Women in RKC – Manal Al-Khaled – MA Leading Innovation and Change graduate

This week in our Women Day series, we have another special lady with us with her unique story through her Masters with Robert Kennedy College.  

Manal Al-Khaled is a graduate of the MA in Leading Innovation and Change (MALIC) programme, York St John University, UK. This programme was revamped and is now offered 100% online as MBA programme in Leading Innovation and Change.  

Manal Al-Khaled

Who is …

A short profile: 

Vidhi Kapoor (VK): Who are you, really? 

Manal Al-Khaled (MA): A mother, wife, daughter, a traveller, a reader and above all a woman !  

I grew up in a multicultural and multi-religious family; an Arab father and a Russian mother is a combination that gave me a wider cultural exposure at an early age. Growing up in the Middle East has enriched my knowledge of how great my desire was to not only be successful but “a successful woman”. I didn’t have much choice but to be educated and successful. I have studied in Switzerland to obtain a Higher Swiss Diploma and a BA from the United Kingdom.  

With experience in the hospitality field, training and education, and international development in different parts of the world from Cyprus, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Jordan and Bahrain, it wasn’t long before I realized I needed to do further self-development. I decided to do a Masters degree which I successfully completed at York St John University, MA in Leading Innovation and Change.  

I currently live and work in Canada, where I work as a project manager in a non-profit organization in the Toronto area.  

Getting back into education 

Your story of getting back to do a Master’s degree 

VK: What was the driving force behind your enrolling for an online degree? Who inspired you? What motivated you?

MA: In 2013, my daughters were only 4 and 5 years old when my husband lost his job due to political unrest in the region (Middle East). There was never a right time to do my Master’s degree. There were other financial priorities always and with 2 little kids and a full-time job, time was a luxury, that I didn’t have much of it or under my control. I kept postponing it for all the reasons in the world. Then it hit me, it’s now, no matter what. My father was my supporter all the way who believes education is the best time and money investment. No matter what life brings, with the proper education, not only people but nations rise. That was my turning point, I started my first module in January 2014.  

Today, I truly believe it was the best time investment I have made in a very long time. It was a rocky road indeed with some bumps. But in addition to family support, the instructors within the program where not only great academics but wonderful people that offered support where they could.  

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

MA: There were many challenges, in my decision, and during the program. It was the time when my husband lost his job, so certainly, financially it was way far down the list as a priority. With two tiny kids, having sleepless nights and being needed as a mom at all times was also a struggle. Being a full-time employee working 9:00 am-5:00 pm added to this struggle. 

I learned to spend quality time with my children, and my evenings that went into reading a book or watching my favourite shows and movies, switched to reading the module related material, participating in class discussions and working on my assignments.  

I thought waking up every day at 6:00 am was early enough, but I have developed a habit of waking up at 4:00 am to catch up on my work and it eventually became the most productive time of my day.  

I believe the less options we have, the more determined we are to succeed. I didn’t allow myself to think of failure, I kept thinking of ways to succeed. We sometimes forget down the road the main reason why we did things. We don’t just join a Master’s degree programme for nothing. There’s always a reason. We just need to remind ourselves why we wanted it.  

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

MA: A couple of things truly fascinated me when I first started. First, the high level of program delivery that is actually possible online; the whole concept was very new to me then. Access to libraries, articles, books and journals was amazing. Also, contacting classmates for any module helped share ideas and thoughts. Wonderful platform to have access to.  

The academic profiles of the instructors were jaw-dropping. Successful people with good knowledge of various industries made theory and practical gap way smaller than many might assume.  

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

Absolutely. No matter where you come from, women are still fighting to get equal rights in hiring, in wages and many others. Women, in many parts of the world, are still struggling in balancing between what they want to achieve and what is expected from them by society. Going back into education is challenging after starting a career path or starting a family and/or having kids. After living in many parts of the world, I came to realize that women are challenged everywhere not only in certain parts of the world. In the most progressed countries, women are still fighting for equality on different levels.  

Put all that together, going back to education is not always an easy path to choose, but in my opinion, it is certainly the right path.   

Manal works as a project manager in a non-profit organization in the Toronto area.

Getting the degree 

The work to get the degree – what did you learn, how did you balance, what would you do differently 

VK: Which programme did you do? Why? 

MA: I did MA in Leading Innovation and Change. I could not resist the program’s title and description. Being a woman who thrived to lead, to find new ways and to change, that was a dream come true. We all need change, we all ask for change, and yet, many are scared of change. The program gave me answers professionally and personally.  

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

MA: The more you learn, the more you realize you want to learn more!  

VK: How did you balance work and studies? 

MA: In fact, it was work, studies, and family balance. Only through time management. I wish there was a magical method, but there isn’t. Time management and being efficient in using that time. As silly as it sounds, we get dragged sometimes in doing things for a long time that aren’t necessarily productive. I am old fashioned until today with my tasks, I always have a notebook with my tasks to complete for the day and they need to be ticked by the end of the day.  

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

MA: I believe that studying online has similar challenges for everyone but being a woman sometimes may add to those challenges with extra challenges to face in daily life.  

Life post degree 

What changed, if anything? 

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

MA: Absolutely! Having a master’s degree has placed me on a more senior and managerial level in my career path.  

