Pursuing the master’s degree is a big decision in many people’s lives. Choosing which programme will be most beneficial for one’s career development can be nerve wrecking too. Because there are choices – too many choices! For example, one might decide to go for an MBA programme, however, there is a choice to pursue an Executive MBA (EMBA) too! As an aspiring student, which one should you choose? Let us explore the differences, pros and cons of both so that you can make an informed decision.
1. Admission criteria
One of the foremost differences between an MBA and the EMBA programme is the admission criteria. For most of the MBA programmes minimum experience required varies between 1-3 years. Sometimes, even fresh under-graduates can also apply for MBA programmes given a good academic record.
On the other hand, an EMBA typically requires candidates to have on average 3 to 6 years’ work experience with at least 2 to 5 years of managerial work experience. Our current MBA students and alumni for example, possess on average 5 to 10 years of work experience, holding leadership and management titles in companies such as risk and quality managers, heads of sales, senior corporate trainers, marketing directors, lawyers, consultants, politicians and diplomats, company presidents and CMOs.
2. Pace of study
The MBA programmes are typically pursued on full-time or on-campus basis, and have very demanding schedules. They have more traditional and rigid course structures. An EMBA on the other hand, offers a more flexible study schedule, and are typically delivered in blocks (weekends, once a month, etc.) or online. The majority of the EMBA students are working professionals with busy work schedules. Thus, to optimize their time, EMBAs offer lecture sessions at rarer, but more intense intervals than their MBA counterparts. When done online, these really put flexibility at the forefront.
3. Intensity of the programme
While both programmes focus on the same core modules, the degree of intensiveness in both varies. For the EMBAs, I will use an analogy of a multi-vitamin supplement – a power packed mix of various vitamins all together in one. Similary, EMBAs are intensive, and one should be ready to absorb a lot of knowledge in a short period of time.
A regular MBA programme however, spreads the modules over a period of time. The course material is widely distributed and thus is comparatively less intensive than EMBAs.
4. Curriculum and focus
In an MBA programme, since it accepts candidates with fewer years of experience, the focus is on teaching and developing management knowledge from the basics. It has a broader choice available in terms of the electives that a student can choose from. An EMBA programme, however, has a higher bar set in terms of experience from its candidates. While some of the core modules are same as an MBA programme, an EMBA programme has a more focused approach.
5. Financial implications
An EMBA wins over an MBA programme any day when we talk about financial implications of both. Firstly, an EMBA candidate can continue their day jobs and get paid to support their education. MBA programmes with full-time study schedules make it more difficult for students to continue with their jobs. Secondly, since a large portion (or in our case, all of the programme) is studied online, one saves a huge amount of money in travel and living expenses. Thus, the return on investment on an EMBA is typically much higher than a regular MBA programme.
There is of course the issue of programme cost – these vary wildly though, and you can find really expensive programmes in both EMBA and MBA settings.
I hope the above provides a few points to help you make the distinction between an MBA and an EMBA programme.
Robert Kennedy College offers online MBA programmes – which are much closer to EMBAs than they are to MBAs because of their flexibility and incredible value for money. We do that in exclusive partnerships with the University of Cumbria and York St John University. Check out the list of various MBA progammes that we offer and choose the one that best suits your interests and career.
The first time I heard the phrase “The Internet of Things (IoT)” (and that was not too long ago), my reaction was – “Wooohhaat the hell is that?! Speak English man!”
Now, my understanding of IoT is still very limited, and when I decided to write a blog on one of the new programmes we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) launched through our exclusive partnership with the University of Cumbria (UoC), UK – 100% Online MSc Computer Science and International Business, I was happy to find that one of the modules in the programme was IoT.
Now, what can one actually write about a management programme in Computer Science and International Business? I certainly couldn’t think of anything, apart from information about the programme, which can anyway be found on our website. So, I decided to get a better understanding of IoT and pass it on to all those in the same boat as I, or who may be looking to do this programme with us.
What is the Internet of Things?
We live in a digital world and have reached a point where most anything in the digital space can basically talk to other “things” digital and share data – we can share data through networking between our communication devices, between multiple and different apps and software. But until quite recently, this sharing was not possible in the physical world.
But now, technology has advanced to the point where we are able to build a network of multiple physical objects, connect it to the internet, to send, receive, and interpret data. And this is the Internet of Things.
I know it sounds complicated, but nowadays, we actually see it in a number of places and don’t actually realise it, taking it for granted. I saw it work at the end of last year and was impressed but did not know what I was looking at.
