write a review of their university experience which helps future students find the right university for them. Other key headline figures include the universities’ overall score increasing from 4.1 in 2018 to 4.17 this year. In terms of categories, the University of Cumbria improved in seven of the eight areas with course and lecturers and the Students’ Union seeing the biggest rise in rankings. The university continues to score well in job prospects and student support.

Through our exclusive partnership with the University of CumbriaRobert Kennedy Collegeis proud to contribute to the continued success of the university and heartily congratulate the university, staff and faculty of their success thus far and wish them continued success in the future.

Practice what you learnt

As human beings we are always in a state of learning and as a professional, learning and self-improvement is the cornerstone of success. Today, professionals have a number of avenues opened to them for learning, whether it is through a structured educational setting like online education or through short term courses and seminars or learning informally through reading and research.

While learning and absorbing information is important, the point of the whole thing is lost if you are not able to put into practice what you have learnt. The following are a few suggestions of how you can go about putting into practice what you learnt.

  • Learn relevant: Before joining any programme, it is important for you to identify the reason behind undertaking this learning, both short and long term. Identify how this programme will contribute not only towards your continued professional growth but also the learnings that can hasten your professional growth.
  • Play to your strengths: As a professional, I am sure by now you are aware of both your strengths and weaknesses, what works towards helping you successfully complete your projects in the least possible time. Let your strengths work for you, identify what you have learnt that is in-line with your strengths and if it is relevant to your project use your learnings to your benefit.
  • Feedback is important: One of the most important aspects of examinations and tests is to give feedback to students. To identify the areas where a student is weak so that the student can get assistance in improving in those areas. When working on projects for your organisation and implementing the theories you learnt to practice, try to implement a method of getting feedback in order to refine your implementation. Share your theories, challenges and strategies with a colleague or a former classmate, someone you feel is knowledgeable or a subject matter expert who will be in a position to guide you through feedback.
  • Skill development: Every new theory you learn is a skill and like all skills, it will grow with time, experience and more learning. Practice what you learn and keep a track of its growth, if your skills are not growing then you are not learning. Attend new advanced courses and continually supplement your learning to enhance your skills. Schedule a plan to periodically evaluate your skill growth, set goals where possible to ensure that there is a progression in your learning and keep moving the benchmark, you will find that your career progress will more often than not parallel your skill growth. And always keep an eye out for new learning opportunities and development of new skills. Learning is growing.

Group photo of RKC 2018 Graduation @YorkStJohn in the Quadrangle

Group photo of RKC 2018 Graduation @YorkStJohn in the Quadrangle

  • Phycological, is all: As the saying goes, “it is all in the mind”. Put yourself and be open to new learnings. Don’t get disappointed if you are unable to connect what you have learnt with what you are doing, learning is never a waste of resources. If you are unable to connect what you have learnt with what you are doing then may be all you need is to develop a new skill that will bring it all together or just patience, the project that might require the skills you have already learnt and developed might just be around the corner.
  • Mentor: Finding a good mentor can go a long way in bridging the gap between theories and practice. A good mentor can help you get a clearer understanding of the theories you learnt and at the same time guide you to better implement your learning into your projects. A good mentor can also be your best source for feedback.

  • Learn through mistakes: As will all things, theories can only take you so far, the best way of learning is doing what you learnt. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but don’t forget to learn from them.

Robert Kennedy College with 31 Master’s degree programmesand almost 14,000 students from almost every county in the world offers one of the most diverse, accredited and globally recognised online master’s degree programmes in both Business Law, Leadership and Management through exclusive partnerships with British universities. For more information download programme catalogue.

How to better market your master’s degree when applying for a job

Most master’s degrees will equip students with essential skills that are indispensable in the work place. But what most employers don’t realise or take for granted is that master’s degree also equips students with a higher level of skill, discipline and specialist knowledge needed in today’s highly competitive and global business environment.

Thus, the importance of properly marketing your master’s degree, highlighting specialised skills and knowledge learnt is vital in securing the career you seek. Do not assume that your employer recognises the value of your degree, after all there are a number of unique master’s programmes out there and you are not the only applicant for the job. The following are a few tips on how you can better market your master’s degree.

  • The Degree

The importance of education and selling the value proposition of your degree cannot be understated, thus it is important that you believe in the degree that you have worked so hard to earn.

Whether your degree is a specialised one or a generic degree, both can add value to an organisation. A generic degree helps students to see the big picture, to better see the various factors that come into play in the functioning of a department or the organisation. A specialised degree will help in distinguishing the applicant in todays competitive job market, equipping the student with specialised skills and knowledge to excel in a particular career profile.

