Term 3: Dissertation, PDP, & Personal Reflection

We are now well into Term 3 here at Aston University and my main focus is getting through my dissertation.  During Term 3 there are two main requirements that we are supposed to be doing.  The first is to fulfill out PDP requirement, which is designed to help prepare us for our careers.  We have the option of studying abroad, securing an internship or work related activity, or attend workshops designed to build certain skills.  I decided to do a mixture of a work related activity and a workshop.

My work related activity was covered by the Hult Prize competition that I competed in here at Aston and in Dubai.  This counted towards my PDP requirement because it was all about building a business and I would like to start my own business once I graduate.  Though this work related activity was accepted, I also was required to participate in one additional workshop.  I decided to do a one day strategy simulation workshop, which gave us scenarios for a business in which we had to make strategic decisions.  There was some friendly competition and we all were able to experience a little bit of what its like to make decisions while running a company.

In working on my dissertation, I have had to be disciplined.  It is difficult to stay focused and work on it when the deadline isn’t until September.  However, I know that time flies, so I am doing my best to get it done as early as possible, especially since we are required to have around 12,000-20,000 words of quality research.  In talking with other classmates, they have the same feelings towards completing their dissertation.  Others have told me that they are forcing themselves to go to the library for four to five hours a day so they can get it done.  When I am not working on my dissertation, I try to stay busy on my business idea.  I will be testing/piloting the idea this summer with a potential business partner.

I can’t believe how fast my time at Aston University has gone.  It seems like yesterday I was just arriving in the UK to start this adventure.  Since the majority of my work here at Aston is finished, I now will take the time to reflect back on some of the highlights of Aston and try to give some advice to anyone thinking about getting their master degree from Aston.

Throughout my time at Aston, I felt that I have grown considerably in my business knowledge.  During the actual course, I didn’t notice the progress I made as much as I do now.  I feel that I have a better way of approaching and thinking about business and strategy as a whole.  When I came to Aston, I told myself that I wanted to focus more on learning and less on the grades I received.  In doing so, I feel that my learning has been enhanced, which has resulted in pretty good marks.  With the learning I have experienced, I now feel that I can transfer it into the real world instead of just using it for an exam.

Besides the actual learning that took place, I also have gained a lot of confidence in my own abilities.  Before coming to Aston I knew I wanted to start my own business.  However, I didn’t really know where to start.  As I near the end of my time here, I now know what I need to do to succeed and I have to confidence to make it happen.

I am also grateful for the exposure I have had with students from all over the world.  I have met and worked with people from almost every continent.  It is a cool thing to have friends and contacts from all over the world.  I hope to keep in contact with many of them, and who knows, maybe I will work with some of my classmates in the future.

For those who want to get a master degree, prepare to work hard.  Without a good work ethic, spending the time, money, and energy on a degree won’t be worth it.  However, if you put the work in, you will leave in a better situation than when you entered.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding Aston or earning a master degree.