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

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

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

Ms. Ilse Baxter

Now, let us see what she has to say!

Who is … 

A short profile

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

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

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

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

Getting back into education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting the degree

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

SD: Which programme did you do? Why?

IB: MALIC. Three reasons really:

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

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

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

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

SD: How did you balance work and studies?

IB: Very very carefully! 🙂 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life post degree

What changed, if anything?

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

IB: A LOT has changed! 🙂 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advice for other women

Or other students, really.

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

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

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

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

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

Closing thoughts

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

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

Now’s a good time to start

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

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

NEWS RELEASE – University of Cumbria’s quality education recognised on world stage

The University of Cumbria’s quality education has been ranked in the top ten of universities worldwide, according to the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, the only global performance tables that assess universities’ impact against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The university ranked 8th out of a total of 676 participating institutions worldwide and first in the UK for Quality Education SDG, which measures universities’ contribution to early years and lifelong learning, their pedagogy, research and commitment to inclusive education.

In other notable categories, the university’s gender equality credentials were recognised when it came joint 81st out of 547 participating institutions for ‘Gender Equality’ and 69th out of 268 institutions in ‘Life on Land’.

Overall, and as a relatively young university making its first submission to these rankings, it achieved an overall rank in the 201-300 range of 766 institutions, firmly residing in the top 40% of institutions worldwide.

THE believe that universities represent the greatest hope of solving some of the world’s biggest challenges.

The THE Impact Rankings are designed to shine a light on the commitment of universities around the world to making a positive social and economic impact within their communities and globally, through their work towards achieving the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; from providing inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting good health and wellbeing, to ensuring gender equality and taking action on climate change.

By participating, universities demonstrate the important role they’re playing in championing a better and more sustainable future.

Professor Julie Mennell, Vice Chancellor, University of Cumbria

Professor Julie Mennell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cumbria, said:

“As a university focused on serving our region’s needs many of the metrics within traditional (UK) rankings do not necessarily reflect our work or involvement within the communities that we serve or the impact we have globally through our local, national and overseas partnerships.

“Given the university’s mission and values, we felt it was important to participate in these specific rankings to more accurately highlight the world class outcomes achieved by our students and staff”

“Against the backdrop of the current worldwide crisis linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an opportunity for universities around the world to collaborate and help to refocus the global economic agenda on sustainable development in its truest sense.

“The University of Cumbria is committed to creating a sustainable legacy and joining our colleagues around the world in championing a brighter and more equitable future”.

Many of the university’s key international partners have come forward to offer their congratulations in response to the news.

Dr. iur. David Costa, Dean, Robert Kennedy College, Zurich, Switzerland said:

“We would like to congratulate our partner, the University of Cumbria, for this outstanding performance and well-deserved recognition. The university’s continuous and relentless commitment to quality education and sustainability in all of their endeavours is an ongoing inspiration to us and our hundreds of international students worldwide.”

Professor Hamzah, CEO, Vision College, Selangor, Malaysia, commented:

“Vision College is proud to be a partner in providing both opportunities and a continuous sustainable effort in this region where we operate. I am confident that our students and staff have reasons to celebrate on your recent success and I look forward towards mutually beneficial outcomes of our collaboration”.

Reacting to the news, Mr. David Chew, CEO, FAME International College, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia said:

“The recent achievement of University of Cumbria – being ranked in the World’s Top 10 “Quality Education” (in The Times Higher Education Impact Ranking 2020) – is definitely well deserved, and FAME International College, Malaysia, is honoured to associate with such an esteemed partner.

This achievement highlights the university’s serious endeavours in developing, maintaining and providing high quality education to empower individuals and equip them with the knowledge and wisdom to build a better and more sustainable environment. Well done!”

Hsu-Cheng Chua, Dean of the Office of International Affairs, Shih Chien University, Taipei, Taiwan, added:

“As one of our most valuable partners around the world we are delighted that the university has been recognised for the quality and impact of its education. The University of Cumbria is a popular choice for our students because of the excellent learning environment and the dedicated and fully rounded support they provide. For us, it is definitely the best choice in the UK.”

Dr. Yvonne Klose, Director DAA Wirtschaftsakademie, Dusseldorf, Germany, concluded:

“Great news, and indeed, justified! Our partnership with the University of Cumbria reaches back to 2011. Since then we have been sending cohorts of our business students to the university to accomplish their final year. The students graduate with great results and take on successful careers in various areas of business. This year we will crack the 100 mark of successful graduates within this partnership.”

