Professional couples' relationship strengthens while pursuing graduate studies together
“Teamwork makes the dream work” and that is the story of Greg and Audia Cadogan, a couple of young professionals who decided to embark on the journey of reading for their postgraduate degrees together at Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM).
The couple, who met years ago while studying for their undergraduate degrees at The University of the West Indies, Mona, shared that they considered the decision to go back to school as an investment in themselves and their family.
“We didn’t just get up one day and decide to go back to school,” Audia shared, noting that they deliberated over the idea for a long time and when they decided to make the step, they saved for an entire year to ensure they would be able to afford their programmes and still live comfortably.
“It was definitely a team effort, we worked out our budgets together. We limited the number of social activities…. our social life was non-existent for an entire year. We were each very dedicated in ensuring that we were putting away a specific amount towards our education and kept track of that,” Audia noted.
When they had finally saved enough money, Audia and Greg applied to Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) for the Master of Science programmes in Marketing and Data Analytics and Logistics and Supply Chain Management, respectively. These areas of study were new to them, as both had academic backgrounds in Science.
“Persons are always so shocked when we tell them the areas we studied in our undergrad years, compared with the programmes we did for our Master's. But these are the areas that called to us," the couple said. Their career paths are in line with their postgraduate degrees, with Audia working as a Marketing Officer at Sagicor Life and Greg employed as a Technical Packaging Team Leader at J Wray and Nephew.
Despite the challenges they faced during their studies, including: juggling hectic work schedules, caring for their daughter, who was two years old at the time, travelling daily from Old Harbour to Kingston for classes that began as early as 6 a.m. and study sessions that ran well into the night, both Greg and Audia graduated from MSBM in 2018 with distinctions. Both were part of the first cohort of graduates in their respective programmes and in addition, Audia was named Top Academic Performer and also received an award for Best Field Project within her discipline.
“I really believe that the field of marketing called me. I did my Bachelor’s in Molecular Biology, with a minor in Pure Chemistry, but after a while science wasn’t doing it for me anymore and I was attracted to, and excited by, the dynamism of marketing,” Audia said.
Through various promotions at Sagicor, she learnt the ins and outs of the discipline and got the opportunity to dabble in such areas as event planning, project management, together with branding and promotions before landing her current position of Marketing Officer.
Similarly, her husband Greg, who did his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biotechnology, with a double minor in Pure Chemistry and Mathematics, discovered his interest in Logistics and Supply Chain Management when he began working at J Wray and Nephew. Though he started out in the Chemistry Lab, as his role evolved he got involved in the movement of the goods and ultimately became the leader for the Technical Packaging Team.
In addition to balancing their academic and professional lives, the Cadogans also had to manage their personal lives as a married couple in school, while caring for a young child.
“It was very hard. We had to rely heavily on family support to make it through the weeks, We’d drop her off at her grandmother’s, or aunt’s house in the mornings as we left home in Old Harbour to make it to Kingston for classes at 6:00 am,” Audia recounts. So they only saw and spent time with their daughter at nights.
However, amid their hectic schedules, the couple set time aside in the evenings to help their daughter with her homework and carved out time during their mid-semester breaks to facilitate fun activities as a family.
In explaining the impact studying for their MSc at the same time had on their relationship, the couple admitted that it was challenging, but they supported each other to ensure they both succeeded, by studying together.
“Support was a major contributing factor to our success. We had to be very understanding of each other’s schedules. For example, there were nights one of us would have late group meetings and the other would have to wait, as we only have one car," Greg said.
“Overall, I’d say it was a great experience and we both came out better for participating, not only because we got stronger in our relationship, but now we are equipped with the academic experiences to conquer our careers,” Audia concluded.
Both the MSc in Marketing and Data Analytics and Logistics and Supply Chain Management were introduced by MSBM in 2017 as part of the institution’s effort to diversify its offerings and provide students with opportunities to remain relevant to the work force with academic qualifications to match the challenges and evolutions in businesses.
“Our goal here at MSBM is to provide students with the tools and knowledge to make a significant impact on our country and the world at large. Towards this end, we saw the need to introduce a number of new programmes to meet the demands of the market and make our students more marketable,” said Executive Director, Dr. David McBean.
Other MSc programmes introduced in 2017 were: Corporate Finance, Services and Retail Management and Procurement Management. This was achieved through benchmarking exercises with top universities and consultations with business stakeholders.
“The institution remains committed to applying a forward-thinking approach to delivering quality tertiary education to its students and continues to garner a reputation of providing relevant and solution-oriented business training,” said Dr McBean.