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Andy Bonner - MSc Management

Way back in 2010 eighteen of us (ten military and eight civilian) signed up for a Masters with Southampton Solent University. The course was designed to suit those with full-time jobs and comprised of four weekends (midday Friday to midday Sunday) a year; the remainder of the learning through self-study with university support where necessary.

The concept is great and certainly leans towards suiting military life with the weekends being spread through the academic year (September – July). Attendance at the weekend session is not mandatory but with hindsight is certainly advisable – you gain so much more from being in the classroom rather than trying to catch up with the material online. 

The military, all SPS, attendance ranged from a Corporal through to a Lieutenant Colonel, the civilian backgrounds were very varied. It was great to learn from their experiences and to compare them to the military lives we have experienced. Additionally, there were a number of nationalities and backgrounds represented by the civilians: Bulgarian, French, German and Polish.

From the outset the lecturers were engaging and enthusiastic. Accommodation was always available for us at Worthy Down which is very beneficial for those living a little further away.

So, is it for you?  My answer would be to not doubt your abilities, everyone from Corporal and above should be capable. The biggest question is – are you willing and able to commit the time to study for three years? It is too easy to withdraw – you really should stick to the commitment through thick and thin for the three years. The rewards are great; you will meet a variety of people, both military and civilian with whom you will gain a close working relationship outside of your day job; the knowledge gained will put you in good stead to stand out amongst your peers and the qualification itself is a great achievement to bolster your CV. 

Although I have suggested above that the weekend sessions at the University are of a huge benefit, it is possible to complete this course without them. The military get deployed from time to time and cannot get away, however, I have seen several people carry on their studies from theatre or assignments overseas (Cyprus, Canada) – their challenges are greater as accessing suitable reading materials is not always straightforward but the support offered from the University will assist.

My advice? Give it some serious consideration.

Richard Woodford - BA (Hons) Business (Professional Development)

The BA (Hons) Business (Professional Development) is without doubt the best thing I have ever finished by a long shot (with the help of all the lecturers along the way!).

Although starting the first year seemed very daunting at the time, after I got back into the habit of studying and managing my spare time, I really enjoyed completing research and submitting my assignments. 

I can honestly say that completing this degree has changed the way I view the world (especially through my new business ‘eyes’), and it has definitely enhanced my career and promotion prospects, more than I could have imagined. I took great pleasure adding my new qualification to my CV.

Recently when I was looking for jobs and new work prospects, having a degree opened up more avenues than I would have thought possible. I would recommend that people have a look in the job market and see how many employers now ask for a degree as the ‘standard’ entry level to be able to apply for a position, let alone get an interview.

I still feel a huge sense of achievement from passing my degree; it still brings a smile to my face when I talk about gaining my qualification.

Simon Foster - BA (Hons) Business (Professional Development)

The BA (Hons) Business (Professional Development) top-up degree was both challenging and rewarding. I found the module on change management particularly valuable as change is a constant feature in my current role.

The completion of the work-based project proved to add tremendous value both to me personally in my own development, and has also resulted in enhanced procedures within my work environment. Participation on the course has fuelled my desire to continue to learn and has prepared me well as I move to study at Master's level.

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