Robust cyber security is now a major selling point for businesses

Just two decades ago ‘cyber security’ was only a concern for Hollywood and multinationals, but in 2019 cyber attacks pose a serious risk to businesses – large or small – and it’s essential that these threats are taken seriously.

According to the annual Cyber Security Breaches Survey from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport only half of UK businesses are implementing all five of the basic steps laid out in the government’s Cyber Essentials scheme. This essentially means 50% of UK businesses aren’t protected from cyber threats. There are obvious technical risks to this, but there are wider implications too.

Savvy clients

No business can survive without clients, but, in the vast majority of cases, clients have a choice of who they choose to do business with. With an increasing focus on security, savvy customers are keen to understand a business’s cyber security strategy and the measures it has in place should a breach occur. Data leaks can have far-reaching effects with clients’ customers suffering secondary breaches – and often the reputational damage caused can be more difficult to repair than the technical aspects.

Organisations that can communicate a strong and concise cyber security approach to potential customers have the opportunity to set themselves apart from competitors that have not yet taken such steps.

Investing in a secure business

Investors, much like customers, are also looking at the security of the companies they’re investing their money with. A business that can demonstrate a high level of understanding of the issues it faces and have both security measures and a plan of action in place to deal with a breach should it occur is a much sounder investment – and is likely to cost it less in the long term.

The need for knowledge

A large part of the issue is that there is very little understanding of cyber security within businesses. Companies have realised they need to employ people with the skills and knowledge to ensure they’re fully protected and understand wider issues such as reputation, client relations and ultimately the bottom line.

This is why the University of York has introduced a 100% online Masters degree in Computer Science with Cyber Security. It offers ambitious career changers the opportunity to retrain in this in demanding field and take the skills and knowledge they gain into the workplace. The course is aimed at those who may not currently have a computer science background. It covers topics such as network and operating systems, security risk analysis and secure software development.

The course offers great flexibility; it’s delivered entirely online so there’s no need to take a career break and you can gain an MSc from a prestigious Russell Group university without ever needing to visit the campus. The course is also offered on a pay-per-module basis, so there’s no large initial outlay, plus there’s a choice of six start dates per year so you can choose a date to suit you, which creates a very flexible approach to launching a career in cyber security.

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Addressing the Computer Science skills gap

When it comes to career planning, one thing many people don’t consider is how to make themselves more appealing to businesses. Having the right balance of hard and soft skills, as well as expertise in the things companies need now, or should be considering for the future, will make you a very appealing candidate.

It’s easy to pick a field and stick to it, but the most ambitious of ladder-climbers know that planning for the future and expanding their knowledge and range of skills which are in-demand is a smart way to ensure success – predicting trends just like any business would.

The skills gap

Skills gaps are something we frequently read about, but probably seldom consider as a career opportunity. With the right skills, you can very quickly prove yourself to be indispensable to a business in functions where gaps in knowledge are hampering success.

The computer science skills gap is vast. It’s predicted that the worldwide shortage of IT professionals will reach 1.8m by 2020. Currently, there are severe skills shortages across all ten countries that have the highest demand for computer science roles, including the UK.

According to a report from recruitment firm Indeed, the UK’s skills gap is the second worst globally. The number of vacancies grew by more than 30% between 2014 and 2016, and the company predicts that in the next three years, there will still be around 100,000 unfilled roles.

The internet has given rise to a new wave of businesses. According to a KPMG report, 45,000 technology companies have appeared in Britain in the last five years: that’s equivalent to one new business every hour. In order for this industry to keep growing, there needs to be an influx of new talent to build and maintain the IT infrastructure of these new companies.

The demand for these types of roles has inevitably led to an increase in wages, with the average UK-based worker in a computer science role now earning around £50,000 per year.

The opportunity

The three new online Computer Science MSc’s from the University of York aim to give an opportunity to ambitious career-minded individuals to retrain to work in these in-demand fields. The new Masters programmes are delivered 100% online, which means there’s no need to take a career break and you can fit study around work and family life. Being able to earn while you learn removes some of the financial pressure, and the University of York also offers the option to pay-per-module, so there are no large upfront fees. There is a choice of six start dates per year, which means that you can start whenever is convenient.

