Case Study IT: Patrick Corry tells us about doing a part-time IT postgrad

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Patrick Corry returned to education while working full-time. He did the MSc in Management of Information Systems at Trinity College Dublin. As he was working, Patrick did the course part-time. He tells us about juggling work and college.

Why you enrol in your part time course?

I’d been working in IT for a few years, but my undergrad degree was a business course. I felt it was a good time to get a qualification that matched my career path more closely. The IT course I did was a hybrid of management and IT (MSc in Management of Information Systems in Trinity). Therefore, it was a good choice for me. It suited my business background, and I could also apply it in work day-to-day.

What support did you get from your employer?

They funded the course which was great. Also, there was some study leave available around exam time. In addition, there was less tangible support as well. There was the understanding that I would be less flexible with regard to overtime during exam time or when I was writing my dissertation. I was lucky that their expectations (usually!) reflected how busy I was in college at that time.

How did you manage fitting your course work around a full time job?

Although I did my best to avoid eating into holiday leave, I generally took holiday days off when I felt I needed additional time to study, or at least more than I could eke out from just evenings and weekends. I wrote a dissertation as part of my course. That was the most difficult phase. It involved studying almost all evenings and weekends for around six months. I found that, occasionally taking a Friday and Monday off work gave me a chance to focus on my dissertation without falling too far behind in the office. It’s difficult to balance though, and everyone looks after it differently.

How has the course improved your work performance?

The course gave me confidence, particularly in softer skills like giving presentations and communicating in meetings. Also, when working day-to-day, it’s easy to get mired in the daily grind. I found that the course gave me more perspective, and a clearer understanding of the larger context in which I work.

And your career prospects?

When I started the course my goal was to improve my own mobility, and give myself more career options. A Masters ticks those boxes. I’m extremely glad to have the qualification, and it will give me confidence should I decide to change positions in future.

Was studying with fellow professionals beneficial?

Yes, I made some good contacts. Most of the course was built around group projects, so we worked together quite closely all the way through the course. This in turn helped me understand my own strengths and weaknesses better, and I’ve definitely tried to take that understanding back to my job.


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