Family, work and education – how Moray graduate balanced them all

Support from his family was crucial for Michael O’Donnell as he studied at RGU.

DIFFICULT MARKET CONDITIONS has not halted a Moray man from balancing University studies with being a father and working full-time.

Michael O’Donnell, 34, has been celebrating success after graduating from Robert Gordon University (RGU) with an MSc in Energy Management.

Michael, who is from Elgin, received his degree at a ceremony in the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen, the end of a gruelling period of study and work that he embarked on with a determination to enhance his career opportunities.

He said: “It’s clear that the worlds future energy needs is progressively shifting from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources. While both my current and previous roles have centred within the oil and gas sector, I felt a more comprehensive understanding of all energy types would ensure I am well positioned to deliver value to any role I undertake in the future.”

Michael studied via distance learning and he said he found the course challenging at times – but being based in the oil and gas hub of Aberdeen and learning through RGU ensured he had every available support required to complete the course.

He continued: “I felt the course delivered all the key topics I wanted to cover and more, the energy management masters enabled me to focus on the areas of the energy sector I had limited exposure to whilst carrying them into context within my existing job.

“The content of the courses and how the topics were delivered was to a very high standard and something which I would fully recommend to anyone debating whether to enhance their knowledge of the energy sector.

“I became a father during the course and continued working full time during difficult market conditions, however, I had a fantastic family to support me and friends which shouldered much of my, at times, frustrations, and without them I wouldn’t have done it.”

Michael concluded that meeting such a diverse network of people across all disciplines of the energy sector was a high from his time at RGU. He said he will continue his role as an oil and gas sector leader for the Bridon Bekaert Ropes Group – and his new Master’s degree will allow him to develop and deliver value to his role and see what opportunities can match his ambition over the years to come.

He concluded: “I lacked a lot of confidence prior to starting the course and step by step it improved, you do a lot of soul searching when your studying, it proved to me that you should never doubt what your capabilities, I found that when you don’t give up and you surround yourself with the right people, anything is possible. That and listening to a hell of a lot of James Bay helped!”