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

MA: This question is being answered during the COVID-19 shutdowns worldwide and organizations shifting to working from home. I had to be part of a major organizational change from delivering service to clients face to face without having the option of working from home, to an organization that shifted all services delivered to clients to online and everyone is working from home. Being part of the management team and leading my team through that change successfully and smoothly was mainly about my knowledge gained in the program on how to lead and implement change in an organization and its impact on both the organization and individuals.  

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

MA: Yes. Professional development is essential in any career growth. Doing it online at your own time and pace allows a wider range of individuals to be part of this development. This will allow more females to enrol in various programs to develop their skills and advance in their careers and they will compete professionally with other colleagues based on their knowledge rather than gender.  

Advice for other women 

Or other students, really. 

VK: Imagine you could send a message back in time to your pre-degree self: what would it be? 

MA: Use time efficiently, do not get distracted. Focus on what you want and make it happen. Always remember, success feels good and make this your motivation 

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

MA: A good lumbar support office chair. 

Closing thoughts 

VK: Anything else you would like to add that could help with the goal of increasing women’s participation/access to a Master’s degree? 

MA: Women in history have succeeded in everything from raising families to leading armies. There’s still a large gender gap in women’s roles in decision making and leadership. Women sometimes need to work harder to reach those positions. Education is a great tool for success. Follow your dreams and make them happen.  

How about that! A good lumbar support office chair – that sure is one original suggestion, Manal! Manal’s advice to buckle up and be prepared for the challenges of the Master’s programme should be taken to heart.  

Do you see yourself going through this wonderful journey? Share your thoughts with us, what motivated you or what stops you from enrolling in your dream Masters programme in the comments below. 

All you want to know about Sustainable Leadership

“Denmark based renewable energy provider, Ørsted, revamped their business model completely by being a fully renewable power provider. The company moved from being heavily coal intensive to using renewable sources to produce energy. Their carbon emissions have reduced by 83%.” 

“Kering SA, the French firm that owns several consumer-facing brands like Gucci, Alexander McQueen, YSL sources 40% of its products from certified sustainable sources. Also, 60% of the company’s board is composed of women showcasing gender equality”.  

“Neste, a Finnish company, has more than 50% of its investments into the development of renewable biofuels”.

“Lyft recently announced that all its rides will be carbon neutral.” 

These are just a few examples of headlines showcasing corporate sustainability accomplishments. From sustainable food to sustainable energy, we look up to our leaders to lead towards a sustainable world.  

What is sustainable leadership really? Let’s explore together! 

What is Sustainability? 

Sustainability can simply be defined as the ability to sustain (Sustain-Ability). The UN World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainable development as the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 

Sustainability encompasses 3 interlocking aspects:  

  1. Environmental: Environmental sustainability is about the environmental impacts associated with business while ecological sustainability is about its impacts on biodiversity. 
  1. Social: Social sustainability deals with the social impacts of a business – how are people and communities affected, internally as well as externally? 
  1. Economic: Commercial and economic sustainability is a reflection of a company’s ability to carry on business and generate profit to sustain its viability. 

All the above three interlocking aspects are intertwined with the regulatory sustainability aspect that requires organizations to comply with government regulations and law.  

When translated to the business context, sustainability is increasingly being realized as the new normal. Businesses understand that they cannot just selfishly operate for profits. They use resources from society and nature, and therefore owe some responsibility towards society. The elements of the triple bottom line – People, Planet, and Profits, are inter-reliant. Society depends on the economy and the economy depends on the global ecosystem. The ultimate bottom line is the health of the eco-system. 

The concept of corporate sustainability is still developing and is debatable. Sustainability should be understood as a concept that has been socially and politically constructed that reflects the interests and values of those involved like the business owners, social groups, and other institutions.  

Sustainable Leadership 

Sustainability is a wide-ranging concept with universal applicability. Businesses have always been about profitability at the expense of sustainability initiatives. While there is no denying the fact that most for-profit corporations run for maximizing return on investment for shareholders, the contribution of sustainability in enhancing or detracting bottom lines can no longer be ignored by businesses. 

Sustainable Leadership embraces the triple bottom line concept and can be defined as the mindful actions and behaviours of the leaders that embrace a global worldview. It recognizes the connection between the planet and humanity and through personal and organizational choices creates positive environmental and social change. 

Globalisation and increased awareness have led to increasing social pressure in society that is contributing to a shift in the type of leadership of corporations. And sustainable leadership is not only something that can make business operations sustainable and eco-friendly, it can also help a company’s bottom line. Society judges the decisions of CEOs and looks for innovative solutions from the world leaders. 

Being sustainable is not merely a regulatory requirement for businesses to comply with. The corporations want to leverage their positions and increase profitability by supporting environmental and sustainability initiatives. Businesses want to look good and portray that they are not just about profits, but care about their impact on society, the environment, and the local community. 

Principles of Sustainable Leadership  

  1. Global Benefit: Gone are the days when corporations could get away with environmental damages and gender inequalities. Societies and the environment benefit when CEOs and companies prioritize sustainable leadership because environment, society, and governance (ESG) are added to the bottom line. Being responsible and adopting sustainable leadership makes money! 
  1. Understanding and establishing the system interconnections: A sustainable leader is foresighted in recognising the inter-reliance and impact of the three P factors (People, Planet, and Profits) on each other.  
  1. Transform from within: It is critical that more leaders integrate sustainability in their business strategies and can shift the company culture in the process.  
  1. Protect the environment and society: Business leaders need to pay attention to the impact their businesses have on people and environment and minimise it. 
  1. Lead by example: The only way others will follow and adopt your initiatives is when you hold yourself responsible in the first place for adhering to those initiatives (to reduce waste and increase efficiency, etc.).

