Why I Picked My Masters: Emma Sheridan

What is your current area of study?

I am currently about to undertake a Master of Science (MSc) in Strategic Marketing at Maynooth University. The programme is laid out with a total of 8 modules, 4 modules are undertaken per first and second semester. Over the summer semester I will have the opportunity to either go on placement or complete a Business Research Project.

What previous qualifications have you obtained?

I have completed a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) specializing in Business and accounting from Maynooth University, my graduation was just last week! During my third year I got the opportunity to go on placement for a year with Enterprise Ireland, this shifted my degree from a Bachelor of Business Studies (BBS) to the BBA.

Emma completed her internship with Enterprise Ireland.

What made you decide to pursue a postgraduate course? Did Covid-19 influence your decision?

Similarly, to some people, I couldn’t quite work out what I wanted to do with my undergraduate degree. Sure, I appreciated the numerical and analytical skills I gained from studying accounting, but the accounting profession didn’t suit me personally. However, the business side of my degree, in particular marketing, I always thought was intriguing. Even the marketing assignments I completed I genuinely did enjoy researching.

While undertaking my placement at Enterprise Ireland, I worked in the Event Management department. It was an area I found I really strived in and enjoyed. And given the recent state with the pandemic, unfortunately the event industry was heavily hit. So, after research, a decided to pursue marketing, considering the similarities with event management. Also, after starting a marketing internship with Ingenio Learning, marketing is an area I want to explore further. Subject like lead generation, SEO analysis and social media management I’m still quite new to, with the masters at Maynooth I believe I’ll gain the necessary skills to really understand these topics.

Did you take time out and work or go straight into your postgraduate course following your undergraduate degree and why?

I’m going straight into the postgraduate after the undergraduate. With Covid effecting the career path I wanted to follow, I thought it would be beneficial for me to diversify my skills. I also knew that personally, as soon as I found full time employment, I would lose interest in returning to third level education. I thought coming straight from final year, as I am still in the education and study mindset it would be easier to complete a masters.

What factors did you take into consideration when selecting which course to pursue?

Definitely a huge factor I considered was how varied the masters was in terms of subject selection. Like I previously mentioned, ideally I would love to work in a hybrid of events and marketing. So for me, completing a master’s in digital marketing for example seemed too specific. With strategic marketing, the course covers a wide range of areas from strategic management, consumer behaviour and the digital marketplace. The specialization is still a key element of this masters, yet it is very accommodating to a lot of career choices, in my opinion.

Also, where to do the masters crossed my mind too. My instinct was to continue on my education journey with Maynooth. I enjoyed my undergrad experience, so it just made sense to me. I was comfortable and familiar with the staff from the School of Business, after having previous interactions with them. Maynooth’s business masters are also less expensive than what other institutions provided, so this relieved some of my financial concerns.

Did your course meet your expectations and why? (Was the content similar to your undergrad, how did it help to specialise your knowledge, do you wish you selected a different course?)

While I’ve yet to complete the masters yet, I feel the subjects are greatly suited to me personally. Like I previously discussed the variety of the modules I believe is very advantageous, considering how recruiters are expecting much more from candidates now. I also like how there is a dedicated module to career development. It can be tricky to figure out where you want to go professionally, even at master’s level, so I think this will be v er3y helpful.

As I mentioned before, I resided more with the business side of my undergraduate degree. Even from assessments, marketing was structed on an assignment basis, while accounting required examinations to get your CAP exemptions from Chartered Accountants Ireland. I usually performed better with assignments, as I could manage my time in a way m ore suitable to me and could consistently work at them. This is what drew me to the strategic marketing masters, as the route of assessments seems to also follow assignment tasks.

I also reached out to previous students of the strategic marketing masters at Maynooth. Getting an incite from actual student who undertook the masters allowed to me get a clearer perspective, and only highlighted how this course was of interest to me.

What role do you hope to go into once you complete your postgraduate course?

During my time in Enterprise Ireland, my role as an Events intern was extremely varied. From project management, registration form building and sponsorship assistance, there were many areas I gained experience. There are aspects in the event management internship that have huge correlation to the tasks I’m currently undertaking with my marketing internship with Ingenio Learning. These include email marketing, content creation, and client and customer follow-ups. This is why I would love to work in both events and marketing, as I believe I have the necessary skills to succeed in the two fields, due to their similarities.

What advice would you give to someone unsure as to what they should study at postgraduate level?

Research courses and choose based on what area you want to work in. Sure you don’t have to know exactly where you want to go in life, but even knowing if you prefer a one role over another in your field can hugely help. Certain jobs may also require that you undertake certain modules, for example accounting or human resources, so definitely do detailed research on this. For me, I discovered this through hand-on experience, like internships and part-time work. But everyone is different, see what best suit you.

Create a LinkedIn profile if you don’t already have one. It’s such a handy social media platform to have. You can easily build your network based on the field you’re studying. Like I also did before, you can reach out to past students of the postgraduate course you’re thinking of pursuing and get their opinion on the experience. Most people there are very happy to help someone among their network of connections. It’s also great to scope out relevant jobs or internships that you could undertake aside your masters if that suits you!

Emma Sheridan

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