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

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

The vast majority (if not all) of our students are working and leading hectic 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 affect 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?  

Today, we’re looking at overview of one of RKC’s student typical day who is taking MBA Learsership and Management, offered in exclusive partnership with York St. John University.

An Introduction  

Which programme did you choose and why?  

I am studying MBA Leadership and Management. I chose it because I am a finance professional but work with the Operations unit which oversees the running of the office. And leadership and Management skills are required be able to manage people.

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?  

The course is conducted online. I mostly study on weekends and sometimes week days in the office when everyone has left. I usually listen to lectures and make my own notes from them. In total, I put in more than 10 hours a week, as I also have to do research and listen to the videos over and over, alongwith reading relevant text books.

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

On weekends I would study early mornings and also late evenings. On weekdays, I preferred studying late evenings after work in the office when everyone would leave. I usually stay back for at least 2 hours.

In total, I put in more than 10 hours a week

How much time did you devote for each assignment?  

Quite some time you need to do proper research and also understand your subject matter for you to be able to get a pass mark. So I had to drop out some social commitments and devote more time to my studies.

Travelling and Communication  

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

I am studying online so travelling did not impact me.

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

There was a module that required a group interaction and my fellow students lived in two different time zones. But we were able to agree on a time that we could meet. Time differences did not affect my interaction with my professors as they always responded to me in time and they could be reached whenever need be.

A typical day as a master’s student  

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

A typical day for me starts early at about 5:30am on weekends with me going to our OnlineCampus listening to videos and reading the online materials. On week days it also starts at 5:30am and getting ready for work. I usually work till 6:00pm and after I finish, would study for 2 hours, sometimes more in the office.

Any advice?  

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

The best advice I can give to students is

1. Find a time in the day for up to 2 hours that you can concentrate on just your studies

2. Reduce social activities especially if you are working and studying at the same time

3. Try to ask a lot of questions to your professor if you don’t understand the instructions given for an assignment. I had to retake a module because I misunderstood the instruction.

4. Find a fellow student within the course you are doing, with who you can discuss few topics for better understanding.

5. Learn to submit assignment 2-3 days before the deadline. You might get unexpected internet challenge uploading your assignment at the last minute and miss the deadline by few minutes which will make you get a capped mark.

 

Guochang used reading tools, as Acrobat for reading, Zotero for note…

All right, so this was a sneak peek of a typical day in  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 always! 

Graduation Ceremony – To go or not to go?

Let me start by clarifying, at least for those who don’t know, it is not mandatory to attend the graduation ceremony to be awarded your degree.

You have worked hard for your degree, completed all your assignments and submitted your dissertation, meeting all the criteria for completing and being awarded your degree. And not being able to attend the graduation ceremony will not deny you your degree. The graduation ceremony is just that, a ceremony. The ceremony celebrates the successful completion of your degree programme and marks the start of the next phase of your life/career.

The University of Salford, UK – Summer Graduation – Class of 2018

So, should you attend your graduation ceremony? Well, it is a personal choice. The internet is filled with vlogs and stories of people choosing to go or opting not to attend the ceremony. Unfortunately, I did not attend either of my graduation ceremonies (graduate and master’s). Both times, not by choice. I don’t regret it now; it was a long time ago. And I don’t think I regrated it back then, apart from the fun photo ops and wearing the robs and the funny hat. I would have loved a photo looking like a graduate celebrating my degree.

But the ceremony is important. Case in point, every year, a number of our (Robert Kennedy College) graduates fly from all over the world to attend the graduation ceremony at the university in the United Kingdom (UK). They spend a lot of time and money to participate in the ceremony – travel, stay and socialise. They do this because they see value in attending the ceremony.

York St John University, UK, Graduation – Class of 2021 (RKC students can be seen getting the award at 45.17, 54.47 and 59.53)

The following five points might give you some insight in helping you decide on whether or not to attend your graduation ceremony.

(1) Money

The bases of most decisions we make in our lives. Attending the graduation ceremony can be a significant financial commitment, especially if you are staying or working in another country. You will have to arrange a visa, for which you might have to travel to the embassy/consulate. Plan your travel to and stay in the university town, which is not a minor expense—changing your wardrobe to meet the requirements of the graduation ceremony—keeping a budget for food and other social activities. If you have family travelling to attend your graduation ceremony, you must budget for them all these expenses. These expenses could lead to a substantial financial outlay, so plan for it well.

