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Like many University of Liverpool online students, Peter Scanlon has an inquisitive mind. He says he enjoys his varied work as a management consultant because “I get to meet new people and work in different cultures, sharing my knowledge and skills and experience with them to add value whilst constantly learning from others.” These elements are similar to the features that make the Liverpool Online MBA a stimulating learning experience.

Peter runs his own firm, Sepia, specialising in advising private and public sector health care organisations, all over the UK. His most recent project has been to work on a major business transformation for a health care company with over 300 sites and 20,000 employees.

He graduated from the University of Liverpool in December 2016 with an online MBA. The benefits were immediate: from day one of his master's, studying online and working simultaneously enabled Peter to take his new knowledge and apply it immediately to the management challenges he had to tackle as a consultant. Going forward, having an MBA from a respected university will help to secure more consultancy assignments, he says, as it is one of the attributes company managers look for when selecting a management consultant.

Smart, motivated people

Reflecting on his online studies Peter says: "I enjoyed the mental challenge and stimulus from engaging with smart, motivated people from different sectors, countries and cultures."

He also valued the opportunity to study the academic theories that underpin management practices. "Whilst I had experience in many of the subject areas, I was unconsciously competent; I had forgotten why I did things," he explains. "The module content brought me into the realms of conscious competence and this increased my confidence and value to the clients I was working with; enabling me to better articulate the rationale behind my advice."

Online degree v. campus study

Peter has some down-to-earth advice for potential online students: "Do not underestimate the effort needed to complete each module. The attendance, although online, I think can be more demanding than a bricks-and-mortar course."

Finding the time to study within an already busy schedule is difficult for most online students, but the benefits of combining work and study are significant, as Peter attests. "I was able to apply what I learned immediately. For example, I developed a business plan, brought a team together and completed an acquisition – all based on the module on entrepreneurship that was part of my programme.

The MBA has also been relevant in my voluntary work as a school governor, so there have been benefits to my community too. In fact, I used the school as the basis for one of my MBA assignments. As a result I introduced changes benefiting the financial position of the school.

The biggest challenge was the time commitment and effort needed to complete each module. Each module lasted eight weeks and there was an expectation that one had quality interactions with class members on at least five days in each week, in addition to the weekly assignments."

A good investment

"I believe that the MBA has increased my value as a management consultant," says Peter. "Since starting my MBA I have been continuously employed across a range of exciting assignments. Within myself I feel more confident.

I feel much better equipped to substantiate my experiential advice quoting sources I studied during the modules, and often using that knowledge to argue against a course of action I feel is inappropriate.

I believe the MBA has already directly or indirectly recovered much more for my business than the programme cost. Having the MBA on my CV makes me stand out when bidding for work so overall I am more competitive."

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