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Be in demand: Introducing Online Computer Science MScs at York

As technology continues to advance at breakneck speed and businesses become ever more reliant on digital infrastructure and IT, the need for people with specialist skills and understanding of the technology to maintain cybersecurity is also increasing.

The UK is ranked third globally in its requirement for cyber professionals, but the skills gap to fill the roles is estimated to be the second worst in the world, according to research from Indeed. To put this into numbers, the amount of UK cyber roles available grew by almost a third between 2014 and 2016, with over 75% of UK-based cyber security workers now earning more than £47,000 per year. Despite this, it’s estimated that there will be around 100,000 unfilled cyber vacancies in the UK by 2020.

A future opportunity

Computer science covers a wide range of topics, from programming and software development to cyber security and data mining, all of which are fundamental to the future of business. While the principles of computer science are now a key feature of primary and secondary education in the UK, a chasm of vacant roles will be unfilled for a number of years.

This is why the University of York has announced the launch of three new online Masters degrees in Computer Science, offering ambitious, driven career-changers the opportunity to learn the knowledge and skills necessary to make the move into the sector and give them the chance to pursue a lucrative and in-demand career. With options to specialise in data analytics or cyber security, students can get to grips with essential knowledge and experience, which could well be the stepping stone to a promising new career.

Flexible online learning

The new programmes are part of the University of York’s growing portfolio of online courses which allow students from all over the world to earn a Masters degree at a prestigious Russell Group university while balancing their studies around work and personal commitments.

Offering the course entirely online opens these programmes up to a wide range of people, in particular ambitious career-changers who cannot commit to a more traditional method of study. Students can choose from six start dates throughout the year, giving them the flexibility to begin studying when it suits them. The course is also offered with the option to pay per-module, so learners can avoid significant up-front cost by spreading payments through the duration of their study.

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New Year, new challenge

The New Year is seen as a convenient time to pause, take stock and look back on the last 12 months. Figuring out what went well or poorly and what you’d like to achieve in the future is something most people do on one level or another, which explains the popularity of New Year’s resolutions. What people often neglect to do, however, is apply the same thinking to their careers with professional resolutions.

Goals, progression and leadership

It’s very likely that the most popular work-based resolution for many would be to step up the ladder with a promotion or by taking a management/leadership position. Moving up in the company hierarchy and taking on the extra responsibility and salary that goes with it is the most common way that people think of career progression.

When choosing a candidate for their first management role, senior managers look for time spent in the company, an understanding of its ways and processes, coupled with supporting technical knowledge. A candidate with this level of understanding is an asset, as it’s likely they will have sufficient experience to assume responsibility of day-to-day tasks and oversight as part of their role.

Going further than the first managerial role

While getting that first promotion and stepping into the shoes of a team or departmental manager is great for career progression, that’s not where most people would like it to stop. Most people would like to continue, taking on greater levels of responsibility as they climb the ladder and overseeing more and more people – and it’s important to understand that continuing on that path isn’t just about assuming more senior job titles, it soon requires a strong set of leadership skills.

For many companies, the words ‘leader’ and ‘manager’ are effectively synonymous, particular in junior or middle management roles, as they have the same responsibilities. Being a leader, however, is not the same as being a manager.

Management concentrates on the technical aspects of running a company; its operations, processes and reporting. Being a leader, however, is also focused on the human element – striving forward and bringing the rest of the team with you. Both have a big impact on companies and are necessary, but it doesn’t always follow that a good manager is a good leader. Similarly, natural leaders don’t necessarily have a management job title.

Getting the skills you need

In the upper echelons of a company, you will need to be able to manage processes and lead people, but while experience within a company can give you the management capabilities you need, how do you go about acquiring, refining and proving your leadership qualities?

