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Building a dream career: discover Richard Lawes’ online learning story

Richard Lawes lives in Exeter, UK and is a CIMA qualified accountant. He works full-time as a Finance and Integrations Manager, and has two children. In 2017, he decided to undertake a Manchester Metropolitan University Global Online masters course. Flash forward to 2019 and he’s currently in the final stages of his degree.

Richard got in touch with us recently to tell us some fantastic news: he has just secured his dream job - before even graduating from the course. We caught up with him to find out more.

So, Richard, tell us more about your new role?

I’ve just been headhunted for a job in a Japanese food manufacturing company who have interests in the US, China, the UK and Europe. I’ll be Director of Finance and Administration in the UK. When I started my masters, we were asked in our reflective journal project about our career aspirations. I described my dream job - and this is it.

Can you tell us a little bit more about why you decided to undertake a postgraduate degree?

I went straight into the Royal Navy from school and then changed direction into Finance once I left the forces, studying for my accountancy qualifications via distance learning, which took six years.

Since then, I’ve worked in a wide variety of senior positions - I’m a Chartered Management Accountant on paper, but I’ve done lots of other things too. I’ve been Group HR Manager; I’ve been involved in acquisitions and disposals; I’ve been responsible for systems and purchasing, and I’ve even been involved in marketing. When I was applying for new roles, employers were saying that I didn’t have specialist experience, because the type of businesses that I’ve been in previously haven’t always been big enough to support specialists. My core is Finance but SMEs can’t always afford Finance Directors as well as HR Directors, so I have diversified my experience.

What I came to realise is that I’ve got 30 years of sector experience, which had outpaced my formal Finance qualifications. I needed something that showcased the other elements of my experience in order to move forward in my career. And above all, I needed a course that would fit around a demanding full-time job.

Fast-forward to 2017 and I found the Manchester Metropolitan Global Online MBA. I’m 50 soon, and I feel that my MBA is going to be the springboard to the second part of my career.

What was it about Manchester Metropolitan University Global Online that most appealed to you?

It was the course content that appealed to me most. I liked the fact that I’d be concentrating on global business, that it was delivered part-time, online, and that I’d be engaging with students from all over the world. It was something a bit different from other universities’ offerings. The Virtual Learning Platform has also been well set up to foster a feeling of community. It offers a good variety of different learning methods.

How has studying with Global Online helped you change your approach to your career?

The course has challenged my perspectives and changed the way I see myself. It’s made me feel more confident and better able to think strategically. Before I undertook my masters, I thought I knew a lot about strategy, but I’ve thrown a lot of my previous beliefs out of the window because of how the modules have offered different perspectives on the things that I thought I knew. I now feel like I’ve got a whole toolkit of possibilities, so I can look at a situation and choose the right tools to build a solution.

Online study has really improved how I collaborate, interact and research. On one particular module, we covered so much content through weekly assignments where we were judged on our teamwork and discussion contribution. Students were perpetually engaged. We were swapping global perspectives on research articles.

Modules like this have helped me to think critically and to open my eyes to different perspectives. Students from different backgrounds, industries, countries, regions; they all have very different views on what might initially look like a really straight-forward subject. Studying online has really taken the blinkers off and made my perspective of the world wider. That’s where a global qualification comes in. You don’t get that sitting in a university building with 30 or more students in a room. You get that sitting with a handful of students on an online webinar who are spread across the world, living and working in different countries. I’ve made really good connections on the course - we’ll definitely try to keep in touch after graduation.

Whether you are looking to grow your global network, or you want to make your CV stand out with a postgraduate qualification, we will help you make your mark. Get in touch with us to find out more. Call +44 (0) 161 880 4721 or email globalonlineenrolment@mmu.ac.uk

 

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