  • The University/ College

 

Students today are no longer limited to getting an education from their local university or college, they can travel to any part of the world and attend any university for which they are eligible to apply. As a result, most employers might not be aware of the university attended or course completed. This provides you with the perfect opportunity to extol the virtues of your university, from your alumni network to the local/ global ranking, it could be anything that you are proud of and believe can make a positive impression on the employer.

  • Love what you learnt, do what you Love

In most cases, applicants (especially those who have returned to studying after working for a few years) would have completed their master’s programme in a subject that they feel passionately about. Which is why they have invested time and money in a programme that would not only improve their long-term career prospects in a field of their interest, but also increase their knowledge and skill in the subject they are passionate about. Don’t be afraid to let this passion be seen by your employer as it will give them a good indication of your enthusiasm and commitment to your field of interest. A passion that will only prove to be beneficial to the organisation.

  • What’s in it for me

Put yourself in the shoes of your employer. At the end of the day what it comes down to is tangibles – Sales, Production, Operations, Customer Satisfaction, etc., whatever the field, think how you can contribute towards the company’s bottom-line growth and it goals. Talk about the theories, principles and skills you learnt from the programme and connect them back to your prior work experience and the projects you completed. Impress upon your employer the skills and knowledge you can bring to the organisation because of your education, such as – flexibility and adaptability, time management, critical thinking and problem solving, presentation skills and research and writing, to just list a few.

Your commitment towards your studies, especially if you have good grades to back you up, is also a good indication of your commitment and will leave a positive impression with your employer.

Robert Kennedy College with 31 Master’s degree programmesand almost 14,000 students from almost every county in the world offers one of the most diverse, accredited and globally recognised online master’s degree programmes in both Business Law, Leadership and Management through exclusive partnerships with British universities. For more information download programme catalogue.

On behalf of the faculty and staff of Robert Kennedy College, I would like to wish all our readers a Very Happy and Successful New Year 2019!!

How to become a better Student

Going back to school is never easy, especially if you are a working professional and have to juggle a career and your personal life along with your education. But now that you have decided to go back to school, you might as well focus on becoming the best student you can be.

But what does becoming a better student mean to you? Have you sat down and really thought about it? Does it mean better – Work-Life-Study balance or better grades or a better understanding of what is being taught in class? No matter what your answer to the question is, the way to success is by creating effective habits.

The following are a few suggestions that could help you in achieving your goals.

  • The Scouts Motto – BE PREPARED

Time management is probably one of the biggest reasons why students fall behind or stay ahead in their classes.

    • Get organised – Organise your notes in such a way that it is easy to find when the time comes to refer to them.
    • Use a calendar, keep track of your class and fee payment schedules, know when your assignments are due and ensure that you complete your tasks before they are due.
    • Knowing your syllabus beforehand will go a long way in helping you prepare for a class. You will already have access to the study material before hand and by reading what is going to be thought in your next class you will get a better understanding of the subject when your teacher is explaining the topic. You will also be able to ask questions and clarify any doubts that was not clarified during the lesson.
  • Participate in Class

Active participation in class can have a number of positive impacts on your student life. Teachers notice to the students who are active in class and will in general  be more positively disposed towards these students. Don’t be afraid to raise your hands and ask questions, it is always better to come away from a class with a clear understanding of the subject.  And finally, take notes during class – it is the best aid that you can have during your revision of the subject.

 

 

  • Read

The best way to gain knowledge is to read. The more you read, the more you will know. If what you have read is related to your area of learning, the article, blog or book will give you a new point of view. Try to understand what the author is trying to put across and analyse if it falls inline with what you have learnt. Discuss your takeaways with your class and your teachers.

  • Complete your assignments early

The sooner you start work on your assignments, the sooner you will complete your research, the sooner the draft of your report will be ready. This will give you sufficient time to review your report and re-examine your conclusions. Get a friend or a classmate to read your report and ask them if there is any point that was not clear to them, you have the time to rework on the point, if you also feel it is required.

  • Do not procrastinate – A rushed job is seldom a good job.

When you choose a course, ensure its in the area of your interest so that you don’t regret your decision in the end.

Robert Kennedy College with 31 Master’s degree programmes and almost 14,000 students from almost every county in the world offers one of the most diverse, accredited and globally recognised online master’s degree programmes in both Business Law, Leadership and Management through exclusive partnerships with British universities. For more information download programme catalogue.