Melissa White- MSc in Quality (Online)

Name: Melissa White

Job Title: Global Quality Director of Systems and Programmes for Vision Care for Bausch & Lomb Inc. 

Course Studied: MSc in Quality (Online) 

Can you share your career path to date? 

I started working for operations in Ray-Ban 30 years ago straight out of school, I took various computer courses in the WIT and was always interested in learning and improving myself.  I applied for and was successful in taking on roles in inventory control and distribution.   I decided to take on a part-time course in commercial software development at WIT and matched that by taking on a role in technical support at Bausch & Lomb.   From there I switched to Software Quality Engineering for 5 years.  I then moved into Quality Systems Management for 7 years.  I have always managed different programmes of work in the various roles I have had so I decided to complete a diploma in project management with PMI and UCC.   As my career is Quality-based, I felt that my education didn’t entirely match the career path I was on, so I completed an MSc in Quality at ATU Sligo.  Shortly after this, I was promoted to manage the implementation of the new medical device regulation in Europe for our Vision Care business.  This role has subsequently expanded to manage/oversee quality programmes for Vision Care.  

What does your current role involve? 

My current role is Global Quality Director of Systems and Programmes for Vision Care.  I manage a team of people who are responsible for the Quality Management Systems, Standards Compliance Process, Change Management and Administration for Vision Care Quality as well as managing and overseeing multiple programmes for Vision Care Quality including the Certification of all VC products to the EU MDR. 

What motivated you to start studying?  

I have always been interested in continuous improvement and aligning my studies with my experience.  

Why did you choose this course from ATU Sligo? 

ATU Sligo has one of the most reputable Quality Engineering and Masters programmes in Ireland I looked at many and talked with others in my field this one was recommended.  

How did you find the process of studying online? What elements did you find helpful? Were there elements you found challenging?  

Great I live 5/6 hours drive from Sligo, it wasn’t possible to be an on-the-campus student.  I also worked full time through it, I worked the courses mostly from Moodle in the time that suited me.  When I had to be on at a specific time I made it work for my schedule.  

How did you balance work and study? 

It was challenging I had a lot of juggling to do but I made it work.  It’s not forever and it does take sacrifice but it’s worth it.  

In terms of your employer, were they supportive of your decision to study? Were there elements of the course that were particularly relevant to your current employer?   

Yes, I specifically picked this course because it filled gaps in my knowledge but reinforced my role in Quality. 

What advice would you have for anyone considering studying online? 

Do your research, ensure you understand the expectations and commitment and go for it. 

In what way has studied online with ATU Sligo benefitted your career? 

On a practical level, it has helped me fill in gaps that I wasn’t reaching professionally, it opened my mind to new thinking on subjects and it reconciled my education with my experience.   I have been promoted several times since I completed the Masters in Sligo.  

Did this course provide any unexpected benefits to your career? 

The Chief Quality Officer in my organisation is a great academic and all advisors tell you to have a 30-second elevator pitch ready if you get caught in an elevator with an executive, my course funnily gave me something to talk with him about, he’s a big fan of Peter Senge. 

Did you find that the elements you were studying had practical relevance in your day-to-day role?  

Not everything but for sure a lot of it did e.g. transformational change is what I do now as part of the Programme Leadership role.  Developing strategy and simulation have practical applications for my work.  

What were the key skills you took away from your time studying at ATU Sligo? 

Research, Critical Thinking, Programme Management, Change Management and an understanding of the application of statistics.  

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