Brunel Business School Brunel University

My Masters Experience in the UK - Msc Marketing at Brunel University London

3.7.16 Suesue


Where it all began.. 
During my Bachelor's thesis I was very confident that after I graduate, I wouldn't study any further. Until I came to the point I submitted my thesis and received my grade... Okay Sue, what now?! I was in a dilemma because I felt I wasn't ready for the real business yet.. But, if not, what then? I surely didn't want to do my Masters, because that is just way too tough for me. 

Netherlands vs UK
You know, back then my perceiving gap between Bachelor's and Master's was enormous. Doing a Masters in the Netherlands (at the nicer uni's)  is not only an English proficiency language test and an average grade of 7 required, but also the GMAT. The GMAT!! My friend almost attempted to do one but gave up after viewing the preparations study books and that feared me too. Not a chance that I will be preparing 6 months prior to a €600 exam, with the high chance of failing, and with the potential result that I need to retake it again, which means another €€€. Not forget to mention that every single Masters in the Netherlands takes 2 years, by which the first year is the premaster. No way I will be doing that!
Until my sister said: "But you don't need a GMAT in the UK? The Masters here are one year only and it only requires an IELTS test. "Really?" I thought, and slowly decided that I wanted to do my masters in London. It is the fastest and easiest way to achieve a Master's degree, however it is also much more expensive compared to the Netherlands. 

I applied to Msc Marketing to several universities in London and I got in 3 universities. (Brunel, Westminster and Kingston). At the end I chose for Brunel University for the reason that it is the best out of three in terms of ranking, positive image and the fact that it wasn't located in London was a major factor. Why? Despite some say "London is the place to be", in the middle of a massive city isn't really my thing. I discovered in Galway, Ireland that a small city can be cozy and fun too!  In the end, I can say that I am super happy with my choice.

Uxbridge, London
Brunel University is located in Uxbridge, approximately 40 minutes from London city away. The town has two big shopping centers, so you won't miss anything if you just go there for your necessities, some bits and bops or want to have dinner. Uxbridge Station is the last station of  both the Metropolitan and Piccadilly Line. To go to northern side of London city, you'll reach there in 40 minutes. However if you want to travel all the way to East London, you'll need 1,5 to 2 hours unfortunately.. 

Brunel University London
A good attribute of Brunel is their campus. My first impression was "wow". The campus was big, new, modern and I felt a good vibe, whereas Kingston's campus was in my opinion very gloomy and dull. Another plusses are their facilities. 
  1. The library is 24hrs a day open. 
  2. Separate study floor for postgraduates, silent rooms 
  3. They offer help in academic skills (i.e. writing, dissertation, SPSS, literature review).
  4. They provide business related courses (i.e. sales, presenting, networking)
  5. According to students, they have a very good Career Centre. 
  6. Security people is sometimes present on campus
  7. Every week a mini farmer's market on campus for fresh veggies, fruits and pastries etc. 
  8. Costa Coffee 
  9. Student bar Loco's for (alcoholic drinks) and cheap food 
  10. Wide variety of sport facilities 
  11. Many social clubs and activities 
  12. Offer free language courses with certificates 
Not every uni is perfect, so here are the downsides: 
  1. Low variety of food places. There is only the canteen, student bar, Yard Bird (chicken), Subway, Cost Cutter (convenience store) and Costa (sandwiches) available on campus. If you eat here often for lunch or dinner it would be boring. 
  2. Toilets are often dirty, clogged or out of order.  
  3. Library have few limited or none textbooks. 

Msc Marketing 
For the taught part there are 8 modules divided by 2 semester, each 4 modules: Marketing Principles, Marketing Communication, International Marketing, Business Planning, Business and Management Research, Strategic Marketing Management, Consumer Behaviour and one of the elective modules. The last research part is the dissertation, which is in the 3rd semester. The first semester includes only coursework (essays, reports) and group presentations whereas in the second, it includes 2 coursework & presentation and 2 exams. There are two intakes: September and January.


My experience 
Now comes the essential part: my experiences.

Overall, my study experience here at Brunel University is great. If I had to make the choice again, with the same time frame and same IELTS results, I would chose Brunel again. However, if I have the knowledge now, I would probably try to get a higher IELTS score to get into a better ranked university such as Imperials, which is #4 in the university ranking as of 2016. I am truly impressed by all the facilities they offer - however, as a postgrad with the goal to finish the course asap, I didn't take advantage of all of them. I think the campus is very good, but there can be more different food facilities since there are many students living on campus too.

In terms of the content of the course I'm quite surprised by the difficulty level here. I possibly can't make this statement about all UK universities, however at Brunel: Msc Marketing is relatively easy. My thoughts on doing any Masters anywhere would be very difficult  and high standard and I already chose the easy path (UK over the Netherlands), but in my opinion it is really doable. Some of my friends argued that I might be downgrading myself by telling that the course is easy, but I can also perceive it this way because of my own improved study skills.
Obviously, I was stressing out in the first semester simply because I have never studied in UK before and I didn't know what they would expect from me or what the standard was. However, in my first semester (only coursework) I managed to achieve 3 A's and 1 B's. I was perplexed: I have never received an A during my undergrad or even high school before. In the Netherlands it is really hard to receive an 8 or 9 and a 10 is impossible.

Modules 
Overall, the modules are good designed. Lectures are well structured, textbooks are fine and coursework is good. However, some practises are bad. For example, Business Planning is a great module: you learn different aspects a business and your coursework is to design a poster that represents your business plan. First of all, I thought that we were required to write a business plan. And secondly, because of the different aspects, we got different lectures every week. But the point is: in reality you don't need to attend the lectures to make a business plan poster which does not show the detailed and elaborated parts. I can say this, because I attended to most of them in case I missed out on anything. And I didn't miss out on anything, honestly. Thirdly, 50% of the mark is for the business plan and the other 50% is a report on your self-reflection. I am not sure if this is relevant at all to be worth half of the grade (this might  have to do that as a postgrad, I can't reflect myself apparently and got a C+ for it -__- thus the overall B). To rant even further, it took the department more than 2 months to upload the grades! No clear communication and didn't meet the promised deadline. Even when I think back about it, it makes me annoyed.

Teaching quality
Again, overall the teaching quality is good, however there are two positive and negative exceptions. Firstly, let's start with something good after the precious paragraph. In my experience, there are two excellent lectures, whom I aspire to. The majority is average, but few are really bad. I think some lectures really need to rethink whether they can or like to teach students at all.

Difficulty level 
One of the reason why I think this course at Brunel is relatively easy - and I'm not downgrading anyone - is personally, is the level here is lower than I am used to back in the Netherlands or even during my exchange programme in South-Korea. Another reason perhaps is that the two nicer's universities that I talked about, is in terms of ranking higher than Brunel. If I compare it to Cambridge for example, I can image that the difficulty level is totally at another level.

Verdict
Besides all my ranting, I did not regret my study experience at all. I am truly thankful for my new friends that I made and for the aspirational professors for inspiring and motivating me. This is (hopefully) the final chapter of my education and also truly a life experience that I will carry on forever. I think doing a Master's degree in your field of interest is absolutely worth it and I would recommend people who are considering it to do it too. You are only young once and still in the student lifecycle.
Personally for me, I have learnt so much about critically thinking. Furthermore I improved my English language skills, presentation skills and academic skills (research, writing). It has also a big influence on me in becoming a better and wiser person.




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