This is the second edition of the THE Impact Rankings, which launched in 2019, and included 766 universities from 85 countries.

Top of the list was New Zealand’s University of Auckland, while three Australian universities complete the rest of the top four: University of Sydney, Western Sydney University and La Trobe University.

Japan is the most-represented nation in the table with 63 institutions, followed by Russia with 47 and Turkey with 37.

Finally..

Robert Kennedy College is proud to announce that the University of Cumbria Online programmes are now being offered 100% online. Get in touch with our team of admission advisers who can have a look at your profile and give you some advice. Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with our Education Advisor today! Or, if you have already made up your mind, click here to apply.

5 reasons why a career in Healthcare is not as bad as it seems today

I promise this is not another COVID-19 update, myths and truths or uncovering the facts where and how this deadly disease started, blog. There is more than enough information out there – and I’m talking about reliable sources only – enough to overwhelm most of us. 

These are challenging times for us as individuals and for society at large – humanity some might say. The global pandemic has changed the way nations operate and has impacted the global economy. The greatest and gravest impact of the pandemic, however, is on the healthcare systems around the world. With about 3.8million COVID-19 cases in 210 countries and territories (as of May 9th, 2020), the healthcare systems worldwide are immensely stressed. (https://covid19.who.int)

Healthcare systems are hit hard both directly and indirectly (too many patients at the same time, too many doctors becoming patients, lacking resources, inability to attend to other conditions, etc.) 

The World Health Organisation said so much: 

Countries will need to make difficult decisions to balance the demands of responding directly to COVID-19, while simultaneously engaging in strategic planning and coordinated action to maintain essential health service delivery, mitigating the risk of system collapse

WHO, March 2020

So, if this is not an update, nor a myth-busting blog, what is it? 

I would like to focus on the positives of this situation from an educational point of view, thinking especially of those who envisaged a career in the healthcare sector, people who are looking to switch careers, or someone already in the healthcare sector looking to verticalize their career path. Now is the time to “quarantine” and study!  

Choosing a career for yourself might be one of the biggest decisions you take in your life. Some of us are fortunate to follow our passions and interests and make a successful career out of it. Sometimes after pursuing a career for a whole number of years, we realise that it is not something we want to do for the rest of our lives. We’ve got to rationalize our interest and weigh the pros and cons a career offers. If you have been thinking what’s in it for you, here is what a career in the healthcare industry has to offer: 

Humanitarian side

While every profession tends to serve society in some way (well at least that is what I like to believe), in my opinion, healthcare is the noblest. The potential of changing and saving lives puts you on a higher pedestal as a professional compared to any other. If you have an innate desire of helping others and uplifting humankind, healthcare is the right place for you.

Tremendous Growth Opportunities

Surveys and labor statistics reveal that healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries with an estimated addition of 1.9 million new jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in healthcare occupations was projected to grow 14 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

Healthcare occupations are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups. This projected growth is mainly due to an aging population, leading to greater demand for healthcare services.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Challenging situations like the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 have created a need for strong healthcare leadership. The present outbreak is far from over, and the healthcare sector is operating at maximum capacity. There is an urgent need to adequately plan and utilise limited resources. At the same time, it has become all the more imperative for the healthcare systems worldwide to be prepared for any future events, as the COVID-19 pandemic is definitely not the last one.  

The sector offers a number of growth opportunities that are wide ranging, beyond the conventional patient care field of being a practitioner, nurse or therapist. There are opportune avenues for both horizontal and vertical growth in the sector. As the healthcare paradigm continues to evolve, there is a greater demand for innovation in healthcare technology, guided by the vision and sharp business acumen of a strong healthcare professional. 

Dynamic

Most days, a healthcare professional will bring new challenges and should bring with them joys and job satisfaction. Demand is changing and so are the roles in this industry which adds to its dynamicity.

 Flexibility

Healthcare offers flexibility in three ways. First the flexibility on choice of profession. You have a plethora of options to choose from: patient care services, government relations, human resources, planning and development to name just a few healthcare management positions you can get yourself into. 

Then you can choose the environment you want to work in. The healthcare management professionals are not limited to jobs in just hospitals. There are great career opportunities in consulting, state and federal agencies, insurance, laboratories and universities.

