Pursuing Postgraduate Studies: How my degree helps me in the Real World

17 Apr 2024, 15:22

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Before I started at DCU, I was in the “awkward quarter-life crisis stage” where I had finished my undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Human Resources, the year before and was now working full-time in an administrative position in a hospital I’d worked at for years. I took time off to travel during that year and when I returned, I knew that I was at a turning point in my life: either quit the hospital because there was no career progression and finally look for a job in my field; or go back to university and complete my Masters. One involved starting over in a new company at home in Canada, and the other involved moving halfway across the world to live abroad and start my Masters (thank you traveling for opening my eyes to that possibility!). I chose to move to Ireland and leave Canada behind!

The first reason for pursuing a postgraduate degree was because it felt overwhelming looking for jobs in the field of human resources, considering I had been out of school for well over a year at that point and had not used those skills since. Taking the MSc in Human Resources Management at DCU gives me the chance to sharpen my HR skills and many employers would still view this as a year of professional experience. My goals for the future are to work toward becoming an HR Business Partner, and I felt that pursuing my Masters in the field shows the dedication and passion I have for the industry. The second reason is that the DCU Business School is accredited by AACSB, which accredits the best business schools in the world, the Human Resources Management program is ranked 2nd in Ireland, and my degree is also CIPD accredited, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development that is the governing body for human resources, learning and development in Ireland and the UK, which means I will graduate with an Associate CIPD membership. As an international student this was all very important to me because it meant I could bring these qualifications back home to Canada if I choose to work there instead. Seeing as the program is a MSc in Human Resources “Management”, I really wanted to use the opportunity to gain valuable insight into becoming a future leader; and so far, I have done just that!

My modules this semester revolve around different aspects of human resources management and include “Managing Employee Performance & Rewards” and “Organisational Analysis”, which both focus on making business decisions that affect the employees in an organisation. The first focuses on building performance management systems on real evidence like case studies, and presenting this through group presentations, discussion boards, and role-plays in class. The latter focuses on using real business strategies such as SWOT and PESTLE analysis, or by conducting a financial analysis of the organisation to make a strategic business decision; and both modules allow me to build my practical management skills. Lastly, we have a module called “Leadership & Career Development” which has allowed me to really focus on my personal leadership styles through a means of group discussions, guest lectures, and case studies.

Choosing to pursue a postgraduate degree can be a difficult decision to make – especially from an international student perspective. I would know… It took me five months to finally commit after I was accepted to the program! While it is often nice to hear advice from everyone on what decision to make, this almost made it harder for me because there was so much input. I would suggest listening to everyone once, and then taking some time to digest all the inputs, look at pros and cons, and make the decision for yourself – not because someone said you should. While I don’t need a Master’s in Human Resources to work in the field of Human Resources, I felt that this was a good step for achieving my specific HR management goals. The International experience has also been extremely beneficial as it has opened my eyes to the major HR policy differences between Europe and Canada, and I am very confident this knowledge and experience will help me significantly in the future.

My advice to someone deciding to pursue their Master’s is don’t be shy to ask questions, reach out to current students and staff at DCU, and remember, you’ll probably only do your Masters once so make sure to do something you’ll love!

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