We sat down with Mike Jefferson, an edX learner who took the Thunderbird International Business Management MicroMasters® program from ASUx. He used the knowledge that he learned in the program to better position himself for jobs when he migrated from the UK to Sweden.
What program did you take on edX, and what were your goals in taking it?
I took the MicroMasters program in International Business from Thunderbird School of Global Management and supported this with shorter certificate courses and programs from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), MIT and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
How has the program helped you?
This program literally changed my life. I migrated from the UK to Sweden at the end of 2016. I had never had difficulty finding work before, however with the cultural differences, language barrier and a work environment that reaps the benefits of free higher education, I quickly understood that I would have to up-skill fast to meet the Swedish job market requirements.
Taking edX courses allowed me to support my professional experience with certificates from highly respected institutions and I started to see myself getting more and more responses from my job enquiries.
I went from struggling to get interviews, to being offered 3 jobs in one day and still having a long list of interview invitations I had to respond to!
I accepted a role with a multi-billion dollar consultancy firm and it was far above my personal expectations. At first I was concerned that I would be out of my depth, but I kid you not, on the first day I walked into the office, the biggest challenge the team was facing was a subject that I had just vigorously studied (and enjoyed!) within my MicroMasters program. It gave me the confidence to share my ideas and it even lead to me running a workshop to the Swedish senior leaders a few months later.
What did you like most about learning online?
For me, studying online was the only way to achieve my education goals. Migrating to another country is challenging and I was having to juggle two part-time jobs, language lessons and be a full-time Dad and husband. Studying online allowed me to maximize my ‘dead time’ moments. Listening to the lectures on my commutes or while I was training at the gym allowed me to consume the content in a way that suited my learning style and busy schedule.
Did your coursework result in any direct outcomes (career or personal)?
My edX courses, hands down, directly impacted me getting my current job. The lucrative salary has had a huge impact on our quality of life, but it has also opened the door for me to complete my full masters degree with the prestigious ESCP European Business School. I started in 2018 (before edX started doing full master degrees!) and shall be completed hopefully this summer.
What advice would you give new edX students?
The work environment is changing dramatically and the previous culture of completing your education directly after school and then not stepping into a classroom again for the remainder of your career, is fast becoming obsolete. Technology and society is changing at such a rapid pace, that you have to actively keep yourself ahead of the curve! EdX is the perfect place to do this.
If you’re comfortable in your current role, try some small courses that will help showcase your experience. It won’t be hard to squeeze it into your everyday life and will be very powerful when an interesting promotion comes up.
For those of you that are actively looking for a new job or a career change, this has to be your most powerful weapon!! Not only does it allow you to get impressive certificates from ‘big name’ universities on your CV, but it also allows you to ’test the waters’ in other fields of interest. Maybe you’ve always dreamt of working in human rights, but don’t know what this would entail. Finding a short course can give you the insight you need to decide whether you should take the leap.
Lastly, don’t feel that you have to wait until you have completed the longer courses before you start using them to your advantage. If you have completed a couple of modules and committed to completing the course, add it to your CV and state the predicted completion date. None of my interviewers were concerned that I was still a few months away from completion, they were much more interested in learning about the content of the course and how I felt I could apply that knowledge.
Anything else you’d like to share about your experience with edX and how it has helped to advance your studies?
The platform itself was incredibly easy to use and the content was very thorough. If you think that you’re not much of a traditional learner, I seriously recommend you try this!