Louise Cooney reveals how she got her dream job
4 MIN READ
I wanted to do my Bank of Ireland guest blog post on something I’m asked about quite a lot – what I did in college. In particular, my Masters and the road that led me to where I am now.
Making the decision
I studied my undergrad degree in Communications Studies in Dublin City University (DCU) and I loved it. But I wasn’t quite sure what direction I should go in afterwards. I knew I enjoyed fashion, photography, writing, PR and marketing – but that didn’t quite narrow it down for me.
I had considered travelling and/or going straight into a job but the timing just wasn’t right. I didn’t have the confidence I needed in myself to secure a job I loved, and for me at that time, getting my career on the right track was more important than travelling.
It’s a scary time when you leave college, you are out in the big bad world, and it feels like every choice you make will shape your future (even though looking back, that’s not quite the case).
After much thought, I decided that doing a Masters would be a good next step for me. It would give me an opportunity to delve deeper into a potential career path, but how on earth would I chose what I wanted to be? I didn’t know! My theory with picking courses is as long as you choose to do something you’re really interested in at that time, it will always be worthwhile in the long run – even if you don’t necessarily end up in that career right away.
Looking back now it all makes sense.
Factors affecting my postgraduate decision
The main factors that affected my decision were the start date, the cost, the potential career opportunities afterwards and the location of the college. Oh and my friend was doing the course too, so that helped.
I decided to go with a Masters in Marketing in the Dublin Institute of Technology. It had gotten really good reviews, was quite broad and would give me lots of great career opportunities afterwards. It was also a more inexpensive option in comparison to some of the other Masters courses I had seen.
Funding the Masters
When you’re a student cost is always a huge factor in any decision, and a Masters programme is a massive commitment for both your time and pocket. For anyone looking into a Masters, Bank of Ireland have very competitive postgraduate loans* giving everyone the option to follow their dream education/career path.
Now that you have your fees covered, you’ll need to make sure you have enough money to fund everything else! I worked part-time when possible during my Masters year, picking up shifts doing brand ambassador work and modelling, this was a great way to balance study and work. When I knew I had less college work I was able to pick up work and when college was busy I was able to say no and focus on study. It certainly wasn’t going to make me a millionaire, but it gave me some pocket money. It’s tough working while doing a Masters and it’s really important to balance the two. My advice here is to plan ahead, find out the weeks that you have exams or projects, make sure you let your boss know you won’t be available on those weeks and try budget as best possible.
Obstacles I faced
The main obstacle I faced throughout my Masters year was definitely the workload. It was much more work than I had in my undergraduate degree, and after spending so much money on it, I wanted to ensure I was getting as much as I could from it.
I learned a lot about time management that year, splitting my time between the different subjects on the course, as well as work, while also maintaining my hobbies and social life (of course). I started my blog that year, as part of the college course – and now it’s my full time job. It’s hard to believe that is where it all started.
The benefits of doing a Masters
More than anything, the best thing I gained from my Masters was confidence in my own ability and skillset. I managed to get an amazing job on a graduate program with Tourism Ireland based in New York. I couldn’t believe it, all my hard work had paid off – even before I got my final grades! New York was always top of my list, and I feel incredibly lucky to have started my career there.
As part of the grad program everyone was studying a Postgraduate degree in International Business Development so I continued my studies while in NY and I was learning so much by getting to apply everything practically to my work.
I continued to develop my blog while living in New York – I was building a brand and doing my own PR and Marketing on my social media every day. I never thought that might be where I would be using the knowledge I learnt during my Masters year – but hey, I’m not complaining!
Considering a Masters?
If there is an area you love, that you would love to learn more about then a Masters could be a really good option for you. Find someone who has done the course you’re thinking of and pick their brain – how did they find the course? Would they recommend it? Is it a fit for what you ultimately want to do?
Once you have decided you are going to spend the money and invest in your education you have to get yourself organised and ready to commit to a busy year. Lots of lovely stationary will help!
Last but not least don’t let the stress get to you too much, keep up your hobbies! You will need an escape from the workload.
A Masters is a lot of hard work but it so worth it and rewarding when your dream job becomes available – you will be ready and waiting to take it with both hands!
*Credit only available to over 18s.