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

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

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

Many factors that must be considered while making decisions

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

Strategic Management

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

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

Think Strategically

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, how do you go about achieving this goal?

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

Porter’s five forces are:

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

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


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

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

Women in RKC – Elizabeth (Liza) Rudolfsson, MA Leading Innovation and Change, York St John University, UK

Continuing with our blog series featuring our female students, we asked our students to share their experiences with us – the challenges of getting back to school, of managing work and study along with family, and the unique challenges they faced being female students.

Liza is a graduate of our MA programme in Leading Innovation and Change (MALIC) through our exclusive partnership with York St John University, UK. This programme has been discontinued, and has reincarnated as a 100% online MBA programme in Leading Innovation and Change

Now, let us see what she has to say!

Who is … 

A short profile

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

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

Getting back into education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ER: Not really.

Getting the degree

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

SD: Which programme did you do? Why?

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

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

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

SD: How did you balance work and studies?

ER: I cut down on my work.

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

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

Life post degree

What changed, if anything?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advice for other women

Or other students, really.

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

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


If you have been thinking about getting your master’s degree, proving to yourself and others that you CAN do it, now would be a good time to take the plunge. Have a look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything that could help.

Hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this place for more similar blogs. You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.

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

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

Questions, questions, questions!

These are all questions that we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) get asked regularly by students who are looking to join one of our online programmes. Undertaking to do an online master’s degree programme will be an additional commitment on your time and finances, and it is smart to get information before hand, cross your T’s and dot your I’s, before making your decision. 

Through this series of blog posts, we asked some of our past and current students to share their thoughts and opinions, to give their feedback on how they handled some of these choices and situations. Hopefully this will help you to make an informed decision. 

Learning from those who came before you is smart. I am not asking you to blindly follow what they are saying, but to take what they said worked for them, and see if it will work for you, maybe make a few changes (or a lot). In the end, only you know what works best for you!

Learn from those who came before you

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

An Introduction

Who you are, really?

I am Folarin, from Nigeria

Which Uni are you studying with?

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

Which programme did you choose and why?

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

The Study Plan

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

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

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

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

How much time did you devote for each assignment?

An average of one hour per day.

Travelling and Communication

How did travelling impact your ability to study?

Travelling helps me to relate life events with studying.

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

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

A typical day as a master’s student

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

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

Any advice?

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

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


Hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this place for more similar blogs. You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.

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!  

Women in RKC – Marie-Theres Moser, MA Leading Innovation and Change, York St John University, UK

Continuing with our blog series featuring our female students, we asked our students to share their experiences with us – the challenges of getting back to school, of managing work and study along with family, and the unique challenges they faced being female students.

Ms. Marie-Theres Moser

Ms. Marie-Theres Moser is a graduate of our MA programme in Leading Innovation and Change (MALIC) through our exclusive partnership with York St John University, UK. This programme has been discontinued and has been reincarnated as a 100% online MBA programme in Leading Innovation and Change

Now, let us see what she has to say!

Who is … 

A short profile

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

Marie-Theres Moser (MTM): I was always interested in acquiring versatile knowledge. I never get bored. I enjoy dealing with many areas of business, socio-cultural issues and looking for ways to improve and apply them in my life. Personal development, education and the interest in current topics are part of my daily life. Therefore, I am always very happy to meet people with a history, a different cultural background and way of thinking. People and the way they shape their lives inspire me. This attitude is reflected in my private life, where I love to travel, share my time with friends, but also professionally when I meet clients. I enjoy this and it gives me meaning.

Getting back into education

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

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

MTM: The Master’s degree was important for me to be able to meet all the demands of my new job. I had the feeling that I was still missing something, that I still wanted to learn something in order to be up to my job. Then it was clear that I would start looking for a suitable course of studies. It was important for me to be able to study regardless of location, to remain flexible and to be able to manage my full-time job in parallel.

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

MTM: During my Master’s I had a very time-consuming job, I travelled several days a week and therefore had to give up a lot of free time. To do a Master’s degree in addition to this was actually near-utopian. In conversations with my friends and family, however, I realized that I had enough ambition and stamina, and that my curiosity was taking me further and further. Therefore, I had confidence in myself and could overcome the fear of not making it.