(2) Time

Our regular readers know how much we stress the importance of effective time management. You must take time off work, time away from your family, and time away from regular life. While making time to attend your graduation can impact the normal working of your life, it can also be just what the doctor ordered. The graduation ceremony will be a joyous time; it will help you remove your mind from life’s worries. And if you can extend your trip into a proper holiday, you will recharge your worn energy and can return to your regular life with a bang!

(3) Networking

While attending the graduation ceremony is a time for celebration, it can also be an opportunity to expand and solidify the networks you have made. You will not only have the chance to meet your professors and coursemates face-to-face to build on the networks you have already created but also meet with the staff and students of the university, which can provide you with new opportunities to network.

(4) Travel

A number of our students use the opportunity of attending their graduation ceremony as a getaway. We all get so caught up with work and life that we forget to take a break; we keep pushing that long cherished and overdue holiday. So, since they are already travelling to another country to attend the graduation ceremony, they make it into a holiday, most of whom travel with their families. And the hardcore workaholics of our students find a way to squeeze in a few business meetings.

(5) Celebration

Gregory Foster at his graduation at the University of Cumbria, UK – Class of 2018

At the end of the day, your graduation ceremony is a celebration. It might be fulfilling a lifelong dream of earning a master’s degree. It might be the end of one chapter of your life and the start of another. It might be the opportunity for a new career or the advancement in your current job. Or it might just be a celebration of the hard work and long nights you put into earning your degree. Whatever your reason, the graduation ceremony is a time of joy and celebration, whether by yourself or with your friends/classmates/family. So, have fun, takes photos and proudly wear that funny hat!


Hopefully, these points will help you decide on the importance of your graduation ceremony and if you will regret not attending your ceremony. If you have any suggestions or thoughts on the impact that attending the graduation ceremony can have, please share them here.

If you are hyped about attending your graduation ceremony someday, consider joining our globally recognised master’s degree programmes. Look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in doing.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programme that is right for you, the application process, and details on discounts we might offer.

FIVE signs that you are ready for master’s studies

Sometimes we do not know what we want in life. How do we change our plans into actions to develop our careers? When is the best time to enrol for a master’s programme?

As it is said, opportunity knocks only once. And when opportunity knocks on your door, always be willing to take a chance. You never know how perfect something could be or when the next opportunity will arise.

Sometimes instead of waiting, you have to create the right opportunity for yourself. One should look for the universe’s signs pointing to any arising opportunities.

One such opportunity is receiving higher education. Studying for a master’s can be a life-changing event and sometimes even the best decision one can make. While it may sound great and exciting, studying for a master’s requires a unique kind of resilience, commitment, dedication, and drive to complete the programme. Time-sensitive assignments, group discussions, researching, dissertation submission – your strengths will be tested on many levels.

Photo credit: Pexels.com

Whether a fresh undergrad or a seasoned professional, the decision to start a master’s is always excruciating. But here are five signs that you are ready to take the leap:

Stagnation in current career/job role

Working in the same role and doing the same job every day becomes mundane. Self-motivated people feel less challenged at work, and their level of job satisfaction declines drastically. Studying for a master’s brings new focus and challenge to an otherwise dull routine.

You have clear goals 

You always wanted to obtain a prestigious master’s degree and add another feather to your hat. Some people plan and define their career path in an early stage of their life, knowing exactly when they will start working, when they will study for their master’s, get married and even when they will have a baby.

You are ready and keen for the academic challenge

Despite busy work and home schedules, you are an avid reader and keep yourself abreast of the latest happenings worldwide. You have been actively researching the field you want to study for your master’s, reading textbooks, and reaching out to current students and alums to understand the academic challenge a master’s programme poses.

You want to network with like-minded people

One of the benefits that most master’s students look forward to is growing their professional network. Students from all over the world, with varying professional experiences, from different cultures come together to study for a master’s degree. Peer relationships formed during the master’s programme over group discussions, or forum chats, usually last a lifetime! This brings an opportunity to create a truly enriching academic experience.

You are ready for the time investment

Sometimes people keep the idea of studying for a master’s at bay simply because of time constraints. Job, family, and social commitment abstain you from committing yourself to the study environment. When you are focused on developing yourself academically and have set aside time, it is the right time to enrol for a master’s programme.

So, in summary, a desire to learn more, earn more and advance more could be your sign to enrol for a master’s programme today.

If you feel this is the right time for you to do a master’s degree, then look at our list of 100% online master’s degree programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in doing.

