Understanding University Rankings – humph!

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

Utility of Ranking Systems

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

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

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

The Perspective

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

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

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

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

The Rich get Richer

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

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

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

Further Research

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

It is worth it at the end

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

Join us in celebrating Robert Kennedy College and York St John 2019 graduates!

Sandra, Ilse, Doris, Asha, Melanie, Lilian, Matthew, Alaine, Marlini, Wilfried, Boguslaw, Ebru, Graham, Dag, Karen, Julie, Tony, Jialei and Sandra – these are the names of the 2019 RKC/YSJ MA in Leading Innovation and Change graduates who made it to York, to what I *know* was a great delight! We know quite a few of you could not make it physically to graduation this year – your achievement is no less impressive though – well done!

Graduation 2019 – group 1 photo
Graduation 2019 – group 2 photo

Wednesday the 20th of November 2019 was the day about 20 of our own MALIC students experienced the graduation of a lifetime, in one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Europe – the York Minster. For all of you reading this at home and thinking that sounds awesome – know that it is, and I hope we’ll be able to hear from a few of them who were there to confirm this is not just my impression!

Graduation: I couldn’t recommend it more

By the time graduation comes around, you will have attended the residency either in Zürich or York, so you know (or discover) that travel is not easy, nor cheap, but despite all that, I wholeheartedly recommend attending Graduation too. I haven’t heard a single whisper in the past 7 years of someone being disappointed with the graduation.

Here’s a short video of our graduates, so you can judge for yourself the emotions and excitement of the moment. See if you can count how many of them forget about the photo opportunity with the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, in what was his last awards ceremony as York St John’s Chancellor. Next year’s graduates will be shaking hands with Reeta Chakrabarti.

A special shout out to Sandra Ahlers for the Dissertation prize, and to Ilse Baxter for the overall programme prize! Woohooo – amazing performance ladies – well done!

Finally, a huge CONGRATS! to all graduates alike, whether they’ve been able to walk the stage in York or had to stay at home (much like I did this year). Keep us in the loop with your professional exploits post graduation and help make this world a better place. Well done you all!

P.S. If you are wondering about the MA Leading Innovation and Change, know that it has smoothly transitioned into the MBA Leading Innovation and Change and next year we are likely to have the first batch of MBAs graduating in the Minster – are you one of them, or can you become one? Let us know in the comments!

The University of Cumbria Law ranks 1st in the North West and 8th in the UK!

Yes, you read that right! The Guardian League tables for 2020 have our partner the University of Cumbria Law’s programmes right at the top for the North West region, and 8th in the UK, a few places away from Cambridge, Oxford, and Durham.

England is divided into 9 official regions. North-West England, one of those official regions, consists of the five counties of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside. The North West is known as the heartland of the Industrial Revolution and is home to some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes. The third most populated region in the UK, the North-West is also known for its vibrant and diverse culture. It is also the home to our partner, the University of Cumbria, operating from campuses spread across Cumbria and North Lancashire. 

So, what does it mean to be #1? There are 12 institutions (with University status) in the North West England that offer programmes in Law. The Guardian League Tables recently ranked the University of Cumbria as #1 for Law, ahead of the University of Liverpool and the University of Manchester. Cumbria also bags the  #8 position overall in law, competing against a total of 101 institutions nationwide. 

The Guardian League Table ranks the Universities on the basis of several factors that are important to students while making their choices for where to study. These include factors such as how much students benefit from the teaching and how much they like the subject and the University. The University of Cumbria ranked high on these parameters as well with 97% of students satisfied with their course and 95% satisfied with the teaching at the University. 

For our part, we’re making it possible for students from all over the world to join Cumbria’s LL.M International Business Law – with online delivery and a one-week residency in the lake district in Cumbria’s Ambleside campus. 

See the full The Guardian League Tables for 2020.

Download the catalogue for more information about the Online Masters of Law programmes offered by the University of Cumbria and RKC. 

Things to consider before considering a career change

Let’s admit it! Many of us are not pursuing careers that we dreamt of. Some of us may never have dreamt of a career and ended up doing what was available or what we see others doing. I feel happy (and jealous) of people who figured out early in their lives their career paths. For a variety of reasons, we all have thought of changing careers at some point in life; including those who were once happy with their jobs.

You are not alone if you are considering a career change. It has been an increasingly popular trend in employment history. It is becoming more likely that people will go through at least one career change in their lifetime. 

Here are some stats..  BLS, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, released results from the National Longitudinal Survey in August 2019 about the number of jobs, labor market experience and earnings growth of a sample of Americans tracked over 40 years. According to the survey, individuals held an average of 12.3 jobs from ages 18 to 52, with nearly half of these jobs held before age 25. In this news release, a job is defined as an uninterrupted period of work with a particular employer. On average, men held 12.5 jobs and women held 12.1 jobs from ages 18 to 52. Men held 5.9 jobs from ages 18 to 24, compared with 1.9 jobs from ages 45 to 52. The reduction in the average number of jobs held in successive age groups was similar for women. 

