The spectrum of opportunities Master’s degree holders can benefit from upon graduation is undeniable. Ranging from gaining a competitive advantage on the job market, to obtaining specialised and more advanced knowledge in a particular field, to being able to land international jobs, the benefits a Master’s degree gives can help graduates give their careers a flying start. The factor that ties it all together is the connections students can build while pursuing their postgraduate studies and simultaneously building a global network.
The Master’s is a postgraduate programme which is constantly transforming and is responding to the changes in all international business arenas. The universal trend is that the Master’s is gradually becoming increasingly global and international. The bottom line here is that the value of the Master’s network is rooted in the opportunity for expanding one’s global connections. However, there are several specific aspects that make up the overall importance of the network that Master’s students have the opportunity to build.
Becoming a part of a global community
One of the characteristics of a specialised Master’s programme is the relatively homogenous student body in terms of age and professional interests. Being a part of such programme, you would find yourself surrounded by classmates that, for the most part, are not only close to your age but who also have career goals similar to yours. Whether you pursue a specialised Master’s programme in your home country or abroad, studying alongside peers with similar professional interests helps you become a part of a diverse global community.
On one hand, knowing people in the same business area in your home country could be useful once you start the job-hunting process, as sometimes a simple referral from an exclassmate could influence a prospective employer to hire you over some other candidate. On the other hand, due to the specialisation of most Master’s programmes, having an industrywide network of former study peers might enable you to enrich each other and stay up-to-date with the newest trends in different companies from your field.
As to the value of building an international Master’s network in schools like Hult (currently with 84% international students) and IE Business School (currently with a student body from over 90 countries), getting to know people from around the globe with similar career directions to yours and who plan to develop professionally all over the world can come in handy in a number of ways. Having a network of people who work in a range of countries all over the world will give you a better understanding of different attitudes from a cultural and demographic perspective, something which is crucial for all companies with global operations.
Connecting with professors from around the world
Building peer connections is not the only valuable aspect of a Master’s network. Many universities which offer Master’s programmes have faculty from all over the world who can help students not just acquire specialised knowledge but also see it in the light of global trends and with an international spin. For instance, universities like IE Business School, which has 47% foreign professors, and The International University of Monaco, whose entire faculty of 55 people is international, give their students the opportunity to be taught multi-culturally. Thus, they not only acquire a global overview of their specialised field but also cultivate long-lasting relationships with internationally-recognised instructors.
Meeting international employers
Yet another aspect of the value of the Master’s network is the opportunity participants get to meet international employers. Many students who gain their Master’s degree abroad use the time while they are pursuing their studies to complete internships and meet various international employers. Additionally, such programmes often include assignments which require students to work on case studies. These often encourage students to become involved with real companies and can sometimes lead to establishing lucrative connections with potential foreign employers.
Following in the steps of successful alumni
Although most Master's programmes are more recently established in comparison with MBA courses, the benefit from a network of former students can still boost your career in a number of ways. As a result of the rapid development in recent years of social networking and other online platforms, most schools have advanced databases of their alumni. Thus, the faculty is able to keep up with the progress of their former students and maintain a constant relationship with them. Some schools also organise various events for alumni and current students, such as parties, social mixers, workshops and other unorthodox gatherings. All of these provide great opportunities for current Master’s students to meet alumni from the same programme who are already in the real business world. Even though most such events are informal, mingling with alumni can help you acquire a real picture of the professional field you want to develop in, and can sometimes lead to meeting influential people who might support you when you later apply for a certain job.
Benefitting from university career centers
In addition to benefitting from the opportunity which most Master’s programmes offer to meet successful alumni, many universities place great emphasis on developing career centres which can assist students in finding internships and even full-time jobs. “The EDHEC Career ServicesCentreplayed a key role in assisting me inmy internship search and training me forfuture interviews through the Talent Identificationand Career Development programme,” says Klara Kasperkovics, a Master’s graduate from EDHEC Business School.
Once you become an alumnus of a programme, your resume is included in the university database, thus providing the advantage of being a part of such a career centres network and connections with various international companies. Some universities even update their alumni with regular e-mails containing a selection of different job opportunities. In the dynamic and fluctuating contemporary job market, and in the fierce competition between job applicants, factors such as a diverse international network of contacts of all kinds can boost your career like never before. In addition, today social media and networking websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn are making it easier than ever, allowing you to have all of your important connections with ex-classmates, alumni, former professors and prospective employers within easy reach.