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

Student Interview: Women in RKC – Darija Barrech

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

Darija 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 reincarnated as a 100% online MBA programme in Leading Innovation and Change

“The MALIC program was the enabler to put all the puzzle pieces together that I had acquired in my working life. It made all things very logical and made me understand all the interactions even better.

I enjoyed the learning journey a lot! Since it is an online course, I really liked the freedom to learn in my pace and time.

The residency week was just great! Not only the learning but the people made it very special! It was wonderful to meet new friends from all over the world.

I cannot imagine any program to be more international than MALIC is! This aspect brings in fantastic personalities and perspectives.

Thank you to all who made this learning such a fun journey!”

Darija Barrech, Managing Director – Culcha gmbh, Zurich, Switzerland and an alumnus of Robert Kennedy College
Darija Barrech, Managing Director – Culcha gmbh, Zurich, Switzerland and an alumnus of Robert Kennedy College

An Introduction

Who are you, really (How do you define yourself? Professionally, personally?)?

My home is where my heart is. That describes me quite well. I am 1 of 4 children of my Croatian mother and my Pakistani father. I was born in Germany and grew up in Pakistan. At 15, I returned to Germany for further education. So maybe now you know why I ended up in HR :). I love people, I breathe change, I innovate, and I am culture… After heading HR for a multinational medical device company, I wanted to give some “fresh air” to my brain. I had been looking for a program for over a year. After completing MALIC, I founded my own company (www.culcha.world), where I consult organisations in the area of organisational culture, leadership and change. Since August 2017, I have been a mom of our daughter Aviva which is another BIG learning and blessing in life. For almost 10 years, my husband and I have been living in Switzerland – which is a lovely and beautiful country.

Getting back to education

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash.

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

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

After heading HR for a multinational medical device company, I wanted to give some “fresh air” to my brain. I had been looking for a program for over a year. My husband, who saw an advertisement for the MALIC program in an aeroplane magazine, made me aware of it. The program was THE PERFECT FIT for me. It was blended, and the topics were spot on.

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

Nothing.

What surprised you the most when you started your studies?

One thing I had never anticipated or thought of while looking for a good program was the mix of students. We were around 40 students in my cohort and “only” 4 where from Europe – the others coming from all over the world! I really made friends for life!

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

When I started MALIC, I was without children but in a challenging job. From today´s perspective, I can imagine starting a program like MALIC could be very challenging in terms of time capacity (if you have children). Of course, like everything in life, it’s a question of priorities. Another thought might be in the direction of other national/geographical cultures… I could imagine that women in certain geographies might have the wish to conduct such a program but do not have the financial or family backing to do so.

Getting the degree

Photo by Mohammad Shahhosseini on Unsplash.

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

Which programme did you do? Why?

MALIC, the program was THE PERFECT FIT for me. It was blended and the topics where spot on. I liked the focus on change, leadership, culture, strategy and innovation.

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

That I can learn everything, I want!

How did you balance work and studies?

Discipline and backing from my husband.

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

I do not see any particular challenges women face other than in time and/or culture/geography.

Life post-degree

Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash.

What changed, if anything?

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

I feel very sure and am very curious about the topics. I still keep learning.

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

My way of learning has changed. I have been more academic-driven since MALIC. I more often consult studies when evaluating a topic.

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

I don’t think it can.

Advice for other women

Or other students, really.

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

Why didn’t I do it earlier?!

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

My MALIC Degree 🙂

Closing thoughts

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

Completing MALIC was not only fun and smooth due to the topics, but it just gave me so many AHA moments and it clicked so many things I knew from practical work. It was THE BEST thing to do for me! Of course it is not easy doing such a program next to full time work, family, kids,…. BUT it is worth every minute spend. Professionally I grew by doing MALIC. I founded my own company (www.culcha.world) where I consult organisations in the areas of culture, leadership and change. While being on the residency week in York, we had the opportunity to see the graduates (a year above us). This picture was THE motivator for me to continue and keep on learning when times got tougher.


If this blog has motivated you to challenge yourself and do a master’s degree, then have a look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in doing.

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

#DILO (A day in the life of) a Robert Kennedy College master’s student

Here’s another gem of our #dilo (a day in the life of) series featuring our students. We asked some of our past and current students to share their thoughts and opinions and give feedback on how they handled the challenges of online learning.

Learn from those who came before and see if what worked for them will help you become a better student! Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision.

An Introduction

Who are you, really?

I am an ambitious 40 (soon to be 41) year old woman, juggling a very demanding job while trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and continually developing myself on a professional level.

