Marcia French, MSc Managing Business Information Technology, Alumni
LSBU graduate, Marcia, decides to return to LSBU to progress her career through a Masters qualification in IT
Marcia went to secondary school in Bermondsey, where she developed a keen interest in IT, "Back then this was very unusual because I attended a girl's school and nobody, until then, had ever studied Computer Science to that level."
She went on to study IT - attending college in Lewisham before going to South Bank Polytechnic (as it was known then) as an undergraduate in the late 1980's. "I'm proud to say that I am very much a local girl in terms of my connection with LSBU."
After leaving university most of Marcia's career has been in the field of IT support. She worked for a number of firms in different sectors, including food distribution, energy, a Commonwealth high commission, and more recently - the legal sector.
Marcia's career has been full of highlights. She worked her way up from the role of Support Analyst to an IT Manager leading a team for a law firm based in Mayfair. She also won a staff commendation whilst working at the Australian High Commission.
Despite believing that she would never return to academia, Marcia wanted to compliment her work experience with a formal qualification. "I wanted to see just how far technology had moved on and more importantly I wanted to understand how technology was being exploited in modern enterprise." Due to her previous experience at LSBU, Marcia's choice of institution was straight-forward; she decided to return to LSBU.
The diverse international background on the course proved to be a stimulating environment for Marcia. "It was really interesting; there were also several mature students like myself. We all had something to offer and it provided a unique learning experience for me personally."
What particularly struck and impressed Marcia was the vast array of learning resources now available to students. "Visiting the Perry Library was a joy – apart from during exam time of course! I remember spending many hours and countless weekends working on assignments and doing my research for my dissertation. The quality of the library staff was also very impressive."
Marcia appreciated the emphasis on studying real-life situations on the course, which helped give students an appreciation of actual issues faced in the workplace. "Good lecturers that know their subject, engage well with the students and have real work experience are invaluable. I particularly enjoyed the modules on project management, decision support systems, managing mobile technology and business strategy, primarily because these were the units I could apply directly to my job. All were of relevance to me as my employer had been undertaking a programme of major strategic change and it was useful to understand the theory behind the practice."
Above and beyond
Marcia is currently working as a legal practice manager, but she is looking to secure a more IT focused role in the near future or to start her own business – something she feels more confident undertaking now she has a Masters. "Returning to LSBU has helped me develop greater a awareness and understanding of business theory as well as practical skills such as programming and presentation skills."