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Honours graduate balancing new job with Master's studies - thanks to VC2020 Scholarship

Having completed her HND and joined De Montfort University (DMU) as a third year entrant, Sarah Hope had no intention of studying for a master’s. The plan was to find a full-time job. However, as she neared the end of her studies Sarah decided that she had not learnt all that she could.

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She said: “I felt I had not been at university long enough. I’d enjoyed the experience and I’d exceeded my own personal expectations let alone the expectations of others. So I started to think about postgraduate study.

"Obviously there was a significant cost implication to consider as not only would I have to pay for the master’s but I would have to forgo any salary. While I was investigating my options, I came across the VC 2020 Scholarship. I would say that knowing I would be eligible if I got a 2:1 or above was the driver behind my decision to do the master’s.

As it turns out, Sarah’s chosen area was not offered as a full-time course this year so she elected to study it part-time and to get a job. “I actually wasn’t looking for a full-time position but when the opportunity at The Fit for Work Team came up I went for it. Luckily I was successful and they have been very supportive of my study needs ever since.”

Sarah admits that balancing work and study can be difficult but she believes it is worth it both for her current job and her future career. In fact, she is confident that studying for her master’s has already opened doors for her.

“I can’t say that it secured me this job but I think it certainly got me in the door. It shows I am committed to my professional development and offers the potential of my bringing another dimension to an organisation through what I learn in terms of embracing a holistic business-focused approach.”

Simon Calvert, MD of The Fit for Work Team said: "We interviewed quite a lot of people for the role and one thing that came across in Sarah's interview was the depth of knowledge and understanding about the strategic direction of the organisation. She really stood out and I think that knowledge and ability to analyse and make recommendations has come from her university study. We are supporting Sarah with her MBA studies and, even in the short period of time she's been here, she has contributed a lot to the organisation."

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Sarah has no doubt that, whatever the future holds, the master’s degree will be of benefit to her and that the scholarship offer made the choice easier.

“My salary expectations with a master’s will far outweigh the cost of study but the scholarship helped immensely because you have to pay the fees at the time of study. It is one thing less to worry about, which is important when you are juggling a job and your home life with study.”

The VC’s 2020 Scholarship offers a tuition fee discount of up to 50 percent on selected full-time and part-time postgraduate courses. Based on academic achievement and merit, it is automatically applied to all home and EU graduates who achieve a 2:1 or higher and who are graduating or have graduated within the past two years. Individual faculties may also set their own eligibility criteria, terms and conditions.

Posted on Monday 2nd March 2015

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