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Hannifa Best 900x400 - Woman on a couch

Hannifa Best

Management and Marketing - MSc

Being thousands of miles away from home and entering a new environment and culture didn’t stop international student Hannifa finding a part-time job relevant to her Master’s degree.  By building a good relationship with her employer, she’s managed to maintain her work life balance and find time to relax too, as well as gaining crucial experience for her career in marketing.

“As an international student studying a Master’s degree, it was crucial I found a job whilst studying. I thought that getting a part-time job in the area of my degree would help me use the knowledge I learn in class, in a real-life environment.

I am currently working part-time at a company called Whittaker Fleet Care, which has opened many marketing opportunities for me, even though it is a small company. I have been given a lot of responsibility from work, which I thought would put a lot of pressure on my studies but, actually, working in the area in which I’m studying a degree has helped me put theory into practice.

I knew it was crucial to maintain a balance between studying and working as well as having time to socialise and have fun. Work can be demanding, but so can the degree with the different assignments and deadlines. I found a balance through not over working myself; it’s important to develop a good relationship with your employer, so they don’t overwork you and that they appreciate that your degree comes before work. I made sure I found time for social activities too. Having time to myself made me forget about work and gave me the chance to relax and spend time with my friends.

I had never planned to study a Master's. After doing my ACCA at BCU, I was unsure where life was going to take me next. However, I knew I wanted to stay here in the UK. My mum reminded me of my huge love for marketing and that I have always been intrigued since a young age. I live with my mum in Barbados and I’m originally from there, but my mum's side of the family are British and have all studied here in the UK, London to be specific, so it’s nice to follow in the footsteps of my family.

If I had to give any advice for new students, I’d say go and be yourself and take as many opportunities as you can and don’t be afraid of working alongside your degree, because I believe a work/study balance can be achieved. The lecturers are so friendly and helpful as well as the students, so never be afraid to ask questions, no matter how silly it may seem.

'I AM BCU' means that I am part of the family of the University. It means to me that I can always count on the staff and students to help me with any issues. 'I AM BCU' means to me that even when I graduate I will always be part of the family.”

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