Choosing Your Degree Part Two: Franceli

We asked two of our International Student Ambassadors to give us their advice and stories on choosing a degree subject. This is the second of our two posts, exploring Franceli’s post-graduate experience.

Choosing a degree is an important decision in every student’s life.

Why? Because you are investing a huge amount of your time and money to be able to obtain knowledge and to specialise in a specific area. For many students, this is the first step on a path to achieving their dreams. Even though achieving your dreams is a rather charming idea, it doesn’t always go as planned; but with a little thought you can make things go your way!

The Big Questions

Everyone struggles with the big questions “what am I good at?”, “what do I like to do?”, “where do I see myself in five or ten or twenty years?” Honestly, it’s a panic attack waiting to happen!

These all might seem like clichés, but if you don’t think over your choices you might find yourself stuck in classes you don’t quite like or understand. 

Worse still, you might start doubting yourself and think that you’re not good enough or that there’s nothing that you’re really good at. You might be naturally good at something but it may not be what you want to be or do in the future. 

My advice for people reading this now, who still have time to make their choices, is to practice the things you enjoy and really try to understand just what makes you tick. Harness that and direct that energy into your study and choices at university.

My Experience

I’d like to share with you my experience in choosing my Master’s in Project Management just to show you how things can progress. I have two Bachelor’s degrees, for one or another reason, in Advertising with a minor in Illustration and Marketing.

My Marketing degree taught me the process of creating a product or idea for the marketplace and my Advertising degree then taught me how to get that product or service known to a target audience. So I did an internship in advertising and it was very insightful, but I found that I lacked knowledge on the process of how these products came to be. 

I found myself wondering if I could improve the advertisements I was making if could understand and apply human psychology, as well as the business strategy and process behind the creation of these products/services? My Marketing degree fed perfectly into this and allowed me to really understand the process of making, selling and promoting a product.

After both of these degrees, I found myself working but still not reaching my dream to have my own media agency. I still lacked the knowledge on how to run a business. I don’t have a lot of experience managing other people and I am not particularly good with numbers, so I immediately thought that the next step would be to do a Master’s in Business Administration!

Many other people on my course were planning on doing that Master’s, so it certainly meant that it would work and I’d finally be able to get to where I want to be, right?

Well, in truth, not really. After researching what the Master of Business Administration taught I realised that it wasn’t what I wanted. All the classes and every comment about what you can achieve with this degree pointed towards you being a leader, a strategic thinker or an executive. 

I felt that I already possessed a few of these skills but I wanted to find something more appropriate for my dream. Is there something else I could do to get closer to my dream?

I made a list of what I needed to know to get there and in the end it all came down to knowing how to follow your customers specifications, how to manage your time and your money, how to be a successful leader and manage people in projects, in teams! 

As most work done in media agencies is divided per project, the idea struck me right at that moment that I needed to be able to successfully manage projects. This then led me to choose my Master’s in Project Management and I honestly couldn’t be happier.

In summary, my advice is:

  • Sit down and make a plan, make a career path.
  • Make a list of what skills you need, what you are lacking and what are you trying to achieve in the short or long term.
  • Research what is being offered out there in different universities.
  • Check what the courses you’ve found can offer you. Check if there is one that has most of the elements you need to achieve your goals or to start working towards them.
  • Get your degree and work really hard.
  • Network!
  • Review and repeat as many times as you need.
  • Speak to one of the International Student Ambassadors for more advice!

Remember, knowledge is a never ending fountain