Intake now open - Apply by 17th December

Chris Barlow, Arden University student

Name: Chris Barlow
Subject: BA (Hons) Business (CMI) - Blended Learning


Despite applications to lots of companies for something a bit more focused.. I struggled to find anything. I began to think about whether a degree could boost my chance of gaining more meaningful work.   

After suffering a mild heart attack in 2014, Chris - who had spent 30 years at his job - decided to take a step back. As he got better, he realised he wanted to find a career more meaningful, so started considering a university degree. 

"My heart attack in 2014 was pretty scary, but after a few subsequent surgeries, I was feeling a lot better. However, I realised early on how much I missed working. 

I decided to look for something which I could do quite flexibly and wasn’t too strenuous. I’d always been good with numbers and figured that a job in finance or business would be ideal for me.

I completed an AAT level 3 qualification in accounting to get me started, but found finding work after incredibly difficult. I did finally manage to get a part-time role in retail where they needed help with their book-keeping – it was a small start.

Despite applications to lots of companies for something a bit more focused on accounting and business, I struggled to find anything. I began to think about whether a degree could boost my chance of gaining more meaningful work.

I initially looked at the OU, however, I felt that the workload, timescales, attendance during holidays, plus the costs were not a viable option for me. On my search, I came into contact with Arden University and started learning about their Blended Learning degrees – this seemed to suit my needs perfectly!

After speaking to the Arden admissions team, I decided to go for a Business degree to broaden my options and last year (2018) I enrolled on the BA (Hons) Business course at Arden’s Manchester study centre.

I attend two classes a week during term-time and my employers have been incredibly supportive. Being someone who doesn't need too much sleep, I manage to fit my online studies in, both early in the morning when I get up and late at night before bed, without impacting on family time, which is great."


I like how Blended Learning works and I get to access a large number of reference books and journals online. The advice I would give to other students or those about to start their studies, is to fully embrace the online side of the course. Completing the lessons before the class allows you and your tutors an opportunity to develop the topics further and ask deeper questions, making the lecture that much more interesting.



"I do feel that not enough students take advantage of the discussion forums, though – I’ve found that this can help stimulate class discussions, so find them really useful!

After graduation, my original plan was to either work for myself in some capacity, maybe book-keeping/accounting, or work in a business. After chatting to several tutors, however, they’ve suggested that I might have something to offer in teaching, so I’m now considering a Master’s degree to become a lecturer in a similar subject."

Click here to find other Business programmes available at Arden University.

Back to top