Thirdly, this industry is not bound by borders. The experience in the field is highly regarded across nations making you a valuable asset wherever you go (with few exceptions where licensing might be necessary).

Competitive Salary

Last but definitely not least, healthcare sector jobs are well paid and rewarding in the monetary sense as well. On an average, the median salaries of healthcare professionals are higher than the annual wages of all other occupations. (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm)

A master’s degree could provide you ‘the edge’ to make a move into or to grow within the healthcare industry. The enhanced knowledge and multifaceted skillsets will allow you to make progress by leaps and bounds in the field.  

Because let’s be honest – who hasn’t had a bad “boss”? Highly competent people with tremendous skills in their profession, parachuted in leadership positions without preparation. That “joy and job satisfaction” we were mentioning earlier are highly impacted by leaders who are not fully prepared to lead other people too. 

Our Online MBA Healthcare programmes will help you understand international perspectives and also how to analyze the constraints and trade-offs in developing and implementing national health strategies, health care financing, economic evaluation, the role of effective change management and technological development. 

Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the healthcare management programmes offered and the application process. Remember to ask about our “quarantine” discounts and check your eligibility. 

On behalf of the entire RKC team, a special thanks to all healthcare professionals across the world for working tirelessly to keep our communities safe. Our gratitude to all of you responsible citizens for staying home and helping stop the spread. #thankyouheathcareworkers

RKC Launches 100% Online Master’s Degree Programmes

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

Who are we? 

What we offer

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

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

OnlineResidency™ at work

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

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

What can you study with us? 

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

Online MSc Computer Science and International Business 

Online MSc Data Analytics 

Online MBA Artificial Intelligence 

Online MBA Digital Marketing 

Online MBA Information Technology 

Online Master of Business Administration 

Online MBA Energy and Sustainability 

Online MBA Finance and Sustainability 

Online MBA Media Leadership 

Online MBA Leadership and Sustainability 

Online MBA Public Health Management 

Online MBA International Healthcare Management 

Online MBA International Business 

Online MBA Risk Management 

Online MBA Tourism 

Online MBA Educational Leadership 

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

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

Online Master of Science in Global Management 

Online Master of Science in Project Management 

Online Master of Science in Financial Services Management 

Online Master of Science in Marketing 

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

Online Master of Science in Human Resource Management and Development 

Online Master of Science in Information Systems Management 

Online Master of Science in International Banking and Finance 

Online Master of Science in Accounting and Finance 

Online Master of Science in International Business with Law 

Online Master of Science in International Corporate Finance 

Online Master of Science in International Events Management 

Online Master of Science in Digital Business 

Online Master of Science in Fraud and Risk Management 

Online Master of Science in Finance and Investment Management 

Online Master of Science in International Business 

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

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

Online MBA in Leading Innovation and Change 

Online MBA in Coaching Mentoring and Leadership 

Online MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation 

Online MBA in Innovation Leadership and Consulting 

Online MBA in Leadership and Management 

Online MBA in Management Consulting

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

The University of Cumbria ranked 8th in the world

Robert Kennedy College takes immense pride to share a recent development in the university rankings world. Our exclusive partner – the University of Cumbria – has been ranked 8th in the world by Times Higher Education. The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ranking uses 3 calibrated indicators: research, outreach and stewardship to provide comprehensive and balanced comparisons.  

At its heart, the UN has 17 Sustainable Development Goals that call for an urgent action by countries –developed and developing – for global partnership. Sustainable Development Goal 4 stands for Quality Education i.e. ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. 

Despite the considerable progress on education access and participation over the past years, 262 million children and youth aged 6 to 17 were still out of school in 2017, and more than half of children and adolescents are not meeting minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics.

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg4

The Times Higher Education Ranking on SDG 4 – quality education – measures universities’ contribution to early years and lifelong learning, their pedagogy research and their commitment to inclusive education. This second edition includes 766 universities from 85 countries. Metrics and the percentage weightings given to each metric for arriving at the ranking are as follows:  

  • Research on early years and lifelong learning education (27%) 
  • Proportion of graduates with teaching qualification (15.4%) 
  • Lifelong learning measures (26.8%) 
  • Proportion of first-generation students (30.8%) 
University of Cumbria – Lancaster Campus

There couldn’t have been a better timing for this impressive ranking to be announced, as we also announce that the University of Cumbria Online MBAs are now being offered 100% online. Yes, you read that right! Now you can study and receive British government approved, Swiss quality education – all 100% Online. This is, however, a limited time offer. Enrol today or chat with one of our advisors on WhatsApp now.  

