Kosisochukwu, an MSc Procurement and Supply Chain Management distance learning alumna, writes about balancing online learning and a full-time job. Read on to learn more about her RGU experience.
I was looking to pursue an online postgraduate degree at a well-recognised University with a reputable business school. I browsed through the RGU website and found that the MSc Procurement and Supply Chain Management course aligned with my previous education and future career goals.
With several modes of study to choose from, I applied for the full-time distance learning route, as I am based in Qatar.Kosisochukwu Bob-Ume, MSc Procurement and Supply Chain Management distance learning alumna
The funny thing was that I did not fancy supply chain or purchasing. I recall having a supply chain module during my bachelors, and I thought it was complicated. Nonetheless, I am not one to shy away from a potential challenge, especially academically. Supply Chain Management is a rapidly growing field with numerous employment prospects. I saw this as an opportunity to prove to myself that if I put my mind to it, I could get it done.
In mid-July 2019, I received my offer letter and I remember feeling ecstatic.
Balancing work and studies
I won’t lie. I was very nervous, mainly because this was a whole new academic level and I was working full time too. I remember thinking to myself – ‘okay girl, this is the big league, the master’s’.
I was worried about not being able to give the course my 100%. I worked from Sunday to Thursday as a legal secretary and I would be tired on most days after work. I would Google to read about experiences of people who juggled studies and work. This helped me put my anxieties to rest, feel inspired and motivated to keep going.
I told myself – all I had to do was learn how to manage my time effectively. I could not let studies distract me at work, nor could I let work keep me from studying.Kosisochukwu Bob-Ume, MSc Procurement and Supply Chain Management distance learning alumna
At work, there were what we called ‘quiet hours’, i.e., times when I had an hour or two without a new piece of work on my desk. This was when I would focus on my uni work. I would do my reading and listen to lectures during this time. If anything was left, I would complete it when I got home.
In retrospect, I’m glad I placed that pressure on myself. I enjoyed the following months participating in weekly discussions, peer-reviews, and asking a lot of out-of-the-box questions.
MSc Procurement and Supply Chain Management course experience
The first semester provided valuable insight into general management, economics, and supply chain practices. Quality management and excellence models were also covered in some modules. Each module required active participation, and not the kind where you could just post your responses and ‘bounce’. We had to read at least three contributions by other students, leave our thoughts, or challenge their stance. This was not something I was used to. So I appreciated being pushed out of my comfort zone and be exposed to this way of learning.
Moodle, the online learning platform at RGU was extremely easy to use and navigate. So I had no technical problems throughout my study.Kosisochukwu Bob-Ume, MSc Procurement and Supply Chain Management distance learning alumna
I got the hang of the online learning quickly. Sometimes, I would go to cafes for a change of scenery. Each contribution was due by on Monday, and writing my posts usually took me four hours. I would find some time at work to prepare my contribution, read, and comment on other posts.
My work and study balance was wonderful and I rarely felt burnt out.
Completing the final dissertation
The dissertation, otherwise known as ‘capstone’, was my absolute favourite. I chose a topic that was not too new, but not so researched upon either. This gave me the chance to bring something valuable to the field while also backing it up with secondary research. My supervisor supported me throughout the process. The three months flew by in a flash.
Although there were a few stumbling blocks here and there, I finished my dissertation, submitted it to my supervisor for final comments, and then uploaded it on Moodle.Kosisochukwu Bob-Ume, MSc Procurement and Supply Chain Management distance learning alumna
I was nervous. Although I thought it was fun, I reminded myself once again, that this was the big league and I did not want to fail. And I did not! After almost two excruciating months of waiting, my phone buzzed with a notification that feedback was given for my dissertation. I passed with distinction and I was elated!
In conclusion, my experience at RGU was very enjoyable. To any prospective student looking to pursue studies, be it on-campus or online, here’s my advice:
As long as you know that you have what it takes and are confident in your abilities, your strife towards continuous learning is certain.Kosisochukwu Bob-Ume, MSc Procurement and Supply Chain Management distance learning alumna
Robert Gordon University played a big role in helping me achieve my goals, and it will surely do the same for you.
Cheers and good luck!