Work experience and study open doors for outstanding graduate

Posted on 14th March 2014

The ability to combine experience of the business world alongside studying for a Master’s degree has given one outstanding graduate opportunities to develop a career in both higher education and IT.

Tom Neil, 22, from Birkenhead will graduate from Chester Cathedral on Friday, March 14 having successfully completed the Chester Business Master’s.

The Chester Business Master’s is a unique work-based master’s programme that also operates as a unique bespoke graduate 'employment' scheme.Tom Neil

It combines intensive business practice training, with two internships each consisting of a 20 week period of salaried work placement with leading regional companies, which more than covers the programme fees.

Tom had previously gained a First Class BSc (Hons) in Information Systems Management and worked as an Information Systems Assistant at Birkenhead Sixth Form College.

He said: “I had worked in the IT and learning resources support area for the University’s Learning Information Systems team. This all now seems a long way from my job in a supermarket now – but I wouldn’t have progressed without having worked and studied all the while.

“Gaining my Master’s has allowed me to become a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Chester, teaching the ‘IT’ components of Business Modules.”

Commenting on his experience of studying at the University of Chester, Tom emphasised the value of the personalised approach, as opposed to being ‘treated as a number.’

“The best thing about Chester is the staff – I’ve always felt ‘at home’ at the University because of the welcoming and helpful staff, both academic and support alike. They’re always willing to go the extra mile to help you if you’re willing to put the effort in.

“Balancing work with studying and maintaining a life outside of these was a real challenge. As my course was work-based I had pressures from my employers as well as meeting my academic requirements. However, the benefit of earning while learning far outweighed this.”

Tom is looking forward to the future with careers in both business and academia now open to him after completing his studies.

He said: “The course was a great way to gain varied experience whilst continuing to further develop my education. The staff have been very supportive during the course and they are continuing to help me network, building up my contacts even now the course has ended.

“I can’t decide whether to pursue an academic career or go back into the business world. I plan to pursue both to find out what’s on offer and where it takes me.”

Professor Danny Moss, who leads the Chester Business Master’s (CBM) programme, said: “Tom Neil is undoubtedly one of the more successful and go-getting of our Chester Business Master’s graduates with particular knowledge and skills in IT and social media. He has conducted two extremely successful projects with client organisations and is a prime example of the sort of talented graduate that is emerging from the CBM programme at the University of Chester Business School.”