June 2017: Skills Alliance MBS taught me

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Since the very beginning of our Masters, most of us start thinking and feeling concerned about our professional careers. Enhancing your CV with different skills you gain either through your academic life or work experience is essential when applying for any role or position. Even if you feel that work experience is your weakest point, through your academic performance at the University, you have many chances to equip yourself with teamwork, leadership, organisational, communication skills, etc. This can enable you to demonstrate examples in which you acted as part of a team or you tackled a problem, or you met demanding deadlines.

While studying for this MSc I tried to grasp every chance to enhance these skills, either by being a member of the Women’s Committee, taking part in disciplinary panels or blogging. However, there were two roles that truly stood out and helped me with my progress regarding essential skills that recruiters typically ask for; being elected student representative for my course and being an ambassador.

Through my student representative position either for my course or for People, Management and Organisation division, I was able to communicate effectively with students, representatives from other faculties during rep lunches and undergraduate and postgraduate rep committees. At the same time, I had the opportunity to encounter lecturers from my department during programme committees and lecturers across Alliance MBS along with Elinor O’ Connor, Director of Alliance MBS Masters Programmes, through postgraduate taught committee meetings. All these experiences helped me adjust my way of communicating with each person according to their background (that is students from Asian background take into account primarily facial expressions and body language) and position (students appreciate a cheery approach while lecturers need a more direct and transparent way of speech) in the University.

Keeping a friendly manner at all times is essential for this position so that students facing any kind of problem can feel free to approach me. It is difficult to balance the needs and demands of students along with the position of lecturers on these matters, so patience and resilience is always needed when negotiating these terms. After being elected to my current student representative position, I am successfully able to communicate with my coursemates, manage their issues and direct plausible solutions within the academic hierarchy. My communication skills have also levelled up due to my position as an Ambassador. Individuals who wish to join the academic society of The University of Manchester contact me or other Ambassadors, so that we can provide them with relevant information or monitor campus tours. Having a tight schedule enhanced my time management and working with people from different backgrounds and cultures made me more adaptable to change.

These aforementioned positions despite being of voluntary nature, enabled me to feel confident that I can face any challenge given to me. Thus, if you are to join us from September keep in mind that you need to seize every opportunity, challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. If you want that dream job, then you should start working on skills you didn’t have before and aim at enhancing preexisting ones. Every experience matters, and every experience brings you one step closer to your goal!

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Pelagia Avloniti

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