Student Life

Written by Ben, International Business Management MSc

Hey there, I’m Ben. Welcome and thanks for reading. So you’re interested in postgraduate study at Newcastle University? This blog will breakdown what the International Business Management (IBM) programme looks like from the perspective of someone who has only just completed it: me!  So then, let’s get started!

When I began researching IBM as a potential Master’s degree to study, the broad range of modular content really appealed to me. Having never studied business previously, I wanted to get a genuine feel of the varying subjects within business studies from Management to Marketing to Strategy.

The degree acts as a ‘conversion’ Masters for students new to the field, meaning you need no prior knowledge. Nevertheless, the degree is also highly relevant and popular with students who are experienced in business studies and can be used to build upon previous knowledge and experience. It doesn’t matter what your experience is, you’ll quickly catch up.

Semesters

The degree is split up into three Semesters. The first two are taught, meaning you’ll have weekly lectures and seminars to support your learning. The third is a research semester and you’ll spend the majority of your time working towards your dissertation (we’ll talk more about this later).

Semester 1

In the first Semester, there are compulsory modules that all IBM students have to study. These include Managing People and Organisations, Strategy for Managers, Marketing, Research Methods, International Management Practitioner, The International Business Environment, and Managing across Cultures. These modules are here to ensure that those who haven’t studied business before have the opportunity to learn core information that can be built on as they move through the degree, and to consolidate the knowledge of those who have some previous study in this area.

The International Management Practitioner module helps to support your own personal development through guest speakers, interactive workshops and self-reflective blogs. The Research Methods module helps prepare you for your dissertation later in the year by focusing on research proposal writing. Otherwise, these other modules really lay the groundwork in the core business fields of management, marketing and strategy.

Semester 2

In the second Semester, there is a little more freedom as you can choose 2 ‘optional’ modules to study. These vary from studying Semester 1 modules in further detail such as International Marketing, or you can opt to study a new subject like Data Analytics or Human Resource Management. Other optional modules currently include: International Entrepreneurship, Current Issues in International Business and Management, and the Role of Business in Society. These optional modules are great as it allows you to pick the areas you are most interested in. For me, I chose Data Analytics and Current Issues. Alongside these modules, there are also a couple of compulsory modules, building further on the groundwork of Semester 1. These include Managing Change in Organisations and International Business Strategy which have helped to further my understanding of the management and strategy fields respectively.

Semester 3

The third Semester involves a lot of independent work as you really start to focus on your dissertation. As an IBM student, you can choose to do either a Research or a Practical dissertation. A Research dissertation is similar to those commonly done at undergraduate level, where you write about an academically relevant topic of your own choosing. Alternatively, a Practical dissertation (which I chose to do) involves doing a similar piece of work, but the brief is set by a real-life company with a real-life problem they’re having. I believe this is a great opportunity to begin to make contacts and gain genuine insights into real-life business situations. This Semester also has a 3-week module called Strategic Business Analysis and Decision Making where you participate in various interactive business scenarios with your fellow classmates. This is a unique and exciting module which was a great experience for me!

So that’s a whirlwind tour of what your year is likely to look like. Bear in mind there are occasional programme updates which might make your experience slightly different to mine! Before I go, I’ll add a couple of major tips and insights which may help you get the most out of your time here:

Access to support

While this vast subject range may appear intimidating at first, it’s worth acknowledging that you will be thoroughly supported throughout your time here. Teaching staff are readily available at the end of sessions and over email so don’t feel afraid of getting in touch with them – they’re happy to help!

The international feeling to the course

One of the standout features of the course was its hugely diverse student base. I found that over 75% of my course mates were from outside the UK. This huge diversity makes group work a great opportunity to draw off loads of different experiences and perspectives. There can be challenges in learning how to work effectively as part of a multicultural group (as you’ll find out on the Managing across Cultures module) but the rewards from overcoming these are huge!

Organisation

As you’ll be aware, IBM covers a huge range of subject areas within business studies. This range means that there will often be little overlap between modules, therefore I recommend being actively organised from your first week of teaching. Soon you will get to grips with lecturers’ expectations in terms of your weekly workload. I personally used Google Drive to organise my work throughout the year meaning I could access it on both my personal devices and university computers.

So there’s a couple of tips for you, should you decide to study here. I can say I really enjoyed my time here at Newcastle and I would highly recommend International Business Management for those who really want an all-encompassing step into the world of business studies. Thanks for reading and good luck in your future learning!

 

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