From on-campus undergraduate to online postgraduate
30 October 2023
My name’s Michael, a recent graduate of Falmouth’s online master’s in Marketing and Digital Communications. If you’re feeling stuck in your life and your career, doing a master’s can give you the skills you need to chart a new course.
Having spent three wonderful years as an undergraduate at Falmouth honing my craft as a music producer, being suddenly thrust into the real world was quite the reality check. My lack of post-university planning became apparent during my graduation ceremony in 2018, where I had the chance to meet the Chancellor (and Queen of Falmouth) Dawn French. During our brief interaction, she asked me about my plans. My response was rather vague because truthfully, I had no plan and no idea how I was going to make a living from my creativity.
I fell into a repetitive and unfulfilling job shortly after, and while I grew in confidence during my time in this role, opportunities for creativity were sorely lacking, so after four years, I’d really had enough. During the summer of 2021, my partner and I discussed my predicament, and after a fair bit of soul searching, I finally concluded that I was going return to education and study a master's degree.
I still needed to work, so full time study wasn’t an option for me. Once I discovered that Falmouth offered online part-time master's courses, I knew that it would be the best fit for me. I’ve always found the marketing industry fascinating, so after some initial research I was delighted to discover that it is an industry filled with creative roles, not to mention the numerous opportunities for career progression. It felt like a no brainer, so I went for it.
I always felt like my peers were very ‘Falmouth’; a diverse group of talented individuals with a strong desire to create and collaborate.
During my online MA, I did have moments of envying those studying on campus with immediate access to the incredible facilities, the amazing student network and the sheer beauty of the Cornish coast. But while I wasn’t physically in Falmouth, I still felt very connected to the University's culture.
It’s hard to put into words, but I think Falmouth – whether on campus or in a remote learning scenario – attracts a very specific kind of creative person. During our online webinars, I always felt like my peers were very ‘Falmouth’; a diverse group of talented individuals with a strong desire to create and collaborate, which I found comforting to be a part of again.
We were also incredibly lucky to have been the first group of students to attend a face-to-face event for the course, held on Falmouth campus in April 2022. It was a brilliant opportunity to meet our peers and tutors, experience some insightful in-person lectures, and collaborate on a variety of marketing challenges together. If you’re studying an online course with Falmouth and you have the chance to attend a face-to-face event, just go for it - you won’t regret it!
I am still incredibly passionate about my music and have started to get back into producing since the end of my MA. For my Final Major Project, I wanted to connect the dots by linking my undergraduate degree with my master’s. In short, I explored how a brand’s sonic identity is a distinct sonic language through which it can express its mission, vision, values and personality and weave these sonic assets through all its consumer touchpoints. This research produced some fascinating insights and significant evidence that sonic branding is a vastly underutilised and undervalued tool in today’s modern digital communications landscape.
The skills I’ve learned have completely changed my life.
The most fascinating thing I learned during my studies, and something which I will take with me throughout my career, is the ability to think critically. As an industry inherently rooted in modern culture and deeply impacted by societal issues, marketers walk the line daily with the way their brands respond to these issues – particularly with the proliferation of digital media channels through which consumers examine brand communications in real time. There is no rule book for crafting ethical marketing communications and marketers must make a conscious effort to educate themselves on current global issues, consistently check their own biases and critically evaluate every situation to ensure that their communications are authentic to those voices and groups whom they seek to represent.
Shortly after joining the course, I landed my first industry role as Marketing Assistant at VNC Automotive, an automotive technology company based in Cambridge. At this point, work and study formed a symbiotic relationship; my studies afforded me invaluable skills which I was able to deploy immediately in my day job, and my marketing role provided me with unique industry insight which enriched my studies.
Thanks to all the skills I gained during my studies, I have since been promoted to Marketing Executive and will shortly be launching a project to develop a sonic identity for our brand – bringing my Final Major Project research to life.
Wherever my career takes me in the future, and whatever role or seniority I find myself in, I will always strive to be a spokesperson for good, authentic marketing communications. To continuously challenge myself and my peers to do better through learning and personal development, and to always ask the tough questions: Why are we saying that? What are the ethical implications of doing this? And how can we do better?
If you are considering studying a part-time MA at Falmouth, it will not be an easy task and you will need to sacrifice a lot of your personal time to do so. It was the most challenging two years of my life, but would I go back and change my decision knowing what I know now? No, not a chance. The skills I’ve learned have completely changed my life. Five years ago, I was working in a warehouse with no plan and no hope for the future. Today, I’ve taken my first steps into the marketing industry and with the skills I’ve learnt on my course, the opportunities are endless. What are you waiting for?!