Management for Community and Voluntary Sector – Student Profile Fiona Duignan

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Fiona Duignan tells us about studying for the MA in Management for Community and Voluntary Sector at All Hallows College in Dublin.

Name: Fiona Duignan

College: All Hallows College

Course: MA in Management for Community and Voluntary Sector

Why did you choose this course?

I chose the MA in Management course in All Hallows College for a number of reasons. Firstly, I felt I had not acquired any meaningful further education since completing a postgraduate diploma in Youth & Community Work in 1998. My career is embedded in the not-for-profit sector so it was vital for me that any further education I undertook was within that area. Another reason was that even though I have a professional qualification, and over 10 years’ management experience, I have no formal management qualification. This for me was crucial. The course potentially could be the difference between me and another candidate getting a job in the future.

What does the course involve and what do you hope to get out of it in terms of your career?

The programme is available either full or part time. It was great to have this flexibility and I chose the part time option of one night a week over a two-year period. This allowed me the flexibility to do those modules that most interested me, and also put me in a position where I could do extra modules when my work allowed. I think this helped me gain as much experience and information from the various modules as possible.

What are the differences between postgraduate and undergraduate study?

The fundamental difference between undergraduate studies and this postgraduate course is that many of my classmates come from the community and voluntary sector. This means that discussions in class are varied but relevant. The atmosphere is that of support for each other and respect for the work that others are involved in. The ongoing support from the staff at All Hallows is also really encouraging. Overall it was a very supportive environment to be in and one I very much enjoyed.

Have you any advice for anyone considering a postgraduate course?

Bite the bullet and do it! Also, it really helps to have a cross-section and good mix of students in the class. As well as those that have come through from undergraduate studies, there are plenty on my course who have been out working and they bring this experience to the classroom. Take this opportunity and invest in your career. All Hallows College is a great environment; I have received encouragement, support and a sense of community from students and staff alike.

What research have you undertaken?

It is currently dissertation proposal time. I am hoping to focus on the following: ‘Agents of the State or Advocates of the Service User: The role of Representative Disability Organisation in the HSE Consultative Process’.


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