Taking challenges in her stride

Sandra Johnson
  • Business owner, Peninsula People

Sandra Johnson is not a woman that lets anything stop her achieving her goals.

During her time studying by distance for a Bachelor of Business (Management) with Open Polytechnic she coped with sick children, a flooded basement and a power cut on the night before an exam.

“I remember studying by candle light, and when the basement flooded I was just grateful my laptop wasn’t there so I could still get my assignment done. You just make it happen.”

Achieving her goals

Sandra says the personal development from learning that she could achieve her goals, no matter what was going on, is one of the best things she will take away from her study.

“I’ve always had determination and drive, but I didn’t know how deep this was and how much I could do. I pushed through the stressful times and achieved. It’s a great feeling.”

Career change

Originally a primary school teacher, Sandra had decided she wanted a change of career and to move into the world of business.

To do that she needed qualifications, she needed to be able to balance studying for those qualifications with the demands of a busy job and a young family, and she needed to be able to do it all from her home town of Thames.

So she turned to New Zealand’s leading supplier of open and distance education, Open Polytechnic, for help.

Focused learning

Sandra says studying by distance was very different from her experience as a contact student.

“You’re more focussed on the learning and you’re more in control of your learning. Not just in terms of time, but also in terms of why you are doing it.

“I enjoyed the distance learning experience because it gave me the ability to work it into my life. I think my learning became more about being proactive and getting involved in my own learning, and bringing in the real world. For example I involved my workplace and the people who were in that workplace.”

Majoring in management

Sandra chose the Management major in the Open Polytechnic’s Bachelor of Business because she wanted a qualification that would give her strategic-level business skills that could be applied widely.

She particularly enjoyed the papers which had real-world applicability.

“The papers that stood out were the ones where you created a case study or the ones where I could embed my study in my work. I found the learning to be very practical and useful.”

Study support

She says solid support from her family combined with excellent resources from Open Polytechnic helped make it all happen.

“I like the systematic approach that Open Polytechnic has. Studying online was great given the hours I work. And I used the library a lot – I really liked them, they were very helpful, and prompt. And I found the resources Open Polytechnic supplied were very helpful. Things like the learning support materials that set out how to reference, how to write a report and that type of thing. They were really excellent compared to what I’d experienced before.”

Running her own business

Now working in her own business Peninsula People, Sandra employs a great team of people, working with businesses on their human resource needs, such as recruitment, mentoring, people and strategy development.  She enjoys the diversity of the different businesses she works with ranging from small 1-2 employee’s through to large corporate such as Downer, New Zealand.

I’ve always had determination and drive, but I didn’t know how deep this was and how much I could do. I pushed through the stressful times and achieved. It’s a great feeling.