Interview with MSc Dispute Resolution student, Nial Vivian

By Press Office

Nial, 29, was raised in Plymouth but has recently been living and working in the north west. He studied History and Politics at the University of Leicester, and after graduating in 2010, worked in a number of different roles across fundraising and insurance before finding his vocation in dispute resolution.

In 2015, Nial began studying MSc Dispute Resolution at Queen Margaret University. The postgraduate qualification is aimed at students wishing to become dispute resolution professionals in areas such as conflict management, complaint handling, ombuds work, mediation, and arbitration.

Skills and confidence

"The MSc Dispute Resolution provided me with the skills and confidence necessary to really excel at a role investigating complaints at an Ombudsman scheme. Before I began working in the area, I was not aware of the breadth and depth of the industry, which proved to be well suited to my interests, and linked really well with a lot of the general inquisitorial skills that I had developed in my undergraduate degree."


Career development

“I had always had an interest in law and justice, especially between big organisations and the government and individuals, where we often hear about problems in the media. I also wanted a varied and challenging job dealing with complex issues, as well as wanting to make a positive difference to people’s lives. As a result, I was well-suited to this area, which is rapidly becoming a highly-regarded and professional career pathway.

"The MSc Dispute Resolution provides you with a broad knowledge of the area and roles within it, from decision-making standards and the development of the Ombudsman sector to the theory behind the benefits of dealing with disputes properly and the practical skills to get started as a mediator. The course gave me a real understanding of the multiple roles that a dispute resolution professional can fill, and the importance of developing a broad range of skills to be deployed according to the problems you are dealing with. It’s a role which spans many traditional boundaries, from helping people understand the extent of their problem, to creatively developing remedies to fix issues, and to ensuring regulatory compliance by businesses, to name just a few."


Ombuds work

“Working with an Ombudsman scheme, I was given a unique role in developing new areas of complaint handling, where the skills I picked up on the course proved to be invaluable. We were working in an area with little to no pre-existing guidance, where there hadn’t been an Ombudsman scheme previously, and the MSc Dispute Resolution gave me the tools and confidence to resolve problems across the huge breadth of areas we ended up working in.

“The work I did included used car sales, removal firms, construction, renovation, retail products, even reviewing complaints for a large regulator…. And a lot of things in between. The development and assessment offered on campus by practicing mediators was really invaluable when dealing with customers especially, as was the wider understanding of the ethos behind handling complaints for different sectors, and the ways in which the complex landscape of regulation and Ombudsman schemes fits together.”

Dispute System Design

“The MSc Dispute Resolution also provided me with skills in dispute system design, which contributed to a role I undertook in developing a new sector alongside others in the business. This involved researching the sector and building a training package which I then delivered alongside others.

Academic role at QMU

“The results of the MSc Dispute Resolution and my work with an Ombudsman scheme has now led to a move into academia within the field, as a Lecturer here at Queen Margaret University, which is clearly thanks in large part to my work with the team here on the course.”

Nial Vivian's film interview:



Notes to Editor

Learn about consumer dispute resolution courses and research at QMU.

For further media information contact Jonathan Perkins, Press and PR Officer, E: T: 0131 474 0000.

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