One excellent means of doing so is to enrol on one of the University of York’s 100% online MScs in Leadership and Management. Being able to demonstrate the core skills taught on the course – such as effective communication, critical approaches to problem solving and independent assessment of progress – will show employers an impressive array of professional capabilities. As all learning materials are delivered entirely online, you have the flexibility to study when and where it suits you. You also don’t need to attend campus, so you won’t require an extended or costly study break; you can keep your current role and earn while you learn.

Best of all, you can pay-as-you-go for each module of the course, which means you can gain a prestigious Russell Group university Masters degree without large, up-front costs. Ensuring that you have all of the necessary managerial and leadership capabilities that you need could be the very thing that turns your New Year’s resolution into a career fast-track!

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Signposting the way for your career progression

A fulfilling career is something people strive for, not simply as a way to pay the bills, but because everybody wants to feel like they’re doing something worthwhile and rewarding. Having a good work-life balance, where you enjoy what you do and find it stimulating, engaging and fulfilling means that work is not a chore.

When does a job turn into a rewarding career?

One recent study, however, shows that over half of UK workers questioned are unhappy with their current role. Common reasons given include inadequate pay, limited progression opportunities and poor company culture – suggesting that employees aren’t feeling that they or their work is valued.

With more than half of respondents unhappy in their job, it raises the question of how to go about having a more satisfying work life balance. Trying to resolve a problem with your employment without first knowing how to go about it could seem a little overwhelming; it’s akin to planning a long car journey without knowing where you need to go. Before you can understand how to increase the chances of being happier at work, it’s necessary to carry out planning, to turn a job into a career.

Career planning as a tool

Firstly, you must decide what your ultimate career goal is. Are you aiming to be a member of the C-suite? Would you like to own your own company one day? Would you prefer a role that lends itself to your passions and abilities? Understanding your goals and where you’d like to end up is very important, as it will define your career journey and inform your choices and what steps are needed in terms of qualifications or accreditations.

Once you know your ultimate career goal, you can start to research what’s required: will it require professional memberships or further study? Are your current credentials up to scratch? Will you need to find a way to display other skills, such as managing budgets, leading a team or developing strategies to handle business-critical problems?

It’s also useful to research other companies that operate within your intended field – even if you aim to set up your own company, knowing what’s successful for others, how you can improve on it and what to avoid will help you achieve your career goals. Undertaking regular evaluations of your own progression and goals and reassessing whether your initial plans are still valid should also feature as a large part of your plans.

Starting your progression

The answer of how to be seen as a valued employee is not always ‘work harder’ and promotions don’t always go to those who simply do longer hours. It can be difficult to stand out from the crowd at work – how do you go about proving yourself indispensable and put your chances of promotion ahead of others?

One way would be to study one of the University of York’s online MSc degrees in Leadership & Management, which equips you with business-critical skills such as effective communication, critical approaches to problem-solving and the ability to independently assess progression.

The good news is that as all learning materials are provided 100% online, there’s no need to attend campus; you can study whenever and wherever it suits you, whether that’s evenings, weekends or even during your lunch hour. This lets you stay in your current role while studying and means you can earn while you learn, with the ability to apply what you learn in your current job, improving your working life and proving your value to your employer.

Courses also feature the option to pay-per-module, allowing you to gain a prestigious Russell Group university Masters degree without worrying about large, upfront payments. Best of all, you’ll have access to the world-class knowledge and academics at the University of York, giving you valuable qualifications from a globally respected institute.

While there are a number of options and routes to achieving your ultimate career goal, an MSc in Leadership and Management could bring that goal a few steps closer – and maybe even provide the map for your entire career journey.

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The value of structured innovation

Innovation and invention have always been celebrated by companies. Since the ‘Mad Men’ era of advertising, buzzwords like “new and improved” have been staples, while in the last 20 years digital and tech companies have been desperate to get to market with version 1.0 or 2.0. The aim has always been to give customers something better or more exciting. Innovation can lead to big success.

Is all innovation a leap into the future?

If you look carefully at the products on offer, however, you’ll notice something interesting. A food company, for example, may offer an ‘improved recipe’ that isn’t necessarily innovative. Sometimes it’s a reaction to customer complaints about texture, size or taste. Recipes can be forced to change because preferred ingredients increase in price; supply chains can be hit by politics, global economics or even the weather, forcing food makers to take positive action or risk affecting production. You may have even noticed that the apps on your phone are constantly updated with suffixes like “v1.0.11” or “v2.2”.

