Mum of two completes MBA in memory of close relative
A local mum has dedicated her degree qualification to her auntie who passed away during her studies saying she was inspired by her strength and determination.
Emma Shirley from Ashton collected her MBA (Master of Business Administration) award this week at her University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) graduation ceremony.
The 35-year-old mum of two returned to study part-time four years ago while working in project support at Lancashire County Council (LCC). Along with juggling family life with work and study Emma was also dealt an unexpected blow when her auntie, Lynda Adams, suddenly passed away aged only 52.
She commented: “I was incredibly close to my Auntie Lynda who was like a second mother to me and when she died of a brain haemorrhage just before Christmas 2014, it shook the whole family, including my mum who was very close to her sister.
“I didn’t really know how I would cope with the grief, working and bringing up two young children as well as studying and I was ready to leave university because it was all too much to handle. Then people started to get in touch to say what an inspiration Lynda had been through her work as a support worker of children with behavioural problems and suddenly I thought, I can do this.”
When I initially returned to study it was for a two-year Diploma in Management Studies paid for by work and I never even thought of taking it to master's level. Encouraged by a colleague I decided to continue down this path.
Since then Emma has gone on to thrive in her studies and even secured a new job earlier this year, leaving LCC after 12 years to take up an executive position at BAE Systems as a Programme Manager.
She said: “When I initially returned to study it was for a two-year Diploma in Management Studies paid for by work and I never even thought of taking it to master's level. Encouraged by a colleague I decided to continue down this path, this time self-funded, and although it’s been incredibly hard at times it’s been worth it and I am really enjoying my new job and the challenges it brings.”
Emma, who originally hails from Liverpool but has lived in Preston for 10 years with her husband Darren and children Millie, 8, and six-year-old Jack, added: “Over the last few years I’ve had a lot of support from my husband but especially my mum Sandra who I couldn’t have managed without. She looked after my two children while I had my head in a book and I will forever be grateful to her. The last few years have made me realise that life is too short and I know my auntie would be very proud of what I’ve achieved.”