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Global communications Mastered

27 August 2013

Rachel Atkinson

Dubai based PR manager graduates from Preston-based University

Pic: Roisin Lillis at her graduation at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Being thousands of miles away from campus has not stopped one dedicated communications professional from completing a Masters at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Roisin Lillis works in Dubai as a public relations manager but she has spent the past two years combining her hectic full-time job with studying part-time on the MA Strategic Communication course.

The 34-year-old travelled to campus in Preston twice a year for residential study sessions and burnt the midnight oil to take part in online tutorials.

She said: “Due to the time difference the weekly online lectures were often at midnight for me so I would not be getting to bed until 1.30am or later with my mind still active. It was then difficult getting up the next morning to make it to work but it was definitely worth all the effort.

“Being with like-minded individuals and sharing professional experiences during the residentials was a great eye opener for me. There were some fascinating and well experienced colleagues on the course and I was yearning to learn from their experience. I also liked developing a communications strategy as this was when I could really apply what I was learning on the course to my actual day job.”

“I feel that the course is really benefiting my everyday communications work. I'm using knowledge gained from my UCLan studies almost unconsciously.”

Roisin, who works for Epoc Messe Frankfurt, decided to undertake the course to continue keeping up-to-date with the very latest communication trends.

“I felt I had learnt a lot in some of my previous roles, but I kept coming up against walls where the learning curve would slow,” she said. “While there are some excellent communications professionals living and working in Dubai, unless you are exposed to them directly, there are very few industry pioneers really driving it forward.

“For me UCLan was the obvious choice because of the course format. It offers an ideal opportunity for those in full-time work to go back and do higher education without having the commitment of being in a certain place each week. In this day and age this freedom is essential.”

The busy lifestyle didn’t stop there for Roisin as half way through her second year of the course she got married to Alec. 

“For me UCLan was the obvious choice because of the course format. It offers an ideal opportunity for those in full-time work to go back and do higher education without having the commitment of being in a certain place each week.”

She said: “There’s no point doing things by halves! I had to play around with deadlines and finish assignments earlier in order to be free for the wedding and honeymoon and this put added pressure on me but it’s been well worth it.”

Roisin, who hails from County Meath in Ireland, was joined by her family at Preston’s Guild Hall as she was one of 4,500 students who donned their caps and gowns during the graduation week.

She said: “I feel that the course is really benefiting my everyday communications work. I'm using knowledge gained from my UCLan studies almost unconsciously...then realising, I'd never have thought of that two years ago, before the course.”

She added: “At this point, one of my aims is to pass on the knowledge I have learned to my peers and subordinates in my current role. The PR/communications industry in the Middle East is relatively new and still developing. There is a long way to go. I would like to be proactive in promoting best practice in the industry for this region and would like to think that I can help enthusiastic professionals to grow and develop – be a mentor if you like to PR Professionals starting out in their careers.”