These types of changes, updates and rethinks are usually done out of necessity and tend to keep companies on the defensive to make sure their products stay on the market and remain competitive. They show a company being reactive, not necessarily proactive as they’re not ground-breaking innovation, they’re more like necessary ad-hoc tweaks to solve unforeseen problems.

Innovation needs vision

Every good business knows you can’t simply release a product and then tinker with it forever; at some point a radical change based on modern thinking, new tech or evolving tastes will be needed. Sustainable, successful businesses need structured innovation.

Structured innovation can give companies an incredible competitive advantage over their rivals, but it means being proactive, reading the market, identifying gaps and opportunities and focussing on new thinking to have the first successful product on offer. It’s not a small challenge and companies need extremely capable and strong leaders to make it work.

Innovation-focussed leadership needs vision, clarity, strategy of execution and effective communication to ensure the product meets its requirements. Creating structures that allow people to be inventive and challenge long-standing habits or processes needs a steady hand that balances freedom and focus.

Provable skills

Companies that rely on innovation and new thinking need exceptional leadership more than ever, but how do you prove you have the skills? The University of York have created a Masters degree for that exact purpose.

You can now gain an MSc in Innovation, Leadership and Management from a prestigious Russell Group university thanks to a 100% online degree. As all learning materials are delivered online, you can study whenever and wherever it suits you, whether that’s on your lunch break or during evenings and weekends. This means you can keep your current role, apply what you learn and still keep your current pay grade without having to take an extended study break. Each section of the course is pay-per-module to remove large, upfront fees and there are even six start dates spread throughout the year, so you can begin whenever you’re ready.

Innovation is sometimes thought of as a flash of lightning that strikes without warning, but by learning and exercising skills such as effective communication, the ability to objectively approach problems while assessing and creating new solutions and taking charge of progression, you can display the kind of leadership skills that could not only provide a big boost to your career but could also literally enable your company to invent the next big thing.

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Using your Bachelors as a foundation for future learning

While compulsory education now carries on until the late teens, it’s still a commonly-held view that the ‘end goal’ of learning is an undergraduate degree. Holding a BA or BSc is a great achievement that shows the ability to delve deeply and independently into a subject and some companies require a university degree as a pre-requisite for employment.

Businesses value undergraduate studies, viewing them as a commitment to advancement, the ability to work to a certain standard and the ability to adapt to different challenges – which appears to be the case for many students as half of recent graduates go on to work in sectors unrelated to their field of study. This could be down to many reasons; graduates no longer wish to specialise in that particular area; the number of opportunities in certain industries is limited and extremely competitive; or certain degrees don’t have job roles that explicitly link to them.

Although students choose degrees carefully, a lot can change in three years. While getting a BA or BSc after your name shows ability, what do you do if you find yourself with a degree for a sector you no longer wish to work in, or one that doesn’t apply directly to your career progression?

A BA or BSc is not the ‘last stop’

The good news is that undergraduate degrees are not the end of Higher Education – if anything, they’re just the start. While some BA and BSc qualifications directly apply to certain businesses, such as journalism or pharmaceuticals, many companies see them as displaying a certain standard of commitment and ability. There are a huge range of postgraduate options that can not only showcase your intelligence and talent, but can build and supplement the skills gained during undergraduate studies to boost your professional profile.

Many graduates would be very interested in a further course of study that enhances key capabilities and offers a qualification to make them highly desirable to employers, but the time, commitment and expense of staying in education and out of the workplace can make it seem daunting.

Continuing education to further your prospects

With this in mind, the University of York have created three 100% online MSc degrees in Leadership and Management to give you the professional skills you need to succeed without having to sacrifice time away from work. As all learning materials are delivered online, you can study in your spare time, lunch break or weekends; you can stay in your current job and apply what you learn whilst gaining valuable skills and a highly desirable Masters degree.

