Undergrad student testimonial
Video of an interview with Chris Houghton at the 2011 Student of the year awards. He won the award for 'Rosie Thomson Diploma in Business Studies Student of the year'.
(Edited transcript of the interview)
I’m a chartered accountant by trade. I’ve worked my way through a number of different roles to where I am today, basically starting as a trainee accountant, working my way through to an audit manager role. At the minute I’m working as a finance analyst in a manufacturing business in the North West, of which it’s basically a divisional role working with a number of different European businesses, consolidating reporting on their results and providing some financial analysis support to the directors of that business.
Tell me about your decision to do the Professional Diploma in Management.
Basically I’d reached a point in my career where I was managing a fairly large team. It was a new role to me, and I had identified a gap in my skills whereby I needed to become a better manager and learn some theories and some practices that would improve my performance. The diploma was recommended to me by someone who had gone through the MBA route. It offered everything that I wanted, really. A good flexible approach to learning, several different perspectives, which I would have found useful to apply to my day to day role, and indeed I was able to implement a lot of the theories and practices into my day to day job almost immediately.
Why did you choose The Open University Business School?
I did look at a number of different universities before selecting The Open University, and I think it was two main reasons that I choose the OU. Firstly, as I say, the flexibility of the distance learning approach, it was an ideal solution for me to fit in around my other commitments and apply the practices in a work environment at the same time. I think, secondly, it had come recommended very strongly to me by someone who had completed a full MBA and they were very complimentary about the approach and the resources available from The Open University.
How did it go?
It was very challenging. I hadn’t studied for about four or five years, since completing my Chartered Accountancy exams, but as I said the whole course is very accessible, the learning materials are very well structured so once I got started into the TMAs, the tutorials, reading through them, the resources, I found it a very enjoyable experience.
How have you applied it to your daily work?
I think it’s made me a more well-rounded manager. I think because I’m an accountant by trade I tend to rely a lot more on financial theories and perspectives. The Diploma in Management presented a lot of different perspectives such as people, operations, marketing, things I wouldn’t have necessarily considered before. And the principles, you know that they’ve given me just allowed me to be more knowledgeable in certain areas and hold better conversations with people from those functional areas.
They call it distance learning, is it at a distance?
I think the only distance is it’s got to be just a geographic difference. Certainly from the support you get and the networking opportunities that the diploma gives you to meet people who are in your tutor group who are sharing the same experiences as you. The only difference I would say is that you just tend to read your books and study on your own.
Would you recommend it to someone else?
Without a doubt. It’s been a really rewarding experience. I’ve enjoyed getting back into learning, and I would definitely recommend anyone who wants to broaden their horizons in any area to use the OU, because it’s accessible, it’s flexible and I do think it’s good value for money.
'Chris Houghton receiving his Business School Award from the Dean, Professor James Fleck'.