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Laura Choake

Certificate in Leadership and Management Development

Laura _choake

Why did you decide to study a masters - to fast track your career? A passion? Or to change career?

I’m very ambitious in respect of my career. I studied this course as a way to fast track my career and because the subject is something I’m passionate about. The development side of this course appealed to me – for me it was more than just a piece of paper, it was about self-development. I want to constantly keep learning.

Why did you decide to study a Distance Learning Course?

The flexibility appealed to me as I work long hours in a hectic job and so distance learning was the best option.

Why did you choose to study at Northumbria?

I studied for my undergraduate degree here and found the staff to be very knowledgeable and insightful about their areas, and the campus was extremely convenient for me. I decided to pursue postgraduate study here as I liked the ethos and the teaching style. Studying through distance learning was a new challenge as you need to be self-motivated and even more proactive; I felt confident that Northumbria would provide the right support and infrastructure for me to do this successfully.

How easy is it to fit your study in around your social life?

It has been a real challenge, but distance learning has definitely helped. It gives you the freedom to work around your busy schedule for example you can work until midnight on a Wednesday night if you need to, or spend all weekend working on an assignment. I’ve had to ensure I’m strict about taking annual leave from work and using this time to study.

What makes your course different/inspiring/interesting?

The fact I can apply it to what I do in my day job holds massive appeal. My learning reflects real time transformational changes in the public sector and challenges me to use my working experiences in an academic context, and vice versa.

What is it like studying a Distance Learning course at Northumbria?

There’s great flexibility so you can give as much or as little to studying as you want to – but the more you put in the more you will get out of it. You need to be self-motivated as postgraduate study is challenging, but it’s also very rewarding.

How connected is your course with industry?

The course was often applied to real examples and we were encouraged to apply the theory we learned to our own experiences of work.

What impressed you most about our academic staff?

They were very accommodating. Although the course was distance learning I knew I could get in touch with them at any point if I needed help or support. A lot of the academics have studied in this way and understood the reality of balancing work life and studying.

As a Distance Learning student, what aspects of university life are important to you?

Having a support network is very important, whether this is face-to-face or online. I found the 24/7 library access very useful as it had all the resources I need. Personally I also found that working somewhere neutral helped me to focus on my studying, rather than working at home.

What doors do you think this course will open for you? How will your course help you achieve your career goals/give your career an edge?

I think it always looks good on your CV to show you’ve studied at postgraduate level. It definitely boosts your future employment prospects. I enjoy the process of self-development that postgraduate study offers and found that, throughout the course, I learnt a lot about myself and what I’m good and not good at. Since starting this course I have been promoted at work and I think it has demonstrated to my employer that I take my career seriously.

Have you changed as a person?

I absolutely think I have changed as a person since starting this course. I’m definitely more confident and have developed my critical thinking skills as well as learning not to take things at face value. I’m more inquisitive and have developed in ways that I can apply to other areas of my life; for example as a team captain at my running club, and at home in my relationships with family and friends.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words before and after studying your course?

Before the course: passionate, enthusiastic and ambitious

After the course: confident, passionate and ambitious

How would you describe Northumbria in 3 words?

Ambitious (as demonstrated by its awards and accreditation such as AACSB); flexible and community feel.

Do you feel that your course has been a worthwhile investment in your future?

Yes absolutely.

What is youur advice to prospective students for your course?

Go for it! Put all your energy into it; set yourself realistic goals; rise to the challenge and use the theory in practice. 

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