It is interesting to find what initiatives different corporations adopt to become global leaders in sustainability. Here are the top 10 sustainability leaders of 2019 according to the GlobeScan-SustainAbility Leaders Survey: 

Source: The GlobeScan-SustainAbility Leaders Survey 

Here’s a great example of sustainable leadership: 

Walmart’s Sustainability Project Gigaton. 

Project Gigaton is a Walmart initiative to avoid one billion metric tons (one gigaton) of greenhouse gas emissions from the global value chain by 2030. This commitment is a cornerstone of Walmart’s approved Science-Based Target.  

Through Project Gigaton, suppliers can take their sustainability efforts to the next level through goal setting to reduce emissions in their own operations and value chain. Since the program was introduced in 2017, over 1,000 Walmart suppliers have collectively reported more than 93 million metric tons towards the goal.  

CDP recently awarded Walmart an A- grade in its most recent environmental scorecard ranking.  

Despite the global corporations’ initiatives towards sustainability and adopting sustainable business practices, the progress has been far from satisfactory.  A report published in 2019 at the United Nations by the United Nations Global Compact and the business consultancy Accenture finds that just 21% of CEOs believe business is playing a critical role in contributing to the global sustainability goals and that fewer than half are integrating sustainability into their business operations. The world requires more sustainability leaders.  

Designed for tomorrow’s leader, our online MBA in Leadership and Sustainability creates distinctive managers with a unique leadership-oriented career opportunity. Calling future leaders who share a vision of a sustainable future!  

When the world came to a halt and so did Tourism

My bucket list was full for 2020. I was looking forward to travelling for business and leisure. I did none of that so far, and I believe I will not be able to before 2021 either.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourism is the world’s 5th fastest growing industry, with one billion international travellers, $1.53 trillion in global revenues, and 5% growth globally per year. Much of that growth is coming from the emerging middle classes in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Mexico. 

Travel and tourism are among the world’s largest industries with a total contribution to the global economy of approximately 9.25 trillion USD in 2019.  

Year Direct contribution Total contribution 
2006 1,629.02 5,160.35 
2007 1,809.37 5,765.03 
2008 1,928.47 6,259.57 
2009 1,794.88 5,803.03 
2010 1,911.51 6,108.56 
2011 2,157.06 6,925.29 
2012 2,207.37 7,094.29 
2013 2,304.81 7,432.19 
2014 2,388.31 7,674.79 
2015 2,320.93 7,444.04 
2016 2,381.1 7,650.17 
2017 2,567.88 8,240.74 
2018 2,750.65 8,810.96 
The direct and total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP from 2006 to 2019 (in billion U.S. dollars)

The Current Tourism Situation

Until the end of 2019, the tourism industry’s growth continued to outpace global economic growth, bearing witness to its huge potential to deliver development opportunities across the world. This comes with its sustainability challenges though.  

But everything changed with the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19. With restrictions on travel in most, if not all, global destinations, tourism remains one of the worst affected of all sectors.  

Fig 1

In the first quarter of 2020, US$ 195 billion were lost in export revenues from international tourism with 180 million fewer international tourist arrivals (Fig 1). Potentially, there will be US$910 billion to US$ 1.2 trillion overall loss in export revenues from tourism. The industry is destined to lose 100 to 120 million direct tourism jobs globally (Fig 2). 

Fig 2

Tourism was at its peak owing to social media exposure, viral videos of exotic locations, Instagram travel posts by influencers and bloggers writing about their own travelling experiences to a new country. People have begun to cherish the interconnectedness and knowledge they gained as a global traveller. As a result, travelling is one hobby or interest that many have developed.

Post COVID-19 pandemic, tourism will continue to be among the worst-hit sectors. As I wrote this, many are still fearful, flights are still grounded and companies are being bailed out or facing bankruptcy, borders have been closed, few are travelling – there looms uncertainty on the future of tourism. With social distancing laws in effect in every country, the spread of COVID-19 has dramatically derailed businesses, communities, and livelihoods across the globe.  

HOW WILL TRAVEL LOOK LIKE?  – THE NEW NORMAL 

Travel and tourism has come to a complete standstill. Hundreds and thousands of people were left stranded in foreign countries, across borders, on cruise ships as countries closed borders for non-essential travel. Only a few rescue flights are operating to repatriate people to their home countries. The global lockdown disrupted leisure, business, and student travel. 

Governments have been trying to bring the revival process in phases. In Phase 1, only essential services like groceries, medical care, food take outs were open. Phase 2 brought more relaxation with opening of other non-essential services like barbers, spas, dentists etc. Phase 3 allowed opening of retail stores, malls, dining-in at restaurants, opening the national parks and allowing gatherings among close social circles. International travel still remains largely closed across the continents. The travel and tourism experts believe it will take greater effort to build that confidence back with the travellers before they venture out.  

So given these conditions, when things start to normalize and people eventually begin to hit the road, how will travel look like? 

REVIVING TOURISM  

The crisis has forced the industry to re-think tourism for the future. Because the way we travel will never be the same again.  

