Miriam Dowling chose to undertake the MBA in HRM in order to deepen her understanding of business and apply it to an area she was interested in; mental health and its stigma in the workplace. She told us all about her time at DBS.
Why did you choose this course?
My main motivation for choosing this course was to develop a further understanding of business management, particularly HRM, and research my topic of interest which is mental health and health within the workplace. I live with mental illness, and could see the stigma which surrounded it. While people were being more open about it in society; that conversation stopped once you entered the workplace. I wanted to discover why that was and try and figure out a way of changing it.
Did you enjoy it?
Yes, I had a great two years and I made some amazing friends. I love the learning environment, pushing myself to understand new concepts and people’s experiences and points of view. I received great support for my work from my classmates, which really encouraged me to keep working towards my goals.
How has the course benefited you personally and professionally?
It gave me the confidence to take a different approach to a topic, which employers are struggling to deal with. The opportunity to carry out the primary research was fantastic, as I got first-hand knowledge of the realities for Irish businesses when it comes to mental health.
Personally, it provided me with a focus other than being a mum. I was at home full-time with my then 9 month old son and having the time to attend lectures two nights a week, and take time out for research and assignments, really helped keep me sane. I looked forward to meeting my classmates and engaging my brain in new ideas.
How did you balance your life and studies?
I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the amazing support of my husband Karl who encouraged me to start the course and kept my spirits up, when I felt like giving up. Over the two years my parents and in-laws were also amazing in helping with childcare when I needed to put in extra hours for assignments or exams.
Are you currently working in this or a related area?
I’m delighted to say that I am. When I started the MBA, I had no intention of becoming an entrepreneur; I was going to look for a job in the charity or social enterprise sectors. But, as with life, things changed. When I realised the full extent of the problem regarding mental health and Irish workplaces, I decided to try and come up with a solution. I founded 'Mentality' last year. While I provide consultancy and training, my main focus is coming up with a way of helping employers embed a positive, proactive approach to mental health into their company culture, so it becomes part of their everyday.
What did you feel was the best thing about studying in DBS?
Lecturers having industry experience really helped give that extra edge to the content being delivered. It meant that information was not being dealt with in the vacuum of the classroom but applied to real world situations. To compliment that the class size was such that it allowed everyone to contribute and bring their own professional experience from different sectors into the discussion. The mix of nationalities is also great; we had a diverse group, with lots of international experience.
Would you recommend DBS? Why?
Yes, it is a well established institution, with a good reputation. You also have the reassurance of QQI certification to validate the quality of the courses being administered. The location is great, right in the centre of town and close to all public transport links.
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