Corporate governance practices are important for companies. Here are 5 reasons why!

Let me start with the basics.. 

What is corporate governance? Well, corporate governance can simply be defined as the systems by which companies are defined, directed and controlled. As the name suggests, it is the practice that governs the corporates to comply with legal, regulatory and risk requirements and meet the business demands. And it is mainly the responsibility of the Board of directors. It is important that the board takes on board (pun intended) the intertwined roles, relationships, and interests of the company’s various stakeholders.

A corporate has both internal and external stakeholders. The internal stakeholders include the company owners, management, executives, board of directors, shareholders, and employees. And the external governance stakeholders include the society and community, customers, suppliers, vendors, and debt holders.  
 

Because the corporates ( with the exception of s non-profit organizations) operate for profit, one of the main focus areas of corporate governance is to make the business leaders manage the finances in the most effective way, and in the best interest of their internal and external stakeholders. There are several laws and external regulations that monitor this aspect of corporate governance. However, many companies establish their own internal framework and regulations to ensure smooth and ethical operations of the organisation. 

Regardless of how big or small a company, it is important to have an established set of practices that dictates good corporate governance. It also looks good on the part of the company that their finances are well accounted for, and they have done some good deeds for society.

Now many argue that corporate governance does not affect the bottom line of the business and is not ‘necessary’ for running the business, as it does not affect the operational or financial performance of the company. It is difficult to put together and implement a customised corporate governance plan. The additional practices cost a lot of money and time going through the administrative procedures of organization’s bureaucracy.  

The other side of these arguments, however, stresses the importance of corporate governance practices and the impact they have on the successful running of a business in the long term.  

How corporate governance benefits a company 

Corporate governance is the foundational stone of any good business. There is a direct correlation between good corporate governance and enhanced shareholder value in the long term. It is an important tool in managing the business in an ethical way, and leading to its growth.  

Some of the key benefits of good corporate governance are as follows:

1. Power packed board of directors 

        As I mentioned above, the board of directors are responsible to oversee how the corporation runs. Good corporate governance focuses on establishing a strong board for the company, comprising of directors who are knowledgeable, competent, qualified, matter-expert and who hold strong ethical values. The board will then be able to provide strong and dedicated leadership, and vision to the company.  
 

Corporate Governance ensures the corporation has a strong Board of directors

2. Promoting ethical culture and corporate integrity 

     Good corporate governance practices lay much emphasis on integrity in all business dealings and ensuring the company is socially responsible. They ensure compliance with the law, and an ethical business code of conduct.  

3. Enhanced public image 

     In todays competitive business environment, having good corporate governance can prove to  be a differentiating factor working in favor of the company. Being socially responsible, contributing towards the environment, implementing sustainable practices, and other societal benefits, paints a good image for the company and builds confidence for both the internal and external stakeholders of the company.  

4. Boosts new investment 

     The venture capitalists and investors feel more confident in investing in a company with good corporate governance practices. They ensure good return on investment for the investor. Increased investments mean expansion of business, and create more employment opportunities.  

5. Effective risk management 

     A board of directors with a strategic vision is imperative in identifying potential risks faced by the company, such as industry specific risks, global markets, operational, legal, and financial risks. By evaluating risks, and implementing timely plans, good corporate governance practices can help mitigate risks for the company. 

If you are looking to advance your career specializing in Corporate Governance, we have got just the Master’s programme for you. Robert Kennedy College offers a 100% online LL.M Corporate Governance in an exclusive partnership with the University of Cumbria.

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

Top 5 differences between an MBA and an Executive MBA. Which one is better for you?

Pursuing the master’s degree is a big decision in many people’s lives. Choosing which programme will be most beneficial for one’s career development can be nerve wrecking too. Because there are choices – too many choices! For example, one might decide to go for an MBA programme, however, there is a choice to pursue an Executive MBA (EMBA) too! As an aspiring student, which one should you choose? Let us explore the differences, pros and cons of both so that you can make an informed decision. 

1. Admission criteria 

One of the foremost differences between an MBA and the EMBA programme is the admission criteria. For most of the MBA programmes minimum experience required varies between 1-3 years. Sometimes, even fresh under-graduates can also apply for MBA programmes given a good academic record.  

