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Sanjay Tolani is from India and works as Director of Goodwill Insurance Brokers LLC based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He is a young business professional who is responsible for spearheading an international organisation that advises clients across 53 countries. Having completed two master’s degrees, the DBA is the first online programme he has followed.

Why did you decide to study online with the University of Liverpool?

When deciding which university I wanted to study with, I considered the following: the reputation of the university, the support and guidance provided by the university infrastructure, the strength of the Alumni network, and the mix of the students and the experience they bring to the table. Based on these criteria, the University of Liverpool offered the optimum blend of all these points.

And what was your motivation for pursuing a DBA?

As a student of the DBA programme I really get to test theories that have been studied, researched, and corrected in the online classroom guided by our academics. The DBA as a degree helps develop the scholar inside every learning individual. The degree also recognises the effort put in by an individual to grow their global knowledge base and work on testing the models they have been researching.

Some people are experts of an industry by experience while others have to learn to grow to the same level of intellectual capital. Being a young professional and director of an international business studying the DBA, I can confidently say that I am an individual who is investing in himself, and am able guide and lead a growing organisation.

What in particular attracted you to studying an online programme?

An online programme offers students like me the flexibility to study and work at the same time. This programme was particularly appealing because I travel six months of the year and would not have the time to study at a traditional campus university. The other more important feature that attracted me to the programme is the peer group you study with – all with very varied backgrounds and geographically diverse. This diversity is the best way to experience parts of the world that you may otherwise not come into contact with. You realise that an idea which thrives in a foreign market may be the solution for the local market you’re working in.

Before you started the DBA, what expectations did you have of studying online?

I believed the myth that an online programme is easier than a campus-based programme. However since starting the programme, I can confirm that online is equally challenging, if not more so, that a traditional degree. Online learning offers considerable flexibility, but assignment due dates, timelines, and the professors, all keep a close check on your performance as a student.

What do you think are the main advantages of following an online programme?

The main advantage of an online programme is the time and geographical flexibility it offers. It allows me to travel, work, and study at the same time.

Can you tell us a little bit about the mix of the people you’ve met so far in your online classroom?

The students in my virtual classroom are from all walks of life and from all over the globe. The statement “the world is a village” is very true when applied in the online classroom. The amount of experience that is there for the taking is enormous, and the collective knowledge of the class requires a sponge to absorb it all!

Finally what has been your first impression of Critical Action Learning – the innovative approach to research adopted in the DBA programme?

Critical Action Learning allows me to question my decisions and actions which I may not have done in the past. It is also helping me soften the views and opinions I have developed over the years as a result of my work experience, and understand the need of flexibility. Critical Action Learning helps to truly test actions and learn the outcomes. The impact a small change can have on the big picture can be clearly seen through Critical Action Learning.

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