Degree enriches career
For Jeff Goss, completing his four-year journey of part- time study by distance learning with Open Polytechnic was not just about accomplishing his Bachelor of Business, it has also enriched his career, changed his thinking and helped him develop within his current role.
Like most adult learners, working towards his degree meant Jeff had to fit study around a variety of other commitments. The Auckland- based strategic partnership manager says that the flexibility of distance learning is what made all the difference.
“Attending lectures wasn’t going to work for me so the flexible format of the Open Polytechnic really suited. I had the freedom to study whenever I wanted,” he explains, adding that his study experience has inspired him to aim for more both personally and professionally.
Flexibility is key.
“For me, the Bachelor of Business, majoring in management, was a four-year journey of part-time study and full-time work. Reflecting on what was an achievement of such a long-term goal is something I’m really proud of,” explains Jeff.
“Mixed in with this was a real feeling of freedom and learning that I could juggle work, life and study successfully has motivated me to do more with my free time now.”
A manageable routine which included enough time for work, lifestyle and study made Jeff’s commitment to finishing his degree possible.
“Finding time to study during the week was hard but I didn’t want to spend both weekend days studying. I found that short periods just before and after work were good opportunities to keep on top of the study without really impacting work or social commitments.”
While part-time study mixed with full-time work did make Jeff appreciate his free time, he says it doesn’t completely change things.
“Looking back at the four years I spent studying I was still able to do the things I enjoyed before. We even planned a wedding and got married during this time but I think my wife deserves most of the credit for organising that.”
Life imitating study
In terms of his current role as Cards and Payments Strategic Partnership Manager, Jeff says that what he was learning has helped him develop professionally, as the content was directly relatable to the challenges he faces at work.
“I often notice myself referring back to a model or theory that I learnt to help solve a real-life business situation. Those moments are really satisfying and make all the hard work totally worth it,” he says, adding that the discipline of studying itself has impacted positively on how he does his job.
“Studying has also really helped me develop good business acumen practices and time management skills too. While really challenging at times, the sense of the achievement at earning my degree is massively rewarding. One of the things that I look back at and appreciate now was learning relevant business principles and disciplines while working in a business environment. I have no doubt that this contributed to the progress I’ve made professionally.”
Although taking a short break after graduating earlier this year, Jeff says his next study challenge will be working towards his Master of Business Administration (MBA).
“The Bachelor of Business has provided a great learning foundation that I’m keen to build on. There were definitely some moments along the way that were really hard but getting through those tough times and boxing on makes the whole achievement that much more satisfying.”
It can be done
Jeff’s advice for those considering undertaking distance study is to celebrate the small wins and not be daunted by the overall picture.
“During the study journey it’s really important to learn from the disappointments and always celebrate the small wins as these lead to bigger successes. Whether it’s reading a textbook chapter, submitting an assignment or finishing an exam, these are all part of the journey and should be savoured as evidence of progress,” he says, adding that you will always find support through the process.
“I’d say that our family, friends and colleagues want us to be successful and will support and accommodate the extra commitment of study. Maybe it’s an afternoon off every now and then for study or being let off the dishes in the evening. These small allowances really helped me find the extra time and were often the difference between study feeling like a real effort or being quite manageable,” he explains.
“With determination, commitment and a really positive mind-set we can surprise ourselves with what we can achieve.”
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