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How a Master’s Degree Can Help Leaders in Senior Government Roles

How a Master’s Degree Can Help Leaders in Senior Government Roles

The MIM programme is invaluable in rapidly increasing skills and competencies in areas where senior managers feel are lacking, and they are then able to apply those learnings to their work immediately

Successful senior managers in Wellington and Auckland are upping their career through Victoria University’s Master of Information Management (MIM) programme. While studying on top of full-time work may sound like a challenge, the programme’s alumni say that the MIM is flexible enough to work around, and provides hands-on projects to enhance their skills and forward their career.

Many of the students who undertake the MIM programme are already successful senior managers. With the programme being available in both Wellington and Auckland, there’s also an even split between professionals working in the public and private sector, and this means that many of them are handling large-scale projects as a consequence of their work.

These students find the MIM programme invaluable in rapidly increasing their skills and competencies in areas they feel are lacking, and they are then able to apply those learnings to their work immediately.

Graeme Tweedie, the group manager, Enterprise Programme Management Office (EPMO) in the public sector, was already putting what he had learnt into practice well before he had finished the course.

“I often found at work I was directly applying what I had learnt at a lecture to help develop a new strategy, spot new opportunities, improve a process or look at a new way to solve a problem,” Tweedie said. He came to the course after a promotion because he felt that he had skill gaps that needed to be filled. “My previous roles had centred on project leadership where the focus was quite narrow and primarily on project work,” he said.

“But moving into my new role of managing the EPMO, I had to broaden my focus to include the wider context of the organisation and consider how my portfolio of work would impact on the organisation’s strategies.

“While I had been in management and leadership positions for a while, I wanted to gain a better understanding of developing organisational strategies in a landscape where technology is constantly changing how we work, where we work, and how we deliver and receive services and products. I looked at several Master’s programmes, and the MIM appealed the most in seeking these answers.”

Tweedie’s story is not uncommon for students in the MIM programme, according to the programme’s director at Victoria University’s Business School, Dr. Jocelyn Cranefield.

“This course is not about spending years working on a degree in order to finally be qualified at the end,” Dr. Cranefield said. “The structure of the course means that many of the projects, such as a journal or blog that we ask students to keep, are designed so that they reflect on the work they’re doing in their profession, and therefore gain immediate insights and learning outcomes that they can then apply to their work immediately.”

"A lot of senior managers who come through our programme benefit from learning new tools and resources. Not only does this help them find new ways of thinking and learning, it helps increase their confidence and ultimately perform better as a leader."

The programme prides itself on being very open and flexible, something that Tweedie said was critical in enabling him to complete the course while also working full time.

“I was able to study a wide range of subjects within the MIM from organisational and ICT strategy to change management and enterprise systems, and complement them with papers from Business Administration and e-Government Master’s programmes,” Tweedie said.

“I also really appreciated the flexible structure of the programme that you can study around work, family and busy times in your life. It’s not as scary as you may think, although it taught me how to manage my time better.”

Tweedie said one of the most valuable skills he learned in the programme was the ability to think at a strategic level that encapsulates not just the technology and delivery aspects, but how these fit into and affect the wider organisational picture.

“In the industry, ICT initiatives are often started without proper consideration and assessment of their business impact on existing strategies, processes, the people and the change management effort required,” Tweedie said.

“The MIM has given me the tools, strategies and the ability to identify and assess organisations as a whole and recognise both the opportunities and impacts of the ever-changing, fast-paced technology landscape that we live in.”

More information about the course and what it offers to executives can be found below: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/information-management. Information on course fees, as well as scholarship and employer payment information is also covered.

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