News Column

MMU - How postgrad study can boost your job prospects; Further study can help you get ahead in the jobs market

September 3, 2014



ENP Newswire - 03 September 2014

Release date- 01092014 - FROM Accounting and Finance to Zoo Conservation Biology, MMU offers a rich and purposeful variety of postgraduate courses, both vocational and academic.

And in an ever-more competitive jobs market, a postgraduate qualification can provide the edge needed to get ahead.

The latest figures from the Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU) show that six months after graduating, 74 per cent of full-time and 90 per cent of part-time Master's graduates were in work, compared to 68 per cent of first-degree graduates.

While just 1.4 per cent of the 1.3m jobs advertised on jobs search company Indeed's UK site require a postgraduate degree, areas such as engineering, financial services, banking and healthcare value the type of niche skills gained at postgraduate level.

Ahead of the pack

After completing a Master's degree in Sport and Exercise Science, Adam Herbert bagged a job as the Academy Performance Analyst at Port Vale Football Club.

He said: 'I chose this particular degree as I had enjoyed my academic experience on the undergraduate programme at the university and thought that completing a Master's would benefit my opportunities in the area.

'The degree definitely helped me in this career as the position I now have in my organisation requires me to have a Master's degree. Furthermore, it advanced my theoretical knowledge of physiology to a greater extent as you cover the different modules in much more depth and it allowed students to use equipment that is not available on the undergraduate degree.

'I would definitely recommend postgraduate study as it separates you from other graduates with more knowledge and an additional qualification.'

Jobs market

Many of MMU's postgraduate courses are developed in partnership with industry, meaning students have the skills they will need to continue working in the area they are passionate about.

Industry figures work with academics to help craft course content, and students have the opportunity to network with bigwig visiting speakers and take part in significant work placements.

Experts say postgraduates need to articulate their experience, especially as they might be competing against graduates in the jobs market.

'Good qualifications are well respected by employers,' says Julian White, careers adviser for MMU. 'You will have gained key experiences from a Master's course, such as teamwork, or an external commission which has gained you an insight into an industry.'

Postgrad benefits

So what does a postgraduate qualification show?

Aside from advanced knowledge in your area of study, postgraduates can show additional skills of motivation, ability, time management and usually relevant work experience. Postgraduates are also likely to have been exposed to a wider cultural community, have greater financial awareness, good personal organisation skills and be more refined communicators.

Adam Herbert offers the following advice for students considering postgraduate study: 'Researching the specific degree and what modules may be useful to complete for the career you want to pursue is the necessary step for all students considering postgraduate study.

'Additionally, I would advise any student to try and gain work experience in their preferred occupation as it is vital to gain this experience in any industry and now a major requirement that employers look for.'

Case study: Beth Stallman

WITH a portfolio of clients including Coca Cola, Reebok Global, Sainsbury's and CR7 by Cristiano Ronaldo, Beth Stallman's job at M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment is the envy of anyone who wants to work in PR.

And the 27 year-old says that her MSc in Public Relations from MMU helped provide the industry knowledge and contacts needed to bag the job.

Beth said: 'After graduating with a degree in English, I decided that I wanted a career within a professional environment which was creative, would allow me to use my writing skills and had real career opportunities.

'After researching careers I decided that PR sounded like the perfect option for me. I applied for a couple of jobs but soon realised that I was severely lacking in knowledge of the industry and the practical skills required. I felt that having an English degree meant I could do anything - but then wasn't actually qualified to do anything!'

Comprehensive programme

'I found the MMU course online and immediately decided that this would provide me with the grounding, industry knowledge and contacts I needed. I felt that the course at Manchester offered the most comprehensive programme and the international element was appealing.'

Beth has worked on global clients for the past four years, so says she found the multi-market approach of the course particularly helpful.

'Without a doubt the degree gave me the confidence to apply for jobs in PR. My Master's degree is something that I still refer to often - particularly when meeting new clients! - and I do feel that people respect you for having the degree.

'Whilst I was studying, I found that practitioners in the industry were more open to offering work experience placements which helped me to build contacts in the industry.'

Live projects

She says that working in 'real life' scenarios was the most useful thing about the degree programme at MMU.

'Working on the live projects for real clients really gave you a taste of what a role in PR entailed; from receiving and interpreting a brief, liaising with clients, developing strong campaigns and presenting strategies.

'The most helpful thing was the doors that it opened for me and the fact that it gave me the confidence to apply for my dream job!'

For other students considering postgraduate study, Beth has the following advice: 'The most important piece of advice I would give is to do work experience placements whilst you study.

'Whilst studying for my degree, I worked unpaid at four different placements and not only did it provide me with invaluable experience but one of the placements actually led to my current job.

'The course is fantastic but it really helps to put what you are learning into practice simultaneously. Even if you do a work placement and just have to make the tea, it is worth it for the knowledge you will pick up and the contacts you will make. Someone once told me that 'the Master's Degree will get you the interview and the work experience will make sure you get the job'.'

MMU's Postgraduate Courses Fairs will take place tomorrow, Wednesday September 3rd. For more information, click here: http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/visit/


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Source: ENP Newswire


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