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Faye Coates

MSc Project Management

Msc Project Management Student Faye CoatesWhat undergraduate course did you study and where?

I studied Business with Marketing BA (Hons) at Northumbria University.

Why did you decide to study a Masters? 

I had debated for a number of months whether to enrol for a Masters. To make sure that I made an informed decision I did some Project Management work experience at a project and program management consultancy within the construction industry. Completing some work experience gave me a small taster of what the position would be like and shortly after, I decided to enrol. All in all, it is a means of career progression. I plan to do my APC after graduating therefore the Masters provides a fast track to becoming a Member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS).

Why did you choose Northumbria University?  

I chose Northumbria University because of the reputation it upholds. I know this personally from having completed my undergraduate degree at Northumbria. The help and support I received during my undergraduate degree was exceptional, therefore when choosing somewhere to do a Masters, this was a very important aspect. I also believe that having tutors who have worked in industry prior to a career in academia adds to the learning experience, as they have on-the-job experience which allows them to successfully link teaching with industry specific examples.

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

Overall, the first semester has not been too dissimilar to my undergraduate degree, however students must prepare to do a lot more reading and put in a lot more effort to reap rewards. This in itself makes it challenging, which I am currently enjoying. It is more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be prior to enrolment, which is always a plus! We got to go on a field trip at the end of the first semester which was based around team building. It was enjoyable and allowed us to meet people that we otherwise would not have met.

What was it like studying at Northumbria? 

I enjoyed studying at Northumbria University, hence why I chose to return and study my Masters. My course is a mixture of lectures and seminars, during which we have looked at scenarios and how we would best handle the situation. The seminars are very interactive and we are encouraged to work in teams to achieve the desired outcome or solution to a game-based problem. We have had one team based project this semester which was based around project strategy, one exam and two individual assignments. I think this is the perfect balance of group work and individual work. We have had one guest lecture this semester which was hosted by a Senior Project Manager from the well-known company, Parsons Brinckerhoff. This was particularly interesting as he linked practical, on-the-job experience to a number of topics which were being taught in class. I find the feedback provided by tutors particularly helpful and in-depth.

What impressed you most about our academic staff?

The amount of knowledge that they possess is extraordinary. Based on my own experience, I have never asked a question where they did not know the answer. Everyone is very helpful and they all try to encourage you to do as well as you possibly can.

How accessible do you find our staff? 

The tutors at Northumbria are all very helpful and everyone seems to wish you well with your studies therefore they are always there to help if need be. They prefer to be contacted via email, but they have no problem with organising appointments to discuss any issues or queries that you may have with the course/module.

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

For me, location was particularly important as I live nearby. I enrolled on a Masters here because I knew that the University could provide me with an excellent education and it just so happens to be commutable. All in all, it was perfect for my needs/requirements. I can highly recommend Newcastle as a city; it has amazing shops, restaurants and a fantastic night life! Perfect for students and professionals alike.

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

The main purpose of enrolling was to fast track my career. To allow me to stand out amongst the endless crowds of recent graduates, I decided that a Masters would help. Also, as I have previously stated, I am hoping to get a job and begin my APC becoming a Member of the RICS. This course is accredited therefore it provides me with the choice to do my APC, without this course, entry would only be granted after numerous years of industry experience.

Have you changed as a person?

Dramatically. I genuinely believe that if I had enrolled straight after graduating, I would have more than likely chosen something business based, which upon reflection does not interest me all that much therefore I would not be achieving the grades I am now. Studying a subject that you enjoy and have a genuine interest in also significantly improves your grades. I now have a goal to work towards which has helped push me to achieve the best I can. As a person, I am a lot more confident and I find myself with a new found determination to reach my goals.

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 am not sure I can think of three words, however I was a lot more reserved, quiet and career wise, I would say I was lacking direction. I can honestly say that Northumbria University has provided me with career skills and life skills. I now find myself the conversationalist rather than taking a back seat. My time-keeping and organisational skills are second to none now, whereas before they were non-existent! All in all, I feel I have grown and developed for the better and I am now not fazed by public speaking, presentations and even meeting new people.

How would you describe Northumbria in three words?

Interesting, challenging and most enjoyable.

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