All courses are delivered on a pay-per-module basis, removing the large, up-front costs usually associated with further study and there are six start dates spread throughout the year, meaning you can begin when you like. You can gain a prestigious Russell Group university degree without taking a costly study break or losing the experience you’d gain with your employer, as well as keeping your salary and pay grade.

Best of all, you can hone vital business skills such as effective communication, critical approaches to problem solving and professional development insight, meaning that as you begin to climb the career ladder, you’ll already be able to demonstrate the skills that companies need from their leaders.

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Shifting your career into a higher gear

When it comes to career progression and moving into leadership, it’s commonly assumed that it happens as a reward for length of service with a company; those who’ve been there the longest are more likely to get a management position. This idea, however, doesn’t take into account what businesses need – or look for – from their leaders and managers.

No company allows unsuitable or unqualified people to take on senior responsibilities, so while management roles may typically be given to longer-serving employees, it’s likely those candidates have spent their time honing and refining their leadership skills and demonstrating their abilities.

Can the timeframe be shortened?

For the average graduate, it takes around 20 years from obtaining a Bachelors degree to taking a leadership role, giving the impression that managers are selected from the ‘time served’ category. The issue for businesses, however, is that global demand for leadership is rising faster than the supply of suitable leaders, giving opportunities to those looking for advancement.

While people think leadership comes with experience, it’s not always the case. Leadership is comprised of unique skillsets which work together on multiple levels. While an experienced member of staff may know what needs to be done in a particular situation, if they fail to communicate this effectively, can’t negotiate with other departments or can’t create innovative solutions to unforeseen problems, they’re not demonstrating good leadership.

No bad habits and proving knowledge

Businesses focus on success, meaning their primary concern is finding the right person to fulfil the role. While longer-serving members of staff may have a history with the company from which to draw examples of leadership ability, with the right qualifications even new members of staff can show they have what it takes.

To this end, the University of York has three Masters degrees in Leadership and Management, giving you the chance to prove your skills. These 100% online MSc courses are a flexible and affordable way to study when it suits you, allowing you to keep your current job without taking study leave and apply what you learn with your current employer. Working through business-critical skills such as effective communication, critical approaches to problem solving and an understanding of professional development, you can start to demonstrate your capabilities right away.

The opportunity to get a degree from a prestigious Russell Group university without taking time away from your career may sound appealing in its own right, but each course is also pay-per-module and has six start dates throughout the year, meaning that there are no large up-front costs and you can begin whenever it suits you. You might also be entitled to a postgraduate loan, backed by the government, to cover your course costs.

Moving into a leadership position and meeting the demands of modern business doesn’t have to be a matter of ‘paying your dues’ – businesses need the right people to perform critical tasks. Younger candidates not only have a longer working life in front of them but may also be better equipped to deal with the technical and innovation challenges currently faced by businesses. With proven leadership abilities, the choice could be simple.

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Skilling up with the right qualifications

The first full-time job out of university is a very special experience for most recent graduates. Having spent several years on their academic studies, as well as tens of thousands of pounds, the first step on the career ladder feels like a watershed moment; a chance to start earning and applying skills that have been hard earned. Whether in a job related to their degree or a completely different field, most can’t wait to get started on career progression.

A difference in expectation

One thing that has become apparent in the last few years is that there is a gulf between the skills that companies need and the skills that recent graduates actually possess. Due to the academic and theoretical nature of many courses, new candidates are far less prepared for the corporate world than business leaders expect them to be. This means time and resources are being diverted from pressing tasks in order to upskill and give new starters a grounding in business.

Communication skills represent one of the key mismatches between graduates’ and employers’ expectations. For businesses to succeed, it’s critical that their employees are able to form professional networks, communicate effectively, progress collective workflows while working through individual tasks and keep all team members up to date to prevent information silos. All of these abilities layer seamlessly to ensure smooth running of the business. Negotiation and persuasiveness are also highly desirable, as is the ability to think creatively around problems and develop innovative solutions to keep workflows progressing.

