Name: Nicola Redman
First degree: Mechanical Engineering, Sheffield University
Postgraduate: MBA, Kingston University.
She is now doing a PhD at Kingston in strategic human resource management.
Currently: Programme manager of rolling stock and systems for Docklands Light Railway, working on a new fleet of trains for the London 2012 Olympics.
Why did you choose your first degree?
Because engineering has a role in the real world. I’m actually a chartered engineer.
Did postgraduate study meet your expectations?
It did! One of reasons I wanted to do an MBA was to broaden my skills. I’d done this a bit through working in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but I thought an MBA would help my career to progress. Because of the MBA I got an increased salary and I find that people can’t bamboozle me now as I understand what they’re talking about!
How did it differ from undergraduate study?
It is much broader in scope and you are left more to your own devices. I studied part–time, spending weekends at university. It was a massive commitment, but all the people studying were in the same position. I was juggling study with my job, and I was travelling a lot which was difficult, but worth it.
How did you fund your postgraduate study?
It was fully funded by my company. My boss was happy to pay for the course and give me some time to study. At the time I was running a project and travelling a lot to Taiwan. Fortunately, when I was jetlagged my company was quite supportive about my MBA commitments.
What skills did you acquire from the study?
Understanding the business world as a whole. It put projects into perspective and I now understand the finance side of things. You also get the opportunity to network.
Do you have any advice for students considering postgraduate study?
It is hard work and takes a big commitment, but it develops you as a person. At the time I was studying I was living in Derby and travelling to London and Taiwan, but it was definitely worth it. Everyone who’s done an MBA is glad they’ve done it. For employers it sets you above other people.