Your essential MSc questions answered
03 July 2020
MSc ambassadors, Alara, Paloma and Oliver share their answers to your top ten burning questions. From their favourite spot on campus to advice on preparing for postgraduate study, find out what our current students have to say.
1. In what year of your undergraduate degree can you apply for an MSc?
Oliver: I applied in my final year and found the process very straightforward. I got the news four weeks after applying and the webinars offered were a great way of preparing for Warwick.
Alara: You can apply for your MSc degree during your last year of your undergraduate degree. I think applications generally open in autumn. It’s a choice really; I chose to do a gap year to gain some work experience in India, so you do what you’re comfortable with.
2. Did you take the dissertation route and, if so, how did you find it?
Oliver: Since I’m considering a PhD in the future the dissertation route was a no-brainer for me. The process is clearly structured, and you get to choose your topic from a large variety. Your supervisor is then allocated to you by the university. I would definitely recommend the dissertation to anyone who is considering a possible PhD in the future or prefers research over group work.
3. How is your online learning experience so far?
Alara: I’ve only had one online course this term - my elective, the branding module. It was quite intensive, as we had to cover everything within a week, but it was also fun and intellectually stimulating. The module itself followed the same programme that any module face-to-face would follow. We had our group discussions that we did from the WBS portal, my.wbs, which was quite fun. We had our own time period to study and read through some articles, and we had our classes and could comment. At first, I thought there might be some problems with how to participate, but it didn’t go like that at all. It was a different experience but for me I didn’t see much difference to how it would be with a normal module.
Oliver: It’s definitely been interesting and challenging to adapt to online learning via the online platform, my.wbs, but the relaxed nature of the lectures have definitely helped me ease into it. Group work is a bit more challenging, but we have individual group work spaces on my.wbs and I’ve had some very positive experiences in my Project Management module, so it’s definitely possible to collaborate virtually. I personally prefer the in-class lectures, but online definitely is possible.
Paloma: My online learning experience has been alright so far. We did three exams last term and for this term I haven’t started classes yet so I’m not sure how it’ll be but WBS has provided us with everything we could possibly need, so hopefully it’ll be alright.
4. Is there much career support and events for MSc students?
Alara: The careers team is absolutely fantastic. We have a WBS-exclusive careers office within the building, and they are ready to help with absolutely anything. I asked for advice about job applications, CVs and essay documents and it’s really great to know that there’s someone to ask for help when you need it.
5. How convenient is it to travel from Coventry or Leamington Spa?
Paloma: It usually takes around 15-35 minutes from either Coventry or Leamington Spa to WBS. There are buses that run every 10 minutes. The year bus pass will cost around £350, and a return trip will cost around £4. I live in Leamington Spa and we usually meet with friends outside campus, which means I can walk everywhere.
6. Will the September 2020 intake start online or on campus?
Oliver: Teaching will start regularly in September with a blended approach. This means that you can choose to come to Warwick for face-to-face teaching or start your course online and then come back to Warwick whenever you feel safe to do so. You can find more information here.
7. Alara, how has your course helped you in shaping your future plans?
Alara: First of all, the School and the programme you are in really give you the opportunity to mix up your theoretical knowledge with whatever it is you are learning. There are many out of class activities, and many workshops and societal events about your field, or subjects you are interested in, that you can attend and have the opportunity to discuss your own opinions with industry experts. I feel like this is something that really prepares you for real life and gives you an idea of what you want to do in the future, as well as which area you are most competent in or interested in.
There is also the dissertation opportunity; I am doing the external dissertation and will be working directly with a company instead of doing the regular dissertation. The external dissertation is an amazing opportunity for me to interact with a real company and make a strategy and a plan for them, helping to prepare me for my future career.
Additionally, there are workshops and pre-recruitment events that the WBS CareersPlus team hold, and I’ve found these very helpful for shaping my future plans. They take you into assessment bases, just like a job recruiter would do, and they really challenge you which I this is great as you can see where you stand in a realistic way.
8. What is your favourite place on campus?
Oliver: Favourite place on campus is Lakeside for me. I had my flat there and I loved the daily walks to WBS.
Alara: I loved having a cup of coffee in Curiositea after lectures. There’s a cosy atmosphere and it’s perfect to relax and watch the rain.
9. What is it like studying your MSc at a campus-based university?
Oliver: Firstly, everything you need is on campus so it’s convenient and easy to get to. Being on campus creates a great sense of community and Warwick, in particular, has great scenery around. It’s also well connected so you can easily travel around within the UK.
10. How difficult was it to transition from your undergraduate degree to your MSc?
Paloma: The transition from my undergrad to my postgrad was quite easy. I did Economics as my undergrad and currently I’m doing MSc Business Analytics. The good thing about this is that both my undergrad and my postgrad have a lot of maths and statistical elements - that was really helpful for me, especially because I chose modules that were mathematically-loaded, but I know a lot of people with business backgrounds who struggled as much as me, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
You also have options in your modules; if you don’t feel as comfortable doing a plain mathematical module you could choose something focused on programming. Not everyone knows how to programme, actually it’s rare to find someone who has had previous experience with R, SQL, or Python. WBS also offer you access to Datacamp, a platform filled with online classes and everything for programming. You have access to Datacamp before your MSc starts so it’s really helpful if you have time to do some exercises and get a feel for how R works.
For me it was a smooth transition and WBS did everything they could to help their students.