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

MTM: It was amazing how well people from all over the world can learn, educate and support each other. Each in his own rhythm, each with his strengths and weaknesses.

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

MTM: Basically, I always had the feeling that I had to assert myself even more strongly than a male colleague. If a woman continues to educate herself and gets everything sorted out parallel to her job and family, then that deserves recognition. I think that is something very special.

Ms. Marie-Theres Moser

Getting the degree

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

SD: Which programme did you do? Why?

MTM: I was enrolled in the MA Leading Innovation and Change, because I am interested in the connection between leadership, organizational culture and the impact on the innovative strength of companies. In my opinion, changing strategic orientations, reacting quickly in a changing economy is only possible if a company is not too rigidly positioned.

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

MTM: It is incredibly important to have fun with everything you do and spend your precious time on, then you can accomplish anything.

SD: How did you balance work and studies?

MTM: That was very difficult because I was very challenged professionally. You should not see studying as a burden, but as an enrichment. It is part of your free time, it creates parallels between your job and your studies – the one should benefit from the other.

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

MTM: It gives you a high degree of flexibility and self-organisation which may be more important for women with family and children.

Life post degree

What changed, if anything?

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

MTM: I have the feeling of working more systematically, questioning circumstances and finding solutions.

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

MTM: My self-organisation and the prioritisation of tasks works much better since then.

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

MTM: In any case, it gives women the opportunity to educate themselves, to organize themselves without being bound by time and place. This is certainly important for women who work full-time, have a family and want to continue their education. I think most men do not have this double burden.

Advice for other women

Or other students, really.

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

MTM: Have more self-confidence, enjoy the time and don’t be so strict with yourself!

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

MTM: I recently bought a new coffee machine, this would have been good for the time during the Master. When I think of all those evenings, when I looked at my books tired and sometimes frustrated…

Closing thoughts

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

MTM: I enjoyed the Master very much and the possibility to organize everything online took away additional stress. It is a great way to gain additional knowledge and build a good network. Anyone can do it who wants to!


If you have been thinking about getting your master’s degree, proving to yourself and others that you CAN do it, now would be a good time to take the plunge. Have a look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything that could help.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programmes offered, application process, and for more information on any discounts we might be running in this rather strange period of our lives.

Digital Marketing – The future of marketing? 6 reasons why you should consider this as a career option!

Marketing, like everything else in the world is constantly changing and evolving overtime.

From cave painting to word of mouth. From messages on scrolls to pictograms. From picture advertisements in magazines and newspapers to video ads in between your favourite TV programmes. 

And the evolution continues!

I mean, how many of us subscribe to a physical newspaper anymore? Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, just to name a few, have pretty much killed broadcast television and cable tv.  

We live in the world of binge watching, instant news (and in some cases fake news), and WhatsApp forwards! If you blink, you will be left behind!  

So, how are we to effectively market our products  and services, or  advertise to the masses in this fast paced, limited-attention times?

Digital Marketing is the answer, and  here are six reasons why I think you should choose a career in Digital Marketing!

  1. High demand
    While there are similarities between Digital Marketing and traditional marketing, the difference between them is substantial and cannot be overlooked. To do the job right, a specialist is required, and most companies accept this to be true. Digital Marketing is still a relatively new industry/vertical, and the number of specialists available is still very limited. It follows that a qualified and competent Digital Marketing professional  is highly sought after.
  2. Richness of choice within Digital Marketing
    Most people these days have limited choice in the career path they wish to take. When a company recruits for a job vacancy, for most roles, they will have an abundance of applicants, however, Digital Marketing being a new field, the opportunities available will be among the best in the market. Also, there will be a lot of opportunities within the various verticals of Digital Marketing. Here’s a few of them: 
    • Web properties –  websites, blogs 
    • SEO – Search Engine Optimization 
    • Paid marketing (PPC marketing) – Google search ads, Display ads, Affiliate marketing, social media paid ads 
    • Social media (Instagram, YouTube, Facebook channels, etc.)
    • Email marketing 
    • Mobile marketing 
  3. Show me the money
    It all comes down to the salaries and pay packages, and that’s the bottom line! People venturing into Digital Marketing will be the ground breakers, the trailblazers, the pioneers of the industry, and will have the potential to earn huge. For example, just before the lockdown started, a quick search for Digital Marketing job opportunities in the United States, listed jobs for freshers starting from USD 55’000. I think that is a pretty good place to start your career from. 
  4. Minimum entry requirements
    Digital Marketing is still a very new field, and people working in the field have very little experience in it and are still learning how to effectively develop and execute a digital marketing strategy. As everyone in digital marketing is still relatively new and mostly learning by experience, the entry requirements are comparatively lower than most other job profiles. So, now is the time to get into Digital Marketing and build a career. 
  5. Diversity in the workplace
    When the word “diversity” is used, most people think ethnic diversity. And that is true here as well, but it is also means so much more in Digital Marketing. In the morning, you could be working with extroverts who may be creators, creating ad campaigns and YouTube videos, who push their creative ideas across. And in the afternoon, you could be working with introverts who may be from Data Analytics or SEO or Website Development. This is just an example. The point is, working in Digital Marketing, there is a place for every kind of personality and the opportunity to work with every kind of personality!
  6. Creativity
    If you are passionate about the work you do (no matter how boring it may sound to someone else) then the potential for creativity exists. But the thing about Digital Marketing is, no other field of work encourages creativity and “out of the box thinking” quite as much as Digital Marketing does.

