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Bojan Spasić is Project Leader for Development Projects at AVL in his home country, Croatia, and a University of Liverpool MSc in Information Systems Management graduate.

“ Almost everything I learned in the programme was applicable in my everyday work. ”

What attracted you to studying online with the University of Liverpool?

After some time spent leading software development teams and managing projects, I realised that it would be good to formalise my knowledge. I wanted a flexible, high quality, engaging way of studying that did not require a drastic change of lifestyle.

What were the highlights and challenges of your online MSc?

One of the great challenges was to keep the pace and participate meaningfully in weekly discussions, providing online classmates with original thought on a well-researched subject. The subsequent discussions were the highlight of the week. I really enjoyed debating with fellow students and instructors.

How did you fit online study into your life?

I was very anxious before starting about how to juggle my student, private and professional life, however, after the first module, I knew the optimal times for different activities. I would do my research pretty much all the time. I did the bulk of the writing on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings, as well as evenings from Monday to Wednesday. I never wrote anything after midnight.

What are your top tips for other online students?

My suggestion is to always start with good research on a subject – using the excellent online library resources – as early as possible and then let your thoughts “simmer” before you put them on paper; writing gets a lot easier. Enjoy and use the discussions and group projects to let others know your opinion, but also to learn from them. Respect the others, but don't be afraid to lead by example.

How relevant is the online MSc in Information Systems Management for your work?

Almost everything I learned in the programme was applicable in my everyday work, but perhaps I could single out a very difficult management module "People, Technology and Management". This allowed me to formalise and test my workplace practices against an amazing and relevant body of knowledge.

The experience shared by the fellow students was also great. Getting a masters degree in this field also raised my profile. I feel much more confident to take up more challenging positions in IT management.

How have you expanded your international network by studying online for your MSc?

The international aspect of the programme is one of its greatest assets. It was great to be able to exchange ideas with so many diverse and interesting people from around the world.

In 2012, you won a Student of the Year Award for your dissertation. Tell us more about your research.

Software development projects are inherently difficult to manage. I was aware that there are many ways of reducing risk and uncertainty in software projects by using simulation, but most of them involve collecting additional data – something which is often difficult or impossible to do in practice. Therefore, I wanted to explore the possibility of identifying and processing data that already exists in typical software organisations.

The research has shown that there is significant potential to use readily available corporate "big data" to model and simulate the software development processes – opening the door to more practical application of simulation as a tool in this area.

Tell us about your experience in presenting your work at the prestigious Winter Simulation Conference 2012

The Winter Simulation Conference is probably the largest and most important conference in the general field of simulation. I thought it was a great honour to present before some of the world's greatest authorities on simulation.

The paper I presented together with Stephan Onggo focused on the simulation aspects and usage of agent-based simulation modelling, an approach that is being increasingly used in many simulation fields. Our paper demonstrated its usefulness in simulation of software processes, too.

I would recommend the University of Liverpool because...

it gave me an unforgettable and valuable learning and personal experience!


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