Camillo Pandolfi, a former student in the School, has just published an article in International Coaching Psychology Review, the journal of the British Psychological Society Special Group in Coaching Psychology. This achievement is especially notable because the article is based on Camillo’s End of Module Assignment for the postgraduate module DD803 Evaluating psychology: Research and Practice. Camillo writes here about his OU study experience.
My name is Camillo Pandolfi. I have always been curious about research on people’s behaviours, thoughts, and emotions. My work in the market research and consumer insight industry reflects that curiosity, and as a team leader, I am also passionate about leadership development and coaching.
But, when I enrolled in the OU masters in Psychology, I would have never imagined that a paper I would write as part of the final assignment would be published in a peer-reviewed journal by the British Psychological Society. The article is Active Ingredients in Executive Coaching, a systematic literature review.
What did you study at the Open University? (i.e. modules, qualifications)
I graduated in MSc Psychology at the end of 2019. This programme is made of two annual modules (Social and psychological inquiryDD801 and Evaluating Psychology: research and practice DD803).
Why did you decide to undertake this OU study?
On the one hand, before the OU, my background was more quantitative (business and statistical sciences) and I have always had the desire to develop complementary qualitative skills. On the other hand, I had developed a strong passion for people’s leadership development, wellbeing and mental health. So, I had been playing with the idea of studying Psychology more seriously for a few years, but studying whilst working full time sounded impossible until one day, I saw an ad for the OU on television and decided to enrol.
What were your most positive experiences?
I love the quality of content and resources that the OU provides. That really enabled me to study at my pace and with great satisfaction. The access to an almost infinite online library of scientific reviews and books, for example, is invaluable. But what really stands out in my personal experience are the support from the other students, and my two main tutors, Babak Fozooni (DD801) and David Morrison (DD803). They both taught me a lot about critical thinking in social sciences, and in life. I feel lucky and privileged to have studied with them, and wish to meet them in person soon.
What were the challenges?
As for most OU students, it was a challenge to combine work and study, whilst still having a life. The biggest test was to overcome a couple of unexpected health issues and the ups and downs that both work and life presented during these two years. But a strong enough passion for the content of the study, and the support from the OU made all this possible.
Not being used to the British system at university, a technical challenge for me was to learn how to write good essays. Thanks to the tutors’ feedback and support, I developed that skill and started to get good marks. Little did I know, my final essay would end up being published!
Now that you’ve completed your Masters in Psychology, what are your plans for the future?
One of the goals I had set for myself at the start of the Masters was to build expertise in evidence-based coaching, and this was the topic I choose for the final dissertation. Now that I feel I have a good theoretical and research foundation in coaching psychology, I am studying at the Henley Business School to develop skills as practitioner and be a fully accredited coach.
I don’t know if I will have a chance, but perhaps in the future I will also consider a PhD. It would be amazing if this could happen at the OU!
What advice would you give other students in the School, especially those who are taking postgraduate degrees?
The quality of psychological research done at the OU is outstanding, and much of what you will study is leading-edge. I often think, I am grateful that I came to study psychology in my late 40s. Had I graduated 20 years ago, I would have missed almost completely all the discoveries, theories and research about the human mind, and the social-psychological issues that you will study now at the OU.
If you have a genuine passion for social science and psychology, the School will provide you with endless resources and support to go as far as you want in developing skills and knowledge, and importantly, self-confidence to pursue your dreams.
Don’t hesitate to ask for the support you need from the tutors and the School’s team, and stay connected with the other students.
Perhaps at times it will be challenging. Ask or remind yourself often whyyou are doing this. If your why is strong enough, you can do it. It will be great.
You can find Camillo’s article in International Coaching Psychology Review l Vol. 15 No. 2 Autumn 2020