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The course is familiar. My life is different.

Former Development Studies graduate, Keiko, makes a successful return to study after becoming a mother.

Written by Keith McDonald |

MSc Finance graduate Keiko with family at the 2018 London Graduation Ceremony.
MSc Finance graduate Keiko with her family at the 2018 London Graduation Ceremony.

It's remarkable that Keiko from Japan finds the time to breathe, let alone travel across the world to attend a Graduation Ceremony.

This inspiring lady first graduated in 1999 with a MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

She went on to work in the development sector, including conflict zones, and then to raise a family.

As a working mum, she has somehow found the time and energy to complete an MSc in Finance by distance learning with the University of London.

The family came along to the 2018 Graduation Ceremony at the Barbican Centre, London, to celebrate the occasion.

Distance learning - I didn't know!

Keiko has fabulous life experience in the development sector, but was so often involved in finance that she felt it was something to explore further.

"I worked in the field, like in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, working in Syria, Israel and Palestine. Now I'm working in a bank, in the financial sector, so I have alternated between the two sectors," she explains.

"I didn't know about the distance-learning courses until I found the University of London (International Programmes) a few years ago.

"I wanted to combine and strengthen my knowledge about finance, so I decided to do this with the University of London because I have kids and I'm working. This course made that possible," she adds.

Finance buildings in sunshine
Keiko has alternated between the development and finance sectors, so chose to explore further study in finance.

Familiar, yet different

As expected, time was tight, so Keiko stuck to familiar processes to adapt to very different circumstances.

"The course composition - what I have to do - was the same. But my life is so different," she says. "I had to study during my free time, during the night."

"I tried to keep the process the same. I didn't want to try new things because I was so busy. I knew this process, so I tried to make it fit."

Keiko also enjoyed the changes brought by the dissertation module, and the academic contacts she was able to make.

"It was very interesting," she says. "I was given access to a tutor outside of the university that I could contact by email. He gave me a lot of advice, and it was a really good experience exploring that information."

I want to continue studying

Graduating seems to have given the dynamic Keiko an appetite for more.

"I'm sure I can use the knowledge from the course and apply it to my work," she says.

"Maybe in the future if I want to develop my career in other places, this is going to be a very good strength for me.

"I just want to continue my study. This is the one trial for me - to keep going," she adds.

"I really recommend it, especially for mums like me who really struggle with time. It was a very convenient course for us all."