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Studying on stopovers, in the middle of the night, and with jetlag – that was the route to success for Ismail ElFatihi, who continued his work as an airline cabin supervisor while he earned his master’s degree online from the University of Liverpool.

A proud MSc in Management graduate since July 2017, Ismail said it was well worth the effort. “It’s a huge achievement to be able to get the master’s degree that you’re looking for,” said Ismail, who comes from Morocco, lives in Dubai, UAE, and works for a Middle Eastern airline. “I think it will help me climb the career ladder very quickly. I already passed some interviews inside my company.”

Ismail fitted his online studies in around his work, using his flight stopovers to complete his degree. “I had to study in my layovers, at hotels, forgetting about going out and exploring the cities that were new to me. It was sometimes really challenging because I was jetlagged. It was night time – some of my colleagues were sleeping but I had to wake up, and do assignments. It was challenging but at the same time, exciting.”

One of the highlights of his online study was the interaction with international working professionals on his programme. “I enjoyed exchanging ideas with my fellow students. It was an opportunity to see how people from other parts of the world think on the same matter or subject. Everyone had a different background and different experience – we learned a lot from each other.”

Ismail, who finished his master’s with a dissertation on strategic leadership in the airline industry, missed the study environment once he’d finished his degree. “For two years and a half I created a certain routine. When I finished, I missed it – it felt as though there’s something wrong in my life!”

He’s considering studying again for a master’s degree with a different focus. Would he choose the University of Liverpool Online again? “Definitely,” said Ismail, “I see the University, the staff and instructors as very professional – I would even say ‘pioneering’ because the University has a lot of experience in this field. It was one of the first to universities to offer degrees on internet.

“Starting an online degree was a bit difficult at first but, with the help of support staff, it went really smoothly. That’s why I’m looking forward to following another online degree programme from the same university.”

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