Which programme did you choose and why?

MBA Coaching, Mentoring and Leadership. I manage the HR function of a law firm, and I thought this programme would give me added skills which I can use in my current role.

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 tried to watch all the videos and do as much reading as I possibly could during the first three weeks. I always aimed to start writing by week 4. A great piece of advice I got was, “Just start by writing sentences. The more you read, the more you’ll be able to articulate your ideas”. I found the advice to be very true and a good strategy. I would say I dedicated an average of 20 hours a week approximately.

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

I would stay a couple of extra hours in the evening at work and dedicate that time to my studies. I found that to be easier than coming home and starting again. On the weekends, I would typically dedicate mornings to studying.

How much time did you devote to each assignment?  

I honestly cannot quantify that. One particular assignment required a lot more time than others, as it required a lot of practice. So I would say that I dedicated as much time as I could depending on the requirements for each module.

Photo credit: Canva.com

Travelling and Communication  

How did travelling impact your ability to study?  

My work does not require me to travel, so it was a matter of ensuring that any holidays would be planned in a way that they would not interfere with my studies.

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

The online platform makes this pretty easy. Professors are usually quick in replying. I think the residency in York was an essential part of this programme because it made the whole experience real. You realise that most people are struggling with the same issues as you, and keeping in contact with several peers (mainly via Whatsapp) has provided a great support network, especially during dissertation!

A typical day as a master’s student  

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

Go out for a run first thing in the morning before getting ready for work (currently back in the office 3 days a week). Deal with everything the day throws at me. At the end of the working day, I either spend an extra couple of hours at the office to dedicate to my studies or go home. I would summarise it as busy; however, now that I am in the final stages of this programme, I can honestly say that I would do it all over again. Looking back, I can say that the past two years have gone by very quickly, and all the effort was well worth it.

Photo credit: Canva.com

Any advice?  

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

Always give yourself sufficient time to write your assignments, and don’t leave them until the last minute. Read, read and read, as that is the only way you’ll be able to write. If you have a block on some days, that’s fine, pick up the next day, and if you don’t know what to write, it means you haven’t read enough.


I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this place for similar blogs. So, if you have been considering doing a master’s degree and now understand how to study better for an online programme, look at our programmes and see if anything interests you.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and answers to any questions you may have.

It is okay not to be perfect at work. Here are 5 reasons why!

As an interviewee, I distinctly remember being asked this question: What is your weakness? I am sure you would resonate with me and must have found yourself in a similar situation. As I would be ‘well-prepared’ for the popularly asked questions in a job interview, I would promptly reply – Perfectionism. Trying to be perfect at everything I do is my weakness.

Many of us believe that perfectionism is required to progress in our careers. Well, that notion is a myth, and we should instead not let perfection get in the way of our career progression. It is in your best interest not to let perfection become a barrier in pursuit of success.

With the advent of social media, perfectionism (and the pressure of it) has increased over the years. It is easy to make comparisons now, not only with people around you but also with people from across the globe. The world has shrunk, and there are practically no borders, thanks to social media and the internet. 

There is a thin line between setting high standards and perfectionism. There is a big difference between ambition (adaptive perfectionism) and what is commonly referred to as perfectionism (maladaptive perfectionism). Setting goals for yourself and working towards them proactively in a healthy way is good – however, the moment this becomes stressful and feels like a burden, know that you are going downhill. Then it becomes maladaptive perfectionism. Constantly holding yourself responsible and obsessive behaviour towards not making mistakes can have negative consequences.

Perfectionism limits your effectiveness and adds stress. Photo credit: Canva.com

According to a study by Hill, A. P., & Curran, T. (2016). Multidimensional Perfectionism and Burnout: A Meta-Analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 20(3), “pure” perfectionist striving displayed notably larger negative relationships with overall burnout and symptoms of burnout. In terms of moderation, in some cases, perfectionist striving were less adaptive, and perfectionist concerns more maladaptive in the work domain.

Perfectionism has negative consequences – here’s how.

It is crucial that you understand how perfectionism has negative consequences and holds you back. Beyond a point, perfectionism becomes demotivating. When unattainable standards are set, self-doubt creeps in, leading to reduced engagement. You’ll get farther if you embrace your limits and do your best. With this alternative, you’ll be able to invest energy in your responsibilities and relationships, and in turn, people will feel good about working with you.

