Going back to school

m2010-pg-prospectusOn Wednesday of this week I attended a postgraduate open day at the University of Manchester. The world-renowned department of computer science at this institution runs a one year postgraduate MSc course in Advanced Computer Science and I.T. Management, designed for students with existing degrees in computer science. Parts of the course are taught by the Manchester Business School, well known for its MBA programme.

Why am I doing this, 11 years after graduating? There are several reasons:

  1. The industry I work in and the technology and knowledge that drives it changes rapidly and all the time. I can at this point only imagine how much the content of the average computer science course has changed in the ten years since I graduated. I expect to have my existing skills refreshed and to learn new skills and methodologies.
  2. My managerial skills aren’t particularly strong, which is why the I.T. management parts of the course taught by the Manchester Business School particularly interest me. From what I have researched, the course contains the parts of the MBA that are geared towards I.T. At some point in the future I might consider doing a full MBA, but in the meantime this will serve as an important and appropriate stepping stone.
  3. Returning to university after spending over a decade working will be a completely different experience from my first tenure. With such experience I shall be returning to study with “eyes wide open”. Many of my peers have said that they wish they could re-do their university courses armed with their years of subsequent industry experience.
  4. Teaching and study methods have completely transformed since I graduated and it will be very interesting to see what difference they will make to my learning abilities.

The entry requirements state that a first or an upper second class degree is required. I only have a 2:2 from Aberystwyth University in Computer Science, however, I do also have eleven years of industry experience and during the open day I discussed this with a member of the department’s admissions staff and she said to my delight that this experience would compensate suitably in my application. I also need to provide academic and professional references to support my application, along with “transcripts” from Aberystwyth University, which I believe are basically individual module results.

I intend to get my application finished and submitted before Christmas. It being a postgraduate course I don’t have to use UCAS; the application is direct. I’ll keep you posted, wish me luck!

Update 12/03/2010: I didn’t make the grade, unfortunately, my bachelors degree award was not high enough for their entry requirements, despite my industry experience, which by all accounts has not been taken into account. I’ve asked them for an explanation of why I was told it would be when it hasn’t been, but to all intents and purposes I’ve had my time wasted and been given false hope over this. Still, you live and learn, as always. I’m currently considering other options as to what I’m going to do, both academic and otherwise.