Caroline: Financial service to MSc Nutrition

I worked in financial services for 18 years, before being made redundant from a role as Finance Director for a major international company whilst on maternity leave following the birth if my first child. Becoming a parent relatively late in life was overwhelming. My return to work was subsequently stalled by a second child, multiple house moves and 2 geographic relocations.

When my son started at school I began to focus more concretely on the nagging question at the back of my mind as to what my ‘next career’ was going to be. My confidence levels around work were very low, and I felt that I was not willing or able to go back to the work hours and stress levels of my prior roles given my family priorities. I decided to try and identify areas of passion, which I could develop out into a career.

One area of key interest has always been food and nutrition. Lacking any science background beyond ‘A’ levels I took a short course from the Open University to test my interest and ability – which both helped convince me of the subject’s opportunities, and also highlighted my preference for a ‘taught’ course and interaction with other students.

I am now nearing the end of a part time MSc in Nutrition – a one year course which I am taking over 2 years. The first year was a baptism by fire – across all fronts from learning how to sit still in a lecture for 3 hours to gaining a whole new vocabulary. It is fascinating and challenging juggling the commitments of a commute to university, study and 2 children.

As I reach the completion of my course I am exploring how to take my degree forward to a career. Options under consideration include setting up directly as a nutritionist – or launching a food business. Both routes will need much in the way of confidence and resolve!

The last couple of years have reinforced my need for an outside passion and an ability to be able to be productive and have achievements outside of the family home – I am both happier and more fulfilled and as a result a more balanced parent!