Studying for your MSc

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Embarking on your Masters isn’t something to be entered into lightly. After conducting research into the type of qualification you hope to gain, attention needs to be given to your course workload, financial cost and how you will manage this alongside any full time work. Thousands of people enrol in postgraduate courses every year and for mixed reasons however we can’t stress enough how important it is to be realistic about how much time it will take and the time that you have available to study.

Here at Playle & Partners LLP we run a successful programme which allows our staff members to work within the industry and take a day out of the office to study for their formal qualifications. Two members of our staff members; Dominic Barrett and Alfie Geater-Day have just now successfully obtained their MSc whilst working full time.

Firstly, we would like to congratulate them on all their hard work and secondly we have asked them to share their experiences about studying alongside industry work in the hope of inspiring others to follow suit.

Below are 5 short question and answers which we hope will provide a valuable insight into their time studying for their MSc:

Why did you decide to go for the MSc? Had you had any previous experience within the industry?

Dominic Barrett: I came from a background with no previous experience in Construction having just completed a Business Management degree. In order to have a good grounding in Quantity Surveying it was deemed necessary to take up the MSc, also to gain professional accreditation it shorted the amount of time required.

Alfie Geater-Day: My undergraduate degree was in Civil Engineering, after completing my studies I became aware of Playle & Partners during a careers fair at Kingston University. I was offered the opportunity to interview for an Assistant Quantity Surveying position, this included the opportunity to continue my studies as a day release Masters in Quantity Surveying. My studies have helped reinforce my practical experience I have obtained working within the office and assisting the Quantity Surveying team.

What was your undergraduate course?

Dominic Barrett: I studied Business Management which gave me a great appreciation as to how a business operates and the critical tasks and hurdles they face whilst in operation.

Alfie Geater-Day: BEng Civil Engineering (Hons)

How did you find managing your work load and studying?

Dominic Barrett: Managing work and studying at the same time was a challenging task because on top of this you are trying to balance your personal life. It has helped me to prioritise and organise my time more efficiently as a result.

Alfie Geater-Day: Playle & Partners was very accommodating in working around my studies and providing the experience and knowledge I needed to succeed in my studies. Compared to my undergraduate, managing time around studying and working is more difficult, but the added benefits of the office resources, such as being able to ask questions to seniors, makes the while process a lot less stressful.

What were your dissertations on?

Dominic Barrett: I wanted to focus my dissertation on a recent growing topic, this is why I chose to do an area effected by Brexit. The dissertation was on the “Analysis of the effect of Brexit on the cost of housing construction in the UK”.

Alfie Geater-Day: Alternative Dispute Resolution Under the JCT Suite of Contract

What advice would you give to others looking to complete their MSc?

Dominic Barrett: Do not be afraid to ask people at work who have more experience than you for their opinion or assistance with any queries relating to your Masters. I felt time management was key; in addition to making sure that members in your group for group work assignments were hard working and reliable.

Alfie Geater-Day: The support and practical knowledge obtained from working while studying part-time greatly improved my coursework and reports. There are a lot of resources available in a working QS office that will greatly help your studies, also, your studies will improve your practical abilities. If you are able to study and work, I would recommend it. Overall, the MSc requires a lot of personal investment in time to research around the topics as the amount of time available in lectures to cover the many tasks Quantity Surveyors perform is limited.

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