I Can’t Believe It’s Almost Over

Wow! It seems like just yesterday I received my first set of study materials in the mail for my MSc program, and now it’s almost over. On the one hand, I wish the Leicester experience could continue. On the other hand, I recognize that the program was initially a means to an end.


As I reflect on the overall experience, I must say that despite the challenges of being a distance learning student, I have rather enjoyed my time in the program. I certainly wish that I could have had the experience on campus, but, as that wasn’t possible, just being a University of Leicester student has been extremely rewarding. I don’t mean in the obvious ways. I mean that I have encountered several people over the past 2-3 years who are either alumni or former tutors for various U of L programs, so feeling connected to a widening professional network confirms that the effort and the sacrifice were well worth the investment. And to think, I didn’t initially even want a masters degree. Honestly, I’m glad I opted to go this route, especially since there is no guarantee at all that one can pass all three CFA exams. Over the same 2-3 year time span, I’ve met a number of people who have struggled to pass the CFA level 2 and 3 exams, and spending 5-6 years to only have earned 1/3 of a qualification is not a good risk management move, in my opinion.


I’m trying to regain my focus on writing up my dissertation after having been hospitalized and still dealing with ongoing treatment for a serious illness, but the finish line is in sight. I have to keep reminding myself of that last bit because I nearly tapped out, feeling that I was too sick to focus on writing up the dissertation. However, I reviewed the university’s statement on why the dissertation is required, and I realized that unlike doctoral research, this piece only needs to fill a gap in the academic literature, not develop a new concept or model. Besides, the hard part  – the research – is already done. All I need to do is actually write, and writing has always been something that I rather enjoy. I’m not sure if I’ll still have access to my supervisor, but I was just assigned a new tutor, so as long ass I have a way to get some feedback, I should be able to offer a passable dissertation.


I’m still toying with the idea of doing a PhD or DBA (mainly for an excuse to continue to study and actually experience the U of L campus), but I’m undecided at this point. The reality is that in business, a PhD is seldom a selling point on the job market outside of academia. I have considered perhaps doing it so that I could teach in a university and do some high-level niche consulting, but I’ll need to do a bit more research to figure out if the ROI is really worth it. I do have a couple of friends for whom the PhD has facilitated international consulting and speaking opportunities, but with such a small sample size, I can’t be sure if those results can be generalized to a wider population (notably, me).


OK, back to working on my dissertation. I’m hoping to finish writing up the literature review in the next 7-10 days, depending on how much energy I have. More importantly, I hope that I can reach my supervisor and get feedback on the chapter before moving forward. I’ll keep you updated.


Gee…..I love this place….and I haven’t even been there yet.

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About Ismail

Hi, I'm Ismail. I'm an American living abroad while trying to figure out what I want to be when (if) I grow up. I love sports, particularly American football and martial arts, and when I'm not working at one of my four jobs, you will likely find me in the gym lifting really heavy stuff. I'm a distance learning MSc Finance student, and I'll be happy to share my journey with you while trying to maintain some semblance of sanity.

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