Published on 07/06/2023
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Aston Means Business Aston Global Advantage
  • The unique module that aims to develop students’ transferable and employability skills
  • Lecturer explains how it provides huge advantage when it comes to recruitment and selection process
  • Programme teaches skills such as communications, teamwork, problem-solving and professionalism.

The clue is very much in the title for why students should apply for a Masters degree at Aston University that comes with a module offering that little bit extra.

The Aston Global Advantage module is designed to give students on many of the university’s Masters courses a significant boost in the jobs market when it comes to landing that dream job, wherever in the world it might be.

Dr Jude Preston, a lecturer in the Work and Organisation department at Aston Business School, explained that between 1,000 and 1,500 students take part in the Aston Global Advantage every year.

She spoke about the initiative in the latest episode of the ‘Aston means business' podcast, presented by journalist Steve Dyson.

Dr Preston said there were three main reasons why students should do a Masters degree at Aston that includes the Aston Global Advantage (AGA): “The reasons are in the title: it is a global advantage. 

“It doesn’t matter where you have come from in the world, or where you intend going afterwards, the skills and the competencies that you will learn as part of undertaking that will serve you well, regardless of whatever industry you go into, wherever you go in the world, or whatever you want to do with your life.”

She said the second reason for doing the AGA module is that it will give students an advantage in actually landing their ‘dream job’. “There are lots and lots of business degrees, but they don’t include the Aston Global Advantage and they don’t give you the experiences to talk about during that all-important recruitment and selection process.”

The third reason, she concluded, is that students will make friends they will keep for the rest of their lives.

Dr Preston, who previous work positions include roles as varied as a refrigeration and air conditioning engineer and head of sales at The Rep theatre in Birmingham, said she discovered her love of teaching while doing a PhD in human resources management at Aston.

She said: “That experience in industry is absolutely invaluable because, when I am teaching students, I can use experience from my own working life.”

She said the Aston Global Advantage was an integral part of many of the Masters courses at Aston, running for the whole year with different activities in each of the three terms, some online, some face-to-face, plus group challenges set by “high calibre” local organisations.

Term one covers sessions in career management and the “The Joy of Teams”. Students also have a business challenge which, for the last two years, has been set by the Birmingham Commonwealth Games with the focus on sustainable legacy. This year, Aston is working with Birmingham Pride on how they can improve their reach to help disadvantaged members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The second term is a programme specific activity, such as human resources management degree students carrying out interviews, officiating in trade union negotiations, and managing bullying and grievance hearings.

The final term sees students undertake one of four streams. They can choose to study abroad at one of Aston’s partner institutions, do a period of work-based experience, take on a business stimulation, or do a Product Intellectual Property Entrepreneurship (PIPE), which gives them the knowledge needed to start their own small business.

Dr Preston said: “The purpose of it is to give the students the opportunities to develop those transferable and employability skills. You might hear them called soft skills. I personally don’t like that term. There’s nothing soft about things like communication, teamwork and collaboration, and professionalism and work ethic.

“We aim to have a situation that when our students leave Aston, with their lovely, bright, shiny, brand new Masters degree that they’ve worked so hard for, when they’re trying to get those fantastic graduate jobs that they are all after, that what the AGA will have done is given them the edge in the employability market.”

For more details about the AGA, click here

Episode 4 in series six of the ‘Aston means business’ podcast can be found here

Notes to Editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiary groups – students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and wider society. Located in Birmingham at the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University is ranked 22nd in the UK in the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.

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