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Simon Bell

MSc Project Management

Msc Project Management Student Simon BellWhat undergraduate course did you study and where?

BSc (Hons) Geography and Environmental Management at Northumbria University.

Why did you decide to study a Masters? 

I chose to study a Project Management Masters degree because I had been fulfilling the role of a project manager in certain aspects of my job and was really interested in learning more so I could properly pursue a career in project management.

Why did you choose Northumbria University?  Why did you choose your specific course?

I had studied at Northumbria previously for my undergraduate degree and loved my time here. The standard of teaching is excellent and I have generally found lecturers to be approachable and helpful. The Project Management course offered by Northumbria University is well known, with collaborations with Chalmers and CESI as well as accreditation by the RICS and the APM. I was sure I was on to a winner when picking this particular course.

What makes your course challenging/inspiring/different?  How would you sum up the difference between undergraduate and postgraduate study?

The difference between undergraduate and postgraduate study is mainly the time you are expected to study outside of set taught hours. At undergraduate level your hand is held a bit more in terms of what you are supposed to read and write about, whereas at postgraduate level you are actively encouraged to research broad ranging subjects so long as you can relate them to your course.  The course has been challenging as it is something that is relatively new to me that I hadn't had too much experience in. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of learning a new discipline that I will hopefully be able to gain a career in. One of the major challenges I have found is the extra level of research that is required for each assignment in order to achieve good marks, undergraduate level is not on the same scale as postgraduate in terms of this.

What was it like studying at Northumbria? 

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Northumbria, as I've said the lecturers are approachable and helpful, as well as being incredibly knowledgeable. On top of this the course is structured in such a way that most assessments are different from one another, both in the way they are taught and the formats in which they need to be completed. This year has been a healthy mix of lectures, seminars, group work, exams, presentations and individual written work. All assessments are marked with written feedback, so it is possible to improve your skills constantly with the use of useful constructive feedback.

How connected is your course with industry?  

Relevant and current case studies are regularly used from numerous industries that have project managers working in the field. So it feels as though you are being relevant and studying industry specific topics within all modules.

How accessible do you find our staff? 

Although the lecturers are very busy people, I have found that generally if you ask a question, for a meeting, for feedback or advice it is not normally longer than a day you will have to wait for a response. When the response arrives it is generally useful and relevant.

As a postgraduate student, what aspects of university life are important to you?

Facilities and support from teaching staff are the most important thing when studying at postgraduate level; you are expected to do so much research that it is important to have the ability to do so and to know you are heading down the right track when doing so.

What doors do you think this course will open for you?

Hopefully the course will help me to pursue a career in project management without there being any barriers when working up the ladder. I was already working as a project manager to an extent, however I would have found it a struggle to move jobs without any relevant qualifications or the correct theoretical background in the subject.

Have you changed as a person?

I think I am possibly more organised as a result of the expectations of studying at postgraduate level, as well as the taught matter on the course pushing you to be more organised in the workplace.

How would you describe yourself in three words before coming to Northumbria?  What are the three key skills and attributes you have gained since being here?

I would describe myself as confident, innovative and conscientious in a work sense, before coming to Northumbria. As I have previously mentioned my organisational skills have vastly improved as well as my communication skills, I had a tendency to be quiet and shy away from situations where I had to speak in front of numerous people, the course has helped to get over this problem. The last skill I have strengthened is my ability to delegate effectively, via the completing of numerous group assignments throughout the course. It was important for me to assign the right roles to the relevant people on numerous occasions.

How would you describe Northumbria in three words?

Informative, fun and cutting-edge.

Do you feel that your course has been a worthwhile investment in your future?

I definitely feel as though my career can advance a lot further as a result of completing my Masters degree at Northumbria University.

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