Video of an interview with Leslee Grifiths at the 2011 Student of the year awards. She won the award for 'BA in Business Studies Student of the year'.
(Edited transcript of the interview)
Okay. I’m 49 years old – tomorrow. I guess I’m many things: I’m a mother, I’m an employee, I’m a practice manager, I’m a wife. For me myself, I’m a person that just wants to grow. I want to grow, I want to learn, I want to fulfil my potential and I just want to be the best that I can be in whatever I’m doing.
I decided on the BA in Business Studies because I was working in the business environment. I was working as an administrative assistant and originally I had ideas and thoughts and opinions in my workplace that I thought I could do things differently, I could change things. I wanted to make a difference. I didn’t really have the confidence; I didn’t really have a lot of understanding about why managers were doing what they were doing. I knew there were government drivers and all kinds of reasons why we were doing things but I didn’t really fully understand that. And I wanted to do some kind of qualification because I’d not done particularly well at school and I wanted to gain a qualification. I wanted to study with the OU because they were very reputable and when I got their prospectus and had a look through and found a BA Honours in Business Studies I, kind of, very sadly got really excited about it because everything that I was reading made sense to me and made me feel, yes, that’s going to help me, that’s going to take me forward – and it did.
Broadly speaking I wanted to go with The Open University because of their reputation, because they were flexible and because it suited the way that I needed to work and do my degree. I spoke to a couple of people prior to the course. They were enormously insightful and very informed about that area. They also helped me understand how the business things that they were teaching would fit in with what I was doing in my own work life. So that’s I went for the OU Business School.
Well, there’s two sides really to the degree. There’s the challenging side, which is the studying, and the organisation and the actual finding the time to do that and then there’s the rewards, which is the results that you get and the skills that you learn and the confidence that you gain from doing all that. It is probably the best thing that I’ve ever done for myself in my entire life. I’m enormously proud of what I’ve done and I’m enormously grateful to the OU for helping me. It’s a journey; it’s a complete journey from start to finish and there are the times when you want to give up, there are times when you think, I can’t do this. But because of the system that the OU operates with the tutors and the tutor group forums and all the materials and the online resources, because of that, you’ve always got someone to help you over those hurdles. And each time that you succeed and each time that you push through an obstacle and each time you sail through a module because it’s really your thing, you grow in confidence and you grow in achievement. It’s just a phenomenal experience to go through – best thing I’ve ever done.
Oh, do you know, it comes into absolutely everything I do at work now. It’s not something that you would see; if you came and watched me in my work environment you wouldn’t say, oh, look she’s got an Open University degree but what you would see is the results of that. You’d see the changes that are being made, the systems that are put in place, the efficiencies that are being made. You’d see the office running smoothly and behind me doing that is the knowledge of how to do that, why I’m doing that, the best ways to do that, the impacts of what I’m doing. All of that that I’ve learned from my degree filters through; so everything that I think, really, all the strategies that I have, all the perspectives that I have, all the policies that I write, they’re all built on that knowledge from the OU. And in the daily environment that translates as an effective office, an efficient system and staff that are happy – it comes into everything.
It’s distant physically, I guess, in that you’re not actually going to a classroom and sitting down but in no other respect does it feel distant. You are talking to students all the time. I mean more so probably than you would if you went into a classroom because you can be talking to other students at ten, eleven o’clock, midnight about things. The tutors, I’ve frequently had conversations with tutors at nine, ten o’clock at night, on a Sunday, on a Saturday, seven o’clock in the morning – whenever I needed them. I don’t think you could do that if you were in a traditional university. You have your tutorials so you can go along to those and you can physically meet the people that you’re working with. So it doesn’t feel distant, it doesn’t feel distant at all. In fact you build up relationships and you build up a community and it’s sad to leave those at the end of it.
I would. I would absolutely recommend working with the OU to absolutely anybody regardless of your age, your circumstances, what work you’re doing. It’s enormously beneficial in terms of the knowledge that you gain, the skills that you gain, the confidence that you gain in yourself, your broadening perspective, your outlook on life. It just enhances so many areas of your life and I don’t think there’s anybody who would not benefit from doing something with the OU.
The Open University, together with international partners, offers its MBA and many other programmes across the globe.