Chukwugozie works full-time as a material and welding engineer, responsible for technical and statutory compliance of all materials and welding issues at INEOS chemicals Grangemouth. He studies for his MSc International Management and Leadership alongside his full-time job and will graduate in summer 2022. 

About you

Why did you choose to study at Queen Margaret University (QMU)?

I wanted to develop business management skills as I contemplate what's next for my career and more importantly my desire to run my own business.

I researched all the schools offering business courses within central Scotland and found the list of modules being offered within QMU's International Management and Leadership (IMAL) course most appropriate.

In addition to the modules offered, the international dimension of the course attracted my interest even more. Furthermore, the QMU course met two other key personal criteria of mine: affordability and flexibility, as I work full time. I also needed the school to be located within a business-oriented city.

IMAL as offered by QMU not only satisfied my set criteria but the capstone options of completing a Business Consultancy in Practice (BCiP), Business Innovation Project (BIP) or dissertation for advancing to MSc made me choose QMU for my study.

What interested you about your chosen course?

As I mentioned above, the reason I choose to study IMAL at QMU was the richness of the modules offered within IMAL and the option to either choose dissertation or BCiP or BIP as final project for advancement to MSc.

What attracted you to study in Edinburgh?

I see Edinburgh as a business-oriented city and its proximity to my home/work location with ease of access via road or rail attracted me to choose Edinburgh for my study.

The Course

What have you most enjoyed about your course? What has been the highlight?

The highlights for me were the richness of the modules and the associated management and leadership theories and practices that I learnt on the course.

The assessment style of using reports and essays was another essential element I enjoyed about the modules. These styles of assessment offered me the opportunity to read and research widely on the topics in question and helped me to develop a robust approach to synthesizing from a wide array of information.

Have you participated in a course activity you found especially interesting?

Yes, there were a number of course activities that I found interesting and rich; the first was the group presentation activity. Learning the dynamics of working in a team of people from different parts of the world was a very rich experience.

Secondly were the discussions during classes on historical and contemporary business management and leadership issues, this was one of my best highlights. The diverse views of people show how complicated managing a team can be and it is a crucial element every business student must be aware of and understand clearly if one is to be successful in managing any business especially business away from one’s own home country.

Finally, I really enjoyed the reflective practice exercise that we had to do daily. This activity helped me to get to know and understand myself a lot better. With reflective practice, one can easily identify a character trait or behaviour that might need changing or developing and focus on just doing that. It was an excellent, informative and life changing practice that I learnt as part of my QMU journey.

How have your lecturers supported your learning?

The lectures were an essential element for my understanding of topics discussed. Although I worked full time, I never missed a single lecture because I see the classes as the best time to engage the lecturers. There's also the benefit arising from the multitude of questions from different perspectives of the subject under discussion which the lecturers had to review and explain. The lecturers were also helpful outside the classroom as they allow for direct line of communication with them anytime via email.

What have been some of your challenges with the course and university life? How have you overcome them?

My primary challenge for the course was combining my full-time job with the study. Although I had 24 months to study the course, it was still challenging for me to meet the required 200 hours per module. To overcome this challenge, I stuck to a regular time table, studying for a minimum of four hours every night with the first two hours used to prepare for the next class (to keep up to speed with the lectures) and be productive during lectures, and the remaining two hours used for expansive reading on the prior week's topics. The above approach although challenging at times helped me to manage my time and juggle study and work.

Do you have any advice for students who might be interested in applying for this course?

If you fancy a school with huge multi-national student community and a rich course with breadth in business management and leadership that has the capacity to transform your personality, develop your critical thinking abilities, develop your research and synthesizing abilities, develop your writing abilities and help you know and understand yourself better, then IMAL at QMU is the course for you.

It requires unwavering dedication and a lot of hours of study but you become a totally different person after the journey.

The Student experience

What QMU student services have you used (e.g. Effective Learning Service) to support you through your university journey and how have they helped you?

Yes I used the Effective Learning Service during my time in school. I found their video guide and workshops exceedingly helpful. The video guide on structuring and writing essays was a crucial element to my success in my academic writing.

What’s your ‘top tip’ for making the most of being a student?

My top tip is never to miss any lecture classes because an essential part of the learning process happens in the classroom. Also endeavour to be productive during classes by preparing for each lecture ahead of time; this helps in multiple ways including developing confidence in public speaking; sharpening your understanding on topics as you partake in discussions and class interactions.

What has been the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned at university?

My most valuable lesson was understanding that I can achieve that which I set my mind on and never doubt or be timid on my intellectual capabilities and competences.

After QMU

What are you plans after graduation, your ambitions and where you see yourself in the future?

My plan after graduation is to seek opportunities to develop my business and management competencies and to set up my own vibrant business in five years’ time.

"If you fancy a school with a multi-national student community and a rich course, with breadth in business management and leadership that has the capacity to transform your personality, develop your critical thinking abilities, develop your research and synthesizing abilities [...] then IMAL at QMU is the course for you."
Chukwugozie Ikeagu, MSc International Management and Leadership

[Story posted in January 2022]