Proving the difference

For a long time, companies have wanted ‘the right person to hit the ground running’, but with such a mismatch between the skills companies want and the skills graduates have, how do you not only develop the right skillsets but prove to employers that you are exactly what they need?

A potentially very attractive option is the University of York’s suite of Leadership and Management Masters courses. Developed with the world-class academics and professionals, the courses teach business-critical skills such as effective communication, critical approaches to problem solving and insights into professional development. As all teaching is delivered 100% online, you have the freedom to learn when and where you like. There’s no need to give up your current job and salary and you can apply what you learn to your career straight away. Also, as each section is provided on a pay-per-module basis, you can gain a degree from a prestigious Russell Group university without a significant initial financial outlay.

While many recent undergraduates may believe they have the necessary skills to be proficient in the corporate world, it can take several years before they match up to the standards that businesses require. A Masters degree that specialises not only in developing business-critical skills but also embedding effective teamwork and an understanding of leadership and development could soon make you invaluable in the workplace.

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Creating adaptable leadership

In a general ‘person on the street’ sense, leadership is often treated synonymously with management – but in reality, they’re two distinct concepts. This has been taken to heart by the business world over the last few decades, effectively creating a ‘transfer market’ for leaders and managers, with each skillset being prized in its own right.

While at one point, you’d likely have expected to spend your working life with one or two companies, this is no longer the case. The assumption was that industry specific knowledge that gave leaders and managers the ability to do their job was limited to that particular sector. In truth, good leadership skills make leaders valuable in lots of different areas – one of the most famous industry leaps was when Steve Jobs brought John Sculley to Apple from Pepsi Co. John became CEO and oversaw the early golden age of Apple, and their revenues leapt from $569m to over $8.3bn.

Building adaptability into your skillset

We now have a business environment with an open exchange of leadership and, with the right skills, people can move sideways into almost any arena – but it means that adaptability has become essential. No single industry has the perfect ‘one size fits all’ approach to guaranteeing success in any other business, so the ability to read, change, adapt and predict to fit the nuances of a new business is imperative to success.

The good news is that strong leadership principles have the effect of building adaptability, allowing your leadership style to be applied to different arenas. Skills like critical approaches to problem solving result in finding the best and most expedient solution, while the ability to communicate effectively increases the chances of the resolution being successful. Maintaining insight into both personal and project development allow potential complications to be identified early, which can be corrected with critical approaches.

Gaining the right skills

Giving yourself the basis to become an effective leader and open the doors to a whole new career can seem like a daunting task. This is why the University of York has three disciplines of MSc Leadership and Management degrees, to help generate the people that businesses need.

The University of York has applied knowledge from its world-class academics to a 100% online Masters degrees in Innovation, Finance and International Business, allowing you to demonstrate the right skills through a prestigious Russell Group university qualification. As all learning is delivered online, you’re free to study when and where you like, meaning that you can work flexibly around your current role and learn while you earn. Not only do you not need to take a career break, but courses are broken down into a pay-per-module structure, so there’s no large, up-front payments to worry about. There are also six start dates throughout the year, so you can begin as soon as you’re ready.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills predicts an increase in demand for managers, directors and senior officials of 1.9 million roles by 2024; a flexible approach to a Masters degree could put you ahead as an adaptable business leader of tomorrow.

The digital CFO is a business requirement

Very few people would have ever dared predict the explosion of computing power seen in the last fifteen years. Since the birth of the iPhone in 2007, the amount of data created, transmitted and stored has risen exponentially – we all carry smartphones, each one containing several thousand times more computing power than the four computers that put Apollo 11 on the moon.

An unlikely beneficiary of the leap in digital resources has been the finance department. At one point, their role was purely reactive; they were money-counters, responding to requests for funding. The dawn of big data and real-time updates has made finance a business-critical department for growth and accurate risk management.

How data has changed the role of the CFO

While the internet has created a fast and highly competitive business environment, it’s put new focus on the finance department to manage efficiency. Previously, this involved managing the outgoing expenditure, usually after it had gone out. Companies now need finance – and the leaders of the sector – to use digital technologies to improve planning, assess risk, make efficiency savings and manage expenditure.

