Jonnell Whervin, student pursuing Heriot-Watt’s MSc in Construction Project Management Programme offered through the B&B University College, was presented on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 with the award- MSc Student of year.
Jonnell gained the admiration and respect of the administration at the college because of her consistent straight A performance after examinations, despite juggling a demanding full-time career.
Perhaps our courses are too easy? Jonnell paused to answer a few questions regarding how she balances her career and studying as well as the advantages of pursuing the course through B&B University College.
BBUC- Can you tell us about your current job?
JW– I am currently employed to Kingston Wharves Ltd. as the Facilities Maintenance Coordinator. As the name suggests, I am tasked with the responsibilities of coordinating all facility maintenance activities. This includes planning and controlling the annual preventative maintenance activities; managing the design/solution process, quality control and resources for all construction projects on the port and external properties owned by Kingston Wharves Ltd. Added to the role is the responsibility of acting in the capacity of Resident Engineer or junior Project Manager on special cap-ex projects.
BBUC- How do you manage a full time job and studying enough to get straight As? What is your learning/study strategy?
JW- The very first thing I had to do (and quickly) was to remind myself that, an undergraduate approach to learning and studying at the masters level will be grossly insufficient. The 3 key elements to my progress thus far includes:
- The use of a study schedule to ensure sufficient time is allotted to studying.
- Group studying- reading alone may only allow interpretations based on my experience (or in some cases, the lack thereof) however, reading/studying in groups allow for a more interactive discussion based on different experiences, professions, etc. which contributes to me (and the group) understanding the material and being able to relate it to our local construction industry.
- Support- whether it is from family, spouses, friends, I believe having the support while on this journey is important and can come in numerous beneficial forms.
BBUC– What advice would you give to a student considering embarking on their studies at Heriot-Watt through B&B?
JW-The programme is meticulously designed and all the courses are interrelated, despite being of a different focus. With only 1 module left, I can say that at the end of the programme, the student will have a greater appreciation of the challenges within the various levels of the construction industry and will be knowledgeable of the various initiatives and drives to improve the industry through effective project management. The programme is offered as an Independent Distance Learning (IDL) route and I implore all potential students to be reminded of this fact, as it will require the student to independently read and research widely. This should not be a deterring factor as there will be fantastic facilitators/lecturers along the way who are experts within the industry.
BBUC- Do you think your current programme of study has given you an edge in your chosen field and why?
The programme focuses on the current challenges of the construction industry and through its various courses, it attempts to present project management solutions focused on integration of the team, partnering the supply chain, rethinking processes, etc. I operate in an industry that is very culture driven and typically slow to change and the programme has allowed me to view the challenges within our own local construction industry in an objective manner and has given me a greater appreciation and drive to be an agent of change within the industry.
BBUC- Your programme of study is offered through Independent Distance Learning. Why did you choose to study through B&B?
JW- The options are few for construction professionals who are seeking to further their education locally. The programme through B&B was the chosen option because it offered certification from an internationally recognized university; the programme was not only nationally accredited, but was also internationally accredited by the Royal Institute of Charted Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Building; The course content seemed relevant to the areas I sought to strengthen professionally and the delivery was a flexible option, with classes being held only on Saturdays/Sundays.