Now these are just some of the more obvious reasons to take up a career in Digital Marketing, and I am sure there are a number of other very obvious and/or more important reasons to make Digital Marketing your career. Perhaps you are building upon your previous Marketing career? Let us know in the comments below if you are already “in” and have some insights to share, I am sure it will help people make an informed decision. 

If you are ready for a career in Digital Marketing, then start with our 100% Online MBA programme in Digital Marketing.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisers for more information on the programmes offered, application process, and for more information on any discounts we might be running in this rather strange period of our lives.

COVID-19 – Changing the way we live, work, and learn!

History has shown that a crisis pushes us on to new paths. 

Everything we have ever known has been flipped on its head! Things we have taken for granted no longer exist – our 9 to 5 jobs, meeting friends at the pub, a romantic dinner date with that special someone, going for a movie with the kid. It all just feels like a dream now!

Even simple things such as shaking hands or walking around without a mask might be a thing of the past. Social distancing and hand sanitization might be the norms of the future.

And that is just when it comes to how COVID-19 has affected us personally! COVID-19 has also made an impact on the way we do business. Words like “globalisation” at present hold very little meaning, especially after billions of people have been under lockdown and self-isolation worldwide. People can no longer travel or enjoy the positive impact of an abundant and global supply chain. 

And this will continue to hold true, at least until an effective, globally accessible and economical vaccine is developed. Not all countries will recover from COVID-19 at a similar rate and not all countries will be able to avoid a relapse.  

The below graphs give an indication on how varied the impact of COVID-19 has been on different countries.

Retail is one among the hardest hit segments – people just don’t want to risk going out and getting stuck in the middle of a big crowd (and who can blame them, it is simply not worth the risk).

But it is not just retail – it is education, IT, automotive, hospitality, entertainment, travel and tourism, etc., etc. (I can’t go on listing all the different industries, so please assume that I have listed them). And it is not just these industries that are affected, the ripple effect can be felt across all supporting industries and businesses. A number of friends of mine who either work for or own small businesses, have all shut shop (some of them say they haven’t gotten any new orders for the last three months).

And, as things stand today, there is no end in sight! 

The airline industry itself is set to lose about 350 billion US dollars this year, which translates to cheap flight tickets being a thing of the past, at least for the immediate future. This will have an impact on the way we plan our travel, whether it is for work or play! And this will in turn have a trickle-down impact on a number of support industries. 

Self-isolation and lockdown have already changed how we work and study. Many schools have now started offering their programmes online and companies are basically running on Zoom and Skype, and this could be the modus operandi going forward. Every day this continues, we will get more data on home-schooling and home-working, and will be able to refine, optimise, and develop solutions to maximise productivity. Maybe the “new way” will even be able to outperform the “traditional way” of doing things.

At the very least, we may see an increase in work-from-home and study-from-home going forward. Families will have to learn and adapt to this new reality too.

Even if we develop a vaccine and COVID-19 becomes a thing of the past (fingers crossed), things have changed and will continue to evolve – locally and globally, personally and professionally, and economically. The way we look at things, the way we interact with other people, it is all changing. Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Online Communication will be brought front and centre, and this will have a direct impact on efficiency and resource management, reducing the human contact requirements to the minimum “necessary”.

