Building confidence through study

07 March 2023

Executive Diploma in Digital Leadership participant, Celia Warrender, shares why she is grateful that she didn't let different barriers stop her from pursuing the diploma. 

I read a blog by one of my LinkedIn contacts where she shared her experience of studying for the Executive Diploma in Digital Leadership with Warwick Business School (WBS). It sparked my interest but I questioned if I had the right experience, time, money and confidence.

I’ve worked as a project manager and then scrum master in teams delivering digital products for several years. But it’d been 15 years since I’d last been involved in the world of higher education; would I be able to keep focused? Was this course right for my role, workplace and sector, a not-for-profit housing association? And how would I fit in alongside some huge corporate businesses? Therefore, I parked the idea.

Then I was contacted by Penny, a Business Development Manager at WBS. Penny helped me to work around my perceived barriers and I am so grateful that she did! So, here is a bit about my experience and I hope it helps others to consider a similar path.

The course was a great mix of people with a variety of leadership experience, from different sectors, including public and third. I quickly saw that I wasn’t out of place and could actively contribute to the group, as well as learn so much from others. I was surprised at just how much I could gain from hearing about organisations very different to mine as well as those that were similar. I was pleased that my knowledge was instrumental to others in the class too. The diversity of the group enriched my experience and helped me see how I could apply what I was learning to drive change back at my organisation, We are whg.

It did take me a little while to get back into studying but because the assignments were spread out across the course, I used the feedback from each module to develop as the course continued. I was pleased to see progress with my marks and practical application. The applied nature of the Diploma meant I was also able to bring conversations back into the workplace, helping my team to form ideas of how we could develop moving forward, which further support me with my studies. And I couldn’t believe the topics that I started feeling confident to talk about. Whilst I have worked in IT for some years, I don’t come from a technical background and had initially worried that I’d be way out of my depth on topics such as the Internet of Things and AI. However, as the course progressed and I learned more, my confidence grew along with my knowledge of where to find the resources to help me develop further.

Before I committed to the course, Penny discussed finance options with me. I was encouraged to apply for a WBS Scholarship, as well as approach my organisation to discuss the return on investment for them of me undertaking the Diploma. With this combination of funding, I was able to find an affordable way to do the programme.

The time commitment was big! I was exhausted by the time I’d submitted my final dissertation, but in a great way – it’s the most my brain has been stretched in a long time, which can only be a good thing! I’m full of ideas of ways to implement what I’ve learned moving forward, as well as already applying some of it. Watch this space!

Don’t let barriers, real or perceived, stop you from pursuing an opportunity that speaks to you. Explore the avenues and see what’s possible with a little bit of self-belief and support from those around you. Like me, you won’t regret it.  

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