Dharmendra Patel

Country of origin: India

Project Manager, Bhagwati Developers

Choosing Lancaster University to pursue the MSc Information, Technology, Management and Organisational Change programme was a no brainer for me. I completed my undergraduate in the Computing Department at Lancaster University. I felt that the only university and place that I could replicate my experience was at Lancaster itself. Having a computing background, I was looking for a course that would not only be a step ahead for me but also a step in the right direction. After studying three years in the Computing Department, I realised that I possessed more of managerial traits than technical. The MSc ITMOC course was perfectly blended to unite management, IT and organisational change, subsequently making it the ideal course for me. Having been in Lancaster during my postgraduate application I had the opportunity to meet Martin, the director of the MSc ITMOC programme. Martin put any doubts I had relating to the course to complete rest. Meeting him personally was a teaser towards my question of what to expect. After meeting him, I knew straight away that MSc ITMOC was what I needed and that it was going to be more than just an academic experience.

Unlike other courses in distinct countries where there are hundreds of students, MSc ITMOC is very selective in its approach. This is what makes the programme one of a kind. Ideally, one would find a course and its modules regarding a particular stream, but with MSc ITMOC, I gained insights about a diverse spectrum - from Information Technology to Business Analysis, from Knowledge Management to Project Management, from Researching to Consulting, and from E-Marketing to E-Business. One module that will always be a part of me is the Virtual Simulation of the Enterprise Resource Planning System. All the students, in teams of four, were allowed to maintain an ERP system wherein they were responsible to make crucial decisions about the stocking of products at different locations. The virtual simulations run revealed how the decisions made by the students affected the overall profits. In a module named Analysis and Design, we were taught about gamification, and the biggest example of gamification we found was in MSc ITMOC itself, i.e. the ERP module, which made it an even more interesting learning experience. MSc ITMOC also allowed me to choose from various optional subjects so that I could choose modules I was interested in, making it a very flexible learning experience.

Moreover, unlike India where I completed majority of my education, MSc ITMOC relied on an amalgamation of varied assessment criteria like presentations, quizzes, exams, poster presentations, ERP simulations, essays and problem questions. The most important aspect of the programme for me, and something that I learnt most from was the research internship dissertation. I opted to do a research project with Upside Energy and write a dissertation on this matter. Not only did I gain essential theoretical knowledge but I was also given an amazing opportunity to research, learn and work with the company up close. This reinstated what many know but never really experienced whilst studying. This opportunity, for me, was priceless, as it helped me take my first steps in the real world of work. The practical application of the course was integrated throughout the entire year, with a number of field trips allowing the bonding among the course mates to grow as well as gaining greater insights into traditional and new methods of organisations and working patterns.

Ultimately, not only did MSc ITMOC allow me to learn and assess the academic knowledge, it also helped in personal illumination. A series of workshops aside from the academic modules were conducted in order to understand one and each other better. This allowed me to bond with the course members, making me a better rounded individual overall. More so, the programme was more than just a course, it was a family. The togetherness, the approachability, the transparency and the closeness I experienced between tutors and students was unlike anything I have ever been a part of. Other than the academic commitments, there is always a lot more to look forward to, for instance, with planned Christmas dinners and other outings where the staff and students get the opportunity to get to know each other.

I always wanted to implement the knowledge I gained from my experience at Lancaster into my family business. Little did I know that Lancaster would not just help me build my academic assets but my personal assets too. With the knowledge I gained from Lancaster, I went back to India after my graduation and joined my father’s real estate development business named ‘Bhagwati Developers’, where I was bestowed upon with the responsibility of managing a new residential project coming up. Since starting this role, I have been trying to incorporate new methods of operating and conducting the business, essentially leading to an organisational change. I did learn as a part of the course, that people are resistant towards change, and that is what I did experience. However, taking it one step at a time, I did realise that it is the sudden change that people are resistant to. Slow and steady changes becomes a part of the organisation as a whole and the employees’ routine.

The knowledge that MSc ITMOC instilled me with has been very crucial in, not just tackling one problem I have faced but, a lot of problems I have faced in business over time. This has only been possible because of the multi-faceted and diverse areas MSc ITMOC enveloped in just the one year.