On the other hand, an EMBA typically requires candidates to have on average 3 to 6 years’ work experience with at least 2 to 5 years of managerial work experience. Our current MBA students and alumni for example, possess on average 5 to 10 years of work experience, holding leadership and management titles in companies such as risk and quality managers, heads of sales, senior corporate trainers, marketing directors, lawyers, consultants, politicians and diplomats, company presidents and CMOs. 

2. Pace of study 

The MBA programmes are typically pursued on full-time or on-campus basis, and have very demanding schedules. They have more traditional and rigid course structures. An EMBA on the other hand, offers a more flexible study schedule, and are typically delivered in blocks (weekends, once a month, etc.) or online. The majority of the EMBA students are working professionals with busy work schedules. Thus, to optimize their time, EMBAs offer lecture sessions at rarer, but more intense intervals than their MBA counterparts. When done online, these really put flexibility at the forefront. 
 

3. Intensity of the programme 

While both programmes focus on the same core modules, the degree of intensiveness in both varies. For the EMBAs, I will use an analogy of a multi-vitamin supplement – a power packed mix of various vitamins all together in one. Similary, EMBAs are intensive, and one should be ready to absorb a lot of knowledge in a short period of time.  

A regular MBA programme however, spreads the modules over a period of time. The course material is widely distributed and thus is comparatively less intensive than EMBAs. 

Group of students at the Residency in Zurich (At the moment we are conducting Online Residency in light of Covid-19 restrictions).

4. Curriculum and focus 

In an MBA programme, since it accepts candidates with fewer years of experience, the focus is on teaching and developing management knowledge from the basics. It has a broader choice available in terms of the electives that a student can choose from. An EMBA programme, however, has a higher bar set in terms of experience from its candidates. While some of the core modules are same as an MBA programme, an EMBA programme has a more focused approach.  
 

Celebrating our Graduates – University of Cumbria

5. Financial implications 

An EMBA wins over an MBA programme any day when we talk about financial implications of both. Firstly, an EMBA candidate can continue their day jobs and get paid to support their education. MBA programmes with full-time study schedules make it more difficult for students to continue with their jobs. Secondly, since a large portion (or in our case, all of the programme) is studied online, one saves a huge amount of money in travel and living expenses. Thus, the return on investment on an EMBA is typically much higher than a regular MBA programme.  

Money matters..

There is of course the issue of programme cost – these vary wildly though, and you can find really expensive programmes in both EMBA and MBA settings. 

I hope the above provides a few points to help you make the distinction between an MBA and an EMBA programme. 

Robert Kennedy College offers online MBA programmes – which are much closer to EMBAs than they are to MBAs because of their flexibility and incredible value for money. We do that in exclusive partnerships with the University of Cumbria and York St John University. Check out the list of various MBA progammes that we offer and choose the one that best suits your interests and career.  

Celebrating International Day of Peace #PeaceDay

The 21st of September was observed as the International Day of Peace across the globe, a day earmarked by the United Nations, urging nations to observe ‘non-violence’ and encourage peace on the day, as well as a more general practice! Since 1981, each year it has been celebrated with the aim of bringing peace and harmony in the otherwise war-ridden world. 

Today the nations face several kinds of threats from each other, risk of civil war, political unrest, nuclear threats, cyberattacks, violence, and terrorism to name a few. Natural threats (well they are man-made too in a way) faced by the world are many. 

Extreme weather changes leading to floods and storms, natural disasters like earthquakes, wildfires, ecosystem disruptions, oil spills, radioactive contaminations, and of course the novel corona virus are threats that engulf and can potentially destroy economies across the world. The virus itself has derailed the world economy for probably several years.  

The world has witnessed four global recessions, in 1975, 1982, 1991, and 2009, leading to severe economic and financial losses globally. The pandemic is negatively affecting global economic growth beyond anything experienced in nearly a century. Estimates so far indicate the virus could trim global economic growth by 3.0% to 6.0% in 2020, with a partial recovery in 2021, assuming there is not a second wave of infections.  

Amidst all the chaos, it has never been so important that we all come together to mark and celebrate a day of global solidarity and pledge to build a peaceful and sustainable world. Nations should realize that they are not each other’s enemies. However, there are bigger and common enemies that they should come together to fight against.  

The United Nations has recognized ‘Shaping Peace Together’ as the theme of the 2020 International Day of Peace.  “In these days of physical distancing, we may not be able to stand next to one another. But we must still stand together for peace.   And, together, I know we can — and will — build a more just, sustainable, and equitable world”, said António Guterres, Secretary-general of the United Nations, in his message to mark International day of peace.  

