Dia is studying the MSc in Organisational Psychology. She chose it to enhance her skills and employability, and learn from experts in the field.
What was your main motivation to undertake postgraduate study?
I wanted to broaden my knowledge and learn more from experts in the field. I also wanted to advance my skills to get access to more job opportunities and a higher starting salary. I have to say that living in London also played its part!
What were the factors that influenced your decision making when considering postgraduate study?
I wanted to choose a respected university that was also highly regarded in the sector I was interested in. Obviously I had to think about tuition fees and living costs but more importantly what I would gain from undertaking a postgraduate degree. The location of the university was also a factor but London is beautiful no matter where you live so I was not too worried about that.
What were, if any, the main challenges that affected your decision about postgraduate study? How did you overcome them?
I was a bit nervous about the study commitment required but I knew that the reward for my hard work and effort would have been a feeling of personal growth and achievement. Another major challenge was cost but at the end you can’t put a price in education if what it offers is worthy. Lastly, I thought that it would take me a lot of time to adapt because I am not from the UK originally but I’m lucky to have chosen a university that is very inclusive and supportive of everyone.
Why did you choose City? What made you decide City was the right university for you?
City is highly regarded in the field of psychology and that was a significant factor. Student satisfaction was another factor and City is very popular for its high student satisfaction rates.
Another is how genuinely engaging everyone I spoke with was, even before they knew I would apply, they wanted to answer my questions and help me in any way possible. I knew I would be happy here because as I was adapting to the environment, the environment was adapting to me as well.
What has been your student experience at City so far?
Excellent! The modules are demanding but not to the point that someone should panic. Academics are truly brilliant, the student support is something every student should experience. I can get help in literally every corner of every building for anything I need. I studied Sociology at undergraduate level which means I had to learn a lot of the basics about Psychology since I chose Organisational Psychology MSc.
Academics and programme staff were more than happy to provide me with everything I needed to feel and be at the same level of everyone else in my cohort without my workload increasing significantly. There is a culture of acceptance and understanding that is essential for international students as well as students that might feel shy or discouraged. Everyone is always willing to do more than expected, at least as far as I’ve experienced.
How studying a postgraduate degree has helped you develop personally and professionally?
It might sound cliché but it was a life-changing experience. I am sure the combination of such a mind opening course and the experience of moving to London on my own is the reason behind this feeling. I couldn’t have asked for a better start. Considering the subject area of my degree, I have learned a lot about myself but I learned more in the process of getting a master’s.
I learned about organisational skills, about control and time management and I grew in a quite unexpected way. I am more task-oriented now and appreciate the value of deadlines. I’ve gained a better understanding of professional environments and above all, I’ve finally found my dream career.
I knew which field I was interested in but I was feeling confused because I didn’t have a definitive plan. I’m now oriented towards pursuing a career in career coaching.
What skills and knowledge do you think the course has helped you develop?
Every skill an organisational/occupational psychologist should have. The course prepares and trains us to become the best professionals we can ever be. The university expects this from the students because of the dedication, effort and quality of work everyone involved shows.
What opportunities and experiences City has offered you during your course?
Apart from the fact that right now I am applying for a job that was brought to my attention from City, I work as a marketing ambassador for the University. This gives me flexibility to choose my shifts and have some of my living costs covered without feeling like I am neglecting my studies.
I don’t know much about London yet and the fact that I work in an environment I’m familiar with and people I trust because I respect the organisation is of great value to me. There are so many events taking place and workshops to help students learn more about their industry, internships, networking sessions, etc.
I am really not doing justice to how many opportunities and experiences are available at City. We also have professionals come in and deliver lectures which is perfect for students. Last but not least the numerous facilities for relaxing and having fun from the reception in the University building to the CityBar (literally a bar that you don’t even have to exit the building to go to).
What advice would you give to people thinking about postgraduate study? What would you have liked to know then that you know now?
The reason we (students) have so much support and help during our postgraduate study is because it is demanding. It is not an extension of your undergraduate degree against common misconception. It is a specialisation. It is challenging but fulfilling at the same time and the reward of knowledge and education, to me, is completely worth it.
Someone who is interested in a postgraduate degree should be ready for some planning, some crying and some of the hardest work they’ve done until this point in their lives. Everyone should just know that someone will be there to support them at every step on the way.
What are your career plans once you have completed your postgraduate degree?
I am going to pursue a career in career coaching but recently I have been considering to do a PhD first because the academics at City really inspired me. I am thinking of starting with a paid internship since there are several offered through City and it is a great start to learn more and help me develop a professional attitude.
Generally my goal is to use everything I have learned to help people with their professional problems, since I myself was not sure until very recently what my career path would be.
How do you think City has equipped you for the next stage in your career journey?
City offers many opportunities to students in order to help them start their career and gain more experience from internships to events to workshops. It is fairly easy to pursue many different paths of career development. Moreover, my course has a module called ‘Professional Skills’ to help and train us in literally every skill we might need as professionals and we also have a module dedicated to training for career coaching and development.
Date of interview: