Gillian Taylor – BA (Hons) Business Management

Gillian Taylor - BA Business Management Distinction
Despite a highly successful career and extensive on-the-job training, 52-year-old Gillian from Aberdeen, had never believed she had the brain power to achieve a degree. It had always seemed in the ‘too difficult box'. A change in mindset however, inspired Gillian to prove to herself that she was bright enough and now she's graduating with distinction.

From leaving Northfield Academy, Gillian went onto art college in Aberdeen and from there went on to lead a large team of designers for a major oil operator. Her career changed direction and she moved into health and safety, spending many years working in the operational side of HSE and eventually finding her passion for the people side of HSE.  During this time, she also ran her own successful training and HSE consultancy business and now works in a global role where her remit is training, culture and behaviours.

Having always had a passion for people and business, Gillian wanted more understanding of Human Resources, leadership and business. There was so much more to learn from a large global organisation perspective and the Business Management Degree at RGU’s Aberdeen Business School was exactly what she was looking for.

Based on her substantial work experience, Gillian jumped straight into 3rd year of the Business Management course, completing her degree online in under one year, part-time, whilst working full time.

“I am so proud of my achievement, especially at my age. Some of the lecturers were brilliant, really helpful and understanding. I was surprised at how much of my learning I could actually take into the business world. Now when I’m at work and listening to others in different disciplines, I have a greater understanding of the discussions being had.

“The resources at RGU and in particular, the library, which I have used extensively for my research, are second to none. The study skills area is also very helpful and having our presentations narrated is great."

During the pandemic, Gillian found it challenging learning on-line without meeting students. She had always enjoyed learning from others and had to re-map her brain to learn differently. She also missed the interaction and weekly lectures, which were really important to her.

Despite these challenges, Gillian still made friendships at RGU that helped her through the pandemic as she explains: “I was pleasantly surprised at the number of students from around the world who choose to study at RGU. I became friendly with a student based in Chicago, who was a great help and ally during this time and who I still stay in touch with and always will."

As to what next, Gillian says: “My degree passed so quickly. I’ve now moved on to study a MSc in Business Management and Leadership at Aberdeen Business School so haven’t really had time to sit and think about what achieving the degree means. The graduation will be the piece that makes me step back and go, wow I have a degree, with distinction!

“I’ve realised how much I enjoy learning and I’ve learnt a huge amount that I can take into my work. I’ve also learnt a lot about myself which was very unexpected.

“I now understand what I’m capable of achieving. I realise that I have put myself down for over twenty years by not believing I’m ‘academically intelligent’ when in fact I am capable of a degree and so much more. Having a degree has given me more confidence and belief in my abilities, especially at my age.”

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