I believe that we all have a role to play in shaping the world’s future. Any contribution big or small is important. So, let’s all come and stand together for #PeaceDay. 

And education is a great way to promote world peace. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “If we want to reach real peace in this world, we should start educating children”. We at RKC are continually working hard to provide the world-class education to millions of students across the globe at affordable fees. Join us today to promote the global cause of peace. 

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

As a former Education advisor, if I had to pick one of the most frequently asked questions by prospective students, it would definitely be “How many hours do I need to study?” 

The vast majority (if not all) of our students are working and leading remarkably busy professional lives. Some are motivated and have already decided to undertake a master’s, while others contemplate the unknowns of an online programme. In my experience, two things effect their decision the most.  

First – finances, and second, being able to strike the perfect work, study, and life balance. While I cannot completely help you with the finances (partially yes – check out the discount offers currently being offered on our online MBA, MSc, and LL.M programmes), I thought what I could do to help was to bring some facts to light about the other unknowns – what does a typical day in the life of an online master’s student look like? 

I asked a few of our students from different walks of life, occupations, and personal situations to answer a few questions on their study tactics and strategies, plans and reality, and so on. I thank each one of the respondents for taking the time to share their experiences and give valuable advice to you – possibly future students. In our ‘a typical day in the life of a master’s student’ blog series once a month, we will bring to you one of our real students or alumni sharing the insights.  

Today, we’re looking at Nigel’s typical study days. Nigel, an RKC & University of Cumbria soon-to-be graduate, offered us these answers: 

An Introduction 

Vidhi Kapoor (VK): Which programme did you choose and why? 

Nigel Lee Tranter (NT):  MBA – Leadership and Sustainability, I chose this topic for two reasons  

1. I have a passion and high degree of interest in both topics  

2. I wanted to study through a recognised programme and a recognised college/university, and I wanted something I could easily apply in the workplace 

The Study Plan  

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

NT: My initial plan was to commit the majority of study hours at a weekend, however, in reality what actual worked was daily early mornings (2 hours per day) with a supplemental number at the weekend which flexed between 4 – 6 hours depending on workload. 

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

NT: For me definitely early mornings starting at 5 or 5:30 

VK: How much time did you devote for each assignment? 

NT: I assessed the requirements after reviewing each assignment and built in an extra 30% as contingency to allow for extra reading, research and breaks as each assignment progressed, this was based on the evolving nature of discovering something new and interesting during the research phase. I set aside about 20 hours per week for studies.

Travelling and Communication 

VK: Did you travel for work? How did travelling impact your ability to study? 

NT: Only rarely did travel affect my study time due in part to the early morning start time plus mode of travel (usually train or airplane) allowed me to study while travelling also. 

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

NT: The use of virtual and collaboration technologies eradicated the time differences. During my dissertation my supervisor and I agreed to also supplement using WhatsApp also to support the learning experience. 

A typical day as a master’s student 

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

 NT: Start at 5 or 5:30am, study for 2 hours. Commence my normal business day around 8 am, finish my business day circa 6 to 7pm then depending on how I felt, perhaps another hour’s study, however this was always optional so as not to feel it was mandatory thus avoiding the learning experience becoming stressful. 

Any advice? 

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

NT: Find your working space and condition yourself to prepare for learning when you enter this space. Build in contingency for holidays and breaks to avoid building pressure. Find your optimum study period of the day when you are most productive and experiment with this timeframe, learn how to research effectively to get the quality results you want, study productivity techniques that work for you and finally enjoy the experience. 

Alright folks, this was a sneak peek of a typical day in Nigel’s life as a master’s student. I hope you find it insightful and informative and that it gives you an idea of what to expect when you enrol for our master’s programmes. Watch this space as we have many more interesting insights coming up! 

Women in RKC – Jelly Offereins – One who found a perfect Master’s programme that seemed “too good to be true”

Allow me to introduce you to an RKC graduate of our MA Leading Innovation and Change programme, now working as the Director of International Affairs for a Business school in the Netherlands.  

Who is Jelly Offereins? A short profile: 

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

Jelly Offereins (JO): I am an energetic, task-driven, positive personality with a passion for international interactions and collaboration. I studied, lived and work(ed) across borders and as the Director of International Affairs for a Business School in the Netherlands. I support students, staff and faculty in increasing their international exposure and competence.  