My family and I were on holiday in Abu Dhabi and were lucky enough to be staying at W Hotel, Yas Island, and got an upgrade to a suite. The entire room was connected. As an example, every item in the minibar was detected and listed as removed on a screen. Housekeeping restocked as soon as we were out of the room and it was billed automatically.
People who use Google Home, Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, or Philips Hue are already familiar with the technology.
How does IoT actually work?
The working of IoT can basically be broken down into four sections:
Hardware – is what helps us connect digital items to physical objects. The hardware is what senses things and converts that to data.
Data – is the information that the hardware collects. It is what will help us make sense of how everything is working, becoming the true universal language, the universal language of “things”.
Software – is what interprets all the information and enables the use of information. Software is what takes data from the hardware and extracts value for the end user.
Connectivity – without connectivity there is no IoT. 2g, 4g, 5g, wi-fi, Bluetooth, without connectivity there is no exchange of data and IoT would have only remained a concept that some genius penned down.
Is IoT practical?
The simple answer is – YES! This is not science fiction; it is already is daily use. It is cheap and easy to build – the hardware can be bought out of the box, the software is readily available (that is, for those of us too lazy or who don’t have the knowledge to make or create it on our own, but are good at marketing and selling). And finally, they are simple and easy to use, especially if you make it compatible with Google, Apple and Amazon. And because of cloud computing and networking, IoT can be done from anywhere, at a low cost, with minimal maintenance.
In fact, most of us already use IoT today, from turning on our Philips Hue lights to a colour and brightness matching our mood, to automatically switching on or off our air conditioner and heating systems, to security systems that monitor our homes and alert us when there is an unauthorised entry. All this is done live, from the tips of our fingers, with your preferences backed up on the cloud and available across all systems.
The impact of IoT on industry
According to a McKinsey & Company report in 2017, the impact of IoT across industry will be approximately US$11 Trillion annually by the year 2025.
The impact on industry is already telling, especially in terms of cost savings. As an example, vertical farms, where the only human interaction needed is at the time of planting. Watering, trimming, and harvesting are all taken care of by IoT systems.
Another good example of IoT integration to reduce costs and increase profitability is the city of Barcelona, which was one of the first European cities to adapt smart city technologies. Simple implementation of parking sensors informing motorists of where parking spaces are available has increased the revenue generated from parking to over US$50 million per year. By having IoT systems in public lighting has enabled Barcelona city to reduce their energy costs by over US$37 million per year. And finally, their smart gardens have saved them US$58 million a year by just efficient water usage.
And as technology is always changing, the city of Barcelona has also incorporated these changes to have a direct and positive impact on the lives of its residents. The use of smart phones has enabled residents to receive instant alerts and updates from the city about employment, housing, administration, mobility, health services, security and utilities.
The “force” cannot exist without the “dark side” (Star Wars reference), and now that we have ranted and raved about how wonderful IoT is, here are a couple of its more obvious drawbacks.
The biggest and most obvious disadvantage of IoT is data security and privacy. As mentioned earlier, creating an IoT device is not too difficult or expensive to make, and in their rush to become the first mover and trendsetter, most manufacturers tend to overlook the security aspect of IoT. Keep in mind, in most cases, you will have to enter your personal information, and in some cases, even your credit card information to effectively use your IoT enable devices. Now, these devices usually work in a network and are on the cloud, so if there isn’t firewalls and security, your privacy and data can be at risk.
Another unexpected drawback, if you can even consider it that, as it is caused due to the increase in efficiency due to implementation of IoT, is to increase in the short-term unemployment. With the increase in efficiency, the workforce required to do a particular job will be streamlined. While this has the positive impact of reducing costs and the turnaround time to job completion, it also has the unintended consequences of leaving a large percentage of the workforce either unemployed or having to be retrained in a new job skill.
A good example of the massive impact IoT is having on the retail industry is Amazon Go. The evolution of how everything from merchandising and stocking, supply chain management, human resources, and billing, in the retail industry is just amazing to see.
Finally, the importance and potential future impact of IoT cannot be understated, especially in the era of social distancing. The judicious and responsible implementation of IoT will free up humanity to do what we do best – create, innovate, learn, socialise and moving on to the next “big thing”. Which is why IoT, as a study module, is integral to a number of programmes offered by Robert Kennedy College.
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.
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”!
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.
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.
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!
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.
In our effort to spread some positivity amidst the global pandemic, we turn to another success story of a proud RKC graduate – Meg Plooy. Meg graduated from the Online MA Leading Innovation & Change (the programme is now offered at York Business School as a 100% Online MBA Leading Innovation and Change). Let’s hear Meg’s inspirational story.
A short profile
Vidhi Kapoor (VK):Who are you, really?
