Opportunity to shine

A special feature by Kaplan Higher Education Academy

The right environment and support helped Mr Daniel Fernandez to discover his interests and graduate with first class honours.

Madam Diana Chua, 60, always believed in letting her son Daniel Fernandez choose his own path in life.

She gave him minimal advice and did not interfere very much in his studies. She admits, however, that she did feel very upset whenever people judged her son when he did not do well in school.

In particular, when he was 18, he was very affected by his teacher's dismissal of his chances to make it to university.

At 23, he visited a Kaplan roadshow and learnt about Kaplan's Northumbria University (Newcastle, UK) Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Business with International Management degree programme.

Northumbria University is the first and only university in Europe to have a rare double accreditation in business and accounting with The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.

The achievement puts Northumbria in the top 1 per cent of elite business schools worldwide.

In addition to his interest in the programme, he chose the degree with honours course after his sister's advice that the university's accreditation and ranking would make his qualifications more recognised in the eyes of employers.

He was determined to excel at his course and to prove his teacher wrong, which he did.

Mr Fernandez graduated this year with first-class honours, much to the surprise and joy of his mother.

"When he told me the news I thought he was joking as he had always been average in his studies. I only believed it when we got the official notice of his achievement. I'm so proud of him," Madam Chua says.

'Class' of degree matters

The Kaplan experience changed the way Mr Fernandez approached studying. Previously, he used to hate school, finding teachers unhelpful and their teaching styles boring, but he realised that things were very different at Kaplan.

His lecturers went the extra mile by staying back after class to help students clarify concepts they did not understand.

One lecturer who taught the module "Change, Work and Diversity" inspired him deeply.

He says: "The lecturer changed me, he was supportive and helpful and the teaching approach of linking theories to real-life experiences was effective.

"More importantly, he reminded me that the 'class' of degree I achieved at the end of the course would stay with me forever. We only got to do the course once, so I needed to shine."

Renewed interest in studying

From then on, Mr Fernandez was determined to aim for first class honours and was able to systematically work towards his goal because Northumbria University uses 100 per cent assignment-based grading.

This means students could spend more time doing research and perfecting their work rather than "cramming" it all just for one major examination.

"I didn't like being forced to remember concepts and to apply them in just two hours for the examination, as was the case in my past schools.

I prefer the group work styled assignments at Northumbria as they allowed me to discuss new ideas with my fellow classmates," he says.

Positive influence

Everyone he met positively influenced him to break away from the mediocre and excel, including his classmates.

The Northumbria University's programme at Kaplan provided Mr Fernandez with the opportunity to meet and learn from students from different backgrounds and nationalities. They worked to solve problems together and share successes. He believes that, without them, his first class honours degree would not have been possible.

Armed with both the academic knowledge he gained as well as an understanding of various cultures, the current credit control officer at a global information services group has found that his Kaplan experience endowed him with a distinct advantage in the workplace.

"The programme had also prepared me for the real world," he says. "With my stellar academic credentials, I've proven to all, including myself, that I can do it with the right programme support and environment that allow me to shine."

Visit kaplan.com.sg for more information.