Husband Paul, dog Flynn and I live in an empty nest, which is luckily not really empty as the girls (21, 23) find their way ‘home’ well. 

Jelly Offereins

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? 

JO: After having decided that I wanted to do an international master’s, with a broad focus, I specifically looked for a master (mainly) that was delivered online, for several reasons. As I travel for work quite regularly, I was afraid to miss class – and consequently dedication – required in a traditional master. Also, because being away from home regularly, I would not have liked to leave home on Friday evenings and Saturdays for school; remote learning gave me more flexibility in combining private life and studies /work. Last but not least: I was somewhat skeptical about an online master’s; could it be as good as a traditional one with regard to interaction, peer-learning, broad and deep investigation and reflection? 

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

JO: For quite a while, I kept on postponing doing a master’s since work was demanding all my time and attention and I felt it would not fit in my professional and private schedule. The online master’s enabled me to plan/block bigger chunks of time (rather than scattered moments) that I could dedicate to the master’s, which worked better for me.  

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

JO:  That I loved it right from the start!  

I loved that I could watch the videos and rewind them endlessly when I did not fully understand; 

I loved the diversity in the classroom;  

I loved that the group operated like a traditional class: there were people with lots of opinions and a strong voice, and people who brought in great sources and very well considered views, there where people like me – listening/reading carefully and posting moderately-, teachers mirrored, posed critical questions, etc. 

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

JO: Yes, and that these challenges may vary in different parts of the world and in different (sub-)cultures, financial issues, access to (earlier) education, jobs and career path, self-confidence 

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? 

JO: MA Leading Innovation & Change 

My earlier degrees focused on resp. Hotel Management and International Marketing; I decided I wanted to do something broader and more strategic 

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

JO: Self-confidence, self-knowledge, critical reflection 

I had never written academic papers in English, I had never interacted online-only, most of the content was new to me, and I discovered that I liked it and that I was good at it. 

VK: How did you balance work and studies? 

JO: What helped the most is that I really liked the programme and the way it was delivered (the videos, the sources) – asynchronously. 

I work full time, and was lucky to have 0.1 FTE from my employer to work on the master’s. My kids were happy and healthy teenagers.  

For the videos I blocked 2-3 hours. Every 4-5 weeks, I tried to take the Friday or Monday off. I used weekends and holidays and I told my family that I’d rather work on the master’s than watch TV or read a book (and they let me). 

VK: Any particular challenges to being a woman and studying online, or do you think all students face the same ones? 
JO: It works better if you are in the position that you can work on your study for some hours (or even a day, or even 2) more or less continuously. If other tasks at home/in the family also require attention throughout the day, the study work may be jeopardized.  

 Life post degree 

What changed, if anything? 

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

JoI have more self-confidence and I feel proud 

The most important thing that Jelly learnt during the Master’s are – Self-confidence, self-knowledge, critical reflection

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

JO: I am better in critical reading, critical questioning, reflecting 

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

JO: I would say getting a master’s may have a positive effect on the career chances for a woman; an online master’s programme maybe easier to fit in than a traditional master’s, however depending on the home situation and support. 

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? 

JO: Dear Jelly, I know that you want to have your master’s degree and I also know that you spend a lot of time on your demanding full-time job and that you also want to be a good and nice mother and that you do not want to spend evenings and Fridays/Saturdays away from home to go to school. I think I found the perfect the master programme for you: it is International, it is a UK degree, its is about Leading Innovation and Change and ….it is online, with one week in York, and it is not expensive! It is almost too good to be true. I have been looking for ‘the adder under the grass’ but cannot find it. Have a look at this link https://rkc.swiss/catalogue Kind regards, Jelly MA 

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

JO: pair of headphones 

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? 

JO: Member gets member programme*; 

Mentors and mentees;  

Increase awareness of online: combine job with study, combine home-task with study 

[*Editor’s note: RKC does in fact have a referral programme in place, allowing current students to refer friends and relatives. Talk to our advisor to know about the benefits and discount offers of the referral programme].

I hope this blog brings much inspiration and encouragement to all our readers and motivate you to start the masters that you have always dreamt of.

