Exactly one week from now, I will be on stage at the International Conference Centre (ICC) Wales, receiving my certificate. This will officially mark the end of my 18-month journey at the University of South Wales. Additionally, I will be walking as the recipient of the Professor Derek Holder Prize for the best dissertation in the MSc class of 2023 for the Strategic and Digital Marketing course from Data & Marketing Association (DMA) UK

Therefore, I would like to conclude my #StrategicDigitalMarketing blog series with this heartfelt piece to appreciate our course leader and my project supervisor, Dr Jackie Harris. Her support has been instrumental in the success of this journey.

I remember starting the journey quite apprehensive, having finished with a third class in my undergraduate degree in computer science over ten years ago after two extra years. Deciding to enrol for a post-graduate degree was an opportunity to prove that I wasn’t lacking,l after years of grappling with imposter syndrome and thinking I wasn’t enough despite excelling in my career. 

My first encounter with Dr Harris was during her pre-enrolment interview with me circa May 2022. She spoke highly of my resume and career achievements and said she looked forward to meeting me in September. he mentioned the school had resources to help me navigate the academic aspect of the journey. That was a light bulb moment for me,  prior to the call with Dr Harris, I had seven other admission offers from other universities in the UK, but Jackie’s reassuring words were what I needed to make a final decision.  The rest, as they say, is history. 

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After our first class with Dr. Harris on her Marketing Research Module, I told her that her call with me helped me make a decision. I told her how unsure I was about how my academic performance for my MSc would be, given my undergraduate experiences.  Nevertheless, I was willing to push myself to finish with a distinction. This was my ultimate goal. Dr. Harris responded, “I think you’d be a good PhD candidate. You should consider doing a PhD.” I shrugged and said, “Me, a PhD? I don’t even know what my MSc grades will be like yet.”

Of all six modules from the Strategic and Digital Marketing course, I found Dr Harris’ module on marketing research and insight to be the most challenging. I struggled with this module because it was my first encounter with core academic research and writing. I barely passed it, which aggravated my fears because this course was a prerequisite for our dissertation. I asked myself, “If I can’t pass this course excellently, will I ever be able to ace my dissertation? Will I be able to achieve my goal of finishing with a distinction?”

I never stopped expressing my worries to Dr Harris every time I had the opportunity to talk to her,  about how unsure I was about how my performance in my dissertation would be because of my experience in the Marketing Research and Insight module; her responses were always reassuring.  

One thing that stood out about the MSc Strategic and Digital Marketing lecturers was their feedback on our coursework after grading. Dr. Harris’ feedback was constructive in identifying the areas that needed improvement for my dissertation.

I was privileged to have Jackie supervise and guide my dissertation as supervisor. Just like my experience with the marketing and research course, I was terrified and never stopped sharing my worries with her.  But with Jackie’s guidance and tutelage,  I navigated through every dissertation phase. 

I faced some challenges while working on my dissertation. I struggled with choosing a topic, but Dr Harris helped me identify areas where I excelled and guided me in the right direction. When I wasn’t sure how to start writing my literature review, she pointed me to resources where I could get help. Similarly, she offered guidance when I had difficulty finding the right participants. Her constant support and guidance kept me on track, from refining my research topic to participant selection for interviews, analyzing my data, and drawing conclusions.

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Through this process, I was pushed to my limits and wasn’t sure how much I could handle, but working on my dissertation under Dr Harris’ guidance has made me a better researcher and improved my resilience, networking, and writing skills.

What’s remarkable is that Jackie provided support and guidance not only to me but to several other students who are also successfully completing this journey. Every student needs a Jackie Harris in their life.

Thank you, Dr Jackie Harris, for being a great support system to me throughout my postgraduate studies. I hope to continue to count on your guidance, support and mentorship as I navigate through the next phase of this journey.