Small progressive steps need to be taken to bring the industry back on its feet. As the crisis evolves, world governments and industry participants, big or small, work to identify key priorities to facilitate a short term, medium, and long-term revival plan. These include the following considerations: 

1.     Lifting travel restrictions: International travel does not seem to be plausible at the time. Closed borders for non-essential travel, countries deemed unsafe for travelling, quarantine requirements imposed by several governments will act as the international travel deterrent in the foreseeable future. Slowly the governments have uplifted restrictions for domestic travel. Local travel will provide a chance for driving recovery and support tourism business.  

2.     Rethink Tourism: As it is rightly said, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. Hotels, restaurants, tourist destinations will have to rebuild and revamp their strategy and think innovatively to attract visitors and tourists.  

3.     Restore traveller confidence: People will tend to alter their mode of transport, drive rather than do air-travel; choose alternate accommodation like sanitized rental homes rather than hotels. Committing to the health and safety of customers, businesses will need to build travellers’ confidence.  

Beyond immediate measures to support the tourism sector, countries are also shifting to develop recovery measures. 

MAKE HAY WHEN THE SUN SHINES 

The measures we put in place today will shape the tourism of tomorrow.While it may seem to be the worst industry to build a career in right now, Tourism has always survived not one, but many economic crises.

As things improve slowly, the industry once again will witness millions of travellers flocking from one country to another, resulting in an increased demand for tourism professionals. We need visionaries and people with a passion to take tourism to a new level – you can be one of them through our 100% online MBA in Tourism that Robert Kennedy College offers in exclusive partnership with the University of Cumbria. 

Women in RKC – Fawn Annan, MBA Media Leadership – University of Cumbria Graduate

It’s almost the end of June. We are halfway through 2020 – a year that brought with it some unique challenges for everyone. It’s a good moment to reflect on the first half of the year and do a mid-year evaluation of yourself, your goals and how far you have progressed towards achieving them. You may want to re-evaluate strategy, pace up or slow down a bit (the workaholics out there :)).  

Fawn Annan

We couldn’t agree more with our MBA Media Leadership graduate, Fawn Annan, who believes celebrating women graduates of RKC and showcasing their achievement and standing in the community is a great way to encourage and increase women’s participation in Master’s education. The very reason we started our Women’s Day Series dedicated to RKC’s women graduate and future graduates! Allow me to introduce you to the woman who wears several hats – that of CEO and Digital Media Publisher, of Mother, of Grandmother and of Wife – Fawn Annan! 

Getting back into education  

Your story of getting back to do a Master’s degree  

Vidhi Kapoor (VK): What was the driving force behind your enrolling for an online degree? Who inspired you? What motivated you? 

Fawn Annan (FA): I needed to find new publishing models for my business and also wanted to use the credentials to transfer my career to more speaking and book publishing. 

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

FA: Business priorities. Many but put this as a life-changing priority.  

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

FA: How much work one course take up in hours but the enjoyment I experienced did surprise me. 

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

FA: No, given its graduate-level online studies there was a difference. 

Getting the degree 

The work to get the degree – what did you learn, how did you balance, what would you do differently 

VK: Which programme did you do? Why? 

FA: MBA in Media Leadership — That is my profession 

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

FA: Learning is a lifetime journey 

VK: How did you balance work and studies? 

FA: My child is a father; my husband is retired; my business partner was very supportive and allowed me to take time to work on my studies a portion of each week and a portion of each weekend. 

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

FA: All students face the same ones. 

Life post-degree 

What changed, if anything? 

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

FA: Yes. Published my first co-authored book, Digital Transformation in the First Person, and have had many more speaking opportunities than before. 

Fawn’s first co-authored book – Digital Transformation in the First Person

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

FA: Yes. Our digital transformation was far more successful because I had the different models to try out in agile development. My business partner, a seasoned CIO, was also far more attentive to what strategy advice I had to offer. 

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

FA: Credentials do help. 

Advice for other women 

Or other students, really. 

VK: Imagine you could send a message back in time to your pre-degree self: what would it be?  

FA: Expand your mind as much as you can. Building credibility starts with knowledge. 

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

FA: My degree 

Fawn’s ‘Nerdy’ that she bought at her graduation at the University of Cumbria 🙂

I hope you got some very useful advice and insights about our Online Masters from Fawn. I am sure you draw inspiration from her story and feel motivated to embark on your own journey towards the Masters.

Our education advisors are here to help you with your questions. Chat LIVE on WhatsApp to get more information about our Masters.

Why are companies using Big Data Analytics?

After a long day, I settled down for some binge-watching on Netflix (you may be a Prime fan). I had been watching this series Ozark and wanted to watch something different that evening. Netflix had some recommendations for me – similar dramas, suspense thrillers that Netflix thought I would like based on what I had been watching. I stopped to wonder how Netflix generates content recommendations that appeal to my taste and do so for millions of other users globally. 

How do algorithms work to find me my recommendations?  

I am equally fascinated by how fashion brands like Burberry provide ‘personalised’ experience and buying suggestions. Not to mention how the retail and tech giants like Walmart, Amazon and Google seem to know more about you than your own mother.

All these companies have one thing in common: Big Data and Analytics. 

What is Big Data? 

