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Jameel Caitane-Thomas

MSc Bioinformatics and Systems Biology

Jameel Caitane-Thomas had always wanted to carry on in academia after graduating from his undergraduate course. It was another five years before he enrolled on the MSc Bioinformatics and Systems Biology at Birkbeck, with a view to going onto a PhD afterwards.

Jameel says: ‘I needed to continue working while I studied so Birkbeck was really the only option I had. Thankfully, they offered the course that I wanted to study.’

‘I think there’s definitely something to be said about an institution which is set up for mature learners. I noticed a difference in the students and in the way that the tutors treated us and I found it to be a very positive learning environment.’

‘My family and friends initially thought I must be crazy to attempt a Master’s while working but as I started handing in work and getting good results I think they were impressed.’

‘I had always prided myself on my time-management skills but once I started they had to improve even further! Managing relationships was also a challenge and my girlfriend had to get used to me being behind a computer every evening and weekend, but she was amazing and her support was very important.’

‘As soon as I handed in my dissertation I started applying for jobs. My qualification has opened new avenues of career development not previously available to me and I’ve discovered a love of programming, which is what I now do for a living. At interview the panel were very impressed that I’d been working at the same time as studying for my Master’s degree.’

‘Studying at Birkbeck has given me a huge confidence boost. There were points where I didn’t think I’d make it and I had to muster up energy I didn’t think I had, but it’s definitely shown me what I’m capable of.’

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'My qualification has opened new avenues of career development not previously available to me.'