Transitioning from an undergraduate to postgraduate degree

13 August 2020

Our MSc ambassador, Michael, shares the differences between his undergraduate and postgraduate degree, and why he decided to continue with his studies to a postgraduate level.

After studying for my undergraduate degree in Financial Economics the transition to an MSc Finance & Economics course was not as dramatic as I originally expected in terms of the modules and knowledge required. However, what did surprise me was how high paced the MSc course was in comparison to my undergraduate degree along with the number of projects, classwork and exams that were to be completed throughout the year.

I always knew I wanted to continue with my studies to a postgraduate level, and a postgraduate degree is also generally required for analyst positions in most economic consultancies, which is a career that I have wanted to pursue ever since I started university. So in that sense, my choice to pursue a postgraduate degree was pretty easy. In addition to this, I also undertook a placement year during my undergraduate degree helping me to cement my plans for my future career.

In order to successfully complete all the core and optional modules throughout my MSc course, I had to adopt a systematic approach in preparing for my exams. I decided to start my exam preparation from the first day of term as leaving it to the last couple of weeks before the actual exam, as I have often done during my undergraduate studies, would not be possible due to numerous other deadlines. I have found there is definitely greater pressure on MSc students as you are expected to work more independently. This not only closely simulates the atmosphere on a workplace but also makes the whole postgraduate experience extremely rewarding.


The study schedule for my MSc course is pretty similar to my undergraduate degree. At WBS each of the two terms covers four modules consisting of a two hours lecture and a one hour class per week. Students that are studying MSc Finance & Economics have less elective modules to choose from in term 2 than other MSc courses due to the extra economic module you are required to take. This study schedule gave me adequate time to attempt problem sets before each class as we have been advised to do, work on other course work such as numerous assignment projects; and to apply for jobs.

For students that are considering whether to do a postgraduate degree, I would firstly recommend that you carefully select which MSc course you want to do. There is no need to rush into studying an MSc course as it is important that you know exactly what area of study you are truly passionate about. I would suggest that you only apply for an MSc course if you are certain that it will give you an advantage and prepare you for a future career path that you have decided upon. This may mean that you spend some time gaining professional experience to fully understand the industry that you are interested in and what role would suit you best. Secondly, I would recommend that you do your research before applying for an MSc and be prepared for quite a dramatic change in terms of course dynamic. MSc courses, particularly at WBS, are highly competitive and the workload throughout your course will mirror that. Finally, I would urge future MSc students to try not to fall behind. It is really important that you don’t leave your revision to the last minute, throughout your course there is a lot of material for you to absorb therefore only allowing yourself a couple of weeks to revise will not be enough.

Discover more about postgraduate study at Warwick Business School.