This leaves finance leaders needing data at their fingertips and the ability to apply it to all levels, whether it’s company, industry or the whole business world. The growth of cloud solutions has given CFOs a cost-effective way to access scalable computing power without risking investment in expensive servers. Sudden leaps in demand, such as using AI, planning software, analytics or predictive assessment software involve huge amounts of pure ‘thinking’ power but the CFO that can make use of them gives companies a real competitive edge.

The future of finance and computing

The business case for digital finance leaders and CFOs has been made, but many firms still lack suitable people and infrastructure, hampered by legacy systems that limit the ability to update to modern processes. The ability to demonstrate the right skills could be the thing to allow you to take control, update and modernise your entire business, and the University of York has a 100% online MSc in Finance, Leadership and Management that could be a perfect fit.

As all learning is delivered online, it gives the flexibility to study anywhere that suits you and means you don’t need to take a career break to study. Keeping your current salary and being able to apply what you learn removes much of the burden involved in getting the right skills for the next stage of your career. To make this easier, you can also gain a prestigious Russell Group University Masters degree on a pay-per-module basis and there are six start dates spread throughout the year, meaning you can begin when you like.

Being taught by the pioneering academics at the University of York via a completely digital Masters degree gives you the best of all worlds; an ability to showcase the right capabilities, a high level of comfort with digital resources and flexibility to study when it suits you. You could be invaluable as a financial leader of the future.

It’s no surprise ‘change leadership’ is so sought after

The history of the UK has any number of periods of upheaval and disruption, whether you’re talking about the Industrial Revolution, huge cultural shifts like the Swingin’ Sixties or radical changes due to progress in digital technology or transport, they’ve all affected the way in which we live. These changes are a problem for businesses, who delicately balance two extremes; traditionally preferring calm and settled conditions, but also embracing these shifts to gain a competitive advantage.

When ‘business as usual’ will mean no more business

We’ve seen how failure to handle big changes costs companies dearly. Big names such as Maplin and Toys ‘Я’ Us failed to recognise and respond to what customers wanted and literally dwindled away. In the last few years, many businesses have realised it’s better to predict these changes before they arrive, but it’s an extremely difficult task. A further challenge is to effect cultural or operational change at every level, as it can take a long time to not only update systems, operations and software, but also handle the most unpredictable resource a business has – the human element.

Generally speaking, people don’t like change and some resist it entirely. Two phrases specifically are feared by many managers, “But that’s how we’ve always done things” and “What was wrong with the old way?” Companies now recognise that it’s vital to be agile, responsive and seize opportunities to best serve their customers, which is why change leadership has become so prized.

The challenge businesses have to find the right people

The truth is, however, that there’s a shortage of suitable candidates with the right skillset to be effective change leaders and even fewer who can demonstrate their capabilities with the proper qualifications and credentials. This is why we’ve harnessed the world-class expertise and academics available at the University of York to create a range of 100% online Masters degrees in Leadership and Management, giving you the ability to demonstrate your capabilities to solve problems through innovative thought and objectively evaluate ideas.

Skills that you’ll perfect during study include effective communication and critical approaches to problem solving, which are extremely desirable to companies who need high-quality change leadership. The ability to solve a problem, such as adapting to sudden changes in customer behaviour, provides a unique competitive advantage to businesses. Keeping the workforce informed and connected to the wider company strategy and aims is one of the most effective ways to reduce resistance to changes in procedure or culture – and it also reduces the chances of misunderstanding or missing the bigger picture of why the change is necessary.

You’ll receive a top-class MSc from a prestigious Russell Group university, but with the ability to study whenever and wherever you like. As you can learn in your spare time, you don’t have to give up your current role or take a costly career break and we’ve removed large, up-front course fees with a pay-per-module structure. We even provide six start dates throughout the year, meaning you don’t have to wait for a new school year to begin.

While we can be sure that change will continue to be a constant throughout the business world, with the right skillset and qualifications you can not only weather the change, but use it to help your business thrive.

To find out more and apply, simply click here