Though it’s not uncommon, a career change should be thought through. Here are a few things you should consider before a career change:

Self-Introspection 

It is critical to self analyze and find out why are you looking for a career change. What is the reason for your discontentment: is it the work or the work environment and co-workers? Are you financially insecure? (Experts advise not to base any decision solely on the basis of money). Are you stuck in the same position doing monotonous work for years, with limited scope for change if any? Are you losing the motivation? Have your priorities changed? Do you yearn for work-life balance? Are you not passionate about the job anymore? Do you simply want to search for a new ‘meaning’ to your life?

Being emotionally and financially strong

If you are still early on in your career, there may be fewer things to worry about before switching careers. However, if it is a mid-life or mature career change, make sure you sort the emotional and financial ties.

Get support

Communicate your thoughts and vision to your family, friends and colleagues. While some of them may discourage you and urge you to take sane decisions, it is important that you have a cushion of support around you at a time you would need it most.

Take small steps 

Do not quit your current job until you find a new one, even if you feel being on the fence and frustrated. Start intensive research in the industry you envision yourself to be in and look for the skills required for those jobs. Make sure to update and personalize your resume for different jobs you may apply to. Explore free resources online for resume and skill development. Now is the ideal time to invest in yourself.

Build and Dive into your Network

Networking is the key to job search. While making conversation and networking may seem out of your comfort zone, you will be amazed to find how valuable a resource people are. Reach out to your contacts or build a network on social media for informational interviews that will not only help you understand the jobs you are interested in but if you are impressive enough they may even consider you for any open or potential positions!  Consider volunteering for different organizations or events to build your network.

Consider further education

While some of your skills from the previous job are transferable, you may have to consider getting another degree. Some jobs may require you to have a certain professional qualification and association, or a Master’s degree. While in a job and considering a career change, you may not want an education debt and going back to school full time. Online education is the solution that will not only fit your busy schedule but also not burn a hole in your pocket. Robert Kennedy College offers Online Masters programmes in exclusive partnership with the University of Cumbria, University of Salford and York St John University. Download the catalogue to know more about the programmes.

I am sure the points above give some food for thought and changing careers does not seem to be as intimidating. If you approach the change radically, it looks more like an achievable dream. We would love to hear from you how you coped with career change. Share your story and advice in the comments below. 

York MBA: The Residency

Quite often we get one of these four questions:

What is the purpose of the residency? What happens during the week at the residency? Why should I attend it? And why is it important?

What better way to have the answers to these questions than to hear it from our alumni and faculty themselves!

The MBA programmes are taught mostly online via OnlineCampus (an interactive online learning environment) with intensive class discussion and collaboration, plus a one-week compulsory residency. Depending on your programme, the residency is held at two locations, Robert Kennedy College in Zürich and at the University campus in York, United Kingdom, both organised and taught by University faculty.

Dr. Brendan Paddison, Director of Post Graduate Studies says, “One of the unique aspects of our programmes with Robert Kennedy College is the blended delivery.”

Here’s what student and faculty have to say about the residency.

“The people who take part in these residencies find them very rewarding, both in terms of amount of energy that they generate, the friendships that they give rise to and the insights that people get into the experiences of those who are working in quite different organizations”, says Dr. George Boak, YSJ Senior Lecturer – Leadership and Innovation.

The residency is held several times during the year offering flexibility to fit your busy work schedule. The only pre-requisite is to have completed at least one module before taking residency.

Cristina Rettig, PR Manager – Glass Manufacturing (Germany) 2018 Graduate found the Residency an essential part of the MBA Programme. She adds, “It’s fantastic to have this online system. It gives you freedom, you can plan your own schedule. But I think to really draw people into it, the residency to me is a really essential part. I loved it, I loved the residency, I found it great!”

Follow the link to find out more about the Online Masters programmes: https://york.mba/catalogue

University of Salford Graduation 2019

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

Linda Karitanyi – Living her dream and fulfilling her aspirations!

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

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

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

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

Student Testimonials – Johannes’s Truly Inspirational Story!

This week we bring you the truly inspirational story of Johannes from South Africa; a story which I personally found to be heart warming and one that motivates me to do something better in my life, everyday.

Johannes, a BA graduate and a Banker decided to pursue MA in Leading Innovation and Change (MALIC). One reason was that it is a well known Online Programme offered by the Robert Kennedy College in Switzerland. Another reason was that it was offered in partnership with York St John University in York, England, which he believes is one of the best countries for a special needs student.

Johannes graduated recently and it was a proud moment for him and his wife who commended his dedication throughout the course. He now intends to continue for a PhD.