Meg Plooy (MP):Relentlessly helpful mother, wife, and friend. Innovative business solutions aficionado, Starbucks addict, camping nerd, and (foster) mother of Pitbulls.
Getting back into education
Your story of getting back to do a Master’s degree
VK:What was the driving force behind your enrolling for an online degree? Who inspired you? What motivated you?
MP: I was inspired to enroll for an online degree for a few different reasons. Firstly, to be an inspiration for my young children and show them that truly anything is possible if you work hard. Secondly, to advance my professional opportunities. Taking inspiration from my two sons, who work tremendously hard in everything they do and my sister, who enrolled in her graduate studies just a few weeks earlier.
VK:What were the thoughts/situations/people/challenges holding you back from starting (if any)? How did you overcome them?
MP: There were two significant barriers impacting my decision to apply and enroll. The primary barrier was time: finding adequate time while raising children and working full time. The other significant barrier was cost: as a mature student, enrolling in an international institution there were very few grants or bursaries I qualified for, meaning all the funding was out of pocket.
VK: What surprised you the most when you started your studies?
MP: I was most surprised by how determined I was to succeed.
VK:Do you feel there are unique challenges women face when deciding to get back into education?
MP: Absolutely. I feel there are still substantial gaps in gender parity. Although I have a supportive marital partner, I still feel that a larger portion of the parenting and household responsibilities fall on the female if both parents are working. I also feel that there is a larger need for females to have higher education for a lesser role in order to be seen competitively in the workforce and to reduce wage gaps.
Getting the degree
The work to get the degree – what did you learn, how did you balance, what would you do differently
VK:Which programme did you do? Why?
MP: Master of Arts, Leading Innovation and Change. I had been researching online Master’s degree programs for quite a while and immediately was drawn to this program because it outlined everything I identified in myself both personally and professionally.
VK:What is the single most important thing you learned during the programme?
MP: That I am capable of accomplishing anything I am determined to complete.
VK: How did you balance work and studies?
MP: A good routine and sticking to a schedule. The best time for me to complete my studies was after the kids were in bed, which gave me anywhere from 2 to 2.5 hours each night. I used Monday through Thursday as “school nights” which ensured I was still getting downtime over the weekends. This helped me to stay focused and manage time effectively.
VK:Any particular challenges to being a woman and studying online, or do you think all students face the same ones?
MP: I feel all mature students, especially ones with family responsibilities, would face the same challenges.
What changed, if anything?
VK:What’s new in your life since graduating/starting your studies? Any visible impact already?
MP: I feel that since graduating, I have more credibility within the organization I work for.
VK:Anything you are doing differently now because of the things you learned?
MP: Completing my Master’s degree has helped me develop strong skills in critical analysis, which helps me assess a situation more critically, also identifying themes and patterns in certain situations. It has certainly helped me strengthen my professional writing and report-delivery skills.
VK:Do you feel that getting a Master’s degree or doing other online programmes can reduce gender discrimination in the workplace?
MP: I do not believe getting a Master’s degree will reduce gender discrimination in the workplace. I currently work in a male-dominated industry and was recently appointed to our central business unit’s Women’s Council as our organization is looking to achieve gender equity in the workplace. In the council, we discuss many elements that contribute to gender discrimination in the workplace. I believe the best way to mitigate gender discrimination in the workplace is through leadership and inclusive corporate culture.
Advice for other women
Or other students, really.
VK: Imagine you could send a message back in time to your pre-degree self: what would it be?
MP: It will all be worth it in the end, you CAN do this!
VK: Imagine you could send an object back in time to your pre-degree self: what would it be?
MP: A financial grant or bursary that could have helped with tuition payments.
VK:Anything else you would like to add that could help with the goal of increasing women’s participation/access to a Master’s degree?
MP: I believe addressing the financial barrier would assist in women accessing higher education. I also feel that developing a platform for online support would be beneficial that may include blog posts, online resources, and motivational content.
If you are truly inspired by Meg’s story today and are ready to take the plunge, do not think twice. It’s the right time to do something positive for your career (no matter the global crisis) and get a Master’s degree you had always dreamt of achieving! Have a look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything that interests you.
And, since as Meg says, every little bit could help, RKC are proud to be able to offer, in particular during this really strange period of our lives, financial support to those who are held back by finances. Please do talk to our team of Education Advisors on WhatsApp for the details on the bursary (there’s a bit of variance depending on the programme).
It’s official. We are excited to announce the launch of five new 100% online master’s degree programmes to add to our growing list of programmes. We know our online masters (MBA, MSc and LL.M) programmes, with a one-week mandatory residency, have been immensely popular among working professionals who looked for a perfect (or even just manageable) work-study balance.
