I am not doing this for the fun of it

challenge I have never written a blog before but I thought it would be interesting to give a slightly different perspective on life and the reasons for doing the MSc Professional Accountancy course.

Just a warning, unlike some of the other bloggers, I don’t see the studies as a “calling”, I have studied over the past years (BA, BSc, ACCA, ACT, and now MSc) as a means to achieving certain professional goals.

I am a Director of Resources (basically Finance, IT and development rolled into one position) for a medium sized housing association. At 51, I am a family bloke and appreciate my spare time. Although one of the bosses at work, I would hardly describe myself as the boss at home (daughter, son, wife, hamster….then me) and highly value my private and family time. In summary, I would describe myself as a grumpy, 51-year-old Resource Director, with a family – therefore having to juggle many things in life. Not a fresh-faced “want to make the planet a better place to live in”, do-gooder; but a rather dry and cynical, professional who recognises that there are other things in life than study.

So why on earth am I doing an MSc in Professional Accountancy?
I did my BA (Economics) for a qualification to get a job. Clear career goal.
I did my ACCA to become a qualified accountant. Clear career goal.
I did my BSc (Accounting) to complement my ACCA qualification. Clear career goal
I did my ACT associate membership in Treasury to become an effective Treasury Manager. Clear career goal.

I am doing my MSc for…wait a minute! It’s not going to help me professionally as at directorship level it is assumed I am an expert in accountancy. It’s not going to make my life more interesting (I’ve done hang-gliding, parachuting, love whitewater kayaking…all more interesting to me than studying), it will take time away from my family, take time away from my “private time”, and add more pressure onto a demanding job. So why am I doing it?

After much denial, after much “if there is no goal, don’t do it” statements, after many “why not make life easier” debates, it might just be because (and I would vehemently deny it if any of my friends and family dared to suggest such a thing) that I actually might like the challenge. I’ll be honest, I don’t like the late nights, I don’t like the time away from the family, I don’t like the expense, I don’t like giving up weekends or having late nights, and I certainly don’t like having to miss out on a BBQ because an assignment is due.

But I do like the challenge, I do enjoy the camaraderie of sharing thoughts with my peers, I love debating ideas (whether I am wrong or right), I appreciate the support from fellow students and family (isn’t WhatsApp amazing for sharing?). For some reason, I actually seem to be enjoying doing the MSc.

I am finding it particularly relevant to my sector – particularly the GIFP section on mergers, as merging is a big “value for money” incentive in the social housing sector. In fact, I found it so interesting, that I am writing a paper on mergers in the social housing sector. So I will admit (albeit grumpily) that the course has been interesting, useful and relevant.

So next time a friend asks me why I am doing an MSc, will I tell them I am enjoying it? Not a chance! Why give them the satisfaction of thinking I am doing a study for non-career reasons? Instead, my response will be “because I thought life wasn’t painful enough, so I thought I would do an MSc.

David is studying MSc in Professional Accountancy by distance learning in London.

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