Rather than incremental improvement, perfectionism becomes a recipe for stagnation. Photo credit: Canva.com

Perfectionism also limits your effectiveness. Since you are so focused on perfection, you tend to ignore the mistakes, learn the lesson from those mistakes and improvise. Rather than incremental improvement, perfectionism becomes a recipe for stagnation.

While you may think that a perfect person must be popular amongst management and admired by peers, surprisingly, it is quite the contrary in reality. Overwork and overthinking become your hallmark. It will be difficult to trust a perfectionist who is more intimidating than welcoming. People would rather not work with you as they will feel pressurized by unrealistic, unattainable expectations.

Perfectionists are usually lonely overworking. Photo credit: Canva.com

Strive for excellence rather than perfectionism

If you want to better your chances of making career progression, identify what kind and level of perfectionism you are. When you realize you are inching towards maladaptive perfectionism, know it’s time to steer clear of the oncoming negative consequences and move towards adaptive perfectionism.

Instead of striving to be perfect at your job, focus on being happy. The happier we feel at work, the more productive we are, which can lead to fantastic career opportunities in the future.

Here are 5 reasons why it is okay not to be perfect at work:

1. Strike a balance

Research shows that half of workplace absences are due to stress and mental illness. Focusing too much on being perfect at your job can severely impact your well-being, professionally and personally. The sooner you accept that there’s only so much you can achieve in a working day, the better. Putting unnecessary pressure on yourself to achieve only the best results can be counterproductive.

2. Learn from others and your own mistakes

When you are not busy being perfect and tunnel-visioned, you will be surprised to see how much you learn from colleagues, junior or senior. Plus, the less time you spend perfecting your work, the more time you have to build positive relationships with your colleagues.

Always remember, to err is human. Photo Credit: Canva.com

3. Less pressure and stress

The less pressure you put on yourself to be perfect at your job, the less you’ll worry about making mistakes. There is always pressure to achieve targets, make profits, expansion plans and so on. You are more prone to make mistakes when there is so much at stake. Always remember, to err is human. It is essential here to learn from those mistakes and not stress about them.

4. Get more done

According to research, the average worker puts in 10.1 overtime hours per week. That’s the equivalent of 469 hours per year! Plus, only one in 10 did so because they loved their job. When you are not stressing about unrealistic targets and deadlines, you will realize how you make time for other (maybe more) important things in life. It could be pursuing a hobby, fitness goals, spending time with friends and family, or travelling. It is crucial for a healthy mind and body and overall well-being.

5. Perfectionism lies in the eyes of the beholder

Understand the true meaning of perfection. It is essential to set priorities whenever you take a project in hand. Setting realistic targets will make you achieve them relatively quickly and feel happier and content. The accomplishment will pave the way toward taking on more tasks and responsibilities.

In a nutshell, excellence is undoubtedly linked with career advancement, but perfection is not. For all kinds of reasons, perfection can limit you—in terms of your performance, relationships, happiness and well-being. No human is perfect, but you can reimagine “perfect” as embracing your imperfections.

Outside the interview, would I call myself a perfectionist? I don’t think so. I always try to achieve the standards I set for myself, or even higher when possible. Furthermore, I follow the mantra, “Work to Live and not Live to work”. What is your mantra at work? Please share in the comments below.

Daniel Blackburn, University of Salford LL.M student, wins African Excellence Award 2022

Our students come from different walks of life. Robert Kennedy College (RKC) takes pride in being a truly international college, with over 7000 students from 140 countries.

Our 100% online programmes have been designed for busy managers. Our students and alums work for many international organisations and top companies from all over the world. 

Let me introduce one of the RKC’s proud students – Daniel Blackburn. Daniel is the owner and Managing Director of Blackburn Consulting (Pty) Limited, based in Beau Vallon, Mahe, Seychelles, and is an LLM student. Daniel is currently enrolled in the LL.M International Commercial Law programme offered by the University of Salford (UoS). Daniel chose this programme because he wanted to improve his legal knowledge to become a legal consultant and an expert witness.

Apart from balancing his busy study schedule and demanding professional life, Daniel also participated in the African Excellence Award 2022 to showcase the strength and success of his consultancy in their field of business. 

And based on various judging criteria of business performance, longevity, sustained business growth and innovation, Daniel’s firm Blackburn Consulting (Pty) Limited won the “Best Project and Contract Management Company Seychelles” award.

Thrilled with this achievement, Daniel is chuffed about the recognition and brand exposure his firm will achieve, attracting new customers and employees wanting to work with the best in the industry. 