However, we could not underestimate the growing demand for 100% online programmes. We developed our 100% online programmes through an exclusive partnership with University of Cumbria, offering the same British tradition and Swiss quality education – fully online.
The specializations these new 100% online programmes offer are among the most sought after and highly rated online programmes. These include artificial intelligence, digital marketing, data analytics, computer science and international business and information technology. The world is going digital and we need future leaders well equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills.
Ready to dig in? Here they are!
All of the five new programmes share the following characteristics:
Duration : Minimum 12 months, maximum 5 years.
Delivery Method : 100% online via OnlineCampus (an interactive online learning environment) with intensive class discussion and collaboration.
Entry points: Four times a year (winter, spring, summer and autumn).
Tuition Fees: 12,000 CHF (Swiss Francs). This fee includes library access, OnlineCampus access, graduation fees, and University matriculation fees. Fees are payable in interest-free instalments, however, the programmes are not eligible for UK Postgraduate Loans for Master’s Study. Sorry! We do try to compensate to some extent for this by offering occasional time-bound bursaries, so keep an eye on our newsletter. Not yet signed up? Request a catalogue here.
100% Online MBA Artificial Intelligence (AI)
There is no industry in the business world today that does not uses AI. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have become mainstream tools in driving business. AI applications help companies reduce their costs, enhance customer experience, increase profits – in short, spending less to do more. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have already started revolutionising the business world, as many businesses are already using such technologies to achieve a competitive advantage. The MBA Artificial Intelligence is devised to equip you with the skills and knowledge required to manage the intricacies that stem from an artificial intelligence driven world.
100% Online MBA Digital Marketing
Digital media has taken the advertising to a whole new level and has made it a profession highly sought after. This has contributed to changing the landscape of jobs and how marketing is done today, encouraging businesses and business schools alike to evolve the way that marketing is viewed as an independent function. This online programme equips you with the skills needed to engage with customers via digital media and effectively market businesses across digital networks.
100% Online MBA Information Technology
I personally consider this programme a marriage between the business and technology worlds. IT managers are now required to have a thorough understanding of business, and not just technology, so gone are the days when one could afford to specialize either one or the other. The MBA Information Technology answers the growing demand of intertwining technology with business by blending the established business knowledge of an MBA with specialised courses on Information Management and the Internet of Things.
100% Online MSc Data Analytics
Computers and the advent of the Internet have brought upon the world the age of information and big data, and organizations want to retain as much information as possible about their business as they appreciate the role of data in gaining insights and out-thinking competitors. Whether your pursuit is technical or business-focused, the MSc Data Analytics nurtures your analytical skills.
100% Online MSc Computer Science and International Business
Modern businesses are dominated by technology with new computing systems and the internet dominantly driving the change. Global markets are now open to even smallest of the businesses. The MSc Computer Science and International Business seek to provide students with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of how business merges with technology, offering a blend of computer science subjects and core business topics.
Fully Online vs 1-week residency
We are staunch believers in the value of the one-week residencies typically mandatory in all of our programmes. As already mentioned earlier, however, we do recognize the challenges raised by such events on you, the students. For those of you who always wanted an MBA or MSc, but were being held back by the prospect of having to attend a full week in Zurich or the UK, this should be a no brainer. But how can we justify a fully online programme?
There’s no hiding behind the finger – the value of the residencies is not necessarily the tuition (this can be delivered relatively easily online), but meeting other like-minded people, from all around the world, doing the same programme, facing the same challenges, and heading in the same direction (graduation). You cannot really imagine the camaraderie and friendships built during such weeks.
Our fully online programmes do not require you to attend a residency – but they do offer the option of doing so if you wanted to – perhaps you will find yourself freer, richer, more motivated to travel – know that is an option.
For what it’s worth, we should mention that at graduation you receive a degree of the University of Cumbria – whether you studied on campus, online with a mandatory residency or fully online. No difference whatsoever. The choice is fully yours!
We are proud to launch these new programmes, with the first intake starting already in May 2020. Be among the first applicants and enjoy the array of exciting introductory admission offers!
What kind of master’s degree should
I do (distance or full time)?
These are just some of the many questions that flashed through my mind at that time. But once the dust settled and I picked the path I wished to travel, a new question popped up.
Should I do an MBA or an M.Sc. (in management/business)?
Back then I already had friends who were doing or had completed MBA and M.Sc. programmes in management from universities around the world. As I myself was looking only at full time on-campus programmes, I asked them about their courses to get a better understanding on which programme to enrol for. These differences carry to the online versions too.
There are some basic differences between an MBA and an M.Sc programme.
