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Cat and Sean are both serving military personnel, who are studying distance learning degrees with ARU. It's helping them to further their skills and prepare for the future. Here, they share their stories.
Cat is a Warrant Officer and Regional Manager London & South DPHC (Dental) for HM Armed Forces. She chose an MSc Healthcare Management MSc (Armed Forces) online degree to enhance her career prospects in the service and to smooth her path towards civilian life.
I would advise any Military personnel to give distance learning a go. You will be surprised what you can achieve when you have the right support and access to great resources.
I chose to study an MSc as I wanted to improve my knowledge of Healthcare Management and delivery in my current role. It is important to me to look at obtaining qualifications that will be well received when I leave the Army in the next few years and felt that this qualification will increase my employability. I hope that it will benefit my career making me more competitive against my peers for promotion and other roles in the future.
The MSc has allowed me to think more strategically and improve my confidence with articulating deficiencies, risks and opportunities. I feel I have grown as a senior manager by using the management theories and models and applying them to my work. It has also enabled me to apply for other workplace initiatives.
My writing skills and critical thinking has improved, and it is something I apply far more now than I did previously. Having an opinion on a topic and sourcing material to support it is of huge benefit. Learning how to write academically using references and structure has given me more confidence and self-belief, especially with my writing skills and grammar as this was always an area that I felt was lacking.
I would highly recommend this course to anyone that is a manager in a healthcare, it has broadened my knowledge and changed my approach to problem solving. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone to learn new things and look at issues through a different lens.
For any Military personnel I would highly recommend that you use your ELCAS*. The process was simple and my IERO at the education centre was always happy to help me with any questions or issues in processing my ELCAS applications.
My tutors and the support staff have been fantastic. They are friendly, professional and have a great way of explaining how to do things so that I understand it.
I have had a very positive experience with ARU and would highly recommend them as an education provider to any of my friends and colleagues.
Sean has served in the British Army for 15 years, and recently completed our MBA (Armed Forces), a distance learning degree that recognises and gives credit for military service and training.
The MBA has been a brilliant experience allowing me to gain a widely recognised qualification, whilst developing myself both personally and professionally.
Both the qualification and the student journey have significantly benefited my personal and professional development.
Personally, the course allowed me to meet other students from across the private and public sector; expand my understanding of business administration; and develop my own approach to problems and how to resolve them.
Professionally, the research I conducted directly related to how I manage my staff, understand their motivations, and how the needs of the task at hand and objectives of the organisation impact them. Alongside this, the award of the MBA is professional recognition of my experience, the work I have put into the course and my career, and the value I can bring to both the military and any future employer.
I feel I have an academic qualification that I didn’t think was attainable because of my workload and family commitments. Personally, I am extremely grateful to have met fellow students (virtually) and learnt from their different views and approaches.
Originally, I thought that the biggest challenge would either be later entry to the qualification or the ability to meet the demands of the course around my current job.
Whilst ARU recognised my professional experience and accredited previous military courses towards the first part of the MBA, the later entry to the qualification was seen as a potential challenge as I assumed that military experience couldn’t substitute academic study; and more so that I would have a steep learning curve early on.
This was quickly proven a wrong assumption by clear course content, supportive staff and regular engagement with my student peers; weekly notifications and student guidance provided easy to digest signposting ahead of any course deadline. The concern around my ability to commit to the course was also soon dispelled, with a clear study plan, buy-in from my line management and flexibility from the course staff on internal deadlines.
I actually found determining what I wanted to focus my research on the greatest challenge; that said, it wasn’t a huge challenge, my tutor helped me work through my ideas, identify something that met both my personal and professional objectives, and approach the research in a way that was both manageable and achievable.
The approach I took, support I received and research I conducted through the MBA (Armed Forces) is both directly and indirectly used in my daily life. Whether it’s a different perspective from a fellow student; course content that relates to a problem I’m facing at work; or simply the understanding of employee motivation and the organisational benefits that come from non-financial reward (my project focus) when managing my staff, I see huge benefit from the course in my routine work.
ARU have been excellent, accommodating and understanding. Everyone from the initial distance learning consultant, through to the academic tutors and support staff have been fantastic and made the experience worthwhile.
One of my concerns was my lack of experience with academic apps and the online learning system, however they proved easy to use. The course content was broken down clearly and access to online content through the university library was outstanding.
The MBA has been a brilliant experience that has allowed me to gain a widely recognised qualification, whilst developing myself both personally and professionally. Supportive staff, engaging course content, ELCAS part-funded and an experience that has added considerable value to my role as a manager.
The MBA stands out as something a bit different, and my experience has been tailored to my personal interests and my trade.
*We're an approved provider for the Ministry of Defence Learning Credit Scheme (ELCAS). You can use your ELCAS credits towards the course fees on our flexible distance learning courses.