The Guardian *sponsored post* - Make 2018 a turning point in your career

Whether building on career paths or forging new ones, it’s natural to reflect on past professional achievements and aspiring career moves at the beginning of each year.

Our jobs take up such a big part of our lives that when contemplating ‘professional goals’ it’s worth thinking about how to push your career forward for an accelerated route to success.

If you’re thinking of taking on more responsibility, but need to update your skillset, perhaps now is the time to turn your thoughts to the prospect of returning to education for a postgraduate-level qualification.

For some that may seem impossible. Just the thought of having a decreased income alongside the cost of tuition is a challenge in itself — particularly if you combine a change to your living situation with taking sabbatical leave in order to pursue your studies.

However, with recent advances in learning technology, there’s now a more  anageable solution on offer to professionals: 100% online study.

A flexible route to postgraduate education

With an array of online postgraduate degrees to choose from, the luxury of being able to find a programme that aligns with your professional goals — and works alongside your personal commitments — has become commonplace.

In fact, the University of Birmingham offers three 100% online postgraduate degrees specifically for professionals looking to realise their career ambitions. There’s the Online MSc International Business, perfect for those looking to accelerate their career into global business management; the AMBA-accredited Online MBA, for driven managers ultimately seeking executive leadership positions; and the Online Masters of Public Administration, for public sector professionals wanting to make a greater impact on society and become true leaders in their field.

As all three programmes are delivered entirely online, there’s no need for you to visit the campus (unless it’s convenient for you to do so). Live lectures can be accessed from the comfort of your own home, workplace or even local coffee shop. There’s no need for you to set foot into a library either as all the required textbooks are made available online: “These aren’t campus-based courses that we’ve just put online; we’ve built them from the ground up, taking on board the current online environment and the latest technology that’s available,” said Ian Myatt, director of educational enterprise, University of Birmingham.

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Complement your work schedule

The unique learning methodology for these flexible programmes has been carefully crafted for both digital teaching and ‘self-learning’. It slots perfectly around a full-time working schedule.

Dr Michael Shulver, director of online content, Business Programmes, University of Birmingham, explains: “Online students have small gaps in their life when they can study; when they’re waiting for flights, travelling for work or staying in a hotel room when they’ve been deployed remotely.”

As the digital environment saves and tracks your progress, you can pick-up your studies from exactly where you left off. No flicking through bookmarked pages — it’s all displayed on your personalised online dashboard for maximum convenience.

Put your learning into action in real-time

Studying online alongside a career can be greatly beneficial. You can put newly acquired theories and strategies into practice in real-time. In addition, there’s a host of soft skills which could pay dividends for employer recognition:

“The fact that students are able to study online and continue to work shows employers they have resilience, ambition and the ability to multitask,” said Gloria Barber, postgraduate employer liaison manager, University of Birmingham.

As a professional seeking to move your career forward, the ability to apply what you learn and generate immediate results will also prove to your employer that you can demonstrate a deeper experiential understanding.

Benefit from expert guidance

Your faculty will be on hand to offer help, too — as senior teaching fellow at the University of Birmingham, Helen Hurford-Dawson, explains, “I make a conscious effort to help students see the interconnections — taking ideas and theories from various modules, and piecing them together to help construct answers to management problems that they might face in the workplace.”

Learning this type of thinking would demonstrate that you can offer a strategic, yet theoretical perspective to your employer — this is an invaluable asset in the modern workplace and it could help open up routes to more senior and better-paid roles.

Tap into a world of opportunity

As a member of the Russell Group and world ‘Top 100’ Universities (QS World University Rankings 2017), the University of Birmingham offers a trusted reputation for teaching excellence and research impact. For employers, this translates into a credible qualification and for professionals, this brings the potential for a positive return on investment.

Make 2018 a turning point in your career. To find out more about 100% online postgraduate degrees, please visit fill out our ‘request information’ form or call T: +44 (0)800 032 7101.

This is a sponsored article which was first published in the Guardian’s New Year, New You supplement magazine, 06th January 2018.

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