Student demography: MBA programmes are usually targeted at individuals who have a minimum of 5 years work experience and as a consequence are usually somewhat older, people who are perhaps already in middle management positions. Whereas the M.Sc degree programmes are targeted at younger graduates, individuals with little to no work experience, usually coming in straight from their bachelor studies.
Teaching methods: From the student demography we can deduce how the education will be structured in class. M.Sc. programmes are usually more theoretical and classroom centric, whereas MBA programmes are based on experiential learning, calling on the work experience of the students to analyse case studies, projects and submit dissertations, working in groups with other students, learning from their experience coupled with the theoretical aspects of learning.
Focused study: MBA programmes are usually focused on general management and not in a specialised field of study, in fact most of the modules taught in an MBA programme would be on general management. M.Sc. programmes on the other hand are usually more focused in a particular field of study (for example, Information Systems Management, Global Management,Accounting and Finance, etc.).
Duration: MBA programmes are usually 18 to 24 months long, with a project and dissertation. M.Sc. programmes can usually be completed in 12 months, although they too will typically require a dissertation.
Cost: In most universities MBA programmes are priced much higher than M.Sc. programmes (although you will find exceptions too).
So, which one is good for me?
In recent times more and more universities have started creating courses where the differences have been reduced, creating courses that are unique and catering to the student’s requirements. This is especially true for online master’s degree programmes where technology has had a big impact on communication and giving students from all over the world and from different professional backgrounds access to information like never before.
So, which one 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.
I have had a fair share of job interviews in my career so far. And thinking retrospectively, I realize most (if not all) of these interviews asked very similar questions. You can probably relate.
Tell us a little bit about yourself (a bit of a time-waster, unless they are trying to judge your verbal communication skills – otherwise that information is already present in your CV (or should).
Why are you looking for a change/career change?
Why do you want to work with us?
What value will you add to this company?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What criticism or advice did you get in your earlier job?
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? (another cliche´ and rather a useless question).
What motivates you the most in a job?
Explain the gap in your career.
How do you handle the pressure? Describe a situation when you did that and how.
What are your hobbies/passion?
Describe a situation when you went over and beyond the job requirements and expectations.
What are your salary expectations?
Some of these questions are “old school” and of little value, but more recent research in HR, and in particular recruitment and selection point to the value of behavioural interviews and there is a tendency towards this approach in recent years.
When interviewers conduct a behavioural interview, they are looking for past experience and evidence of existing behaviours; a clear advantage over hypothetical questions such as “how would you handle conflict with a co-worker” where most candidates will try to give the “right” answer. They are looking to find the right fit, not only for the job role but for their company as a whole. You will normally be asked to respond to questions during such an interview using the CAR (Context, Action, Result) or STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Result) structures. These interviews are highly focused, situation-based interviews that demand crisp, precise and structured responses and having the ability to answer in this way takes practice.
It may seem to be an intimidating experience, but as you go through job interviews throughout your career, you will probably come to realize it is merely a conversation between the interviewer and the interviewee. While you may be nervous about answering the questions right, the interviewer is equally concerned about asking the right questions and establishing a good rapport with you. Recruitment and selection are an expensive process for any company, and they would like to avoid a re-run of the process for the same position again. Organizations do realize the importance of a good employee and of the fact that even if the interview process does not end up in selection, the candidate is a potential customer of their product or service, and they would like to make a good impression.
Preparing the interview
Receiving an interview call in itself means that you knocked off other competitors and possess the competencies that the company is looking for in its potential employee. However, do not become complacent at this point. You have got to prove your worth and an interview is a perfect opportunity to make your case as to why the interviewer should hire you. Here are a few tips that will help you in preparation for a successful job interview.
Understand the job description
The humble job description yields much more than a naïve interviewee can decipher. The job description provides you with details such as the qualifications, qualities and competencies the company desires in a candidate (at least if the job description is done well). You could pick up hints on potential questions that an interviewer may ask in an interview. This is a good opportunity to align your presentation of your qualities to the given job description and make the case that you are the right candidate for the role.
Match your qualifications to the Job
You must have a good understanding of how you qualify for the job and why you are interviewing for the position. You must be able to explain to the recruiter your interest in the position and convince them how and why you are the best fit for the role. You have to be honest with yourself first – are you really a good fit?
Research the Company and the role thoroughly
This is probably one of the most common complaints, or, rather, disappointments for a recruiter: to see the candidate did not do their homework well and have little knowledge of the company and the position. Do thorough research to show that you have invested time in preparing for the job, and do care about the company, its values, and requirements of the job.
