“Derby's courses are very innovative. Studying here is like a drug ... you get addicted! You never know what the lecturers are going to come up with next”
– Stepheny Kau
Stepheny Kau is 22 and studying her Masters in Marketing.
I wanted a challenge
I started a masters because after temping for a while I wanted a challenge, and wanted to use my brain more - and I certainly have!
However, I also wanted to take advantage on all the great extras that Derby provides that I didn't take up when I did my undergraduate degree here. This includes the Derby Award and the employer mentoring scheme. They definitely get mentioned when I get an interview.
I'm studying full time and juggling work as well - because I'm a bit mad and love the experience. I'm doing marketing work as a Student Brand Manager for Virgin Media Short and it is so much fun! It's taught me that work doesn't have to be boring!
The masters degree
The work has been interesting. It includes lots of assessments and exams as you would expect, but also fun and interesting things like projects, presentations and the residential.
The lecturers are amazing. They are always there with the door open for us. Hildegard steps up to whatever we students throw at her! We spent two hours in her office before our last presentation going through things. She didn't even get a break before she went off to her next class. They certainly go the extra mile here for their students.
My dissertation is on establishing Normanton, an area of Derby, as a multicultural centre along the lines of Birmingham's curry mile. This is also in conjunction with JET.
Takeaways and restaurants from Asian cultures always go to purchase their raw material from London. I never understood why. So my research is on what makes London so special? It's expensive to travel there and you're often stuck in traffic jam. Why not establish Derby as a regional supply centre?
The high points - working on real projects and the residential
It's rewarding when you try your hardest. You never think you've done enough, then out of the blue you get your As and Bs - and you realise it was definitely worth all the hard work!
Our project working with the National Stone Centre culminated in a presentation to the Director of the organisation, as well as finance directors and other members of the senior management team. To hear that they were impressed with our presentation made us very proud!
Along with that we had the residential. This was at the start of the degree was so much fun. We learnt a lot about ourselves and also got the chance to speak to new people and socialise. We all still regularly meet up and go to things like international parties, clubs and cafes.
The challenges include juggling a million and one things. I've taken on ridiculous amount this year! But, I don't regret it for one moment. The extra curriculum activities, such as being a student rep, have given me so much confidence and even my lecturers have noticed I'm far more assertive, definitely a confidence builder!
And what's next?
I'm definitely going to test out my assertiveness when I go into employment (whenever that may be!).
I've learnt various leadership skills. It's crucial to get the right balance between focusing too much on the task and motivating the other team members. I didn't realise I was an implementer in Belbin's leadership style, so now I have an excuse if I crack the whip at work!
Would I recommend Derby?
Definitely do your masters degree at Derby. Even though it can be stressful at times, you still never stop laughing! The people are great, the staff are outgoing - always making the lectures interesting, stimulating and fun.