CIM graduate OXCOM Sangeeta Uppaladinni

Sangeeta and Ranger

‘‘Years ago, if someone had told me I would eventually be registered severe/blind, work in partnership with a guide dog to get about independently, and  then go on to gain a Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification, I would have thought they were joking.’’

Yet I do believe it. Today, I am legally blind, and rely on my loyal guide dog Ranger.  With over 18 years’ experience working both nationally and internationally in the fast -moving, ever -changing terrain of the marketing, media and PR sector,  pursuing further studies in this industry seemed the logical progression to further advance my career. So I set my sights on studying the CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing.

The hunt for the best-fit service provider

The biggest challenge for me was wondering how I was going to study. Would I be able to compete on a level playing field with other students? Is it even possible? Being of a positive bent of mind, I took the plunge and after extensive research, recommendations and reviews approached a service provider: Oxford College of Marketing (OXCOM), who offer marketing courses from The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), including the study option of distance learning. This was the best option for me as I could manage studying around on-going work projects. Equally I could benefit from OXCOM’s approachable staff, their online learning lab, live webinars, tutors who are professional marketers and student support services.

Coming up trumps with reasonable adjustments

Oxford College of Marketing’s singular trait of treating each student as an individual and not a number made the pathway clearer and smoother for being able to talk about my requirements so I could be able to study at the same pace as other able-bodied students. I advised OXCOM on how my condition impacted on my being able to access their online resources, format requirements if in hard copy and also be able to attend live webinars and be able to fully participate. OXCOM internally set about changing/adopting processes and systems to accommodate my requirements and the near impossible became possible.

Lateral thinking approach to exam and assignment assessments

OXCOM know what parameters are involved in the assessment process, and I know how my condition affects each element and whether it is the right way for me. So after a two way discussion a structured outline of possible obstacles was outlined, and communicated by OXCOM to The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) exam board.

CIM in turn gave way to free reign on logical, practical and creative solutions to put in place a system where I would be able to still do the required assessment albeit in a more accessible manner. Some of the factors taken into consideration were to do with accessible formats, extra time, whether a VIVA would suit or a written paper and so on.

As much as possible solutions were worked around existing resources, and readapting existing systems, which is commendable in these cash-strapped times, so the execution of the assessment was possible.  A dollop of lateral thinking working at its best!

The benefit of studying an applicable professional qualification

Gaining the CIM professional diploma in marketing this year added value to my existing portfolio, as a CIM qualification is widely respected in the industry, and a required qualification to have. Even during the duration of the study, I was able to apply its contemporary marketing content in actual work-based situations, improving the overall structure and strategic approach of any task undertaken. So I was already seeing the benefits of the course before finishing the actual diploma.

A fitting finale at Westminster

The CIM graduation ceremony is on the 22nd of November 2014, which I am looking forward to. CIM have confirmed that to the best of their knowledge, a guide dog has never been present at a CIM graduation ceremony before. This is exciting and, OXCOM and CIM are putting in place planned measures both for the journey and at the venue to accommodate both my needs and my guide dog’s needs.

Moving forward

Human behaviour interests me and I have a playful wish to encourage lateral thinking for professionals in a workshop scenario without the trappings of modern day technology, mattresses to sit on instead of stiff chairs and dog bowls for eating lunch out of.

Jane Young, Vice Principal of Oxford College of Marketing On Sangeeta’s Time With Us

“We welcomed Sangeeta as a CIM student in 2009 and she quickly proved herself to be a bright, tenacious and conscientious student.

She overcame some very difficult personal circumstances, which I am sure would have deterred many of us, but not Sangeeta. She finished her qualifications with a smile!

Whilst studying with us at OXCOM, Sangeeta also worked with us to help us introduce our Disability Declaration and Adjustments Guidance Process for the College. With her help we were able to ensure we conform to legal requirements and make adaptations to allow students with a disability to study with us on a clear level playing field as much as possible.

Sangeeta is a delight to work with and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed having her as a student at OXCOM She is a fiercely determined astute individual and champion for disabled rights, Guide Dog Association and RNIB. I and the team at Oxford College of Marketing wish her well in her future career.”