Blog post

Transitioning to postgraduate

Transitioning to postgraduate study hasn’t been the logical progression it is for some students for me. From a science background, I made the transition to a business masters degree - this is the story of how I made my decision.

By Bowen Shang - 22 October 2018

I started my undergraduate degree in chemistry in 2014. I chose this because it matched my interest in environmental protection; I wanted to build my fundamental knowledge and broaden my career horizons.

Changing direction

To help me explore my career options within this field, I completed internships and attended events during the holidays. I participated in ethnic societies, dance teams and innovative projects across various industries. During this time I discovered that my real interest lay in a completely different direction, business and marketing.

I made up my mind about my career direction during a second year internship. I was asked to promote a service to clients while evaluating the performance of their business. I realised that I was enjoying the work but lacked professional knowledge.

Friendly advice

I consulted a friend who has completed a degree in a similar discipline. This really helped me, and I made up my mind to continue my studies at postgraduate level with an MSc in Marketing Management at the University of Derby which I began in September 2017.

As an undergraduate science student, the decision to study another discipline requires courage. To help build my confidence I selected to study a Business module on my final year of undergrad to test my initial passion for this subject area. After one semester I knew that this route was right for me. I am deeply attracted to the world of business and in particular marketing so I continued to apply to study at postgraduate level.

Focus on the future

I decided to study a masters degree to strengthen my competitiveness in the job market. Undergraduate study is the time to gain knowledge and build fundamental abilities, whereas postgraduate study is a guided experience with high flexibility. Undergraduate study is about lectures and tutorials, whereas postgraduate study is about limited teaching combined with more independent work. Seminars and professors are there to guide you through the journey, but individual abilities, thinking and passion about your subject are the keys to success at masters level.

Personal benefits

Postgraduate study has helped me develop my academic knowledge and professional skills. I have made good friends and have been taught by skilled and knowledgeable academics. I was also lucky enough to have met an amazing supervisor who not only inspired me through his expertise but also guided me to develop a professional logical mind as a marketer. He gave me the courage to continue my studies and prepare to make an impact in my career.

Aiming higher

I enjoyed my postgraduate studies so much that I have since applied to study a PhD in marketing here at the University of Derby in January 2019.

My experience may be unusual, but I would like to encourage people to try out new things that they are interested in, even just a hint of interest. And make good use of the experience of postgraduate study. A year is short, but there are a lot of things you can gain from it.

About the author

Bowen Shang
MSc Marketing Management graduate

Bowen Shang is a University of Derby MSc Marketing Management graduate. She's an outgoing and optimistic Chinese girl who moved alone to the UK for further study when she was 16 years old. Bowen is a member of Liaoning Provincial Photography Artist Association and Liaoning Provincial Young Photographer Association, China.