It changed my career prospects tremendously. Employers view you differently. They believe an individual with a Masters level education has been ‘groomed’ for management, bringing immense value to the organisation and creating the opportunity for overall culture and knowledge building.
Home country : Sri-Lanka
Course: MSc Business Studies (Class of 2006)
Sarojini says that armed with her MSc employers took a completely different view of her as a potential senior manager. This has certainly proved to be the case as she now has a highly demanding and responsible job with the internationally renowned sports and leisurewear company, Nike.
She studied at Aston from September 2005 to July 2006. It was the first time that Sarojini, then just 25, had been to Europe and the experience could have been quite daunting. But she fell in love with Birmingham as soon as she arrived and threw herself into both her studies and a new social life which was completely different from her life in Sri-Lanka.
With the help and support of Aston, Sarojini stuck to the course and returned to Sri-Lanka where she is now a Production Analyst for Nike at a large regional factory. Nike has a huge brand image throughout the world and is a particularly demanding company. Key jobs with Nike are aspirational and Sarojini is certain her Aston MSc played a major role in her gaining her position with the company.
Sarojini had taken a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing (CIM UK) before deciding to take an MSc and had always had a strong interest in the clothing industry. She had worked as a merchandiser with a company in Sri-Lanka which produced clothes for well-know companies such as GAP, Old Navy, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Sag Harbour, Ralph Lauren, Helly Hansen and Adams childrenswear.
She learned about Aston Business School from a number of sources. “My main reason for selecting Aston was its reputation and ranking as the third best business school by the Financial Times in 2005.”
Her first impressions of the city of Birmingham and the Aston campus were perhaps surprising from a young lady from Sri-Lanka. She said: “I liked Birmingham from day one and its mixture of urban and country. Initially I thought the Aston complex was small and not quite the university I had envisaged, but with time I really liked the size and location and it really made life so simple.”
Sarojini says she didn’t find the MSc course hard. “But there were tough moments. I would say that it enabled me to think outside of the box - think broadly and to try and make a strategic difference every step of the way. I enjoyed the group work in particular. It made possible a real feeling of teamwork and enabled me to understand the positives and negatives of working in a team. There are so many elements in team working which are often hidden, and it was great working in a multi-cultural team.”
There was a lot more she enjoyed and learned from too. The module allocation for terms suited Sarojini’s study pattern. She added: “I liked the design of starting assignments with group work, which then facilitated individual work and helped to build tremendous confidence and learning from each other. I also think that the assessment techniques were very good.”
On the social side, living and working in Birmingham was a whole new experience for Sarojini. She made great friends and thoroughly enjoyed herself. “It was very different from Sri-Lanka. As a group of girls we could walk around the streets or go for dinner or a night out in Birmingham without much fear for our safety, something I couldn’t do in Sri-Lanka.
“I absolutely enjoyed making ‘flat friends’ and stayed on campus. I can tell you that without a doubt, I made friends for life at Aston and enjoyed everything from flat dinners to nightly chats to nights out – it was amazing and is among my treasured memories.”
She wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Aston Business School to anyone considering an MSc. “It’s a brilliant place to study for two reasons: the quality of the teaching and the course content is of a very high quality and the short time period means that you get familiar with the environment immediately. The size of Aston accommodates this aspect and it’s such a friendly atmosphere.”
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