Artificial Intelligence (AI) — The future of Business. Here are 6 reasons why!

Technology has always been the change catalyst for how we do business and with the rapid changes in communication technology these changes are now taking place in real time.

One of the key reasons for the long-term success of big multinational organisations is their ability to obtain business intelligence (BI) from their customers. Most organisations still collect feedback from their customers after a sale or service provided using a standard feedback form that asks typical questions. The information obtained through this method provides valuable information about the customers and their experience, but still the information is very limited, slow to get and process, and depends a lot on the customers’ willingness to give feedback. 

Organisations that invest in artificial intelligence (Al) and machine learning (ML) derive a lot of other benefits that can impact and provide business intelligence to multiple departments within the organisation. Furthermore, with the advancement in cloud storage and computing, data and business intelligence can be derived almost in real time. 

The following are some of the benefits of AI and ML especially in the era of cloud computing: 

  1. Enhanced Customer Experience: Real time intelligence on consumer buying behaviour provides companies with data on a number of key parameters from the spending capabilities of their customers, products that are trending, products that are reaching the end of their lifecycle, seasonal information, etc. Analysis of these data can provide the organisation with insights on the best ways to reach its customers through marketing activities, product pricing, product placement, etc. 
  2. Operational Automation: Operations are the backbone of an organisation. Without goods and services being produced or delivered, there is no purpose to the existence of an organisation. This is traditionally where the majority of the workforce is centred around, where the most wastage of resources takes place and is also the highest budgeted department of the organisation. Through the incorporation of AI and ML, the entire department can be streamlined to operate with best efficiency and in a cost and human resource effective manner.  
  3. Data Mining: Most organisations produce a mountain load of data every single day and it is not possible to manually go through all the data and extract some kind of BI from it. AI and ML will be able to quickly surface important and relevant patterns and insights during the processing of big data.  
  4. Supply Chain Management (SCM) Automation: Like operation automation, the BI derived through AI and ML can help streamline and increase the efficiency of the entire supply chain management process. It will also help in the automation of the entire SCM process. 
  5. Recruitment: Most big organisations receive thousands of job applications every month for a handful of job opportunities, making it almost impossible to go through all the applications to find the right person for the job. AI and ML can help (and indeed do already) in analysing the job requirements and the applicants’ data to find the right person for the job. 
  6. Trend Analysis: This key BI is applicable across all the departments of the organisation and is available through the analysis of all the data each department generates. By effectively predicting the trend, it will increase the efficiency and reduce the operational cost for an organisation as a whole, and at the same time increase its sales and overall profit. 

The above are just some of the more obvious benefits of an AI and ML system. Every day, new BI programmes are being developed. These programmes best utilise the AI and ML systems’ data to provide organisations with unique and valuable data to base future business decisions on.  

If you are looking to formalise your AI and ML knowledge, or looking for a jumpstart into a career in Artificial Intelligence, Robert Kennedy College offers a 100% Online MBA Artificial Intelligence through an exclusive partnership with the University of Cumbria, UK. Click here to apply for the programme. 

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.

Meg Plooy, RKC&YSJ graduate

Women in RKC – Meg Plooy, MA Leading Innovation & Change, York St John University, UK

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.

Who is..

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.

Life post-degree

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.

Closing thoughts

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

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).

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

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

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

Ms. Deidree R. Diño

Who is …

A short profile

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

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

Getting back into education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting the degree

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

SD: Which programme did you do? Why?

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

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

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

SD: How did you balance work and studies?

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

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

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

Life post degree

What changed, if anything?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advice for other women

Or other students, really.

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

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

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

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

Closing thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women in RKC – Introducing Derryle M. Rankin – A Double RKC Graduate

As we continue the International Women’s Day series, this week we are talking about Derrylee M. Rankin – a double RKC Graduate. Without further ado, let’s hear her inspirational story. 

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

Derrylee M. Rankin (DMR): Learning is an integral part of growing. My aspiration in life is to continue crafting my passions, building interpersonal relationships and being a leader who leads by example. 

I thrive in culture and commerce environments geared towards outstanding results that lead to profitability and overall success for any organization that I am part of. I prefer to work on tasks that challenge me intellectually.   