As the winner of the “African Excellence Awards 2022”, Daniel was also invited to take part in the “Africa’s Business Heroes’ Competition”.

About his study experience with Robert Kennedy College, we asked Daniel to tell us more about a typical day as an RKC student.

Daniel has so far completed two modules with success. Each module comprised two assignments, a group assignment and an individual assignment. He devoted 15 to 20 hours per week towards his studies; however, more during his preparation for the assignments (approx. 35 hours). Daniel would spend time early in the morning for studies and then again in the evening. Daniel said, “When I wake up every day, the first thing I do is to check my inbox to see if there is any news in connection with my ongoing course, check the tutor’s posts/guidelines and other information such as classmates’ discussions and forums”. 

Daniel Blackburn with ABH logo

Regarding online learning, Daniel says RKC has an effective communication platform, allowing students to contact and receive replies from their tutors/student care/ administration. “For example, if I have any questions or clarifications on any subjects, I always contact my professors by ‘direct questions to the tutors’ or email the student care, and I usually receive the reply within 2 to 3 days.”

Further, Daniel shares that the professors/tutors are proactive course leaders and high-calibre persons. They uploaded several video lectures and a list of helpful reading materials from reputable authors to facilitate the students with their studies.

“During the discussions in forums, I was fascinated with very high-ranking classmates.

This kind of interchange with classmates in forums is fruitful and seen as reflection-on-action, that is, being open to new ideas. Through it, for example, my practice is developing and remaining vibrant. Working on a group assignment helped me learn a lot and discover my weaknesses. 

Group and individual assignments enhance my legal knowledge to tackle daily problems/situations (i.e. putting what I learned into practice).”

Based on his experience thus far, Daniel advises current and potential RKC students: 

“If you really want something, you’ll make time for it. Prioritise your time to meet your goals. Successful students always focus on the tasks at hand. No doubt time management can help students prioritize wisely and set goals correctly and a set time limit to complete all the tasks/activities.”

A truly inspirational and motivating life story of one of our students, driving success in his career. I am sure you feel inspired enough to take that plunge of investing in education, investing in your future, investing in yourself!

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


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

Have you been asking yourself – What is the best way to study online? Should you do an online programme? How to better manage time when learning online?

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash.

These are all questions that we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) get regularly asked by students looking to join one of our online programmes. Undertaking to do an online master’s degree programme will be an additional commitment to your time and finances, and it is wise to get information beforehand.

Through this continuing series of blog posts, some of our past and current students have shared their experiences, thoughts and opinions and given their feedback on handling some of these choices and situations. This series has fast become one of our most appreciated blog posts. This “day in the life of” series focuses on the challenges and rewards our students derive from doing an online master’s degree with us, and we have been blessed with students who were more than happy to volunteer their time and share their experiences.

Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision!

An Introduction

Photo by Rock Staar on Unsplash.

Who are you?

I am Patrick Kyamanywa, a professor of surgery and medical educator heading a health sciences university campus of Kampala International University. I am an active researcher in the fields of human resources for health and injury epidemiology, and socially I am a family man with a large extended family under my care.

Which programme did you choose and why?

I chose the MBALIC. Having been in educational leadership for over 10 years, I found that many higher educational institutions were lagging behind just because of poor leadership. In addition, I was seeking to position myself for even higher leadership opportunities. Therefore, I found it necessary to find and pursue formal leadership training to cement my competencies.

The Study Plan

Plan how you are going to study. Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash.

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

Taking on a demanding program while still serving as a full-time head of an educational institution was a brave move I had to make, although it was not the first time I was doing so. I enrolled for and successfully completed a PCAP at York St. John in 2009, and with this experience, I believed it would still be possible. What has always worked for me is starting my day early when the rest of the world still sleeps. So, for this MBALIC program, I set aside three hours every morning (4am to 7am) and occasionally added an hour or two after work (8pm to 10pm), depending on how the day had treated me. Discipline and consistency paid off, and I am happy that I achieved distinction grades in 3 of the 4 taught modules.

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

As mentioned above, I am most efficient in the early mornings, and this enables me to produce a piece of work in half the time I would take if I did the same task during working hours.

How much time did you devote to each assignment?

I always started the assignments early in the module. This allowed me to identify and archive relevant resources early enough, and after the first assignment, I had a template to work with. I knew what the expectations of the program were in terms of depth of literature review, quality of critical analysis and arguments required. With this, I was able, at some point, to have two overlapping modules.

Travelling and Communication

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash.

