Friday, April 28, 2017 | ePaper

Is your future flexible?

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Elizabeth Koprowski :
The business world is ever-changing and smart professionals know that they need to adapt to new trends, adopt new skills, and remain flexible in their career outlook in order to maintain their competitive edge.  For mid-career professionals looking to complement and enhance their existing expertise, earning an advanced degree can be an ideal way to remain relevant and maximize career potential. Of course, finding time for continuing education can be difficult - take for example those busy working professionals in the marketing and advertising industry. Online degrees are increasingly popular and can be an ideal way to complete a higher degree. But it can be difficult to identify legitimate, credible courses. So what should you look for in an online graduate program? Here are three key things to consider when finding the best degree for your needs.
1.    Consider your situation
Not all online degrees are created equal, so consider your life, responsibilities, and career goals when selecting a course. Some online degrees still include on-campus requirements, which may not be ideal for all students. And, according to Professor Geoff Smith, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Falmouth University, "the quality of technology available to today [means] there's no reason why anyone should be excluded from accessing the best education on offer at the times and in the places that suit them." Look for programs that offer options for flexibility and personalization. Ensure that you will have easy access to resources and adequate study support throughout the process.
2.    Compare value
Online degrees are more reputable than ever, but that doesn't mean that every program or institution carries the same respect. When choosing an online graduate program, especially in the creative industries, consider the reputation and ranking of the university. Where your degree comes from will definitely matter to future employers. An online degree from a number one ranked creative university like Falmouth University will carry value that's equivalent to that of an on-campus program. So make sure to choose a University with excellent credentials and a strong student support system.
3.    Check employability rates
Before enrolling, establish what type of degree will best improve your job prospects or enhance your career. Perhaps you're looking to move up the career ladder within your field or are looking to move from marketing to advertising or vice versa? Look at industry requirements and talk with your mentors about the best study plan for developing your skills. It can be useful for professionals in marketing and advertising to gain more experience in both areas, so look for programs like the MA Advertising & Marketing at Falmouth University that allow students to build on existing experience and add to their knowledge in other areas. Then, consider the curriculum and employability of graduates from your favorite programs. You can approach universities' alumni associations and confirm that they have a good reputation for graduate employment. Choose an institution like Falmouth University that customizes its curriculum and teaching to the market and has a 96.5 percent graduate employment rate, according to the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey.
One Example of a high-level online degree: Falmouth University's MA Advertising & Marketing
If you're looking for a top ranked program that will give you more insight into both the marketing or advertising industries but need the flexibility of an online degree, consider the MA Advertising & Marketing from Falmouth University. Falmouth is the UK's No. 1 Arts University on the Sunday Times League Table 2015 & 2016 and has the sixth highest graduate employment rate in the UK, with Falmouth graduates working in a variety of industries and sectors, with global brands or running their own companies.
At Falmouth, there's no distinction between on-campus and on-line students. The program looks for applications from accomplished professionals who want to enhance their careers, and all students have access to experienced staff who are industry practitioners, and the MA Advertising & Marketing is built around industry connections. According to Lotte Mahon, Module Leader and Lecturer, "the online course is a natural extension" of the university's reputation as a leader in creative advertising. Students have a chance to learn from experts and brands from around the world and come away with "a solid understanding of the marketing and brand strategies" that are used in major corporations.
Advertising and marketing professionals know that the industry is always changing and that the key to success is a solid foundation upon which to build. The creators of Falmouth's online MA Advertising & Marketing are "aware of the changes and challenges facing industry professionals and [the course] has been created to respond to those changes." At Falmouth, students work with an international cohort of students from different cultures and backgrounds, which gives them a chance to prepare for the diversity and dynamics of a global marketplace. Falmouth's graduates can build on core principles while investigating emerging opportunities and the degree's responsive curriculum looks at the changes in the industry as they happen. This approach helps students prepare for the ever-changing market and the challenges of an ever evolving the digital age.
(Elizabeth Koprowski is an American writer and travel historian. She has worked in the higher education system with international students both in Europe and in the USA).

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