As you may have noticed, the MA section of this blog has been quite abandoned. Until now! We, the master students, have been swamped with assignments and work pretty much from the beginning. Although this hasn’t changed much, we have decided that we want to bring this section of the PR Blog to life again. The MA course is an important – although very small – part of Solent PR. We are only five (basically 4.5, as Megi is doing it part time) students, so we might as well present them all in one post.
The interesting thing about the five of us is the cultural mixture: We are from Bulgaria, Qatar, Germany and England. This can create tension when it comes to habits and professional behaviour, but it also provides a lot of material to learn from. We’re also a quite heterogenic group in terms of age, work experience and character. We have different skills and preferences and this it what makes it interesting. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely always interesting.
1. What do you most enjoy at your MA?
Susanna: “The best thing about the MA is that apart from Wednesday we don’t need to show up at uni. … Ok, I’m kidding. To my mind the best thing is our lecturer, who gives us valuable practical and academic advice and who does not lose her temper, even though we can be so exhausting and annoying at times.”
Mashael: “I like how we work in a group quite a lot. We also learn a lot about primary and secondary research, and how to run a campaign.”
Adam: “I enjoy the responsibility of my masters and learning in depth about a topic that has always interested me. I think as well the possibility of a placement for one of the units provide an excellent platform for the future.”
Friederike: “I really like that I’m learning not only about theories and how to put them into practice, but also about myself. We need to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses and work on them to improve them. Catherine is also very caring and responds to our different needs and wishes. At the same time, she is always challenging us and pushing us to our limit, which is not always easy. But who said the MA was easy?”
Megi: “The interesting content is a huge plus. We also have the opportunity to relate our assignments to our interests and to future careers. Our lecturer Catherine Sweet gives us great support and she challenges us and motivates us to achieve more.”
2. How do you think is the MA course different from the Undergrad course?
Susanna: “I think the best word to describe the MA course is “more”. We work more, are more independent in structuring or work, have to think more critically, need to write more words in our assignments. The only thing that cannot be described with “more” is the number of people in our course – we’re only 4.5.”
Mashael: “For me it is so different from the Undergrad Course because my BA was in English and Media and it is not related to PR.”
Adam: “I think that an Undergrad course is easier because it is more structured and easier to follow. In addition, there is only one or two things to work on at once. The MA is more challenging as you need to be more disciplined with time, learn to multitask and the level of thinking is in depth. It does give more flexibility as it allows you to set your own questions for essays which takes you out of your comfort zone which is good.”
Friederike: “When I saw my timetable for the first time, I was wondering what I’d do with all the free time, because we have lessons only on Wednesdays. By now, I have understood that the MA is based on student-based learning. We don’t have that many classes, but we’re supposed to teach ourselves. I think, the Undergrad course is more a directed learning process.”
Megi: “It involves a lot more critical thinking, research, dedication, time, self-learning.”
3. Where do you want to work after you’ll graduate?
Susanna: “Ideally I want to combine PR, Marketing and Design at a company in Germany. I don’t mind if agency or in-house.”
Mashael: “I am planning to work in Al-Jazeera English or Al-Jazeera Children.”
Adam: “I want to work in the sport industry either in corporate PR a press office or as a sports Journalist.”
Friederike: “I can imagine staying in the UK and working here (although my friends back home will really not like that… sorry!!), but I’m quite a flexible person, so let’s see what the future brings…”
Megi: “Ideally, I would like to work in Public Affairs and apply all of the things I have learnt through my BA and MA degrees.”
4. What advice would you give an Undergrad PR student, from an MA point of view?
Susanna: “Be prepared for a lot more work. You’ll need to work independently, which can be difficult, especially since you might have been guided in your undergrad studies. And also practice your critical thinking skills – you will need them.”
Mashael: “Make your decision carefully. Work hard on your assignments.”
Adam: “An MA is a great opportunity to enhance your knowledge and to gain further experience. Completing an MA could make the difference in a competitive field when seeking employment.”
Friederike: “Work on your professional attitude. Do something to get a future employer’s attention. Nowadays, almost everyone (at least the PR students) write a blog. Do more to stand out! For example, I have experienced that people were positively surprised that I have business cards.”
Megi: “I would advise them to work on their time management skills and always leave enough time for proof reading which is crucial.”
Stay tuned, there’s more to come from the Masters…