Identify the requirements of the company – empathize with their problem
When the recruiter asks questions like “why should we hire you?” Or “what can you offer that no one else can?”, they really are looking to understand if you “get” their requirements and whether hiring you would solve their problems. Be a problem solver to increase your chances of recruitment. Scrutinize all resources available such as company website, YouTube channel, LinkedIn profile, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram presence, etc.
You want to put your best foot forward in an interview. You would not want to be surprised at the interview. Some experts report that up to 85% of hiring managers “Google” a candidate before or after an interview, and so should you. See what the first page of results brings upon you, and be ready to answer any questions about those (whether flattering or non-flattering) results.
Rehearse and Role-play
The best way to score your performance at an interview is to practice mock interviews. Rehearse the answers you would want to give and watch out for non-behavioural communication that might confound the message. There are apps available now that use AI to score you (almost in real-time) on diction, intonation, filler words, and so on. Practice with a friend works well too.
Prepare in advance for STAR interviews
The mantra to be successful when appearing for the STAR/CAR interviews is to go prepared. Strategize and draw your responses from the key competencies for the position. Structure your responses with situations that highlight your knowledge and behaviour from previous experiences. This is a great opportunity to impress the interviewer with your skills and achievements.
Work on your body language and interview etiquettes
Recruiters are generally good readers of body language and can gauge your confidence level just by the way you shake hands with them (they do this for a job, after all). Other body languages such as posture, gaze, how and where you sit on the chair, can leak information about your state of mind and sincerity.
Plan your travel ahead and get directions
An employer appreciates punctuality and pro-activeness from its potential candidates. Being prepared and arriving prior to the scheduled time for the interview can always earn you some brownie points.
At the interview
Wear appropriate interview clothing and groom your hair
You do not have to dress to kill. However, put on formal clothing and take care of even how you groom your hair. A hippy hairstyle may speak volumes of your character and preferences that may not necessarily fit with the company’s vision and values. Then again, if that is who you are and enjoy being, showing your true colours can prevent landing a job in an environment you might not enjoy!
Know what to bring along for the interview
Always ask ahead of the interview if you need to bring any original documents, certificates, etc.
Hone your salary negotiation skills
One tricky question that most candidates are hesitant about responding to during an interview, and for good reason, is about compensation.
Interviewers ask this question to see how well you know your worth, or maybe as a way to get a “cheaper” deal. Is it fair to ask it? Debates are raging, but one thing is for sure – it is fair not to answer it!
Of course, you do not want to antagonize your interviewer, and there are different ways to handle remuneration related questions avoiding conflict. Try to deflect such questions towards the end of the interview, so that you have complete knowledge and understanding of job duties and expectations. Experts advise that instead of quoting a number, always provide a salary range. Show that you are open to negotiations. Include other remuneration forms like benefits and perks as an opportunity to negotiate.
Prepare follow-up questions
Most recruiters will normally allow the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview – be ready to do so. It shows your interest and how well you have researched the company.
These are some of the hacks that will come in handy to break through the toughest interviews. Sound knowledge of your field of work, grit and thinking off the feet can actually get you on the other side of the table.
Do share with us your job interview experiences in the comment section below. And I wish those who are going to appear for a job interview the best of luck. Even though our students are mostly employed while they study in the Masters programmes, most do end up interviewing for new/better jobs as a result of graduating.
Full disclosure: I have never worked in the Human Resource department of an organisation and almost all my knowledge of the challenges faced by an HR professional is second hand. In fact, until recently, I did not even think they faced any challenges. Yeah, yeah, I know, every job has its challenges and HR is no different, but to my mind the average HR person’s life looked so comfortable and stress free. No targets, no work pressure, no deadlines – just show up, smile, have a good time taking with your co-workers, plan team outings and play team building exercises.
Naivety thy name be Sahil.
Those of you who read my blog on 6 Reasons to Do a Master’s Degree Programme know about my friend Jojo. Well, Jojo was an HR manager with more than 15 years’ experience as an HR professional, it was speaking with him that first gave me an insight to the challenges faced by the modern HR professional.
Challenges facing the modern HR professional
These can be broadly classified into three main categories:
Environmental or external: These are challenges that are caused by changes that have been brought about by external factors that will not have anything to do directly with you or your organisation. These factors are usually generic in nature and will have an effect on multiple industries or the corporate workforce as a whole. Some of the environmental challenges are:
Government legislation: Governments nowadays the world over change like the seasons and each government comes with their own mandates and ideas on how businesses should be run and the country’s workforce should be managed.
Global economy: Companies today operate on a truly global scale (even small companies), and this has resulted in local units and companies incorporating global best practices into their work culture. But what is best practice in some countries might not be what is best or even what works in your country. So, while companies like to standardise practices, a one size fits all policy might not work everywhere.