How did travelling impact your ability to study?

Travelling often allowed me more private time. Being away from family and office demands afforded me extra hours during the day, depending on the mission demands, and so I was able to read and write more.

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

The 24/7 forums and the ability to email colleagues and professors personally made it possible to keep in touch on all manner of issues.

A typical day as a master’s student

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

A typical day would start at 4am with 3 hours dedicated to study. I would usually go through the typical working day and then try to find another 2 hours at the end of the day. I tried to fit all office work within the 8am to 6pm working day. I also endeavoured to keep up with my 30 minutes to 45 minutes workout sessions at least three days a week. The workout sessions helped relieve the stress.

Any advice?

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

My honest advice is to carve out protected study time that one can reliably and consistently devote to the program. The second is the need to start early and dig deep with every module and assignment and to ensure that one collaborates with peers and regularly engages in forum discussions.


We at Robert Kennedy College are here to support you through the entire process and encourage you to get in touch with our team of Education Advisors and chat with them Live on WhatsApp if you have any questions about our programmes, fee structure, the application process, or details on discounts we might be offering at this time.

If you have already made up your mind and are ready to apply, then just click here.

SIX tips to help you write your master’s dissertation

For most of us, thinking about writing our dissertation can be the most stressful part of our master’s programme. Almost from the first day of the programme, you start hearing about doing the dissertation and how stressful it can be! Such talks and peer pressure are bound to add stress to the experience of doing your master’s. Additionally, not all institutions will provide you with the support and guidance you might require.

Doing your dissertation can get daunting. Photo by Redd on Unsplash.

When I was doing my dissertation for my master’s programme, I remember I got no support from my professors regarding my dissertation. In their defence, I never went to them for advice or guidance. But the point is, no one ever brought it up, and I did not feel comfortable or confident approaching anyone. I did not want to be singled out or laughed at for not knowing something. I managed with the help of my peers and a few of the senior students who had previously completed a dissertation.

While my experience was not the best, it was far from the worst. However, things are changing for the better the world over. Professors have become more approachable, and colleges and educational institutions have implemented processes to support students through their dissertation experience. I am sure most of our alums would agree that Robert Kennedy College is an excellent example of this.

The following are six tips to help you get started on writing your dissertation.

(1) Picking your topic

Narrow your focus. Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash.

Picking your topic is probably the most critical aspect of your dissertation. Everything starts from this point. However, the mistake that most of us make is in thinking that the broader or generic the topic, the easier it will be as we will be able to find information/data easily. And this is true to some extent. However, the broader your topic, the more there is to cover. Your fifteen-thousand-word dissertation could end up being a two hundred- and fifty-thousand-word book. And nobody wants that.

Get as specific as you can with your topic.

Let’s say your topic is on how a company tracks sales performance. This topic can be huge depending on the size of the company. So, get specific. Rather than tracking the sales performance of the whole company, track the company’s sales performance in a particular market/country. Then specify it some more. In this market, track the performance only for a specific channel, let’s say, online sales. By narrowing down what you will cover in your dissertation, you will have more control of your dissertation.

(2) Be organised and make lots of notes

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash.

The devil is in the details. The thing about doing a dissertation spread over several months is that you could lose track of the details (by just forgetting about them). There are several tools available that can help you organise your research data, but even if you don’t use any of these tools, just create folders in your system for everything. And in each folder, create files for everything.

Maybe you could create a folder for each chapter/topic you cover and then make several files in each folder, such as a chapter draft file, a reference draft file, a notes file, etc. Have a file for everything, so you don’t forget where you got your information and why you put it down in your chapter draft file. Don’t put anything in your chapter draft file other than your draft for the chapter. Any notes, changes, or thoughts should be made a note of in your notes file and all references made in the chapter to be entered in your reference file.

This way, you know where all the information is, why you used the information and your references, and when you are finally ready to draft your master file for the dissertation, all you have to do is copy and paste from the chapter draft file.

(3) Date every version

Every time your professor or supervisor gives your feedback on your master draft file or even a chapter draft file, create a new version of the file incorporating the changes suggested. Create a separate notes file for feedback received (for the chapter draft or the master draft) and how you integrated it into your dissertation. Sometimes, a seemingly inconsequent suggestion by a professor can have a butterfly effect on your dissertation, so you must keep track of when and who gave the suggestion to track the changes.

