Case study

Masters graduate — Dario Fumagalli

Dario achieved undergraduate and Masters degrees in civil engineering while living in Italy before deciding to continue his education by enrolling onto the Management MSc at Cranfield School of Management as an international student

Why did you decide to pursue a postgraduate course?

I first completed a degree in civil engineering and a Masters in hydraulic civil engineering. From there, I developed a curiosity in the administrative and managerial fields.

I realised that a Masters in management could effectively complement my technical understanding with a wider spectrum of soft and hard skills together with managerial knowledge.

I therefore invested time and energy into completing a second Masters to kick-off my career and enhance my prospects in this industry.

Why did you choose this course and institution?

I considered several postgraduate courses in management, entrepreneurship and business administration offered by several universities based in the UK, US and the Netherlands.

The Management MSc at Cranfield School of Management stood out in terms of its course modules, content and structure. It's an intense, full-time 13-month Masters with nine insightful and practical modules plus a three-month internship and a thesis.

Cranfield village, although set in the countryside, attracts people from all over the world and creates a melting pot where students can discover and share their diverse customs. London, Cambridge and Oxford are easily accessible by public transport and you can be there within an hour-and-a-half.

How did you fund your postgraduate study?

I used some of what I'd earned working part time as a private tutor, as well as receiving money from my parents. Additionally, I was granted a scholarship during the admissions and selection process.

Tell us a bit about the course.

It was a truly practical experience - everything I learned could be put into practice. The course is well structured and covers a wide range of scientific and academic areas.

The course features a full array of core and elective modules ranging from accounting and finance, strategy, marketing, and operations, to people management, organisational behaviour, and leading corporate sustainability.

All the modules teach useful theory that's then put into practice through projects and exams. The university also offers a range of extracurricular activities such as seminars and networking events, as well as challenges and competitions.

I valued the lecturers' professionalism and availability to explain and answer questions - the classes are very interactive. Throughout the course, the careers service offered multiple one-to-one sessions to develop our employability skills.

The university places an important focus on developing teamwork skills, as many assignments were group projects. I learned to appreciate the synergy created by the contribution of my teammates' diverse ideas, with their culture and academic background differing from mine.

How was the course assessed?

Most modules have a mixture of team-based and personal assignments, oral presentation and written examinations combined with real-life case studies. Each module is graded as a weighted average of the single assessment outcomes mentioned before.

How did postgraduate degree differ to that of an undergraduate?

The Masters course is more practical and focused on developing the student's ability to make independent, structured and critical decisions.

The undergraduate degree provided me with a basic framework for academic achievement - it was mainly about learning and applying the knowledge to demonstrate dexterity in my area of study.

The Masters degree complemented my solid general understanding of the subject with specific, in-depth knowledge and practical skills regarding management.

What do you wish you'd known before embarking on postgraduate study?

During my undergraduate studies I wish I had a clearer picture of the range of studies available. I thought that a Masters in engineering was the only and natural progression from a Bachelors degree in the subject.

What tips would you give to others choosing a Masters degree?

  • Whatever you consider doing in your future studies, you need to satisfy your interests, curiosity, and life goals.
  • Balance the cost-reward ratio - carefully consider the potential benefits you get after investing time, money, and energy towards a Masters degree.
  • If you're unsure about what to do, get some work experience. Whatever you experiment with, do so without prejudice, as this can help you find out what you're most passionate about.
  • Whatever your background, you can always pivot to acquire relevant knowledge and skills in a new field. I'm convinced that a more diversified knowledge base provides a wider range of career opportunities.

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