Opening doors and broadening horizons

by Greg Mtunzi

17 August 2020

Greg Mtunzi, pharmacy business manager at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, is one of the most recent graduates from the HFMA advanced diploma in healthcare business and finance. Here he talks about his experience of the qualification, why he chose to do it, and the difference it has made.

As soon as I became aware of the HFMA advanced diploma in healthcare business and finance I knew that the opportunity it presented was too good to ignore. I enrolled onto the qualification in September 2018, graduating in December 2019. My experience of studying for the qualification, alongside the immediate impact it has had on my career means that I can say with certainty that I made the right decision.
To explain why this is the case, I think I need to go back a few years. When I came to the UK my dream was to be an engineer. For various reasons, this didn’t work out and I had to find myself a new dream. I took up accounting and became a qualified accountant, gaining a postgraduate diploma with the ACCA. 
However, I didn’t want to limit myself to one area, and I was always looking for ways to broaden my horizons and diversify my portfolio. When I saw the HFMA qualifications, with their practical, varied content and the flexible online learning, I knew they were right for me. 

My experience while studying was extremely positive. The online learning was enjoyable and interactive and I could do the work in my own time. I won’t lie and say that it was easy; the qualification is a commitment. And as a band seven contracts manager with a seven-year-old boy, and two-year-old twin girls, there were times when it was a matter of finding any spare time and just knuckling down and doing the work. This is where the online learning aspect really showed its value though; being able to study at times which worked for me took so much pressure off and meant I could complete the work to the standard I knew was required. I was also lucky to have supportive managers, who allowed me to dedicate time during work to the qualification. 

Beyond this, the qualification itself is challenging, but this is what a higher-level qualification should be. And by challenging me in new ways, it provided me with a foundation of new skills and advanced knowledge to progress in my career. 

Other qualifications I have completed challenged me in certain ways, but none quite like this. It tests your analysis and requires you to think critically and appraise things from different perspectives. For me, these were skills I had to develop throughout the qualification, and this is where the support network really came to the fore. From experienced and knowledgeable tutors, to fellow students from a range of backgrounds and job roles, the support network and the opportunity to network and discuss was invaluable.

Since graduating, the positive effect has been immediate. I feel more confident in my abilities, I am more focused on the bigger picture, and I’m able to see things differently and more effectively. I have also been promoted to a band 8 position as pharmacy business manager at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust. 

Gaining the HFMA qualification certainly helped open this door for me. And while the step up has involved a steep learning curve, the qualification gave me the strong foundation needed. This is not the end of my journey though. I’m already looking at enrolling on the MBA in Healthcare Finance and developing myself further. The HFMA qualification has provided me with the base I needed, now I’m excited to see how far that base can take me.

Click here for more information about the HFMA's qualifications in healthcare business and finance, including information on how to apply.
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