(4) Schedule

Incorporate your dissertation into your schedule/calendar. Make sure you put aside time exclusively to work on your dissertation and stick to it. You can set deadlines by when certain parts of your dissertation must be completed and monitor your progress to ensure you can complete the dissertation on time. The longer time you have to complete your dissertation, the more milestones you can have to monitor your progress. By tracking your progress, you will not only be able to finish on time but also be less stressed during your dissertation.

(5) Reward yourself

It is essential to acknowledge your victories, even if no one else does. So, celebrate it, pat yourself on the back and maybe even reward yourself when you achieve a milestone in completing your dissertation on schedule.

(6) Review

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash.

Once you have completed your chapter draft or master draft file, take a break and get away from your dissertation for a couple of days. Then come back and read and review the file carefully. You will be surprised by how many mistakes you will find in the draft. You might have overlooked simple things when typing or reading the draft immediately after finishing. You might have thought you had written it a certain way, and your mind would have filled in the gaps to look like you wrote it the way you thought. So, get away from the draft for a short period, then once you get back, edit before you submit it.


Hopefully, these six tips will help you get started on your dissertation. If you have any other tips that might help our readers improve their dissertation and how they work towards it, please share them here.

If you have been thinking about doing either a BA, MBA, MSc or LLM degree, and are ready to challenge yourself, look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in doing. 

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

Five steps on how to ask for a raise

Now and then, this thought must have crossed every employee’s mind – the idea of not earning enough, the belief that you deserve a raise. But, how many of us gather the courage to go to our boss and ask for that raise? It is alarming that most people never ask for a raise for what might seem rightfully yours.

Photo credit: Unsplash.com

But if there was a good time to ask for raise, that time is Now!

There are unprecedented conditions in favour of asking (read demanding) a raise. Inflation is at an all-time high. Russia’s invasion is affecting the oil prices and resulting in huge spikes in oil prices, shortage of labour, changes in labour laws bringing transparency in pay and reawakened labour movement, which has significantly impacted how employers respond to workers’ demands.

Many of us find it difficult to highlight our achievements or have that frank talk about money. It is an awkward conversation that most of us shy away from. However, you can strike the conversation confidently and always steer the ship in your favour.

Here are five simple steps when you negotiate your salary:

1. Look for that perfect timing

Photo credit: Unsplash.com

Half of your battle will be won when you strike the iron when it’s hot. Experts say the timing of the ask makes a huge difference. Pick a day and time when you can claim a target has been achieved or a large client account you just secured. Also, be mindful of the annual payroll ‘budgets’. Usually, the conversation is not a matter of a day or two. You don’t want to be too late after budgets have been set nor too early. Keep in mind a timeline of 4-6 months.

2. Peer review

Turn to peer review on how much they think you should be making

If anyone can know your calibre after your boss, it is your colleagues. You tend to spend most of your work time with your fellow workers, who observe your work style and capability. So you can turn towards peers to get their opinion about how much they think you should make in the job. Now it will be impolite to ask how much money they are making. So instead of asking the question bluntly, replace that question with a mere query: In their opinion, how much should a person doing a similar job be earning as per market standards? You can use such data as a reference.

3. Collaborative and holistic pitch for women

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Even in the 21st century, society still perceives women employees differently than their male counterparts. Women are known to have “many focuses”, and their value to the business is always questionable.

Therefore, women have to approach this process of asking for a raise a bit differently. Women should make a collaborative and holistic pitch with a simple formula of highlighting past performance, project future potential and then present a direct request for a raise. Then leave events to take their course.

4. Ask for a specific number than pay-range

Talk specific number than pay-range

Unlike the popular convention of letting the other person start the conversation, experts today suggest that you should go first; you will face less disappointment. You should anchor the discussion with your desired number. Without a specific number, the HR manager or your supervisor will not be sure how to close the deal, and you may have to walk away with a number this is not satisfactory. Especially women who end up being offered the lower end of the range specified.

5. Do your homework

Photo by Firmbee.com on Unsplash

Last but not least! Do your research. You must look around and find out what other companies offer for a similar role or to the new hires. Such research will help calibrate your ask. Due to labour shortages, salary compression – when the salary of low-skilled workers and salary of high-skilled experienced workers tend towards one another. It has become more common than one might be aware. Do not fear asking why you would not be paid the same (higher) salary that a new hire with less experience and skills is being paid.

Though it may not be the easiest conversation you will ever have, to achieve what you aim for, you need to keep the conversation going until you win!!

If you have any tips about how to ask for a raise, please share them in the comment section below. I would love to hear about your experience.