There was double joy for a pair of siblings from Angus who graduated from the same class at Edinburgh Napier University yesterday.
Brother and sister Philip (26) and Stephanie Amar (28), from Carnoustie, proved that sibling rivalry is no barrier to success at the university’s Business School.
They were not alone in keeping their academic studies in the family - 26-year-old identical twins Natalie and Nicole Bolland collected their MScs in Human Resource Management in a ceremony at the Usher Hall after supporting each other through their Masters programme.
Philip said: “We enjoyed having each other on the course because we were able to motivate each other when the going got tough. The course work was quite intense.
“We were quite competitive when we got marks for assignments, but we both remained happy as long as we were passing everything.”
Stephanie and Philip had not initially planned to be on the same course.
Philip added: “I came on board a few weeks late. I had just returned from travelling in Australia and my sister recommended that I joined her course as there was still space on it.
“I had actually been offered a graduate role but I turned it down to do the course, and my sister and I challenged and supported each other throughout the year.”
Philip is now working with the pensions team at drinks giant Diageo, while his sister is employed by a Dundee-based company who help to put unemployed people back into work.
Natalie and Nicole, from Perth, are old hands at studying together. They both completed a BA honours degree in social sciences at the University of the Highlands and Islands before enrolling for the Masters course at Edinburgh Napier.
Nicole said: “Growing up, we have always been by each other’s side and able to work together at the same establishments over the years.
“We would love to continue working together but it now looks like we are going down different career paths.”
Natalie is now working for Fairways HR and Recruitment Specialists and training to become a lecturer with the ultimate goal of becoming an employment solicitor, while Nicole is employed by the Sandpiper Trust on a life-saving project to equip volunteers to respond to cardiac arrests in north-east Scotland.
A total of 48 students graduated this year from the programme. The Bolland twins were on the part-time cohort, which takes two years to complete, while the Amar siblings were on the full-time cohort, which is one year in length.
Business School lecturer Laura Strachan said: “To our knowledge we have never had siblings who have completed the course at the same time as one another.
“Our programme has been running for almost two decades in various forms so this is very rare.”
Colleague Norma D’Annunzio-Green added: “Throughout the programme, the siblings motivated one another and I think they were crucial to each other’s successes. We know how hard they worked to gain their MSc HRM; we wish them, and all graduates, every success for the future and hope they continue to motivate each other and inspire others.”