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Wednesday 31 May 2023 Dublin: 15°C
"I am a better version of me thanks to this programme" - Returning to University gave Muríosa a boost professionally and personally
Atlantic Technological University is the perfect place for those looking to advance their career.

YOU’RE NEVER GOING to know when the perfect time to pursue long-held ambitions will arrive. Whatever reason you have for not following through on your goals won’t suddenly disappear, so why not just go for it?  

Muríosa Prendergast found herself at a crossroads in terms of her career, and her desire to progress professionally meant she decided on enrolling in a Masters as the best way to achieve her goals. 

Aside from her professional ambitions, Muríosa is heavily involved in the charity sector, holding voluntary leadership roles on several boards. Having been involved in volunteering her whole life, she knew that a post graduate Masters qualification would help her make a more valuable contribution to this passion of hers.

Muríosa decided to study the online MA in Professional Leadership at Atlantic Technological University (ATU). The course itself was heavily linked to an area of huge passion for Muríosa, who consistently advocates for and promotes women in leadership roles. Muríosa’s thesis as part of her Masters looked at the role women play in providing the right pathway for the next generation of women to succeed.  

“The Masters in Professional Leadership really stood out as something quite special”

Muríosa currently works in third-level education with the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin as the Head of Assessment for the university and contributes to undergraduate assessment development in both Ireland and Bahrain. 

“My current role involves a mix of innovation, strategic development, and operational planning – all skills that are intrinsically linked back to the Masters in Professional Leadership. You have to be able to negotiate, manage expectations, and most importantly, bring people on a journey with you,” she said. 

Researching the best Masters that would fit with her professional development brought Muríosa to ATU, where the online format, the diversity of the faculty mixing both academic and industry experts, and the scope of the module content within the programme all stood out to her and helped make her choice an easy one. 

“I know education and I have spent my career working on both curriculum and assessment design. When I started researching Masters options the curriculum design and assessment strategy for the Masters in Professional Leadership really stood out as something quite special and different in a sea of management and business offerings.” 

Her choice of course reflects her professional ambition, but also displays her attitude toward women in leadership. “I also fundamentally believe that there is an onus on women in leadership positions to create environments to foster leadership pathways for the next generation – it was the focus of my Masters thesis. You must upskill to do that and ensure that you are able to work to mentor and support the sectoral leaders of tomorrow.”

“The Masters in Professional Leadership is very well positioned for those juggling multiple commitments”

Working what she describes as “a very full-time job” in RCSI for the duration of the course, Muríosa also had to balance her studies with being a single mum to two teenagers. Juggling her separate commitments was made easier by the online delivery of the course. It allowed her to log into lectures straight away during the week instead of a long commute, and meant she could spend the weekends researching and studying her course.  

Muríosa complimented the ATU faculty, who she described as “accessible and generous with their time”, and found addressing queries via a programme Moodle forum and by email to be really easy and relaxed. 

Initiatives such as online ‘check in’s’ and virtual coffee mornings helped to build that sense of online community. I can safely say I have made friends for life from this experience, which is not something I would have anticipated from an online programme. The Masters in Professional Leadership is very well positioned for those juggling multiple commitments.” 

Muríosa was able to stay on top of her very active life by planning out her weeks, breaking everything up into manageable chunks. She is now able to see the immediate benefits of committing to the Master’s, which didn’t even impact massively on her time with family, work commitments, or volunteer activities, 

“I am a better version of me thanks to this programme” 

Muríosa credits her time studying the Masters for building her confidence which allowed her to take on a more senior role in work. Her studies were able to back up her practical expertise with the theory that she had lacked to that point, filling her with belief and acting as a crucial catalyst for the next stage of her life. 

It has made me think differently about where my career goes next – I feel that this experience has blown away self-imposed limitations. It has made me think differently about my career trajectory and helped me personally feel that I can and will break the glass ceiling.” 

When undergoing her thesis, titled ‘Women in Leadership in Medical Education’, Muríosa discovered that a lot of work is still to be done to support and mentor our future female leaders.

“It is still too much of a struggle – the disparity in salary levels, lack of c-suite representation.” Muríosa has since changed how she supports and mentors younger colleagues in both her work life and volunteer capacity, as her passion for this area blossomed during her course.  

Muríosa’s course, the MA in Professional Leadership is delivered fully online and part-time over two years. In year one, live lectures occurs weekly. In year two, students work with their supervisor to complete their Research Project.

The programme attracts a wide range of students, many like Muríosa who had significant management experience and wished to pursue an academic award to help their career progress.    

If you’re interested in the course, but are worried the MA in Professional Leadership is too much of a time commitment, ATU also offer a Level 9 Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Leadership (Online) which is 1-year in duration and graduates can then complete their research thesis when it suits them to get their MA qualification.  

Lastly, there’s never a better time to jump back into education than right now. Take it from Muríosa, who urges you to, “Just take the leap! You will find this to be a life-changing experience.”

The MA in Professional Leadership at Atlantic Technological University is now open for applications for a September 2023 start. This part-time online course will develop the skills you need to stand out. 

Atlantic Technological University (formerly GMIT, LYIT and IT Sligo) have over 300 online, flexible, and professional development courses now open for application for a September 2023 start. We equip learners at all stages with the skills they need to move beyond their expectations with their career and life ambitions.

View the full course list here –

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