Doing Master’s degree whilst working full-time
Posted: Mon, 08 Jan 2018 09:48
It's been over a month since I finished my Master's degree in Leadership and Management of Sport and Physical Activity at the University of Bedfordshire but why was this one extra special? I completed it whilst working full-time in England at team BEDS&LUTON, Bedfordshire County Sports Partnership. I am originally from Estonia and moved to England 4 years ago to do an undergraduate degree in Sport Management, so quite a big deal for me. Anyway, going back to the topic, working and studying at the same time was a truly amazing experience which allowed me test myself, build excellent time management skills, I mean outstanding time management skills, and learn a lot about the sport and physical activity industry in England. It was definitely a challenging experience but I feel this challenge was worthy because of the knowledge and skills I learnt that I can now use every day at work.
How did it all start? Well in May 2016 about 1 month before graduating in BA Sport Management I applied for a role to lead the Satellite Clubs programme and support other projects at team BEDS&LUTON. Fortunately I was invited to the interview and a week after the interview I was offered the job. I was really happy but at the same time a bit scared. I accepted the role and we discussed my desire to do the Master's degree as I was offered a free Masters from the University of Bedfordshire because I was about to graduate with a first-class honours. We agreed that team BEDS&LUTON would support my Master's degree as much as possible. In return, I used my assignments to benefit the organisation including my final 15 000 word research project. For example, one of my first assignments was to evaluate the management and leadership of a chosen organisation. As promised, I chose team BEDS&LUTON. Writing this assignment I felt very nervous because I just started a job and straight away I needed to write a document about strengths, weaknesses and potential improvements for team BEDS&LUTON. Especially as I had to share this with my new colleagues. I think I made sense in my assignment because I still got smiles from others at work. Through the year I produced many similar assignments for team BEDS&LUTON including the final 15 000 word research about the impact that the team BEDS&LUTON satellite clubs are having on participants physical activity levels and wellbeing which was supervised by Dr Angel Chater. I feel that linking my assignments and studies with industry/job helped me a lot to get a better understanding and skills about development of physical activity and sport in England. Also, it helped me to see where I needed to develop further and what my strengths were.
On 15th of November 2017, I graduated. However, the learning continues as I am fascinated about the future of sport and physical activity in England and the culture I am living in. Especially, when I compare Estonia and England. The investments that are spent in sport and physical activity in England are not comparable to Estonia. Also the country sizes are not comparable as Estonia only has 1.3 million people. Also sports such as cricket, rugby, field hockey and netball hardly exist in Estonia whilst basketball, skiing, volleyball and handball and ice hockey are more popular. I hope to continue learning in England so hopefully one day I can also give the knowledge and skills learnt here back to Estonia.