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“Why I Chose to Study a Top Up Degree After My HND”

Business & Management BA Top Up student, Racheal-Abosede Olaleye, tells us more about her Northumbria experience.

Rachael Abosede Olaleye, Business Managemet top up degree studentAfter completing her Higher National Diploma in Business Management, Racheal-Abosede Olaleye knew that she wanted to continue her education to enhance her CV and stand out in the job market. 

In April 2020, she joined Northumbria University’s distance learning Business and Management BA (Hons) Top Up degree.  

Here, she tells us more about the transition from her HND studies to a full undergraduate degree, and how she has found learning online. 


Why did you decide to do a Top Up degree with Northumbria University after finishing your HND?   

I started my Business Management HND in 2012, and soon decided that I wanted to do a Top Up degree immediately after finishing. I believed having this qualification would enhance my credibility in the job market, as most job adverts now include having a degree in their requirements. However, when I finished in 2014, work commitments and personal reasons meant that I was unable to continue my studies on campus.  

A few years later, I saw the Northumbria University online course advertised on social media. Although I am a family and career woman with many commitments, I have never wanted these to limit my opportunity to learn. Coming across this distance learning route provided a solution to my problem. After looking at the module and course details, I saw it covered the industry knowledge that I was seeking at the time, in particular project management and business analysis, too.   


Have you found that studying for a Top Up degree is different to studying for your HND?   

A Top Up degree, more or less, builds on the foundation knowledge you gained while studying for your HND. As to be expected with higher-level learning, this means it has been harder at times. You are expected to be more independent in your research, write-ups, reports, assessment, and application of learning.  

Constantly using technology to learn has been different. I have had to get used to learning outside of a normal classroom, where you can rub minds with classmates or ask a question there and then. However, there are similarities. Both types of qualifications involve learning new things and require resilience to not give up.  


How have you found studying via distance learning?  

 As I said, distance learning can be quite challenging for people who are not able to motivate themselves. In that way, it has been quite different to face-to-face learning where your peers and human contact is right there. You are your own champion and motivator. However, Northumbria have been very supportive, starting with the tutors who are all very co-operative and empathetic. Even more importantly, the Student Success Advisors have been a big help. The student support they offer is fantastic. Even though I’ve never met my advisor, Lillie-Mai, face-to-face, she has become like a friend as well as an adviser, a manager and a motivator - she’s everything rolled into one.  


What advice would you give someone considering studying a Top Up degree, either with NU or elsewhere?  

I advise them to go for it. Not only are you learning about your chosen subject, you are also gaining other knowledge and skills such as IT, emotional intelligence, time management, resilience, prioritisation and more. You might not be able to discover or develop these types of skills normally. 


How would you describe your NU experience so far in three words?  

MEMORABLE, INSPIRATIONAL and CAPTIVATING.  Thank you to the University for this wonderful journey of learning. 


Manage Your Future With Our Business and Management Top Up Degree 

Learn more about our Business and Management BA (Hons) Top Up degree and how you could transform your existing HND, or other Level 5 qualification, while studying part-time, online. 

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