Showing posts with label education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label education. Show all posts

Sunday 20 January 2013

Back to University after a 17 year break

After a 17 year break from formal University Study, I have decided to return to university and undertake a second Master degree. My first Master degree was in Geographic Information Systems (MGIS), this one will be a Master Business Administration (MBA) from Southern Cross University. 

I have been thinking for a while about doing some more study for the last several years, and was thinking about either a PhD in Aerospace or a MBA in marketing, and have decided for a few reasons on doing the MBA at this time. For the last several years, it has become evident to me, that marketing is something that I need more knowledge and expertise about. A friend of mine, the one who  flew the 737 Simulator  is also enrolled in this course at this time, and I thought the opportunity to study with some one I knew would make it more fun and easier, as I will have someone to discuss the topics with.

This will be an interesting experience as when I last studied (1995), the Internet was just starting to take off and the earliest forms of Yahoo, where around and could just be used, whereas now they are a large part of education. The second interesting aspect of this for me will be how it is taught, I have always been interested in online education since I completed my first Master thesis on that subject, and have worked as a researcher for some institutions researching online education. The course I am doing is offered offline, rather than online which slightly disappointing

I am excited but also slightly nervous about starting education again, as I was never a big fan of exams or exam conditions, although the more I work, the more I realize how often I am actually in exam conditions, such as when in meetings with clients, they do not want to see me looking up an answer to a question, they expect me to know the answer.

The last time I applied to university, I needed to physically show up on campus, meet an academic and agree an area of study, complete paperwork and wait, this time I completed a fairly detailed online form in the morning and by lunch time I had my acceptance and was able to start reading up on the course. Within 48 hours of my mate mentioning that he was doing this MBA, I was enrolled and starting to study for it

Where I can I will be attempting to use my internal projects for projects and assignments, so that I can begin to see improvements and the changes to my projects as I complete this study. This will also meant that I am familiar with the 'current data' and do not have to spend time trying to find companies / projects to do assignments on.

Work Load. 

There is 12 subjects that I must complete, 6 of which are compulsory and  I can choose another 6 from  a list of about 50 other subjects, presuming that all subjects are the same structure as the 6 compulsory ones, which is

  • 10 sections 
  • 2 assignments 
  • 1 exam

This means that I will need to complete 120 sections (which will take about 10 or 15 hours each section), 24 assignments and 12 exams. Having had a quick look at my 6 electives options, there are some that are purely project based, so I will be able to reduce the number of exams that I have to do, which is my preferred option.

Each subject is meant to be about 150 hours of work, all up a total of 1800 hours of expected work to complete this masters.  Which reduces down to 45 weeks of 40 hour weeks.

There are three trimesters a year, which is my preferred choice of study, there is no reason, that I need a 4 month break from study over the Summer period.

Provided material.

At the moment I am undertaking two subjects namely

so I have been sent the material for these two subjects. Which arrives by mail as one parcel containing everything that is needed for each subject. The structure so far appears to be

  • Text Book (the information)
  • Study Guide 1 (the Study Guide)
  • Study Guide 2 (readings) 
  • CD - 

There was some small errors and inconsistencies between the website, packing list and what actually arrived, nothing major was wrong just small errors, such as the website has the text book listed as the Australian edition, but I was sent the Global edition, small issues like that - that make you do a double take and check that you have the right source material.

What I have read of the study guide and textbook so far look well laid out and easy to read and seem to make sense, I have nearly completed my first weeks work for the marketing subject.

WHY ? 

There has been several questions lately on the GIS & Technological Innovation Forum and GIS on linkedin in the last few weeks with people asking if they should undertake their master degree in GIS, and to me its a more generic question should people undertake more study.

I have always been an advocate of education, whether formal or informal, and consider life long learning a core part of what I am and what I do, and is necessary for me to do my work. I feel that i have benefited greatly from having had a Master degree in the past sometimes in informal ways and sometimes as a requirement to 'getting the job'.

The style of work that you do and are expected to do after having a master degree I have found in my personal experience to be a better 'quality' of work and more interesting projects, I have also noticed that by having a master degree, more trust or respect is given to you when you start at a new organisation or with a new client. I have tended to do a fair bit of R&D style work, and having a master degree has made it possible for me to work in those areas.

I see this second master degree as rounding off my original education, rather than it taking me down a different path to the path I am on now.