Undertaking research is an interesting journey, slightly nerve-wracking but very rewarding.
More about Waheeda
Current Role: Head of Quality and Student Support at City, University of London
Why did you choose Nottingham Business School and your course?
“The course I wanted to do was offered at the Nottingham Business School. I also wanted to study away from London to manage a balance between work and study and this just fitted well with my plans. Another important aspect was that I found the course content attractive exploring the subject area of leadership and management in higher education that I was interested in. I also did my PG Cert at the Nottingham Business School, and I enjoyed the course very much. It has been an enriching and positive experience from the start therefore I decided to pursue further studies at the Nottingham Business School.”
What motivated you to enrol on the course?
"I wanted to be a primary school teacher. I was studying for it when I got married moved to the UK in 1988. It took me a while to familiarise myself and settle into my new surroundings. Further studies were always something I wanted to pursue but never had the confidence or the belief to do so. After raising my boys, I started to think about embarking on my educational journey but kept putting it on hold. Initially, I was not sure what I wanted to study and where to begin. I also wanted to take small steps as I did not have the confidence in whether I could manage to study and succeed. I was always interested in management and leadership after working in management for over 5 years and in the higher education sector over the last 16 years. I went to the AUA Annual Conference where I was introduced to the AUA PG Cert in HE Administration Management and Leadership programme. I could access the programme based on RPEL, bring my experience and knowledge, study part-time, and the best bit was I could take small steps. I thought if I struggle or fail at least I tried and was not committed to the full Masters. The Dean where I work was always encouraging me to start my studies and finally just pushed me into applying. Starting the AUA PG Cert in HE was the first step I took into my own higher education journey. PG Cert allowed me a peek into management and leadership, and with increased confidence in my abilities, and with the opportunity to further enhance and apply knowledge, skills, behaviour, and values in this area, progressing to PG Dip and MSc was a natural progression."
What were your motivations to move on from the PG Certificate / Diploma to the Diploma /MSc?
“Choosing to undertake the MSc HE Management and Leadership felt like a natural step following the successful completion of the PG Dip programme. I felt confident and really energised to undertake the final stage of the higher education journey which I started in 2016. I have always listened to colleagues and students talking about undertaking research as part of their Masters, which built my curiosity to understand “research” and was excited that I could explore my chosen topic in this subject area. Building on the PG Cert and PG Dip, the master’s seemed the obvious progression pathway for management and leadership roles in HE. I was certain that undertaking this programme would benefit me enormously in further underpinning my role as a manager and leader. I believe I could influence and have an even more positive contribution in achieving success that has benefitted my team, the wider team, the School, and the University. And finally, it was also for my personal and professional satisfaction and achievement."
What have been the highlights of your journey from the PG Certificate to the MSc or current level you're studying?
“Personally and professionally, there are many highlights of this so far, an incredible and enriching educational journey. Personal: Confidence and belief in my abilities. To learn about my own strengths and weaknesses and address these. The willingness to explore, learn, reflect, adapt and apply what I gained throughout my studies has been immense. However, starting this journey has been one of the most enlightening experiences of my life. I have learnt so much about myself. It was a scary and exciting prospect as I have never undertaken any studies in this country, never written a piece of academic writing or understood what was required to study at Level 7. Professional: Academic writing, undertaking research. Importance of mentoring and coaching your staff. Some amazing and inspiring peers along the way without whom I would not have enjoyed studying. Group work and socialising with peers over those lunches at NTU."
How has your journey and what you have learnt contributed to your career?
“After the initial apprehension, I found myself enjoying the whole process of learning and tackling assessments, the subject of leadership and management fascinated me. I also started to apply the knowledge I gained through the programme into practice, e.g. the different aspects of AUA professional behaviours and skills, understanding aspects of management and leadership roles in HE, management styles, strategy, governance. Undertaking the PG Cert has sparked a huge interest to explore leadership and management further. By undertaking this programme, I have observed women in various leadership roles, their styles and the impact they have had not just in organisations but as leaders of powerful countries. I have learnt how politics plays a key part in management and leadership. I love exploring emotional intelligence and management and leadership styles. From noticing good practice of leaders who are emotionally intelligent, it has influenced the type of leader I am and continue to be: an efficient, effective, visionary, empathetic and innovative. I do like observing leaders and managers, learning from those who are inspirational and those that I would not aspire to be. To be a reflective practitioner; manage upwards; influence and lead change; understand politics at work and how to use it correctly; solution-based; trying to understand and apply emotional intelligence. I have implemented a lot of what I have learnt already in my practice by using the behaviours and values I have picked up. Undertaking this educational journey has also given me the confidence and belief to consider my progression to a senior leadership role. I have been able to understand my strengths and how my contribution can and will make a difference.”
What advice would you give to someone applying or looking at studying the MSc or PGDip?
“If you want to undertake further studies, just go for it - even if you are scared or nervous. Choose the subject you will enjoy and apply. If you have not studied before, approach it gradually, start from PG Cert. Reflection of learning and application to practice in your personal and professional life is a rather satisfying and enriching experience. Undertaking research is an interesting journey, slightly nerve-wracking but very rewarding. Do not be afraid or shy to ask for help and guidance from academics, tutors, and peers. Refer to guidance on academic reading, writing, and undertaking research. Use all the sources you have access to. Put some regular time aside to relax and continue to pursue things that you enjoy. The most important thing is to do what suits you and find the right balance between work and leisure.”