A Q&A with Faizah Azeem.
Why did you decide to undertake a postgraduate apprenticeship in Marketing and Leadership?
Cranfield delivers a unique programme that sits well with professionals wanting to develop themselves into expert leaders and marketers. After grounding myself in marketing at Solihull College and University Centre for four years, I saw many opportunities for self-development. I felt inspired by the case studies I wrote about student excellence and achievement. I started looking into what options would be financially viable and of a high standard. I found the Senior Leader Apprenticeship+ Marketing and Leadership MSc programme at Cranfield School of Management. From the first conversation with Noreen Munnelly (Business Development Manager, Cranfield School of Management) who was wonderful at answering all my questions and setting a great first impression, I was sold!
What is your current job title and role?
Marketing and Public Relations Officer at Solihull College and University Centre. I manage the College’s Public Relations and Communications in all areas. I am also a member of the College’s Equality and Diversity Steering Committee. I lead the BAME Staff Network, where I bridge conversations between staff and the Executive Management Team to implement positive change and work towards achieving the College’s Anti Racism goal.
Why did you study the Senior Leader Apprenticeship+ Marketing and Leadership MSc course?
I am very conscientious and decisive which benefits me in many ways. I look through every detail of a product with a fine-tooth comb and carefully compare my options, and then once I am satisfied, I make my decision and don’t look back. Cranfield was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The support, guidance and empowerment I have received in just a short amount of time has been exemplary and how every educational institution should make a student feel.
The key reasons why I chose this course
- It’s offered in partnership with CIM Academy, which brings a range of benefits, but it’s also a master’s level apprenticeship, which is unique.
- I was impressed by the course professors and director and their expertise, which has exceeded my expectations.
- The financial aspect was a significant factor and a huge selling point. As it’s an apprenticeship, the course cost is covered, and for the second part, the MSc, I’m hoping to secure funding to cover the cost or through my employer.
How does this course fit around your current work arrangements and commitments?
The course fits well around my current lifestyle, yes, I am stretched and don’t have as many weekends free anymore, but that’s to be expected. My manager at Solihull College and University Centre has been a huge support in allowing me the time to focus on my apprenticeship, my assignments, and all other elements that contribute to the programme. Having a supportive employer is instrumental.
What attracted you to Cranfield School of Management?
What aspect of your course do you find most exciting and why?
I have met inspiring and creative people working for major companies. I’ve had exposure to a world I wouldn’t normally have become too familiar with. This has contributed to my self-development and confidence. It’s also the world of academia that you become a part of at this level that is so invigorating and opens ideas and doors for you. The lecturers treat you as equals and show an interest in your journey, work, and expertise, and it almost feels like a reciprocal experience due to their manner of engaging you.
Dr Annmarie Hanlon, course director of the Marketing and Leadership MSc, has been a huge support from day one. She recognised my self-doubt and made it her mission to inspire confidence in me. She is extremely organised and thorough and, despite being busy, finds time to support and uplift you in whichever way she can. I have never experienced this level of support from a mentor or teacher in my life and I hope in the future I’m able to pass on to someone some of the compassion and attention she has given me.
How has the environment and community at Cranfield supported you during your studies?
The librarians are amazing. They are so supportive, and I cannot thank them enough. I’ve also had an excellent experience with accommodation for my week-long residential. I have been able to communicate with them and arrange flexibility to support my well-being.
Who would you recommend your course to and why?
This course is perfect for professionals currently working in marketing at any level. I’m the only non-managerial student in my cohort and was very nervous initially, being the least experienced and youngest out of everyone. I had nothing to worry about. The people on the course are great and treat you as equals with so much respect.
How will this qualification help your career?
I have developed skills and knowledge of various aspects of marketing that even big organisations seldom include in their marketing strategies. Whilst being able to tailor this course to the education sector, there’s no holding me back in terms of key skills and what I can offer organisations in a range of industries once I complete the programme.
What are your career plans?
I feel very inspired by the role Further Education plays in our society. Marketing still has a long journey to traverse within this sector and I have a lot to contribute to it. Ideally, I want to focus more on inclusion and equity within marketing and I believe that is where my future lies.
Do you have any advice for students considering a postgraduate apprenticeship?
Do it, it’s a unique opportunity, and you have everything to gain.