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Lorna Pearson

Lorna Pearson

MSc Applied Artificial Intelligence and Data analytics

Lorna progressed on to the MSc Applied Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics course on a scholarship at Bradford after being an early adopter of degree apprenticeships back in 2017.

She initially joined the Business Management undergraduate degree at Bradford whilst working at Morrisons, where she continues to work at a senior level within the leading UK supermarket.

This is her story…

Working whilst learning

“I enjoyed studying but I knew I didn’t want to commit to full-time education.”

"After school, I worked at the local Nike store and earned my own money. I bought my own car and generally had a great lifestyle. I wasn’t prepared to give that up to become a full-time student again.

"When it came to applying for university, my family really wanted me to go, but I just felt I wasn’t interested enough in a subject to commit three years of my life to it while not really earning. Degree apprenticeships were kind of unheard of back then, but when I saw that Morrisons offered a degree apprenticeship in Business Management at Bradford, and you could work there while you studied, I knew that was the way to go for me."

Following tradition

“My grandad used to be a site manager.”

"While I didn’t know it at the time, my interest in logistics came from watching my grandad as a site manager for Safeway, and then continued when I worked part-time at Nike, seeing stock come in and out. So I can see now why I’m the network strategy manager for the logistics division at Morrisons.

"I’d do week-long blocks at university, where we studied a full module, and then go back into work for six weeks, before going back to uni to start another module. I completed six placements at Morrisons throughout the three years of my undergraduate degree, and graduated with a first-class honours in 2020."

A student wearing graduation gown smiling at the camera alongside a senior family member who is also smiling at the camera
My dissertation tutor told me about this MSc at Bradford and that I could be eligible for a scholarship.

Learning journey

"I started my year-long Master’s at Bradford in January 2022."

"It’s been really good because a lot of what I’m learning is so relevant to what I do at work - it’s easy to find topics and areas to write my assignments on and I can use the detail of my day-to-day experience at Morrisons alongside the theory I learn at university. When we studied people management for example, it was really relevant to me because I had my own team of 30 at the time.

"I feel like I’m now ahead with trends in AI and can clearly see how we can apply it at Morrisons; for example, through automation and using data science for business forecasting. Technology and artificial intelligence is the future, so I want to learn as much as possible and take it back to Morrisons to improve the way we do things digitally."

“I work four days and study for the rest of the week."

"Morrisons do modernised working, so I work four 10-hour days a week, and then study for the other day. I’ve felt very supported by the University and by my employer, so my experience has been extremely positive from day one.

"The University gave me the opportunity to study in Austria for a week, delving into innovation and entrepreneurship in the sector, while seniors in Morrisons are also really interested in the work I’m doing. The CEO even read my dissertation and has been really invested in my development. Every three months I feed back my ideas to him."

Role model

“I work in a very male-dominated industry, so I stick out a bit.”

"I now lead a Women in Logistics working group at Morrisons which is all about encouraging more females into the profession. I also speak to a lot of apprentices and help mentor them in the industry.

“If you’d told me five years ago I’d be doing this, I’d never have believed you!

"I’m really happy with my work at Morrisons. We have some exciting projects coming up and I’m going to take as much as I can from my Master’s to make them a success.

"I love sharing what I’ve learned in the industry and passing on my experience to up-and-coming students, so I’m keen to do more mentoring work and perhaps look at lecturing one day."

A student sitting on a wall in front of indoor plants
Make sure you choose a university with a good support network in place, like Bradford.

Confidence is key!

"Considering this course? Do it!"

"Have the confidence to step outside your comfort zone. It amazes me that professional people, who often make multimillion-pound decisions in their jobs, are afraid to make the decision to further their own development with more qualifications.

"Speak to your employer - more and more are supportive of higher education and continued learning these days. See what they could offer to support you, in terms of learning times and deadlines. And make sure you choose a university with a good support network in place, like Bradford.

"Technology and AI is absolutely the way the world is going, so if you can become an expert in it, it will be so valuable to you and your employer. Just have the confidence to do it!"

A student leaning against a pillar of a building on campus at the university looking into the camera and smiling

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