Re-entering the world of education

19 January 2023

Executive Diploma in Behavioural Science participant, Sean O'Shea, shares his advice for anyone considering returning to education. 

Am I still able to focus on something for more than an hour? 

That was my main concern when deciding whether to take on an Executive Diploma. For 20 years I’d worked in the fast paced, tech industry where the only constant was aggressive change. Fast decisions, high growth expectations and rapidly evolving platforms meant that the average workday was high on communication and low on focus time, hence my concern about re-entering the world of education.

Thankfully, I overcame this and started my Executive Diploma in Behavioural Science in 2022. I look back on that now as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. To anyone considering taking on a similar course, this would be my advice.

Firstly, do some research in advance of your application. If you’re studying alongside work, then the crucial challenge will be time, of which there’ll be three categories of demand: Pre-reads prior to each module, classroom time and assignments (researching and writing). Consider your topic carefully. It’s likely you’ll be doing this course in hours outside of work, so a level of natural curiosity and interest will be incredibly helpful in terms of your commitment to completing it. Behavioural Science is both an area I find personally fascinating as well as integral to the business I’m building, and I know that this has helped me to invest those extra hours needed to be successful on the course.

Secondly, engage with Warwick Business School (WBS) prior to the course.  Speak to the WBS team about your aspirations and expectations of the course, see if they can connect you to students who have taken the course recently and find out who the lecturers will be. I joined several of the excellent WBS webinars which helped me not only to learn about the content but also to see the lecturers in action. 

Thirdly, when you’re on the course, invest in your cohort. One of the wonderful, but unexpected, benefits to me was the connections I’ve made with my peers. The group are incredibly diverse yet share a common mindset and passion when it comes to learning. I take as many notes from listening to their stories during the classes as I do to the lecture content! 

The Executive Diploma in Behavioural Science has been an amazing experience. For my business, the Behavioural Science of Organisations and Innovation module has been the most rewarding as it explores how workplace culture has such a strong influence on organisational performance. In every module we’ve also had guest speakers delivering fascinating and highly relevant talks, and to experience all of this in a setting like the Shard has been fantastic. It’s incredible what a positive influence that can have on your mindset. 

And if you are like me, and you doubt your ability to re-train your brain to focus on an academic task (probably for the first time since University) then perhaps the only way you’ll prove to yourself that you can is to try. The worst that can happen is that you’ll learn something new. If you’re serious about investing in your learning, then learn like you mean it.

Watch Sean O'Shea do a tour of WBS at The Shard.

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