I am 22 years old and currently employed as the General Manager of Apple Central Taxis Ltd, the largest private-hire taxi company in North Somerset. From a young age, I never really understood the importance of education as I had always set my mind on getting in to the British Army. Fortunately, I was successful and had a great time; however, I soon learnt a very important lesson, namely that no matter how ambitious you are, your opportunities for career progression are limited if you do not have any qualifications.
I chose the Open University for three reasons. First, I found it impressive that a university could recognise that there are many capable students who for various reasons, such as favouring a career, do not have the UCAS points that are normally demanded by brick universities. Second, the OU is well known for providing education at a distance; since being in the Army is very demanding, I needed a university that could support me no matter where I was in the world, even without internet access. Finally, the ability to balance work with study is extremely hard and requires a massive amount of commitment, and therefore I felt that by combining OU study with work would give me a competitive advantage against other graduates.
I am currently studying B629 (Managing 2 – Marketing and Finance), which I will count towards the Professional Certificate in Management and a BA (Hons) Open. This course, as well as the first course in the Professional Certificate in Management, has made a big difference to me. The most notable change is that I am now more confident in dealing with complex, multifaceted problems.
I plan to progress on to B690 to complete the Professional Certificate in Management and will aim to complete the final 60 points I need for my degree. Once complete, I will work towards completing the MBA.
The main highlight of the course was the day school, which massively exceeded my expectations. It was really nice to speak to managers (who are also students) from a wide range of industries and sectors and learn how they approach marketing problems. Moreover, the discussion we had on some of the marketing models covered in the course was very enriching as we all had very different views on how we apply those models to problems in our workplace. I feel that this gave me a better understanding and allowed me to be more critical of the models and the way in which I apply those models to my workplace.
I would say the low point was writing the assignments. Balancing work and study can be particularly demanding and the assignments can add a lot of pressure as everyone wants to do well on them.
I have a very positive impression of my tutor. He has had a very successful career, working for several multinational companies in some very demanding roles. As a result, he has a very sound knowledge of business; this became very evident at the day school, where his input massively added value to our discussions and helped us to better understand the models we were discussing. Moreover, he has provided me with some excellent feedback on my assignments and I have used this feedback to better myself both professionally and academically.
I plan to use my learning from this course to help me make the organisation I work for better. I have already made changes to my organisation as a result of what I have learned in this course. For example, I decided to change our pricing structure in order to solve a problem that had a pretty negative impact on our operations. I received a fair amount of criticism initially, but now that the change has been made, the stakeholders can now see the benefits of this change and are fully supportive.
I, like most people, had a slightly negative image of distance learning and wondered whether it could ever be as good as face-to-face learning. However, after studying with the OU, I now realise how misguided that view is. The OU and the Business School are outstanding at providing education at a distance and I am so proud to study with them. As a 22 year old who’s responsible for managing 140 people, the OUBS courses have provided me with a sound theoretical framework that has massively helped me to analyse problems in my workplace and find sound solutions to those problems.
I have recommended the OU to many people and am happy that some of those people are now studying with the OU.
The Open University, together with international partners, offers its MBA and many other programmes across the globe.