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How studying online helped Julie land her dream role as a CEO

When Julie,36 from Scarborough, started studying her MSc in Business and Management she had no idea where it would take her. Having grown in confidence through learning new skills she decided to apply for a chief executive officer role… and she got it. We caught up with Julie to find out about her first few weeks in her new job:

Tell us a bit about yourself: I have just started in a new role as CEO of Age UK Scarborough & District, having previously worked as Director for The Rainbow Centre, a small local charity dealing with homelessness and those in crisis in Scarborough.  I have two children, who are aged 12 and 8, and a whole plethora of pets including axolotls and tortoises.  I am also getting married in September so am busy organising that!

Why did you pick your course?  I wanted a course that combined both business and management, which were both interests of mine, having worked in both management and as a business mentor setting up individuals and partnerships into self-employment.

What made you decide to apply for a new job?  I had built up the confidence through the course and my small role as a director, which I did alongside a business mentoring role, and I wanted to further my career.

How are you finding your first couple of weeks in the new role?  I have enjoyed the first two weeks of my role and have managed to jump straight into it. I am getting to know the staff and what their roles entail, as well as learning more about how the charity operates. I am lucky to have the local knowledge and networks in place from previous roles, so it is just seeing how I can use these in my new role. The team are fantastic, and everyone is very enthusiastic about moving the charity forward.

Why is working in this area important to you? Charity work is an area I have always been interested in, especially charities which benefit the local area. I believe that if we can make a difference to the community, then we are doing something right.

What would you like to achieve in your new role? I would like to increase the reach of our client base, ensuring that we are reaching more of the local population which is 50+, and using innovative ideas to do so.

What made you choose University of Essex Online? The course looked great and was one of the only ones to offer the modules I wanted to study. The flexibility was also appealing, as when I signed up I worked two jobs alongside looking after my children.

How are you finding the course? The course has its challenges, but I am someone who thrives under pressure. I have learnt so much from the course and have put it into both my professional life and personal life in so many ways. If it weren’t for the course and the supportive tutors I have come across, I would never have applied for my new role.  My time-management skills are now second to none, having run two modules at once. I have found that the peer support alongside the tutors has superseded what I could have hoped for.

What have you enjoyed most about the course so far? The application to the workplace has been the best aspect. I have, in quite a few cases, learnt about a theory or way of working, and managed to apply this to my workforce to further strengthen not only my own role, but that of others within my team.

Are you currently using your course in your day to day life? I use my course material on a day-to-day basis, ensuring that I am developing as both a manager and a leader. My knowledge and skills have increased greatly, and in the 8 months I have been doing the course, I can see through my journals the improvements I have made. I started in a new part-time director’s role for a small local charity at the same time as starting the Masters. I do not feel that I would have been able to progress in this role and move the charity forward without the leadership and management practice I learnt on the course. Furthermore, I got my new role as CEO of Age UK Scarborough & District through the work I had developed doing my directors role and course. I use tools picked up during the course, for example that of reflection and leadership skills, daily within my professional and personal life.

How are you planning on using your course once you have finished? I would like to continue developing my career and may even consider a PhD at some stage in the future!

What would you say to someone thinking about taking your course?  I highly recommend the course, not only for professional development but also personal.  I have learnt a lot about myself during this time, and although it is difficult to juggle work, family, life and the course it is well worth it.

If you have been inspired by Julie’s story and want to give one of our many business and management courses a try, then why not check out our free taster courses!

You can also find out more about the MSc Business and Management degree here.