Julian King

Julian graduated from the MSc Business Psychology programme in 2014. He now works as Manager, Performance & Career Development at Sidra Medical and Research Center in Qatar.

Can you tell us about where you work and describe your role?

I am currently working for a pre-operational women’s and children’s academic hospital in Qatar. Specifically I look after staff performance and career development, with a number of other talent development areas included such as coaching.

What was your experience of doing a degree at Heriot-Watt University via independent distance learning?

Overall, I was impressed by the range of thought and sources that had gone into the various courses. One simple example - I did the ILM Level 7 coaching certificate at the same time as the coaching course – if the ILM was more practical in its orientation, the Heriot-Watt course explored in depth the theoretical background. There are a variety of methods for delivery of distance learning education around, but the set-up at Heriot-Watt worked well for me.

How has you degree helped you in your profession?

The theoretical background and the practice of evidence-based decisions helps with gaining credibility among stakeholders as well as building cases and proposals more robustly and persuasively. The acquired knowledge builds on and informs the day-to-day observations in the workplace in addition to staying current with knowledge development in this area. On a more practical level, the MSc is also a clear message to employers of commitment to self-development and lifelong learning.

Why did you choose Heriot-Watt and the programme that you studied?

I chose Heriot-Watt because of the growing reputation of the University and of its psychology department. As an overseas student, I was also keen to find a programme which was 100% by distance learning with no residential requirements, and yet had sufficient depth of content to be challenging and rewarding. I am pleased to say Heriot-Watt delivered on this.

How did you find fitting studying by independent distance learning into your life?

I ended up doing the programme over three years due to two job changes which also involved relocating to different countries. This led to a heavy weighting of courses at the beginning and then the end. I am a self-disciplined learner, but the start-stop-start required a lot of work in getting back into the stream of things, and indeed my interests changed, so my dissertation ended up being on quite a different topic to my original intentions. In other circumstances I would have preferred to have done the programme straight through in one go. However, it was good to apply the programme learning into my work situations and vice versa on an ongoing basis.