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Rikki Parsons

MSc Project Management and Leadership 2012

Strategy Implementation Manager

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m 30 years old and have been living in Portsmouth since falling in love with the city in 2010. I am a fan of most things to do with geek culture (especially board games) and am a member of a local running club – two hobbies that keep me very busy!

In my work life I am a Strategy Implementation Manager for a FTSE100 company and have been working there since completing their graduate programme. I have also been busy setting up another company on the side with some friends.

Why did you decide to study MSc Project Management and Leadership?

At the time of beginning my course I was a Management Graduate in the second year of the programme, doing six monthly placements across the business. Each of these placements tended to have project work involved, but varied in the way in which they were managed. I knew that I wanted to gain skills and knowledge in the general principles of project management to put me in the best position to work in any industry or field.

The course was also very flexible to study alongside my employment and was a good opportunity to build a network of people in similar roles across the local area. We had the benefit of 2-3 day classroom sessions, alongside evening study workshops and set assignments.

What did you enjoy most about your postgraduate study?

It has to be the classroom workshops. They were often practical in nature and very much geared towards a group of professionals with a good baseline of knowledge. I was initially worried that we may be patronised, or that the course would feel far too academic, but I couldn’t have been further from the truth.

What did you find most difficult and how did you overcome it?

The hardest part was being able to put the required effort into the assignments alongside a busy working life. This was exacerbated by having a break between my undergraduate degree and starting this course because I had definitely gotten ‘rusty’ at writing assignments.

Thankfully the University offered sessions to help people with the basics of assignment writing, including researching, drawing insight and basics like referencing and formatting. In terms of balancing it with my work schedule, we set up group study workshops and helped to critique each other’s work which ensured it stayed high in my priorities!

Who would you recommend postgraduate study to and why?

I would recommend it to anybody that is looking to develop new skills or techniques to further their professional career. I feel that it can give you an advantage against other candidates when trying to get a new job, or can help you progress in your existing role. They can also provide great experience for people looking to start their own business.

Since graduating from your postgraduate course in 2012, how have you applied the things you learnt on the course?

I have been able to apply lots of project management skills and techniques. My full-time job involves managing a portfolio of projects and is directly related to the type of content studied in my course.

In addition, the leadership aspects of my postgraduate programme have helped when setting up Dice; a board games café and event business that we launched back in 2015, part funded by a Kickstarter campaign.

What advice would you give someone thinking of studying a postgraduate qualification?

My best advice would be to evaluate what you are hoping to achieve out of the programme and ensure that you are picking the correct course to meet those goals. Make sure that you commit to it and try to develop a network of peers to support your studying activities. Do not be afraid to use the help and facilities available to you in order to succeed.