The concept of big data has been around for several years. The term big data refers to data that are so large, complex, and comes in so fast that they are difficult to process using traditional methods. It gained momentum in the 2000s when industry analyst Doug Laney articulated a new definition for big data as three V’s: Volume, Velocity and Variety. Companies are evolving from being “knowing” organizations to “learning” organizations. 

What is Data Analytics? 

Big Data Analytics in simple terms can be defined as the application of advanced analytical techniques to big data. These techniques might typically include variety of tools like statistics, data mining, AI, predictive analytics and natural language processisng (NLP). The hottest trend in business intelligence today is amalgamation of these two technical entities: Big Data and Big Data Analytics.

Why is Big Data Important and why are companies using Analytics? 

Gathering big data is not enough, you also need to know what you do with it. If data are the crude oil then analytics is knowing how to refine them. into actionable business insights unleashing their potential. Most of the top-performing organizations identify data analytics as to the ‘differentiating factor’ from the competition in the industry. Here’s it is how:

Boost customer acquisition and retention 

Many companies are now using data analytics to understand and predict consumer behaviour. The information is in turn being used in advertising algorithms. Amazon found another use of such data – maintaining customer relations by providing faster and more efficient customer service.

Marketing Insights – focus on targeted adverts. 

In the modern age, personalization is highly valuable and a differential factor for consumers. Real-time analytics have made it possible for companies to deliver more targeted and precise service and product options to their users. 

Product Innovation and Development 

Data Analytics provides valuable information and reveals the future trends. Companies can take advantage of big data to branch out to different avenues and open up new revenue streams. Amazon’s Whole Foods and Amazon’s Fresh are perfect examples of how Amazon utilised the analysis of consumer grocery buying behaviour from its huge supply chain database. It applied this acquired knowledge to diversify and establish new innovative businesses. 

Risk Management 

One of the basic premise for any business to be profitable in the long run is its ability to identify and mitigate business risks. The wide variety of innsights provided by data analytics come in handy for institutions to develop better risk management solutions. The future is to be able to carry out real-time risk analysis. 

How can you build your career in Data Analytics?

Have you got a knack for numbers and an analytical mindset? Data analytics may be the right fit for you. As an analyst, you will be responsible for analysing and understanding the trends in big data and help improve business processes. You can launch your data analyst career with these simple steps: 

Earn an Information technology, CS or statistics bachelor’s degree  

If you are just starting off your career, earning a bachelor’s degree is a great place to launch your career in the right direction. 

Gain analytics work experience 

No education degrees are useful unless they are gainfully applied. Gain valuable experience while in school or after. Entry-level positions will provide you with much needed on-the-job training which is otherwise difficult to obtain.

Advance your Analytics career with a Masters  

Work experience and a bachelor’s degree may get you to a certain level of success. For further career development and growth in the field and into the management, you should consider pursuing a master’s degree programme in data science, data analytics or big data management. These programs will provide exposure to the latest trends and knowledge.

How can we help? 

Robert Kennedy College offers 100% Online MSc Data Analytics in exclusive partnership with the University of Cumbria. With an in-depth curriculum, you will study data analytics, advanced databases and learn new trends in digital marketing and artificial intelligence. The University of Cumbria is ranked 8th in the world and is recognised by the British government. Trust me, with such credentials until its belt, you do not need much (big data) analytics for choosing the University of Cumbria as your online graduate school. Join us today!  

Breakthrough Technologies through the eyes of Bill Gates

“Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other.”  Bill Gates
 

 

We are changing the world with technology, with software being the big change agent. And the man who has been instrumental (the change agent himself) in bringing this technological change is Bill Gates. Bill Gates needs no introduction. I believe his name is synonymous with the innovation and change in the world of technology as the world sees it today. Bill Gates, one of the richest entrepreneurs, innovators, one of the most influential persons in the world and an immense philanthropist, revolutionized the technology industry when he co-founded Microsoft in 1975. And the rest is history. 

Gates say the advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life. I am not going to lay out the advantages or importance of IT in business or as Bill Gates mentions, in our everyday lives. This is more about what is going on in the world of Information Technology and how new breakthrough technologies continue to disrupt the world.  

MIT Technology Review has been presenting ten breakthrough technologies every year. And in this list’s history of 18 years, the 2019 edition was curated by none other than Bill Gates. There could not be a better person than Gates, sharing with the world which new technologies he believes are poised to deeply impact our lives.  

MIT’s 2019 breakthrough technologies fall into 3 categories – climate change mitigation, healthcare and AI. These are some challenges and opportunities for our future society and communities. Based on Bill Gates’ beliefs, these chosen technologies indicate a trend of transition in technologies – from those that mostly made life longer to those that mostly make it better. 

Here goes the list: 

  1. Robot revolution—robot hands that can learn to manipulate unfamiliar objects on their own  
  1. New-wave nuclear power—Development of both new fission and fusion reactor designs making them safer and cheaper  
  1. Customizable cancer vaccines— Companies like BioNTech and a treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to target only tumoral cells  
  1. Predicting premature babies—a simple blood test that can predict chances of preterm birth, potentially saving many children’s lives  
  1. Probe-a-pill—a swallowable device that takes image the gut and even performs biopsies.
  1. Plant based burgers—The aim is to drastically cut emissions from the food industry by inventing both plant-based and lab-grown meat alternatives.  
  1. Separating and ‘Repurposing’ Carbon dioxide—Companies like Climeworks based in Zurich, are looking for economical techniques for absorbing CO2 from the air and locking it away. Companies aim to produce methane from carbon emissions and also sell carbon dioxide to the soft-drink industry 
  1. An ECG-enabled smartwatch— Electrocardiogram – popularly known as ECG – will be available as wearable technology. The wearable will be able to detect atrial fibrillation and continuously monitor people’s heart and health conditions, giving early warnings of problems. 
  1. Self-contained toilets—The low-income countries cannot afford the luxury of a sewer system. Gates says, “A self-contained toilet takes the human waste, liquid and solid, and in most cases does some type of separation. The solids you can essentially burn. The liquids you can filter” 
  1. All- capable AI assistants—Expect better conversations with AI Assistants that are capable of much more than just conversations like taking meeting notes and shopping online.  