Sustainability, solidarity, and healthcare will take centre stage in the future.


Did you plan to join a school to further you studies and learn new skills. Have your plans hit a roadblock? Then, it is time to get off the bandwagon and think “online”!

Have a look at our list of 100% online programmes and see if we have anything that meets your requirements.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisers for more information on the programmes offered, application process, and for more information on any discounts we might be running in this rather strange period of our lives.

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

Continuing with our blog series featuring our female students, we asked our students to share their experiences with us – the challenges of getting back to school, of managing work and study along with family, and the unique challenges they faced being female students.

Ms. Ilse Baxter is a graduate of our MA programme in Leading Innovation and Change (MALIC) through our exclusive partnership with York St John University, UK. This programme has been discontinued and has reincarnated as a 100% online MBA programme in Leading Innovation and Change

Ms. Ilse Baxter

Now, let us see what she has to say!

Who is … 

A short profile

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

Ilse Baxter (IB): I am a forty-something, beach and nature loving South African who divides her time between Sandton, Johannesburg, Cape Town and my happy place – Hermanus. I have always loved music and the arts – and danced professionally for a short period in my early twenties. 

My under-graduate studies were in the sciences – I studied computer science and maths – but balanced this with English literature studies just to keep sane. 🙂 

I have over my career had the privilege of working in SA, the UK and the USA. These days I am a director of a niche management consulting company – heading up the Business Transformation practice. We have for more than 10 years helped clients in the Financial Services and Retail sector grapple with some of the toughest challenges they have had to face. I am absolutely passionate about the topic of Business Transformation! For fun I love travel, reading, yoga, painting, music and I’m a bit of a foody – so love love love all the wonderful restaurants and wineries SA has to offer or just cooking at home with friends and family!

Getting back into education

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

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

IB: I don’t consider myself an academic at all – I never have. I am very practically/experientially minded by nature – but I have always been insatiably curious about things around me. In this – I guess I was inspired by my mother. At 88 this year she remains as sharp as ever, curious (and incredibly informed) about the world around her and eternally questioning and seeking to understand more. 

In my forties I started feeling the need to back what I had learnt practically/experientially with a relevant and meaningful post graduate qualification. I didn’t just want to “tick the box” by adding a few letters behind my name – I wanted it to be something that really contributed to my practice and reflected my areas of interest. It took me a couple of years to find something that I felt reflected my interest areas and allowed me to study in a way that made sense it my personal and professional obligations…… enter MALIC.

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

IB: Firstly – TIME!!! How do I balance an incredibly busy life of running a consulting practice, helping clients through some of the toughest challenges they ever have to face (not a part time job), being there for my team, being present and there for my husband and family – and still find some time for myself (especially with all the pressure out there to stay fit, well and to achieve the illusive “balance” we’re all chasing)?! 

Secondly – a PERSONAL CRISES. I had already been accepted into the programme. Literally the week I was due to start – my husband (and business partner – he is the Managing Director of our company) had a major stroke. This was a crisis not just personally – but for our business too. Initially he was paralysed on the right-hand side of his body. Also – the man I married spoke 6 languages. The stroke rendered him mute for about 6 weeks (language centre in the brain was at the locus of the stroke). And then we had to start from scratch – learning how to say vowels etc etc. It has taken years to recover his current facility in terms of both speech and writing. He recovered 100% physically quite quickly. But the language journey is one they told us could take 10 years. Nearly 4 years later now his speech and writing has largely recovered in English and he is starting to grapple with French and Spanish again. 

My instincts at the time was to just cancel commencing with my studies. But – as always – it was my mum and husband that insisted that I continue. So, I asked for a reprieve to start with the next cohort (3 months later) and set out on a 3 year journey of learning. 

To be honest – studying kept me sane. It gave me something outside of my circumstances to focus on. Our business has had to transform to adapt to our new circumstances – and in doing so it has thrived. We have had to adapt to our new circumstances – and although without a shadow of a doubt it has been the toughest thing I have ever faced – we have survived and thrived through it. Studying under these circumstances was – despite seemingly impossible circumstances (many clients and friends thought I was mad to continue) – the best decision I have ever made. 

