What to expect as a postgraduate student at WBS
09 June 2021
Our MSc ambassadors share their top tips on how to prepare for your MSc and what to expect when starting your MSc course, as well as discussing the key differences between undergraduate and postgraduate study.
Aksara Iambumrungsakul, MSc Business Analytics
My journey of studying MSc Business Analytics at WBS started last year, and I have had a lot of opportunities to learn and grow so far. During each term, I study 3-4 modules and each module structure normally provides lectures, seminars, and workshops. Although I have enjoyed my journey at WBS so far, I found it difficult and sometimes stressful to keep on track with everything. I feel this is mainly because pursuing an MSc course requires a lot of independent study.
For each module, I must complete my own additional research on the topics I have learned about each week to have a comprehensive understanding. This includes lots of reading of journals, articles, and websites. In addition to this, some modules require programming skills, where I need to spend more time, at least 4-6 hours a week to follow up and improve on my skills. Similarly, I have found assignments to be considerably different at postgraduate level compared to my undergraduate degree as the expectation of quality is significantly higher. My assignments require me to show in-depth research and critical thinking skills to articulate my understanding including the ability to generate arguments and viewpoints. Even though I have found assignments quite challenging I strongly believe the time I have spent working on my assignments has enabled me to develop not just my hard skills in terms of academic reading and writing, but also my communication and collaboration competencies.
I hope from the above examples, future students understand that as a postgraduate student preparation is key. However, it is important to remember and remind ourselves that we still have a life to enjoy and that our studies are not everything. Therefore, my top advice is to learn how to organise and schedule all your activities appropriately from studying to job hunting to socialising and pursuing your hobbies. For instance, I initially synchronised my calendars and prioritised all my tasks, which eventually led me to create a to-do-list for each day to stop me from procrastinating.
However, there are times that you will feel stress and anxiety which can lead to demotivation and is important to understand that everyone has these feelings at some point during their studies. It might come from a fear of not understanding a topic as clearly as your classmates. However, it is important you recognise those feelings and overcome them as soon as possible. One of the most effective solutions I found is from seeking help from my lecturers and friends who are always there to support me. Another solution that I find helps me when I am feeling a little stressed is to achieve something small every day to make sure I remain motivated. Personally, every evening I usually prepare a to-do list for the next day, and it gives me such a good feeling when I am able to cross out everything on my list.
Ann Mary Lal David, MSc Business with Consulting
The life of a postgraduate student compared to one of an undergraduate student is quite different and challenging. It is crucial to understand the difference and think wisely before deciding to pursue a postgraduate degree. Your postgraduate degree should be chosen based on deepening your knowledge for your future career goals. Selecting an appropriate course in an area that you are passionate about will inevitably motivate you to study and excel in your studies.
I would highly recommend that in preparation for your postgraduate course you complete some refresher courses. The modules that you will have been taught during your undergraduate course will have taught you the basics, however for your postgraduate course, the modules are much more in-depth and will therefore be more challenging. At the University of Warwick, the library provides resources to help students, and postgraduate students have access to additional resources such as allowing a longer borrowing period for books, dedicated study spaces in the library and a brand new postgraduate hub for students.
As a postgraduate student, the academics on your course will expect you to prepare for your lectures and seminars by completing the essential reading, as well as reviewing the seminar questions and lecture slides. In addition to this, the amount of independent study and research you will have to do during your postgraduate degree will be more than what you had to do for your undergraduate degree so make sure you are prepared to put in the work. Similarly to your undergraduate degree, you will also be allocated an academic tutor who is there to help and support you throughout your course. The journey of attaining your postgraduate degree is not easy, it is stressful and full of hurdles. However, if you have the right mindset and the drive to work hard, it can certainly be achieved.
It is safe to say being a student of any level has been extremely different during the past year. When I started applying for MSc courses, I had no idea that I would be doing it in the middle of a global pandemic. However, apart from that, there are definitely a few things that I think every prospective postgraduate student needs to know before diving in and applying for an MSc course.
MSc courses are typically quite intense and fast-paced, so in order to be prepared in the best way possible, I believe it is key to conduct prior research on the course you have chosen to do. It is important to think about what you intend to achieve at the end of your course but also leave some flexibility for new ideas and career prospects. Since starting my MSc course, I have become exposed to new career roles that I would never have thought of prior to joining WBS.
The typical timetable for my course involves a lot of self-study. Before and after each lecture we are expected to do further research around the topic. However, by listening to the lecturers and tutors attentively, I find this gives a good direction for my self-study. You can expect a lot of group work throughout your MSc course, which takes some getting used to but my experience so far has been greatly beneficial.
The most obvious difference between studying for an undergraduate and postgraduate degree is the duration. Undergraduate degrees are typically 3 – 4 years while MSc degrees are mostly a year and include fewer modules than an undergraduate degree. Nonetheless, MSc courses aim to cover a wide range of subject areas within the year, so you are absorbing a lot of information at a very fast pace. As I mentioned previously, studying for your MSc requires a lot of self-study; thankfully the lecturers and tutors at WBS are always eager to help and provide advice and support for any issues you may have regarding relating to your course.
Essentially, my top tips are that you need to have an open mind, an eagerness to learn and the need to take advantage of every opportunity provided to you in order to succeed whilst studying for an MSc.
To learn more about our portfolio of postgraduate courses, please visit our dedicated postgraduate homepage.