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Brendon Thomas

BA Management

After gaining his A-levels in Trinidad, Brendon Thomas decided to pursue a career in the music industry. He combined this with working as a mortgage/protection adviser at a bank. When he reached age 35, Brendon decided that he was ready to set aside his career in the music industry and to embark on study for a degree. He says, 'I come from a very academic family and going to university was something that I always knew that I would do but the timing had to be right. For me, the right time was at age 35.'

Brendon was aware of Birkbeck as his wife had already studied for a MSc Occupational Psychology at the College. He says, 'Having waited 35 years to start my degree I wanted to be sure that my qualification would be well respected, and I knew that Birkbeck, a college of the University of London, would provide me with a degree that would be recognised anywhere in the world.'

Brendon was working full-time and could not afford to stop working so, he says, 'Birkbeck was the only place where I knew that I could work full-time and get a good quality degree.'

Combining work and study was not always easy, and Brendon says that 'organisation is key'. He is also grateful for the practical support that he received from his wife (such as making him sandwiches to eat before class) and his employer, who allowed him to work in central London branches so that he could get to classes on time and let him take shorter lunch breaks so that he could leave half an hour earlier. He says, 'You have to be realistic and think about the logistics such as how you’re going to get to class, and when you’ll find time to eat. Having support from my wife and employer was key in helping me manage the demands of full-time work and part-time study.'

Choosing the right time for his degree was also important. Brendon explains, 'I was ready to start studying, and that meant that I gave it my full commitment. Saturday kick-arounds in the park had to take the back seat, but I was where I wanted to be. I was also studying with a group of people who were all there with one common goal, and that was very motivating.'

Classes were also made more enjoyable by the way that different tutors had different styles of teaching.  'The tutors would all put a different twist on things, but they were all really happy when you asked them questions, even if you had a different opinion to them. I didn’t meet any tutors that weren’t happy to help you.'

Brendon reflects, 'Having a degree does open doors , so part of my decision to study was about cold hard business, but I think a degree also broadens your horizon personally, as well as helping you to build your confidence. Any time you set yourself a task and you achieve it your confidence grows, and that’s certainly true of successfully completing a four-year degree from one of the top 1% of universities worldwide.'

Brendon’s commitment to his study paid off as he graduated with a first class degree and won the award for Best Management Dissertation 2011/2012, for his dissertation entitled, 'Exploring the Relationship between the Level of Motivation of Individual Staff and their Performance. A study at the Britannia/Co-operative Bank'.

Brendon concludes: 'I would definitely recommend Birkbeck; for the quality of the degree, the experience and the convenience.'

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'Birkbeck was the only place where I could work full-time and get a good quality degree.'