Thirdly – PEOPLE’s PERSPECTIVES (clients, family, friends) – asking me WHY I FELT I NEEDED TO STUDY FURTHER – you’ve already mastered this topic – what difference will this make to your life? Ultimately the decision to study was a very personal one. My job requires me to pour everything I know into helping my clients – this drains you physically, emotionally and mentally. In truth – I knew I needed something to build up my own internal stores – to inspire, challenge and grow again – so that I could be a better leader, a better advisor and a better practitioner. It has done all that for me and more!

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

IB: Firstly – That despite a seemingly impossible load – client assignments, running a business, study, family – there IS time if you really want to do something. Something shifts and what seems impossible becomes imminently possible. 

Secondly – How I could draw on my work experience to enrich my studies and how I could draw on my studies to enrich my practice …. not at the end of the process – but from the very first module.

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

IB: Time I think is the biggest one. The practice I lead is (not by design) predominantly female in profile. I have over the years observed the challenges (both practically and emotionally) that professional women face in terms of balancing professional demands and aspirations with family responsibilities (and aspirations) and the need to look after themselves (mentally, physically and emotionally). How do you take care of all these aspects of your life without compromising any of them? Is it ok to prioritise something that is seemingly just for your own benefit (aka potentially “selfish”)?

Getting the degree

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

SD: Which programme did you do? Why?

IB: MALIC. Three reasons really:

  • It most closely matched my areas of interest.
  • It supported my area of practice. 
  • It is set up in a way that allowed me to schedule my study obligations in a way that worked for my personal and professional circumstances.

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

IB: Not one – sorry! I loved studying again! In fact, I am considering going further after a “Gap Year” :). I absolutely loved doing research! (I never knew I would) This is opening up new potential opportunities as I move into a next stage of my career. 

Most importantly – I discovered “I CAN”. I can do something for me without negatively impacting everything else that is important to me in my life. “I CAN” continue to grow and learn and evolve – even in my late forties 🙂

SD: How did you balance work and studies?

IB: Very very carefully! 🙂 

Probably the most important advice I was given was in our first module by Dr Radu Negoescu. He encouraged us to do a plan and to contract with friends, family and colleagues. I took this advice to heart and “contracted” a way of work with my husband, friends, family and our team. 

I am a morning person – so my plan involved getting up at 4.30 every morning and studying for 3 hours. Then having breakfast with my husband. before going to clients or attending to our business and team. I spent every evening with my husband or with friends and family. I also agreed terms for weekends. 

By thinking through what it would take and how I could manage the impact on my life consciously – I had a routine that worked for us, my husband, our friends and family knew what they could expect from me (and what not) – so I could avoid feeling guilty for not getting to people/obligations and I had wonderful alone time every morning where I could focus on my studies.

One of the practices that evolved early on in this process was taking a photograph of the sunrise and just allowing myself to appreciate beauty, the privilege of doing what I was doing and the opportunity to enjoy that very special time of the day on my own. Although I am not studying anymore – I still love that time of day!

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

IB: I don’t see any difference personally. The trick is finding something that you are interested in (not just something that is going to become a chore), a pattern that works for you and then sticking to it and a programme that is well organised and well enabled technologically!

Life post degree

What changed, if anything?

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

IB: A LOT has changed! 🙂 

It has helped me focus on our value proposition from a practice perspective – and this focus really resonates with our clients! Our business has grown by more than 30% in the past 2 years as a result. 

It has really changed my confidence in engaging with clients on certain topics. I am in the process of starting to write (journals) – something I have always wanted to do. I have started a complementary business – which tackles some of the findings from my dissertation. Exciting times ahead!

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

IB: I think the experience has really strengthened the approaches we take in our business practice. I’ve been able to draw on course content and also dissertation findings to really sharpen our focus. I also think that it has shifted many perspectives for me at a personal level. Not least of all what I can achieve when I set my mind to something! 🙂

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

IB: This is a tough question for me. Over the span of a 20+ year career I have never felt that I was on the receiving end of any overt discrimination at the workplace. This doesn’t by any means mean that I haven’t been on the receiving end of challenging or seemingly unfair situations. 

