Malia Moua – MSc Project Management in the Built Environment
Before you came to Brookes what did you study and where?
Before I came to Brookes, I was working as an IT Project Coordinator for one of Canada’s biggest retailer. Prior to this, I studied computer science.
What made you choose Brookes as a place to study?
There were two reasons: First, after working for a high-tech company with the PMO team for a few years, I decided to pursue a career in project management. I spent time researching some of the best project management programmes and Brookes was considered one of the top in the country due to its problem-based approach to learning. As well, of all the modern universities, Brookes has the highest ranking and a good reputation for its graduate employability and beats many of the so called “top” universities as students are prepared to start working straight away without needing a graduate training scheme to show them how to convert the theory into practice.
Second, Brookes is located in one of the most beautiful cities in the world – Oxford, a timeless place with a unique sense of history and culture. With a huge student population, there is a wide variety of people living there, from all over the world.
Do you also work, as well as study?
I work full time at Oxfordshire County Council as well as study. My current project is on the re-tender of the council’s property provider which includes design and build, estates management and facilities management.
How did your scholarship or bursary enhance your experience of the course?
My employer has supported me financially with this course. The dividends of working whilst studying are that I can instantly take my learning and implement it at work straight away. This is also a benefit to my employer as they receive the benefit of their investment immediately as well. There have been a number of things where I have literally walked out of the university one night and walked into work the next day and used that knowledge to do things more effectively.
What do/did you think of the course while studying here?
I really like that the course adopted a problem-based learning approach to ensure that it is real-world focused. Not only did I find this more effective, it is far more rewarding than the traditional examination approach as it enabled me to develop a whole range of management skills and knowledge in the work environment which was performed through real-life projects in the UK.
After graduating from Brookes what were the next steps for your career and where are you working now?
My plan was to move to Toronto and find a job, preferably in IT or Software as a Project Manager or Coordinator. Currently, I landed a job with one of the biggest bank in Toronto. However, with the little exposure working as a student representative for my programme for a year and being able to see how the university operates, I would love to find a job in the academia field once my contract with the bank is up.
What achievements are you most proud of since graduating?
The biggest achievement is probably the completion of my dissertation. Months of work and dedication was poured into this. At times, it got unbelievably difficult and I had to find ways to keep myself focus and motivated. However, with the guidance from my supportive supervisor and professionals I met through the research phase, I was able to complete it on time (although not to the standard I would have liked due to time constraint).
How has the course you studied at Oxford Brookes helped you in your career?
While my major was not in construction, I found the course to be valuable and the knowledge transferrable to other industries in terms of its project management approach and methodology, especially the Risk Management module which happened to be the most difficult but also the most rewarding.
In what way is remaining connected to your alumni network important to you?
Absolutely important. First, remaining connected to your alumni network gives you the chance to keep in touch with classmates you might have lost contact with.
Second, remaining connected could help you with your career search. New graduates can get career advice from alumni who are willing to share their knowledge and experiences. This could lead you to meet people in your industry.
Third, alumni could also be given the chance for further education.
Lastly, aside from all the benefits above, this has been the most fulfilling and inspiring thing I have achieved and marks a significant part of my life, so why would I not want to remain connected? Though my time at Brookes was short, I will never forget what I learned and experienced from all the different friends I met and most of all, my tutors, whom each one of them were incredibly inspiring and passionate with their teaching.