In uncertain times, it is more important than ever to share experience, insights and advice with your peers so we can all learn from one another. With this in mind, we are having conversations with members who have completed our MSc in Digital Marketing and Analytics, to understand the importance of life long learning, and upskilling in times of uncertainty.

For this week’s instalment in the series we’ve chatted to Jim O’Connor, Founder, Livedin.

MII: Hi Jim, in your own words how would you describe the MSc in Digital Marketing and Analytics?

I would describe the MSc in Digital Marketing and Analytics as the gold standard in learning for anyone serious about being in business or marketing today. Digital marketing impacts every aspect of every business and any aspiring business person whether they be working for themselves or an organisation will give themselves a serious competitive edge completing this programme. The programme covers all the relevant components required to create and implement digital marketing plans but more importantly encourages participants to think and act strategically, skills that will endure throughout their career. The programme is also very accessible and is taught and structured in such a way that even non-digital natives can extract maximum value.

Why did you decide to complete the programme?

I set up an online business in a traditional sector with very little understanding of the new digital landscape. I was therefore looking for a programme that covered all the key components required to create and implement a digital marketing strategy and that also provides a strategic framework and tools that would help me ensure my business stays relevant into the future. Furthermore I needed a programme that would give me academic credibility/ authority and could be delivered quickly. This programme ticked all the boxes and has delivered on all fronts.

What aspects of the programme did you like?

I liked the fact the programme was concentrated over a 16 month period with no time wasted over the summer months. I also like the capstone projects which allowed us to bring all our collective learning together to create an informed and professional digital marketing plan for our host company. I also liked the mix of academic and practical content presented within a strategic context. The interaction with teachers and the support we received was also excellent.

Would you recommend the programme and why?

For someone like me of a certain age, coming from a very traditional business and marketing background this course has been a revelation. While the programme naturally appeals to younger digital natives its strategic emphasis give it a much broader appeal. I would go so far as to say that for anyone who currently owns or runs a business or has aspirations to do so, a course like this should be compulsory. In this regard I could not recommend it more highly.

How will you incorporate your new found knowledge into your current role?

As an online start-up every area covered on this course from strategic planning to marketing through to analytics will be necessary to support my endeavours. The programme has provided me with an understanding of each of the components required to deliver a successful digital strategy and how they interact with each other. That said while the content covered is currently leading edge it will evolve and change over time, and as such the real lasting impact of this programme is the confidence it has given me to ask questions now and in to the future, and the knowledge to know what questions to ask.

How did you find studying and completing the programme during a global pandemic?

In an ideal world, in terms of learning and studying, it’s hard to beat the interaction with fellow students in a physical classroom compared to online learning. We had a mixture of both. The first semester was in the classroom and thereafter our learning was online which in fairness both staff and students adapted to quickly and seamlessly. In terms of the pandemic I take the view that it had a positive effect on my studies. In the first instance the programme was a healthy distraction from the pandemic and as such I didn’t have as much time as I might have had otherwise to dwell on its consequences. This in turn allowed me to maintain a positive attitude which I believe fed into my studies.

How important do you think lifelong learning is to the marketing profession?

Lifelong learning is a requirement for all professions. It is especially relevant to marketing which unlike most other professions is unrecognisable from what is was only a short number of years ago. Driven by technology and innovation, marketing and all its facets will no doubt continue to expand at pace into the future. Lifelong learning is therefore essential if the marketing professional is to have any chance of keeping up with this inevitable change.

Is there anything else you would like to share about the programme?

The teaching staff could not have been more professional and helpful. Their response to the pandemic was also very quick and the transition to online learning was relatively seamless.