Bill Gates is not just a believer but an avid investor in the development of these innovative technologies that are bound to change the world. As he says,

“How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose.” 

I for one believe the world is witnessing how IT has transformed businesses and is an integral part of its success. RKC providing online programmes understand the importance of tech and thus offers Online Masters that provide you with the necessary knowledge and skill to excel in the field of IT. Chat with our advisors on WhatsApp to know more about our 100% Online MBA specializing in Information Technology. Because in the words of Bill Gates,

“Vision without execution is daydreaming”. 

5 reasons why a career in Healthcare is not as bad as it seems today

I promise this is not another COVID-19 update, myths and truths or uncovering the facts where and how this deadly disease started, blog. There is more than enough information out there – and I’m talking about reliable sources only – enough to overwhelm most of us. 

These are challenging times for us as individuals and for society at large – humanity some might say. The global pandemic has changed the way nations operate and has impacted the global economy. The greatest and gravest impact of the pandemic, however, is on the healthcare systems around the world. With about 3.8million COVID-19 cases in 210 countries and territories (as of May 9th, 2020), the healthcare systems worldwide are immensely stressed. (https://covid19.who.int)

Healthcare systems are hit hard both directly and indirectly (too many patients at the same time, too many doctors becoming patients, lacking resources, inability to attend to other conditions, etc.) 

The World Health Organisation said so much: 

Countries will need to make difficult decisions to balance the demands of responding directly to COVID-19, while simultaneously engaging in strategic planning and coordinated action to maintain essential health service delivery, mitigating the risk of system collapse

WHO, March 2020

So, if this is not an update, nor a myth-busting blog, what is it? 

I would like to focus on the positives of this situation from an educational point of view, thinking especially of those who envisaged a career in the healthcare sector, people who are looking to switch careers, or someone already in the healthcare sector looking to verticalize their career path. Now is the time to “quarantine” and study!  

Choosing a career for yourself might be one of the biggest decisions you take in your life. Some of us are fortunate to follow our passions and interests and make a successful career out of it. Sometimes after pursuing a career for a whole number of years, we realise that it is not something we want to do for the rest of our lives. We’ve got to rationalize our interest and weigh the pros and cons a career offers. If you have been thinking what’s in it for you, here is what a career in the healthcare industry has to offer: 

Humanitarian side

While every profession tends to serve society in some way (well at least that is what I like to believe), in my opinion, healthcare is the noblest. The potential of changing and saving lives puts you on a higher pedestal as a professional compared to any other. If you have an innate desire of helping others and uplifting humankind, healthcare is the right place for you.

Tremendous Growth Opportunities

Surveys and labor statistics reveal that healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries with an estimated addition of 1.9 million new jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in healthcare occupations was projected to grow 14 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

Healthcare occupations are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups. This projected growth is mainly due to an aging population, leading to greater demand for healthcare services.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Challenging situations like the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 have created a need for strong healthcare leadership. The present outbreak is far from over, and the healthcare sector is operating at maximum capacity. There is an urgent need to adequately plan and utilise limited resources. At the same time, it has become all the more imperative for the healthcare systems worldwide to be prepared for any future events, as the COVID-19 pandemic is definitely not the last one.  

The sector offers a number of growth opportunities that are wide ranging, beyond the conventional patient care field of being a practitioner, nurse or therapist. There are opportune avenues for both horizontal and vertical growth in the sector. As the healthcare paradigm continues to evolve, there is a greater demand for innovation in healthcare technology, guided by the vision and sharp business acumen of a strong healthcare professional. 

Dynamic

Most days, a healthcare professional will bring new challenges and should bring with them joys and job satisfaction. Demand is changing and so are the roles in this industry which adds to its dynamicity.

 Flexibility

Healthcare offers flexibility in three ways. First the flexibility on choice of profession. You have a plethora of options to choose from: patient care services, government relations, human resources, planning and development to name just a few healthcare management positions you can get yourself into. 

Then you can choose the environment you want to work in. The healthcare management professionals are not limited to jobs in just hospitals. There are great career opportunities in consulting, state and federal agencies, insurance, laboratories and universities.

Thirdly, this industry is not bound by borders. The experience in the field is highly regarded across nations making you a valuable asset wherever you go (with few exceptions where licensing might be necessary).

Competitive Salary

Last but definitely not least, healthcare sector jobs are well paid and rewarding in the monetary sense as well. On an average, the median salaries of healthcare professionals are higher than the annual wages of all other occupations. (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm)

A master’s degree could provide you ‘the edge’ to make a move into or to grow within the healthcare industry. The enhanced knowledge and multifaceted skillsets will allow you to make progress by leaps and bounds in the field.  