Energy and Sustainability: Everything you need to know

In my last blog, I spoke about Leadership and Sustainability while explaining briefly what sustainability is and its three interlocking aspects. One of the three interlocking aspects was the Environmental sustainability. Environmental sustainability is about the environmental impacts associated with the business while ecological sustainability is about its impacts on biodiversity. And what affects both environmental and ecological sustainability is Energy. 

I guess you take the hint that in this blog I will talk about Energy and Sustainability.

Energy constitutes an important part of the environment. Energy production is a dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for 60% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy has always remained a critical pillar contributing to human well-being and poverty alleviation. It is important for economic development. Over the centuries, the ways and means by which we source energy has changed dramatically. One of the most critical challenges that the world faces today is sufficient access to clean energy for all. Hence the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7), which calls for universal access to sustainable energy by 2030. 

Evolution of energy sources

Our historical and current energy systems are dominantly based on fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. Fossil energy was a fundamental driver of the Industrial Revolution. It also led to the technological, social, and economic development. Our energy production systems have important environmental impacts with carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases that the fossil fuels produce. 

It is because of these negative impacts of fossil energy that the world needs to find alternative sources of energy, sources that have a lower impact on the environment.

In order to better understand the energy requirements and eventual transition to cleaner sources, it is important to understand how the energy consumption has changed in a region and across the world; how the energy sources have evolved and what kind of access society has to which energy sources.

For example, according to a World Bank report 2016, only 7% of the world’s low-income households have access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking; the average share in Sub-Saharan Africa was 13%; and approximately one-third in South Asia. An in-depth analysis of these factors would truly reveal our energy requirements and energy source evolution. 

The renewable sources of energy broadly include: the traditional biomass (burning of wood, agricultural waste biomass, and the forestry materials), hydropower, solar, wind energy, and other renewables like geothermal energy. 

Let’s have a look at global energy consumption.

Global energy consumption

The chart below captures the energy consumption pattern from early 1800s to modern world 2019. While our dependency on traditional biomass has more or less remainedconstant over 219 years, energy production from renewable sources is still a significantly low percentage as compared to total energy generation through fossil fuels.

How much Energy does the World consume:

Global Fossil Fuel Consumption

As seen in the chart below, the main sources of fossil fuel production and consumption are coal, crude oil, and natural gas. Coal was the sole source of energy production until the 1870s after which oil and gas took over. Gas production was 14,119 TWh and oil production 37,024 TWh. Over two decades, it increased to 53,620 TWh and 39,292 TWhrespectively. 

Global renewable energy consumption 

The Paris climate agreement (December 2015) sets long-term targets for its member nations like reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. There is an ever increasing need of renewable sources to mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions. This can be achieved with two sources of energy – the renewable technologies and nuclear energy. The chart below shows the renewable energy generation from the 1960s to 2018. 

The process of transitioning from the fossil fuels to the renewable sources is termed as decarbonisation. The modern renewables including hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal,and modern biofuel production show a considerable increase since the 1960s with the world producing approximately 6.63TWh of modern renewable energy in 2018. Hydropower accounts for more than 70% of this total production. 

Affordable and clean energy – why does it matter?

First the question is “why do we need affordable and clean energy?” and second “what kind of sustainable energy sources?”. It is one of the United Nations Sustainable development goals to have affordable and clean energy. 

So why does it really matter?

1. Economic Development: Nations need energy and electricity to power their economies. Without a sustainable source governments cannot achieve sustainable economic development.

2. Reduce Disparity: The divide of the rich and the poor, the privileged and the under-privileged has widened amongst the developed, developing, and third world countries. About 789 million people around the world lack access to electricity (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/energy/)


3. Reduce air pollution: Clean energy is the only solution to the growing air-pollution concerns caused by coal, oil,and gas.4. Better healthcare: Energy is key in facilitating state-of-art healthcare facilities in a country. Fighting diseases, formulating vaccination, and fighting pandemics such as COVID-19 is attainable with a steady supply of energy – even better with renewable and clean one. 

I truly believe that every one of us has a role to play in energy consumption / energy saving, reducing greenhouse emissions. A small effort such as switching off the meeting room lights after a meeting, or taking a bike or public transport or walking can go a long way in reducing greenhouse emissions. And for those who live, breathe, and sleep energy, we offer a 100% Online MBA in Energy & Sustainability. Chat with our advisors for more information. 

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 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, the 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 were 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.