From marketing professional to marketing student

Maria recently decided to start a Master’s degree seven years after graduating from university. In this blog she shares her reasons for returning to education and tells us about how she is freelancing to maintain her income.

Headshot of Maria stood on an empty beach.

Maria Callaghan, Marketing student

I finished my undergraduate degree seven years ago and have been in full-time work since, five of those jobs in Marketing and Insight. I worked in the marketing department for Morrisons supermarkets and then in 2019 moved to Australia. There I worked as a Marketing and Customer Manager for a start-up where I spent time learning new skills, particularly around Digital Marketing and advertising on social media.

After returning to the UK, I was keen to improve my marketing knowledge further and in October 2020, I left full-time work to start my Master’s in Digital and Strategic Marketing at the University of Bradford.

Long-term goals

Working, prior to starting postgraduate study, meant I had a clearer idea of my long-term career goals. My undergraduate degree wasn’t marketing related and whilst I had a great deal of practical experience, I realised I wanted to develop my marketing knowledge and skills from an academic perspective.

An easy choice

The detail and depth of the modules, being able to research an area of my choice for a dissertation and the support and opportunities the University of Bradford offer, made postgraduate study an easy choice. I was born in Bradford and live close by and, although I may be biased, I think it’s a great place to go to university.

The city is full of culture, beautiful architecture and some fantastic curry houses! On the flip side, you’re never far from the countryside, and I spend many a weekend exploring the Yorkshire Dales. Watching the sunset at the Cow and Calf in Ilkley is one of my favourite things to do! Post lockdown I’m hoping to join one of the hikes organised by the Students’ Union.

Maria smiling, stood on a path next to a field with her arms outstretched.

Developing confidence in my ability

Whilst I was excited to start my degree, I was apprehensive about giving up my job and not having an income. By working part-time as a marketing freelancer for a mix of charities, businesses and agencies, I have been able to work around my studies and put my learnings into action. As a result of my postgraduate studies, I have become more confident in my ability and knowledge, starting a marketing blog to demonstrate my expertise, build my personal brand and attract new potential clients.

Making the most of my opportunities

Studying a Master’s has given me the opportunity to learn the marketing theory and ultimately make me a better marketer. Being able to draw on my past practical experience has only been a benefit.

My priorities are very different now, compared to my undergraduate studies, and I have taken advantage of every opportunity available at the University. This has included getting a mentor in the industry, completing a data analytics course and completing a project management course. I am also helping to organise a sustainability event as part of an upcoming festival at the university.

Above and beyond

Postgraduate study has been hugely beneficial so far, both from an academic learning perspective and developing wider skills such as Data Analytics and Project Management. 2020 has been a strange year, but the support the university has offered has been above and beyond.

After graduation, I will be looking to gain a full-time role in Marketing that continues to challenge me, develop my skills and has progression opportunities. With assignments largely focusing on real life scenarios/companies, I have been able to explore and learn about different companies I could see myself working for in the future.

Maria stood on a wall in a field, with hills in the distance.

Preparing for success

I believe postgraduate study at Bradford is preparing me for success after graduation, teaching me practical skills and allowing me to gain experience in industry leading tools and systems. Guest lecturers and numerous marketing webinars have helped me to expand my network and learn from people in the industry. I think the skills I have learnt, and continue to do so, will help to progress my career and, ultimately, help me to be a successful marketer.

Want to know more about higher level study at Bradford? Head to our postgraduate website.

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