Because let’s be honest – who hasn’t had a bad “boss”? Highly competent people with tremendous skills in their profession, parachuted in leadership positions without preparation. That “joy and job satisfaction” we were mentioning earlier are highly impacted by leaders who are not fully prepared to lead other people too. 

Our Online MBA Healthcare programmes will help you understand international perspectives and also how to analyze the constraints and trade-offs in developing and implementing national health strategies, health care financing, economic evaluation, the role of effective change management and technological development. 

Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the healthcare management programmes offered and the application process. Remember to ask about our “quarantine” discounts and check your eligibility. 

On behalf of the entire RKC team, a special thanks to all healthcare professionals across the world for working tirelessly to keep our communities safe. Our gratitude to all of you responsible citizens for staying home and helping stop the spread. #thankyouheathcareworkers

The University of Cumbria ranked 8th in the world

Robert Kennedy College takes immense pride to share a recent development in the university rankings world. Our exclusive partner – the University of Cumbria – has been ranked 8th in the world by Times Higher Education. The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ranking uses 3 calibrated indicators: research, outreach and stewardship to provide comprehensive and balanced comparisons.  

At its heart, the UN has 17 Sustainable Development Goals that call for an urgent action by countries –developed and developing – for global partnership. Sustainable Development Goal 4 stands for Quality Education i.e. ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. 

Despite the considerable progress on education access and participation over the past years, 262 million children and youth aged 6 to 17 were still out of school in 2017, and more than half of children and adolescents are not meeting minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics.

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg4

The Times Higher Education Ranking on SDG 4 – quality education – measures universities’ contribution to early years and lifelong learning, their pedagogy research and their commitment to inclusive education. This second edition includes 766 universities from 85 countries. Metrics and the percentage weightings given to each metric for arriving at the ranking are as follows:  

  • Research on early years and lifelong learning education (27%) 
  • Proportion of graduates with teaching qualification (15.4%) 
  • Lifelong learning measures (26.8%) 
  • Proportion of first-generation students (30.8%) 
University of Cumbria – Lancaster Campus

There couldn’t have been a better timing for this impressive ranking to be announced, as we also announce that the University of Cumbria Online MBAs are now being offered 100% online. Yes, you read that right! Now you can study and receive British government approved, Swiss quality education – all 100% Online. This is, however, a limited time offer. Enrol today or chat with one of our advisors on WhatsApp now.  

Meg Plooy, RKC&YSJ graduate

Women in RKC – Meg Plooy, MA Leading Innovation & Change, York St John University, UK

In our effort to spread some positivity amidst the global pandemic, we turn to another success story of a proud RKC graduate – Meg Plooy. Meg graduated from the Online MA Leading Innovation & Change (the programme is now offered at York Business School as a 100% Online MBA Leading Innovation and Change). Let’s hear Meg’s inspirational story.

Who is..

A short profile

Vidhi Kapoor (VK): Who are you, really?

Meg Plooy (MP): Relentlessly helpful mother, wife, and friend. Innovative business solutions aficionado, Starbucks addict, camping nerd, and (foster) mother of Pitbulls.

Getting back into education

Your story of getting back to do a Master’s degree

VK: What was the driving force behind your enrolling for an online degree? Who inspired you? What motivated you?

MP: I was inspired to enroll for an online degree for a few different reasons. Firstly, to be an inspiration for my young children and show them that truly anything is possible if you work hard. Secondly, to advance my professional opportunities. Taking inspiration from my two sons, who work tremendously hard in everything they do and my sister, who enrolled in her graduate studies just a few weeks earlier.

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

MP: There were two significant barriers impacting my decision to apply and enroll. The primary barrier was time: finding adequate time while raising children and working full time. The other significant barrier was cost: as a mature student, enrolling in an international institution there were very few grants or bursaries I qualified for, meaning all the funding was out of pocket.

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

MP: I was most surprised by how determined I was to succeed.

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

MP: Absolutely. I feel there are still substantial gaps in gender parity. Although I have a supportive marital partner, I still feel that a larger portion of the parenting and household responsibilities fall on the female if both parents are working. I also feel that there is a larger need for females to have higher education for a lesser role in order to be seen competitively in the workforce and to reduce wage gaps.

Getting the degree

The work to get the degree – what did you learn, how did you balance, what would you do differently

VK: Which programme did you do? Why?

MP: Master of Arts, Leading Innovation and Change. I had been researching online Master’s degree programs for quite a while and immediately was drawn to this program because it outlined everything I identified in myself both personally and professionally.

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

MP: That I am capable of accomplishing anything I am determined to complete.

VK: How did you balance work and studies?

MP: A good routine and sticking to a schedule. The best time for me to complete my studies was after the kids were in bed, which gave me anywhere from 2 to 2.5 hours each night. I used Monday through Thursday as “school nights” which ensured I was still getting downtime over the weekends. This helped me to stay focused and manage time effectively.

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

MP: I feel all mature students, especially ones with family responsibilities, would face the same challenges.

Life post-degree

What changed, if anything?

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

MP: I feel that since graduating, I have more credibility within the organization I work for.

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

MP: Completing my Master’s degree has helped me develop strong skills in critical analysis, which helps me assess a situation more critically, also identifying themes and patterns in certain situations. It has certainly helped me strengthen my professional writing and report-delivery skills.

