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In his guest blog, MSc Disaster Management student Darren Hughes discusses how his background in policing has provided him with opportunities within the field of disaster management and how the flexibility of the course has allowed him to continue working and balancing family life. 

Black and white clos up image of Darren Hughes smiling

Darren Hughes

I have been in policing for 18 years in both Sussex and London working on various teams, so I am no spring chicken at the age of 45, to the world of academia.

After studying my undergraduate course, part-time and online, in BA (Hons) International Business Management with BU in 2016 (note that this is no longer available for part-time and online study), I decided to study with Bournemouth University again, for my Master’s.

I’ve found being able to study MSc Disaster Management part-time and online has been a good fit for me, my work, and my family life; as I have two young children and a partner who works abroad quite a lot. Due to the flexible nature of the course, I am able to complete coursework whilst being able to take in what is being studied and put it into practice using up-to-date modern case studies, to try and test my abilities.

The unit choices allow you to choose which units you would like to take in years one and two. So I have managed to fit in most of the units in the first year, leaving me one unit in the second year and my dissertation. The lecturers have done a lot of project work abroad in developing countries and know their stuff, and they have a lot of stories and anecdotes to keep you involved along the way. They also involve seminars at agreed times and guest speakers who are also current in the field of disaster management.

My policing background has also helped with opening doors into the disaster management field both in my current employment and outside of the policing family, with some Non-Government Organisations.

I have learned a multitude of skills during my time on the course, from presenting [my one fear], teamwork, managing teams, being a team member, and of course, having competing views with others on the course. I enjoyed the camaraderie, the international friendships gained, the content of the course, and overall, the learning I have taken from it. It’s great being around like-minded people, many of which have become good friends along the way. Plus, the university sites are great and easy to travel to from the town and are modern, clean, and well-maintained.

I am now completing my dissertation, which may form part of any potential PhD study at BU. I don’t wish or want it to finish, as I feel I could complete a few more units and have totally enjoyed my time at BU.

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