Student Life and Services in Masters Programmes
Student life during a Masters degree programme can be as rich and rewarding as the coursework itself provided you take advantage of the vast array of services offered by the university you select. From residential experiences to extracurricular clubs, you can immerse yourself in a city’s local culture while studying to have a global impact in your chosen field of study.
Your choice of a home away from home can have a huge impact on your quality of life during your Masters studies. Residential facilities vary greatly among universities, but there is an abundance of information online to help you sort out your options. HEC Paris offers more traditional housing, with over 1,500 individual accommodations and apartments for its students, complete with on-site restaurants, sports facilities, and a wooded park and lake.
Not all universities have on-site housing. In such a case, you will have to find long-term housing near the university you have chosen. Many schools, like EADA Business School in Barcelona, have staff to assist you in finding the right accommodations for your stay. This might mean renting a small house or apartment just for you or finding one or more roommates to help share the cost.
With a little bit of luck, you could find yourself at The Sydney Conference and Training Centre, which offers limited accommodations for students of the graduate school at UNSW. Living in a conference centre may not seem glamourous until you read that it’s “located on 9 acres of peaceful secluded gardens overlooking the ocean…”
A university’s extracurricular activities are a good measure of the type of environment it provides for its students. While it is true that you can pursue any local activities on your own, student-organised clubs keep you involved with the university and your fellow students, offering many advantages that others do not. A greater number of members means more and better opportunities, so social clubs and special-interest groups are always eager for new members. And if there is no club representing your specific interest, a university environment that emphasises student participation is likely going to offer resources like on-campus meeting places and avenues for publicity if you want to start your own.
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Special-interest groups discuss and participate in topics like photography, sports, and dance. Regional groups accept members from a particular nation, region, or culture to allow international students a place to feel secure and engaged. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S.A. offers more than 75 different clubs.
Since Masters programme students crave a higher educational experience, professional groups that connect students with similar career interests are prevalent as well. For example, UNSW in Sydney offers clubs dedicated to marketing, women in leadership, and entrepreneurship, among others.
As a Masters programme student, you are on the precipice of a potentially long and rewarding career in your field. Many universities take great pride in offering their students career placement assistance by fostering partnerships with corporations and close relationships with recruiters. HEC Paris hopes that the opportunities it creates for students to participate in research projects with its corporate partners turn into viable job options.
Student life from an alumni perspective
Sometimes the staff and faculty cannot offer a comprehensive picture of what student life on campus is like. That’s when you can turn to alumni. Many universities with Masters programmes in business make alumni connections easy for potential students to access. For example, the London Business School has an ambassador programme for graduates of Masters in finance and management to offer potential students help with orientation and other questions. These types of universities also typically have alumni all around the world. HEC alumni number nearly 50,000 in over 100 countries.
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Internships and off-site experiences
The time you spend in a Masters programme is often a cultural experience all on its own, but especially so if you decide to venture far from home into a another country or even onto another continent. There are many options for great business programmes around the globe, and many include internships that allow you to experience your career from inside a business. The Wharton School even allows you to spend a study semester on the West Coast of the US, giving you a wide perspective of life on the North American continent.
In addition to internships and student-run clubs and activities, take some time to experience the culture away from academics and the local nightlife. This will give you some perspective of what life would be like for you after leaving the university. You may find the area like a second home to you and decide to pursue a career there.
Many Masters programme selection websites and rankings do not evaluate much about student life beyond diversity statistics, so it is important that you consider your environment when selecting a university. Additional research is always worthwhile.