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Scholarship winner aims to balance two careers

Business psy lab

Sophie studies Psychology while working in a bank

Distance learning student Sophie Jourdain is taking a BSc in Business Psychology – all while maintaining a busy full-time job at UBS, a leading investment bank.

Sophie’s studies have been helped by a Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship worth £27,750 over three years, targeting academic excellence for candidates who reflect a commitment to the University’s values of passion, diversity and courage.

Sophie said, “I’m passionate about psychology and I’m working full time, so I needed this degree to fit my busy schedule.

“I love listening to people and getting to know their stories. So, it feels like I didn’t really choose this path, I feel more like the opposite happened.

“At the University of East London, there is a focus on mental health, which I believe is very important. This scholarship will allow me to pursue a master’s degree and a PhD to become a psychologist professional.”

She explained one of her motivations to studying the subject was today’s disconnected world.

“People have less contact with each other because the digital world puts screens in between them, creating even more stress. That’s why I developed a passion for psychology – I want to help people to get better.” 

To secure the scholarship, Sophie had to show a commitment to the University’s values. She explained how she planned to achieve this.

She said, “I come with a rich and different culture and language that I want to share. Moreover, I already have five years’ corporate experience and I am a career coach for students and young professionals so I can help my UEL community with this insight. I’m also a certified yoga instructor and, through yoga, I want to give back to the community and encourage awareness about a healthy mental life.”

She was persuaded to come to UEL because of the prestige of the psychology teaching. She said, “The University’s respected School of Psychology is ranked first in the UK for its research. Its alumni network support is the best in the UK for international students, so I feel welcome as a French expat.

“As a UBS employee in London, I’m already working 55 hours+ a week so I really need to be able to plan my time. UEL is the only university in the UK to provide a fully remote bachelor’s in psychology that is BPS-accredited. So UEL, with all its values, is the answer to my ambitions, bearing in mind the constraints.”

As for her goals, Sophie said she wanted to maintain her current blend of diverse disciplines. She said, “I would like to have a portfolio career: to try a freelance position in psychology alongside my current job and then maybe going full-time into psychology later. I like to do different things and I love my current job so the portfolio career could be my permanent position!”

Professor Amanda Broderick, vice chancellor and president of the University of East London, said, “Sophie has shown admirable determination to pursue her studies while maintaining a demanding full-time job. She has recognised the important place that mental health and wellbeing plays in the workplace of the future and her aspirations to reach out and help to create a better community embody the goals and values we set for all our students.”

If you are interested in a course in Psychology, go to the course website.