Akin to raising my two sons Fabio and Jacob as a single mother; the same dedication was applied to my decision of becoming a Graduate student. I obtained a Master’s Degree in Leading Innovation and Change from York St. John University in York, England and a PG Diploma in International Commercial Law at the University of Salford, Manchester.  [Editor’s note: both degrees in exclusive partnership with RKC] 

VK: Which programme did you do? Why? 

DMR: MA Leading Innovation and Change  

PG Diploma International Commercial Law 

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

DMR: For years, I was prevented from receiving promotions or salary increases because I had not obtained a college degree. This was quite stressful and embarrassing as I was capable of doing the job, in fact in some cases I was already doing the job, just not being paid or recognized. 

My two sons were witnessing me working two and sometimes three jobs and I knew it had a negative effect on them.  I was determined to make a positive change in our lives and further my education. 

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

DMR: Unfortunately, I dropped out of college twice due to my struggles as a single parent suffering from depression.  Depression affected my motivation and commitment. The lack of funds and family support was also a factor.  I realized that it was time to find the strength and courage to get my degree and have a positive influence on my two sons. 

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

DMR: My challenge as a woman was a combination of working a fulltime job and raising my children.  I had to find ways to prioritize my school projects, submitting work deadlines on time while handling all of the responsibilities as a fulltime single mother.  There were many long nights. 

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

DMR: I believe we all face particular challenges while studying. 

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? 

DMR: Do your research, ask many questions and seek help from your professors and classmates. 

My professors were extremely helpful and very encouraging, I am forever grateful. 

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

DMR: I was surprised by the support that I received from my classmates and professors.  They pushed me to overcome many obstacles.  

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

DMR: I learned that self-value and confidence come from within.  My classmates and professors were very supportive and inspired me to push forward.  Our group projects also helped me to express myself and contribute my ideas with confidence.  

VK: How did you balance work and studies? 

DMR: I had to do most of my studies at night and on the weekends.  I was also fortunate to be working for a Government Department that offered a few study leave days.  

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

DMR: Since graduating I see myself as a worthy individual.  I have been given workforce opportunities that I could not have imagined prior to obtaining my degree. 

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

DMR: Yes, I have improved my leading/management skills.  I communicate much better and always aim to ensure that my objectives are clear and concise. 

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

DMR: Absolutely. 

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

DMR: Have the confidence to believe in yourself and do not procrastinate. 

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

DMR: My framed Master’s Degree. 🙂

I don’t know about you, but hearing the truly powerful and inspirational stories of these two MALIC graduates (Renata and Derrylee), I feel encouraged and motivated to take bolder steps to make a better life for myself and my family. Watch this space as more motivational stories are coming your way.  

If you too feel a Master’s degree may help improve your career progression opportunities, your self-confidence and self-worth, now’s as good a time as ever to get started. Sure, the times are particularly uncertain these days with half the world on lockdown and the other half biding their time, but we and our University partners are doing our best to support students during this period even adapting the face-to-face requirements to allow for online delivery using technology. Talk to our team of Educational Advisers today and see what we can do for you. 

Women in RKC – Renata Takac, MA Leading Innovation and Change

Dear readers welcome to the women’s Day special series. We reckon that just a day is not enough – so we will be celebrating women, their courage and their achievements throughout this month. I am excited about this series of blogs that we are presenting to you here featuring RKC’s women ambassadors from diverse backgrounds having their own unique story to tell.  

Full disclosure – the students we are featuring on the blog this month are all  RKC ambassadors. The RKC ambassadors programme is an internal project aimed at facilitating prospective students’ decisions about studying with us – ambassadors are not remunerated but decided they wanted to vouch for us and their respective programmes of study. So we must be doing something right! 

We asked a few of our female ambassadors questions about their personal journey before they enrolled for the Master’s programme, their challenges, their struggles and joys. Though we are dedicating this series to women out there, men can probably benefit from the advice too. 

Let’s meet: Renata Takac

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

Renata Takac (RT): Excellent question! I was born in ex-Yugoslavia – now Croatia and spent my childhood in Pakistan. I travelled quite a bit and loved discovering other cultures. I dedicated the first half of my professional life to corporations (marketing and sales), and the second one, since 2006, to human resources and organizational development.  I graduated MALIC [Editor’s note: Master of Arts in Leading Innovation and Change] in 2013, and my next huge step in professional development is a Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy, which I started three years ago.  

