I have worked in the environmental public sector for a large part of my career, managing technical teams in areas related to my academic training in flooding. Three years ago, as part of a major restructure, I transitioned to leading a part of the business that managed digital services within the organisation. With that came, for me, a steep learning curve. The team came together from different parts of the organisation, being experts in their own domains, and managing world-class digital public services.
It soon became clear that we needed to refresh our strategy to think about what was next for our services, both current and future, and our alignment with the wider aims of our organisation. I toyed with the idea of an Executive or Distance Learning MBA to give me the skills to support leading the team through this strategic review but I couldn’t find a course that ticked all the boxes. Then I came across the Executive Diploma in Digital Leadership.
The course resonated with me as I felt it responded to a gap in the market as well as the gap in my knowledge, combining rigorous academic assessment, face to face teaching and applied assignments meaning immediate applicability in the workplace, all backed by the outstanding reputation of Warwick Business School.
Having secured a place and starting the Diploma, I have had no regrets. The course has offered me more than I could have hoped for. From the start of the first module, I’ve had both academic and practical learning that I can apply immediately to shaping strategic discussions in the workplace, encouraging colleagues to think digitally about not just the services we can provide but the very business models that underpin them. I’ve also seen non-digital colleagues starting to use parts of the language and concepts I’ve introduced to them, in their own areas.
A key part of this applicability has not only been the quality of the teaching but the diverse and wonderfully supportive peer group that I am learning with. The mix of public and private sector participants on the course, including international participants, has allowed me to find peers who identify with the often-unique challenges public sector digital transformation brings, whilst also challenging the status quo by learning from private sector participants on the course. The networks I’m developing with my fellow cohort, the lecturers and the guest speakers will drive lifelong learning and friendships for life.
The opportunity for group discussions has also been a particular highlight for me. It has brought to life the teaching materials, grounding the knowledge in real case studies, and allowed us to reflect on our own practice as leaders.
One concern was being able to fit it all in. Working full-time, undertaking out of hours work, having two young children, and being involved in community activities can take its toll. However, the format of the course is perfect for me, with the block teaching followed by a generous amount of time to be able to complete assignments. This has allowed me to work flexibly around all the other aspects of my life. The my.wbs platform also helps, by keeping all the core materials I need in one place and providing easy access to the library for the course reading.
As I pass the halfway point of this course, I don’t yet know where it will take me in my career. But with the ability to think digitally now as important to an organisation as financial and people skills, I know that my learning will continue to benefit me, and any organisations I work for, long into the future.