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

MP: I do not believe getting a Master’s degree will reduce gender discrimination in the workplace. I currently work in a male-dominated industry and was recently appointed to our central business unit’s Women’s Council as our organization is looking to achieve gender equity in the workplace. In the council, we discuss many elements that contribute to gender discrimination in the workplace. I believe the best way to mitigate gender discrimination in the workplace is through leadership and inclusive corporate culture.

Advice for other women

Or other students, really.

VK: Imagine you could send a message back in time to your pre-degree self: what would it be?

MP: It will all be worth it in the end, you CAN do this!

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

MP: A financial grant or bursary that could have helped with tuition payments.

Closing thoughts

VK: Anything else you would like to add that could help with the goal of increasing women’s participation/access to a Master’s degree?

MP: I believe addressing the financial barrier would assist in women accessing higher education. I also feel that developing a platform for online support would be beneficial that may include blog posts, online resources, and motivational content.

If you are truly inspired by Meg’s story today and are ready to take the plunge, do not think twice. It’s the right time to do something positive for your career (no matter the global crisis) and get a Master’s degree you had always dreamt of achieving! Have a look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything that interests you.

And, since as Meg says, every little bit could help, RKC are proud to be able to offer, in particular during this really strange period of our lives, financial support to those who are held back by finances. Please do talk to our team of Education Advisors on WhatsApp for the details on the bursary (there’s a bit of variance depending on the programme).

Women in RKC – Introducing Derryle M. Rankin – A Double RKC Graduate

As we continue the International Women’s Day series, this week we are talking about Derrylee M. Rankin – a double RKC Graduate. Without further ado, let’s hear her inspirational story. 

Vidhi Kapoor (VK): Who are you, really? 

Derrylee M. Rankin (DMR): Learning is an integral part of growing. My aspiration in life is to continue crafting my passions, building interpersonal relationships and being a leader who leads by example. 

I thrive in culture and commerce environments geared towards outstanding results that lead to profitability and overall success for any organization that I am part of. I prefer to work on tasks that challenge me intellectually.   

Akin to raising my two sons Fabio and Jacob as a single mother; the same dedication was applied to my decision of becoming a Graduate student. I obtained a Master’s Degree in Leading Innovation and Change from York St. John University in York, England and a PG Diploma in International Commercial Law at the University of Salford, Manchester.  [Editor’s note: both degrees in exclusive partnership with RKC] 

VK: Which programme did you do? Why? 

DMR: MA Leading Innovation and Change  

PG Diploma International Commercial Law 

VK: What was the driving force behind your enrolling for an online degree? Who inspired you? What motivated you? 

DMR: For years, I was prevented from receiving promotions or salary increases because I had not obtained a college degree. This was quite stressful and embarrassing as I was capable of doing the job, in fact in some cases I was already doing the job, just not being paid or recognized. 

My two sons were witnessing me working two and sometimes three jobs and I knew it had a negative effect on them.  I was determined to make a positive change in our lives and further my education. 

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

DMR: Unfortunately, I dropped out of college twice due to my struggles as a single parent suffering from depression.  Depression affected my motivation and commitment. The lack of funds and family support was also a factor.  I realized that it was time to find the strength and courage to get my degree and have a positive influence on my two sons. 

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

DMR: My challenge as a woman was a combination of working a fulltime job and raising my children.  I had to find ways to prioritize my school projects, submitting work deadlines on time while handling all of the responsibilities as a fulltime single mother.  There were many long nights. 

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

DMR: I believe we all face particular challenges while studying. 

VK: Anything else you would like to add that could help with the goal of increasing women’s participation/access to a Master’s degree? 

DMR: Do your research, ask many questions and seek help from your professors and classmates. 

My professors were extremely helpful and very encouraging, I am forever grateful. 

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

DMR: I was surprised by the support that I received from my classmates and professors.  They pushed me to overcome many obstacles.  

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

DMR: I learned that self-value and confidence come from within.  My classmates and professors were very supportive and inspired me to push forward.  Our group projects also helped me to express myself and contribute my ideas with confidence.  

VK: How did you balance work and studies? 

DMR: I had to do most of my studies at night and on the weekends.  I was also fortunate to be working for a Government Department that offered a few study leave days.  

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

DMR: Since graduating I see myself as a worthy individual.  I have been given workforce opportunities that I could not have imagined prior to obtaining my degree. 

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

DMR: Yes, I have improved my leading/management skills.  I communicate much better and always aim to ensure that my objectives are clear and concise. 

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

DMR: Absolutely. 

VK: Imagine you could send a message back in time to your pre-degree self: what would it be? 

DMR: Have the confidence to believe in yourself and do not procrastinate. 

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

DMR: My framed Master’s Degree. 🙂

I don’t know about you, but hearing the truly powerful and inspirational stories of these two MALIC graduates (Renata and Derrylee), I feel encouraged and motivated to take bolder steps to make a better life for myself and my family. Watch this space as more motivational stories are coming your way.  

If you too feel a Master’s degree may help improve your career progression opportunities, your self-confidence and self-worth, now’s as good a time as ever to get started. Sure, the times are particularly uncertain these days with half the world on lockdown and the other half biding their time, but we and our University partners are doing our best to support students during this period even adapting the face-to-face requirements to allow for online delivery using technology. Talk to our team of Educational Advisers today and see what we can do for you.