MSc achievement gives Aberdeen student confidence boost

An oil worker who gave up full-time employment to go back to university said the toughest part of his studies was believing that he had what it took to achieve a postgraduate degree.

Phil StonePhil Stone (34), who is originally from Broxburn, graduated with an MSc in Drilling and Well Engineering from Robert Gordon University (RGU) yesterday (Tues, Dec 9) after giving up a managerial position with a service company to study full-time.

The former Broxburn Academy pupil said: “It's not been the most conventional path to take, but I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't find the decision to go back to university a difficult one, although the prospect of choosing to have no income and making a dent in my savings while I studied full-time was a little daunting. 

“The toughest part was believing that I had the ability to achieve an MSc and to do well - Scots are world experts in self-deprecation! Through hard work, the support of a few key people at RGU and determination, I've proved to myself that I do have the ability, which will no doubt help my confidence professionally.” 

Phil, who has travelled extensively in his previous roles, said that he primarily enrolled on the course with a view to getting back to a more technical role.

“RGU is well-known and respected globally within the oil and gas industry and I firmly believe that this qualification will help me stand out from the crowd,” he explained. “Later in my career, I'm sure it will prove to employers that I am capable of working to the high standards required to work at a senior level.

“I have always found working in the oil and gas industry to be very siloed - people are often very specialised in their own discipline, with little or no knowledge to what's happening to the left or right of them.

“I was eager to learn more to develop my own understanding and to gain a better grasp of the bigger picture of how the industry works.”

Phil added: “It was a bit of a shock to the system going back to studying after so long, but I would say to anyone of a similar 'vintage' that if you're used to working, meeting deadlines and prioritising personal commitments around your workload you should cope with a Masters course just fine. It's not easy though and passes do need to be earned.

“The MSc intake in my year was made up of students from around the world and it's been great to meet people from different backgrounds and with different work and life experiences. This has enriched the year alongside the RGU staff and guest lecturers brought in from industry.

“I've been very fortunate to have been able to fund myself through this year of study and I'm grateful to have a supporting family and group of friends that have kept me going throughout.”

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Jenny RushCommunications Officer | Design and Technology