National College of Ireland

'I was at a crossroads': 6 postgrad students share their reasons for going back to college

From career progression to ticking a goal off the bucket list, here’s why these students took the plunge.

RETURNING TO STUDY is no easy feat. Many postgrad students are already working full-time, some may have families to care for, and all of them have countless existing commitments outside of the lecture hall.

But while the challenges are significant, so too are the rewards. From career progression and building a standout CV to learning new people skills and specialising in new fields, doing a postgrad can put you on a brand new path to success.

We asked six postgrad students from National College of Ireland to share their reasons for going back to college, and swapping leisure time for library time…

1. I knew it would help me stand out: I had been working for around eight years since my last time in education. While I had gained lots of experience and knowledge over the years, I felt like there were gaps in my understanding.

My role in fundraising touched on many areas of my organisation – from HR to finance to strategy – so an MBA stood out for me. It was broad, but would also allow me to focus on areas I had an interest in.

I also knew that if I chose to change my career direction in the future, a post grad was something employers would recognise as valuable. It’s a platform for jumping off into success.

Eamon Sharkey, MBA graduate

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2. I didn’t make the most of college the first time around: As a director of retail, there was knowledge I wanted to gain in areas like leadership, finance and law. It would have been difficult for me to get that knowledge at work or through self-learning, so further education seemed like the most obvious route.

For me, getting a Masters was also a personal goal to tick off my list. I felt I had unfinished business with formal education, and I regretted not making the most of college my first time around. Going back and starting that journey is something I’d recommend to anyone.

Marion Ryan, MBA graduate

3. I was at a crossroads in my career: I always had it in my head that I wanted to do a Masters. My initial plan was to work for a few years after college and then go back to full time education. I then got used to the working lifestyle (and having a bit of money in my pocket!) but career wise I was at a crossroads.

Returning to study for a postgrad at NCI gave me the best of both worlds. I could further my education, while still working in the funds industry and maintaining a good quality of life. I live near the college too which was a great help.

Martin Tierney, studying for an MSc in International Business

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4. I wanted to learn more on a topic I was passionate about: I work in tech, and my postgrad was in cloud computing – a topic that I find immensely interesting. It’s a topic I would have spent my free time researching anyway, so in effect, I’ve formalised my learning into something I can put on my CV.

I felt a post grad would really help me move up the corporate ladder. Since I’ve completed the course I’ve moved role twice, and the postgrad has really helped me stand out in interviews.

Darren O’Neill, MSc in Cloud Computing

5. An MBA is a gateway to higher-level career roles: I believe that in order to build a successful career you need to stay relevant – and to stay relevant you need to accept you don’t know everything. You must continually learn.

I studied business at undergrad level, and the more I learned, the more I realised there was so much more to learn. To give myself an edge, I realised I needed to push myself even more. The MBA is viewed by many employers as the gateway to executive positions. It also offers a plethora of opportunities to extend your network and learn from experts in a wide scope of industries – both classmates and lecturers.

Djimillah Djemai, current MBA student

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6. I wanted to build up my people skills: A postgraduate qualification is almost a prerequisite for management positions in my company, so if I wanted to achieve my career goals, returning to study was inevitable. 

I also had a secondary motivation: to differentiate my skill-set. My undergraduate qualification was a science degree, and I wanted to learn some softer ‘people skills’ such as management and influencing. The MSc in International Business at NCI offered modules that fit with my career goals – and it helps that I lived near the college too!

Kevin Fagan, studying for an MSc in International Business

Ready for a new challenge? With an expert faculty, small class sizes and a vast range of postgrad courses, National College Of Ireland is the perfect place to continue your journey to success. Our next Online Open Evening takes place on Wednesday June 10, and you can register right here.

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