Workforce diversity: Diversity in the workforce has had a massive and positive impact on the way business is done globally, from infusing new and fresh ideas, getting the best talent, accelerating the implementation and adaptation of technologies, opening new markets, reducing costs and increasing profits. Diversity must be encouraged; it will take your company from strength to strength. However, there can also be a number of issues that spring up on you if you are not alert and miss the warning signs, such as discrimination against certain communities or ethnicity, and divides or groupism in your workforce based on community, religion, sex or ethnicity.
Technology: Changes in technology have the potential for massive and sudden impacts on the nature of the workforce. Can your workforce keep up with the changes in technology? What do you have to do to get them up to speed? Will you have to downsize or hire new talent, or could technology end up substituting most of your workforce?
Organisational or internal: As the name suggests, these are challenges put on you by your organisation itself. By the work culture, management, internal policy changes or the annual performance of your organisation.
Cost cutting: The two departments that normally must be prepared for a company’s cost cutting measures are the marketing department and the HR department. While the marketing team might lose part of its marketing or advertising budget, the HR department will have to be prepared for anything from downsizing and layoffs to restructuring and reallocation of resources.
Recruitment: Finding the right person for a job is vital to the long-term success of the organisation. Recruitment and selection are probably two of the most important functions of an HR professional. Attracting talent and ensuring you have where to choose from (in order to achieve diversity for example) almost marries HR with marketing – HR have a niche responsibility for the organisation’s brand with respect to prospective employees. And then there is the age old argument of quality versus quantity.
Individual challenges: These are challenges that an HR professional will have to overcome on an individual basis. These challenges will usually have a relation with both the organisational challenges and the environmental challenges.
Building a team: For an organisation to be effective it should have an effective team of professionals working towards the success of the organisation. Finding or training people to best complement your organisation’s strengths, developing a team spirit, motivating them and providing job security will put you on the path towards building a strong team.
Attrition management: Once a strong team has been built, keeping the team members motivated and secure will cultivate loyalty to the organisation. Losing a highly trained and skilled employee will not only have an immediate impact on the productivity of your team but could also be giving your competition a valuable asset who is also in the know of your organisation’s workings. Providing a good work-life balance will go a long way towards reducing the rate of attrition.
Monitoring productive and counterproductive behaviours: Keep an eye out for productive employees and they should be rewarded and acknowledged for their efforts. At the same time, you should keep an eye out for counterproductive employees, they can have a negative impact on the morale and the overall productivity of the workforce. Counterproductive behaviour can also lead to a divide in your workforce caused by conflicts due to groupism and political divides.
These are just some of the many challenges faced by an HR professional today. You are perhaps one yourself – an “accidental HR person” as someone once described themselves, perhaps? Sound off in the comments if there are any particular challenges you are facing that we have missed out on and that you feel are important to talk about. Or perhaps you are simply an employee who feels the HR department in your organisation is facing a different kind of challenge and they are not raising up to it – let us know too!
It is 2020! First and foremost, on behalf of our entire team at Robert Kennedy College, I would like to wish you a very Happy New Year. We wish you good health and a positive mindset, and success will follow!
All of our University of Cumbria’s online MBA programmes have six-course modules – four core modules, one elective and one residential. The mandatory one-week residential module is held in the UK at either the Ambleside, Lancaster or Carlisle campus. The module title is “Tackling Global-Local Challenges in Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability“. There are several dates during the year which you can choose from to attend the residency that fits your busy schedule.
Time flies and it is almost time for the first Residency in January 2020 for our University of Cumbria’s Master of Business Administration programme students. For those who are not our students yet and wondering what is a Residency, keep on reading to find out all about it. And those who are registered for this upcoming residency, pull up a diary and make notes of what to expect and how to prepare well for the residency, because here are some real insights, tips and advice from our current students about their own experience attending the residency last year.
The topic: Tackling Global-Local Challenges in Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability
All our MBA programmes focus on real-life problems and issues that enable you to think critically about your company and your own career. Corporate social responsibility (CSR), according to Visser, involves what is called the four ‘DNA responsibility bases’ of good governance, value creation, environmental integrity and societal contribution. There is a demand for the more global marketplace and more ethical managerial conduct to deal with the global-local challenges, and responsible leadership is an answer to such demand.
Our students are leaders or aspiring leaders in the business world who face this challenge in their companies every day. This residential module allows the students to gain insight into how the dimensions of corporate governance, sustainable development and ethics are affecting and shaping today’s organizational policies and practices. Students are guided and invigorated to unique ideas and solutions to issues faced by their current organization or local community. This is an enriching one-week that promotes experiential learning through contemporary case studies and teamwork.
Where and When to plan for residency?
We surveyed about 120 of our current MBA students with some of the frequently asked questions about the residency. We got 50 answers back (a response rate you should be very happy with for your dissertations, even though you would, of course, aim for higher numbers!). Here’s what they have to say about their experience at the residency, sharing some immensely useful tips learned the hard experiential way.
There was 50:50 split on the choice of location of residency between the Ambleside and Lancaster campus.
A vast majority of students (80%) had completed at least four modules before attending the residency and a little less than half of all respondents (46%) thought the right time to attend the residency was when they were about half-way through the course. So the takeaway here is to try and take the residency somewhere after the third or fourth module.
On the other hand, 24% of students would have rather attended the residency as soon as possible after completing the first module.
Attending the residency right after the first module allows one to have human interaction in the otherwise online programme, establish relationships that develop and last throughout the programme and beyond, and allow you to better relate to your peers and colleagues
Some students found that it can help with the rest of the modules too. Peter said that he found taking the residency early on gave additional value in the structuring of academic writing and formulation of assignments as well as how to use OneSearch.
For those who voted for attending residency either halfway through or as late as possible attributed it to the fact that having finished other modules equipped them with a better foundation and management tools to interact and respond in the group.
Thus depending on whether you are more a human interaction person or self-starter, you can choose the right time to attend your residency.
What else do you learn at the residency?
Many of our students ask “why is the residency important in an online programme?” and what does one actually gain from it.
It was a great experiential learning experience with an interdisciplinary and diverse group from around the world.
Many students gained an interest and understanding of the future focus of sustainability and climate change, the value of cross-sector collaboration, how to tackle ethical dilemmas and apply ethical theories in real-life.
Others learned about the concepts of Triple bottom line, SDGs 2015 and ERS, and yet others learned how to structure their dissertation. Maurice B., who came to the residency with over 35 years of experience of working, studying and interacting with multi-cultural groups, was nevertheless impressed by the high degree of professionalism, dedication and above all the feelings of warmth, the receptiveness of the residency.
Congratulations to all on a splendid display of academics, stewardship of facilitation, operational and executive excellence – the absolute best I have ever seen!
A staggering 80% of the students surveyed agreed that the learning at residency was completely relevant and 92% said there was a definitive value-add in attending the residency.
The majority of the students found meeting the peers and professors a valuable experience and felt better prepared for the rest of the programme. So though the residency week can be pretty intensive and action-packed (as 44% of students agree), 62% of students admit it is a lot of fun as well!
It is the best experience of the MBA program, combining both theoretical and practical aspects of sustainability in business with a multicultural team. The group exercises are just great and the tour in nature is very inspiring. I’m convinced you will enjoy it!
Where to stay during the residency?
I must say it was a unanimous response from most of the students on the survey, that one must stay close to the university during the residency week. Make your travel plans in advance and book accommodation early to avoid any disappointments. Talk to our StudentCare team and they can provide a list of accommodation near campus for your stay during residency.
Book accommodations directly through university suggested facilities and arrive a day early to acclimate. Don’t forget to make daily summarizations of activities and sessions.
Many students also put a word of caution about the wet weather conditions in Cumbria, UK and recommend coming prepared for cold and rainy weather.
To summarize the residency, I would like to quote John’s advice in his own words:
1. Plan for your UK visa in advance – it takes up to 3 months depending on the holiday season and country you are located in. ([editor’s note] and this was before Brexit!)
2. Book the hotel in advance – depending on the season, it is difficult to find accommodation especially in and around the University of Cumbria specially during the March season.
3. Weather – when you want to play golf, it rains in the UK. Therefore, prepare yourself with winter-wear, umbrella (if possible), windcheater or raincoat and boots as there are outdoor activities and trekking involved.
4. Time management – spend about an hour to revise the day’s work so you are prepared for the next day’s activity. When in groups, participate and lead the team as some peers may be in a holiday mood. Get them to work with you and research for the final day activity – prepare and participate.
5. Cumbria – is the place of William Wordsworth – daffodils are everywhere, enjoy them and unwind in the midst of nature. This is the place to be if you are interested in Sustainability and Environment.
I hope reading through the blog you gained valuable insight into our residency module and how to best prepare yourself for it. And we could not agree more with this quote from Fatos:
It will be an experience you will have once in a lifetime. I assure you will not regret any day being in Ambleside!
Finally, a big thanks to all our students who helped us provide you with these tips and tricks about the residency – they generously offered their time and advice – a sharing spirit we witness every day in our OnlineCampus.