As Johannes says, “At York, I was not just a number. The University was always eager to help”. Watch Johannes’s story and get motivated!

Success Story from South Africa

Download the catalogue to find out more about the programme, fees, start dates and eligibility criteria.

What Qualities would land you the dream job?

When you are in school or university, you always dream of that dream job that you would like to do after graduation. You earn the crucial academic qualification and gain the necessary knowledge to embark on the professional journey of your life. You may be a fresher or a seasoned professional exploring the job market and may wonder what the employers look for when they are hiring. The hiring process has several layers to it than you as potential applicant can see on the surface. The Job Ad merely states the job description and the key requirements – qualification, experience and skills, required for the job. These are used to for the initial screening and shortlisting. Once shortlisted, when you end up at the interview, the hiring process reaches a different level all together. The employer evaluates you and your personality and whether you are a perfect fit for the job and the company. 

In the recent times it is observed that the employers are giving growing importance to ‘soft skills’; equal if not more to the academic skills and experience relevant to the job. It may therefore make more sense to hone and develop these skills to qualify as that ‘perfect’ candidate for the position:

  • Know what you want from your career 

The employer are really interested to know what you plan for your career, what do you want and how keen you are to work towards it. 

  • Have Vision

All interviewers ask this question – Tell us something about yourself. This is your chance to narrate your life story, how you envisioned it and what you did so far to make it vision your reality.

  • Self-Starter and Independent

This is a huge requirement of an employer for any position! They want to employ a pro-active individual who does not require constant supervision and hand holding; but rather is one step ahead in their work.

  • Sociable and Team builder

It is highly critical for an employer to hire an individual who is a great a team player. None of the organization department work in isolation; and there is interdependence and co-existence within departments as well. The success of any organization depends on how well knit the teams work.

  • Motivated

An ideal hire would be motivated and driven. They should have high personal and professional goals and propelled to achieve them. This will in turn ensure firm’s success and reach its goals. 

  • Assume Responsibility

Employers love to take those applicants onboard who they find have assumed responsibility of tasks, at work, outside or home and took on to complete it responsibly. Own the task or situation you are in.

Complete your Masters online with University of Cumbria’s Masters programmes. Contact our advisor today for guidance on the admission process.  

University of Cumbria Graduation Ceremony

Last month, on a wet Wednesday afternoon, more than 350 RKC students (plus about ten students from other UoC institutions) graduated in the historic medieval Carlisle cathedral. Many of the graduates were there in person to collect their diploma from the Chancellor of the University, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York. Some graduates had come from far away, and many were supported, often very enthusiastically, by family members who were not fazed by the poor weather.

Following the ceremony the new graduates socialised together and with their families and faculty members in a nearby hotel over drinks and dinner.

An RKC student, Gregory Foster, graduating with the MBA in Leadership and Sustainability received the university’s Postgraduate Student of the Year prize. Greg had come all the way from Australia to receive his degree and the award, and is shown below between (left to right) David Duffill of RKC, Caroline Rouncefield, Grace Hurford and David Murphy, all of the UoC.

RKC & York St John Graduation 2018

It’s that time of the year again, when I get to travel to York and meet a bunch of our students who have made it all the way! Graduation is a special event, and more so when it takes place in the gigantic York Minster.

There is no way to really convey the feelings during such an event, even with photos and video, but short of having been there, you will have to try!

Congratulations George and Sarah for all your hard work getting the programme started, and Nigel, Amir, Ann, Rinnah, Sasha, Rula, Tim, Naomi, Joseph, Juliana, Misheck, Hannes, Tina, Mark, Leah, Nicole, Ryanhardt, Mufta’U, Wisdom, and sorry we missed you in the photo Patrick, Seth, Chris, Juan and Macaria – and even sorrier you could not be there Luis, Dawnia, Asuncion, Nicolas, Kourosh and Marilyn.

RKC Graduation 2018 @YorkStJohn

RKC Graduation 2018 @YorkStJohn

I am thoroughly excited about continuing this great event in the years to come with all of you now in the York MBA programmes! Looking forward to more smiley photos and silly videos! CONGRATS YOU ALL!

More photos from the day:

Group photo of RKC 2018 Graduation @YorkStJohn in the Quadrangle

Group photo of RKC 2018 Graduation @YorkStJohn in the Quadrangle

Group photo of RKC 2018 Graduation @YorkStJohn in the Quadrangle

Group photo of RKC 2018 Graduation @YorkStJohn in the Quadrangle

Group photo of RKC 2018 Graduation @YorkStJohn in the Quadrangle

RKC 2018 Graduation @YorkStJohn in the Quadrangle

P.S. stay tuned for some in-depth interviews with the graduates, sharing their challenges and tips and tricks for successful studies.