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Sankirtana Kumar Tharamel

December 17th, 2021

A Postgraduate’s Guide to Finding Your Niche Course – Part 3

8 comments

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Sankirtana Kumar Tharamel

December 17th, 2021

A Postgraduate’s Guide to Finding Your Niche Course – Part 3

8 comments

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Welcome to the last edition of a rant that takes you through the inner workings of the brain of a Taught Master’s student. Here’s a quick intro into my life (wow do I feel like a diva!), I have spent over 6 years in the development sector, three years of which have been full-time. I currently pursue MSc Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at LSE and hope to remain entrenched in the sector long term.

 

In this series, I detail the organic process I went through in order to find and apply for my course. The previous instalment expands on the “how” of choosing our course once you have landed on some courses you can choose from. This final instalment details the “cherry on the cake” – broadening our horizons via different perspectives to land on our “ideal” course.

Disclaimer: Look at this as a list of things that could be worth trying. These are by no means sequential and so simultaneously trying a combination of them might work wonders. Also, what worked for me might make no sense in your context, so use your discretion and get creative!

 

6) Talk to alumni

Tip 6 – Talking with alumni who work in your sector is key to landing on a great course. A simple LinkedIn search of the organizations that work in the field of your choice, the kind of role you might want to pursue or the course/university you are considering, will lead you to a whole network of people who satisfy those conditions. Reach out to them to find out details of the course and how it might connect to your future plans or interests. No pressure to determine the course of your whole life before you talk with them! But this will help you see how the course will work out.

Alumni from all the courses I had applied to (across universities) were more than happy to talk about their experience in the course, or the job they are pursuing. This helped me see the connection of the course with my ambition, the external speakers who would attend and conduct events, seminars that would be conducted, the split of theory vs practice, their insights into teaching at the university, and tips on how I might make the most of my Master’s. This solidified my decision to apply to the course I did.

 

7) Email Professors, read up on their work

Tip 7 – Lookup, read up on, and correspond with professors who teach the course. This helps you pick their brains on their work, draw connections from the course to your future aspirations, and see what resonates with you.

I cannot stress the importance of connecting with the professors who teach the course(s) that interest you. Looking them up helped me see their line of work, their specialization of research, etc. Now although I only emailed my current professors after I received my letter of acceptance, I did have the fortune of conversing with the professors of some of the other universities to which I had applied. One ubiquitous fact that remained: talking to them opens horizons one might have never fathomed.

8) Read, research and reflect (catalogues, course specifications, alumni and past events, think if these are relevant to you)

Tip 8 – Read, research and reflect. Put in the time to read through the resources available to you on websites, research externally about the same, and think about how this connects with you as an individual (and if possible, how this aligns with your vision and goals).

I cannot stress the importance of some good old-fashioned meticulous grunt work. Putting in the time to read about and through catalogues, course specifications, alumni projects and past events helped me see the not-so-explicitly mentioned nuances of the courses in question. This helped me see what I can expect through the course, what I can be confident of gaining from the course, and most importantly – what I didn’t know about. This helped me go back to alumni, professors, and other connections with questions and build on my knowledge of what I knew and didn’t know.

 

Well, if you made it here, huge shoutout to you! I hope you are having fun connecting, exploring, and navigating the murky, but amusing waters of discovering a course that suits you! I wish you all the very best in your application!

About the author

Sankirtana Kumar Tharamel

Hi! I am Sanku. You will mostly find me dancing my legs off, pouring over a book, or just deeply engaged in conversation. An engineering graduate and STEM girl at heart, I have been exploring the development sector for greater than half a decade now, and hope to continue this line of work after my MSc in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Posted In: Applying: Masters | Applying: PhD | Applying: Undergraduate

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