Robert Gordon University graduates Graham Gordon and Elaine Anderson have good reason for feeling on top of the world.
Not only did the Aberdeen couple graduate on the same day – Graham with an MBA Oil & Gas Management with Distinction and Elaine with a MSc Project Management with Distinction – but they did so just two months after fulfilling another lifetime ambition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
“After we both submitted our final pieces of course work on October 6th, we flew out to Tanzania and at 7.15am on Wednesday 18th of October we stood on the highest point of Africa. Like the MBA programme that I have just completed it was one of the most gruelling but rewarding experiences of my life,” said Graham.
“Climbing Kilimanjaro was something we had talked about and planned for a long time,” said Elaine, a former pupil of Kincorth Academy. “It is difficult to put into words how amazing it feels to have successfully completed my studies at RGU and climbed the world’s highest freestanding mountain.”
Former Torry Academy pupil Graham was picking up his second degree from RGU having graduated with an MSc in Project Management last year.
“I would like a career in project management and felt that the course, which was recommended by friends in the O&G industry, would facilitate that career change. In addition RGU has a fantastic reputation as university and for graduate employment. My attraction to the MBA programme surfaced six months into my MSc. The MBA is considered the gold standard of masters degrees and as I was enjoying good success with my MSc studies I wanted to further my education at RGU,” he said.
“When I first enrolled my dream was to complete my MSc course and, with a great deal of hard work, pass with Distinction. Not only did I achieve that but I was given the Head of School Award for outstanding academic performance. I couldn’t be happier that my time at RGU exceeded my expectations by a considerable margin.”
Elaine had worked as a document controller in the O&G industry for 13 years before moving to a project controls position.
“I felt the MSc Project Management course at RGU would increase my knowledge and learning whilst opening up better job prospects in the future,” she said. “I started the course as a distance learner studying alongside my job. Due to the downturn in O&G and the lack of job security I made the decision to leave my job and switch to the full-time course to allow me to fully commit to my studies without any distractions or uncertainties.
“The highlight of the course was writing my dissertation which looked at how project management methodologies can increase the success and survival of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). I run my own personal training business and have a passion for business development in SMES and I feel my studies will not only help ensure the success of my business but have made me better equipped to pursue a career in business management or project development.”
The couple, who first went out together in 2005 and got back together in 2016 after a discussion about their course work, are now looking towards the future.
Graham hopes to follow a career in project or business management in the oil and gas industry although since completing his MBA he has become increasingly interested in strategic management and business development. Elaine is also interested in a career in business development or in a business analyst role and hopes that her own SME achievements and what she learned on the course with provide a good foundation for moving into that area of work.
by Kate Yuill
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