Chidi Okafor, Nigeria

Chidi Okafor, Nigeria

Can you talk a little bit about yourself and your background?

I am a Human Resource practitioner with over seven years’ experience, primarily working in the global maritime industry. I currently head a unit dealing with seafarers’ welfare and negotiating collective bargaining agreements. In the course of my job, I have worked with and led multi-cultural teams and committees within and outside my company.

Following my master’s degree in Business and Management at Aston University, I am looking to expand my experience in leading business strategies across different industries and regions.

What prompted you to pursue an online programme with Aston University? Specifically, why was online appealing to you?

My passion for my personal development through life-long learning was my driving force to pursue this programme. I originally wanted the traditional in-campus study option, but that would mean quitting my job. At that time, I had assumed a mid-level management role in my company responsible for formulating objectives with top-level management and translating those objectives down into actions. This was an exciting and challenging role which I wanted to build experience in. Thus, I considered the online study option as it gives me the opportunity to learn and work concurrently.

Then, my next consideration was my choice of school. With the increase in online learning capabilities in the UK, I was certain to limit my search to UK universities. After my review of several ranking sites and with the accreditations of AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA, Aston Business School was my obvious choice. To validate this, the following year, Aston University was awarded the “University of the year 2020” by The Guardian.

If you were giving someone who was considering an online course advice, what would it be?

I always told my colleagues at Aston: “Never take a break!”. Unlike the traditional in-campus study option, online learning is very flexible affording you a lot of choice on when to start or pause. However, do not use the pause option except it is absolutely necessary to do so given your circumstances. Always approach online learning like the traditional learning style where you have less control on when your semester starts or ends.

Secondly, ensure you have a workable schedule for your studies. Working and learning simultaneously can sometimes be a herculean task especially during peak periods at work. However, with a study schedule, you are easily guided on your priorities which may sometimes mean cutting down on times spent on social media. Lastly, create or join any online forum to connect with your colleagues, it could be on WhatsApp or LinkedIn. These fora help you stay updated with assignments, deadlines, announcements, etc. They also help to keep your motivated as well as to give you insights on how to approach your course works.

Again,

Never take a break!

Have a Study Schedule!

Stay connected!

Is there anything you’d like to add or anything you’d like to talk about that we did not touch on?

Reflecting on my time as a student at Aston University, I would say it was a truly worthwhile experience surpassing my expectations not only in the quality of teaching materials and the usability of the learning environment but mainly in the course deliveries by Aston’s seasoned tutors. Engaging in the materials brought me much closer to the trends and patterns in the real business world with life examples.

The impact of the tutors on my perspective to approaching business cases is lifelong. The level of support I received from my supervisor while working on my dissertation on the effects of leadership on employees’ productivity is most worthy of mention. Having graduated with distinction, I would rather ascribe that achievement to Aston University for creating an enabling environment for students to excel.