Studying for a management qualification by distance learning: one manager’s experience

EveManagement, Our Company

I started studying for the Open University (OU) Professional Certificate in Management in 2014 and completed the course the following year, having chosen to condense the study period into 12 months rather than 18 months, which was also an option. This meant undertaking the last two modules simultaneously, but I didn’t mind this as the final module consisted of a residential course and a final exam, and I had no problem fitting this along with the other, more essay-focused, module. The residential course involved spending three days at Warwick University with a group of like-minded people, which was a great experience as the course had all been online until that point.

Studying for a management qualification by distance learning at the same time as working full-time was a challenge, but one that I wanted to take on to stretch myself. I felt that obtaining the Professional Certificate in Management would help me perform better in my current role as well as improving my long-term career prospects. Distance learning is a flexible way to learn new skills and abilities at your own pace. I was also able to spend time on each task and to set my own hours so that I could do more studying at time when work and home life were slightly less busy.

The course covered topics such as understanding work situations from a manager’s perspective; the constraints, choices and demands that operate in a business; and marketing and finance. After I had completed the course, I found out that I had won the Professional Certificate in Management Student of the Year award, which was a huge, and unexpected, honour. The award ceremony involved a trip to Milton Keynes and, despite losing our luggage on the outbound flight, it was a wonderful day and I met a number of people who had won awards from a variety of different courses offered by the OU.

For me, completing the management course brought a number of benefits: I now have a better understanding of how business works and how to deal with the day-to-day operations, and the skills to better manage and understand situations the teams and the people within the business. I was a project leader at Prepress Projects when I was studying for the certificate, and following the successful completion and integration of the skills learned into my everyday practice, I was later promoted to the position of programmes manager. Having a formal qualification has given me the confidence to manage people and projects. I now have plenty of opportunities on a daily basis to put into practice the skills and knowledge I learned on the course, sometimes more than enough!

Studying for the Professional Certificate in Management was incredibly valuable to me in terms of both my personal development and my career progression, as well as giving me the chance to learn more about a topic I was already interested in. I have no doubt that I will continue to use and build on this knowledge for many years to come.