I strongly believe – especially in the world we live in today – that we all have increased pressure to stay on top of our game. To continue to evolve, to respond to the world as it changes around us, to continue on a journey of being the best we can be – whatever that is. For me personally focusing on this mission is more important. In this mission – getting a Master’s degree is definitely a key enabler.

Advice for other women

Or other students, really.

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

IB: You CAN do this! (That doesn’t mean it’s not going to be super tough along the way & it doesn’t mean that you are not going to have days where you feel like quitting – it just means that if you persevere you will see the rewards!) 

You SHOULD do this! (You deserve to give back to yourself – this investment is one of the best you’ll ever make!)

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

IB: Wow! These questions are something else! A beautiful tea pot and special cup! 🙂 This degree was earned over innumerous cups of tea!

Closing thoughts

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

IB: What may be useful is “support groups” – places where women considering studying, or current students can mix with current and past students – sharing experience, approaches, methods, etc., etc. (maybe these should be separate groups)? The diverse spread of students makes time zone/occupation etc. pairing a real opportunity – regardless of the hours people choose to study.

Now’s a good time to start

If you have been thinking about getting your master’s degree, proving to yourself and others that you CAN do it, now would be a good time to take the plunge. Have a look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything that could help.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programmes offered, application process, and for more information on any discounts we might be running in this rather strange period of our lives.

RKC Launches 100% Online Master’s Degree Programmes

In today’s world of “social distancing”, online education has taken on an unprecedented importance. To remain professionally relevant, we must constantly find ways of self-improvement and adding more value to the organisation we work for. Online education is one of the easiest ways through which we can achieve these goals, all while maintaining social distancing!

Who are we? 

What we offer

Until now, one of the unique value propositions of RKC’s online programmes has been the one-week mandatory residency programme, which was conducted either in the university campus in the United Kingdom or the college campus in Zürich, Switzerland.  

However, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic and to cater to the changing requirements of our students, RKC and its partners have moved to an online delivery for the residency as well, therefore all our Master’s degree programmes are now 100% online. 

OnlineResidency™ at work

There’s a caveat here – we really do like, and know students benefit greatly from, face to face residencies. It is likely that, as the pandemic ends, some of the programmes may go back to face-to-face residencies for new students. 

What does an “OnlineResidency™” look like? We’ve just finished our very first delivery this last week, and, some small technical challenges aside, given how everyone is online and video conferencing these days, we believe the experience has been successful and useful to our students, who learned about designing and conducting research for the Master level dissertations.

What can you study with us? 

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

Online MSc Computer Science and International Business 

Online MSc Data Analytics 

Online MBA Artificial Intelligence 

Online MBA Digital Marketing 

Online MBA Information Technology 

Online Master of Business Administration 

Online MBA Energy and Sustainability 

Online MBA Finance and Sustainability 

Online MBA Media Leadership 

Online MBA Leadership and Sustainability 

Online MBA Public Health Management 

Online MBA International Healthcare Management 

Online MBA International Business 

Online MBA Risk Management 

Online MBA Tourism 

Online MBA Educational Leadership 

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

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

Online Master of Science in Global Management 

Online Master of Science in Project Management 

Online Master of Science in Financial Services Management 

Online Master of Science in Marketing 

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

Online Master of Science in Human Resource Management and Development 

Online Master of Science in Information Systems Management 

Online Master of Science in International Banking and Finance 

Online Master of Science in Accounting and Finance 

Online Master of Science in International Business with Law 

Online Master of Science in International Corporate Finance 

Online Master of Science in International Events Management 

Online Master of Science in Digital Business 

Online Master of Science in Fraud and Risk Management 

Online Master of Science in Finance and Investment Management 

Online Master of Science in International Business 

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

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

Online MBA in Leading Innovation and Change 

Online MBA in Coaching Mentoring and Leadership 

Online MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation 

Online MBA in Innovation Leadership and Consulting 

Online MBA in Leadership and Management 

Online MBA in Management Consulting

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

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

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

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

Ms. Deidree R. Diño

Who is …

A short profile

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

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

Getting back into education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting the degree

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

SD: Which programme did you do? Why?

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

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

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

SD: How did you balance work and studies?

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

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

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

Life post degree

What changed, if anything?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advice for other women

Or other students, really.

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

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

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

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

Closing thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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