Personally, I am a mother of a grown-up daughter, a wife and a friend. I enjoy sports – I was a marathoner once upon a time, and now I swim, row, etc. I love singing, travel, books and movies and many more. In agreement with this question – who I really am – I enjoy discovering who I am, really, apart from all the mentioned functions and roles.

VK: Which programme did you do? Why? 

RT: I did MALIC, because leadership was my primary interest at that time, and change and innovation were bonuses 🙂 

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

RT: Actually my path towards MALIC was several years long – I was looking for a program that would be a good match with my job (coaching, mentoring, training, etc.) and at least partly online. After I chose MALIC, I needed the money to fund it 🙂 so it took me some time to earn it. Finally, after I enrolled, I spent the first several weeks working in Malta; so the start was fiery, but I fell in love with the program and that was it! It’s perhaps an interesting fact that I enrolled in 2011 when I was in my prime – 48 years young. 

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

RT: I partly answered this in the previous question; once I decided that MALIC was my choice, the only obstacle was money. But I was lucky enough to be able to earn it, and I had my family’s support regarding the idea that such money is well invested.  Besides that, the program, of course, required the time and effort. However, it was such a perfect match with my professional interests that I did it with pleasure. 

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

RT: Of course, many. From my experience, I was able to enroll in such a challenging program only after my daughter grew up and I left my previous corporate job. I can imagine it could be much more difficult if I had to fight opposition from family members, or similar. 

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? 

RT: I remember one of our female colleagues telling me at the end of the York module [Editor’s note: a one-week residential (face to face) module during an otherwise fully online programme] that she was greatly encouraged to remain with the programme. Before coming to York she was not sure she can continue with the studies and graduate, but that week strengthened her resolve.  

Perhaps sharing other female students’ experiences can encourage others in their belief that they can. 

VKWhat surprised you the most when you started your studies? 

RT: The freedom – the choice of when, how to learn, etc. was great! Furthermore, the teachers’ support and respect for our previous knowledge and experience. 

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

RT: I did not notice any gender-specific challenges regarding the online study. On the other hand, I did notice that all our professors were male. 

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

RT: Oh, that is a difficult one. Perhaps the notion that I can do it! Besides that, the whole programme was so packed with intriguing, real-life related, 21st-century ideas and knowledge. For instance, the idea of ongoing change we discussed in 2012 really quickly transferred to today’s VUCA world. 

VKHow did you balance work and studies? 

RT: At the time of my studies I worked mainly on projects, so I was able to adjust the work to MALIC deadlines. However, now that I think about it, today I work 9-hours workdays and I still manage my psychotherapy studies… so I guess it’s a matter of motivation and dedication. 

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

RT: It is important to me that I can support my competencies with a degree in leadership. For many of my clients, a recent master’s degree is decisive because it signifies knowledge in recent leadership studies. 

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

RT: Many things – starting from reading (I don’t feel pressure to read the whole book or paper anymore in case I need only part of it), critical thinking, up to the content of my training, the leadership models I mention to my coaching clients, etc. 

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

RT: I would say yes. As long as any program is more accessible, it means it is even more accessible to women, due to usual restrains (demands of the job, family life, etc.). The connection between a Master’s degree and better job opportunities is positive, I guess. 

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

RT: 1. Enjoy yourself! It is demanding and stretching but at the same time an enjoyable experience. 

2. Use the chance to communicate with the professors. They are great and can help you immensely. 

3. You’ll make some long-term friends (Bert Lee, Brenda Jiaying Hobin, looking at you!) 

4. Make your study visit to York close to the end of the programme. You will know much more and be closer to your research and thesis. 

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

RT: My witch doll. It is not only a symbol of female power but the message to myself: Be yourself. You’re a survivor!  

Hope you enjoyed reading the first blog in the series celebrating womanhood. I really hope her story draws inspiration and courage in you to take the next big step to transform your career and make your own mark. Just like Renata, you will learn that yes, you can do it! And as she rightly points out, we also believe that sharing other female student’s experiences can help others strengthen their belief that they too can! So share your experience here and let your story be an inspiration for many women Master’s aspirants. 

Next week we will talk about Derrylee M. Rankin, another MALIC graduate and PG Diploma holder in International Commercial Law, sharing her story, so stay tuned! 

P.S.: In case you are wondering, Renata’s MA programme was transitioned into an MBA in Leading Innovation and Change.