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If only I thought strategically before I chose my degree........(Aged 33) Watch

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    Hey fellow mature students

    As a recent graduate - BA Business (Hons) 2013 - and having re-entered back into the working world after my graduation, the experience has introduced a lot of introspection about degrees and careers as a mature student over the age of 30.

    Prior to graduating last year, I worked for HMRC for 10 years in Estates/Facilities Management. Opportunities were dire, moral low and I couldn't bare the thought of staying the same grade job for another 10 years. So did an Access course, then quit my job, then went onto do my degree at University of Liverpool.

    The experience was fantastic, and I chose Business because I've always had a 'business brain' you could say. So I chose it on the basis that it was a subject I knew I would enjoy studying - absolutely fundamental when choosing a degree I am sure you will agree.

    After graduating, it was like 'shhhh1t...what do I do now??!' :/ Yep, that's it, apply for grad jobs. So I did - lots of them. All of them knocked back. I still persisted, same result. I knew it was because of my age. My CV was top notch - I introduced infographics, used key buzz words, transferable skills, etc etc. So i was left disillusioned.

    As a matter of chance, a recruitment agency i registered with offered me an interview with a Estate Agent working for their Commerial agency (lettings and disposals of commercial property). Interview went brilliant, got offered the job next day at £20k per year. Obviously I took it what with being out of work for nearly 3 months.

    Over the subsequent 10 months at my job, I learnt SO much. I liaised with investors, surveyors, tenants, buyers, vendors and dealt with commercial leases, dilapidation reports, etc etc. I loved my job so much, I would stay late most nights and come in the odd saturday. So because of this huge interest for my job, I looked into becoming a Surveyor. I needed a PROFESSION. Being a 'sales negotiator' at 33, I still saw myself as a subordinate - I had never reached management level. Of course I valued having a job, but my career was important to me hence why I did a degree to further progress. So John Moores University offered an MSc in Surveying (conversion course for non-cognate graduates), on a part time basis over 2 years.

    10 months after working my rear off, I was laid off. Without any warning. It was a small company comprising 150 members of staff, and they had no HR department/system in place, so I didn't have a leg to stand on.


    So that was 6 weeks ago. I've been job hunting, searching job websites but again, looking for 'anything' that would fit my experience. All I can see are jobs for teachers, programmers, cleaners, care workers, business analysts, electricians.....etc.. Did I tell you I thought about teaching? I could do the PGCE, but...... I researched so much about the profession for weeks and new/old school teacher reviews and it put me off massively. It's a shame as it's a profession were I could qualify, and there is no genuine age/gender barrier. I couldn't see myself teaching children anyway, it just wasn't 'me'.

    I've looked into what I REALLY want to do, what barriers to industry there is and how long will it take me? 33 isn't exactly an age to be taking me time when considering a career change. A friend of mine said 'why not do an Access/Degree again in the Health profession? They are crying out for Occupational Therapists, Radiologists, etc etc'. The Access and Degree wouldn't cost me anything - it's funded by 24+ loan and NHS. I thought long and hard about it - I love learning so it wouldn't bother me studying for another degree. I looked at lots of youtube footage on a day in the life of..... for different Healthcare professions and I just didn't feel it. I couldn't see me in any health care profession - never have felt that way.

    Back to square one. Ok, my passions have always been computing - consider myself very much adept with computers, particularly design software. I regularly design friends/people's CV's for them, partially using Infographic software. I love doing this, but would have to do a Masters in Graphic Design or some form of GD qualification if I wanted to go freelance. Then there is the Surveying route - perfect for becoming a 'Chartered Surveyor' - would take me about 4 years in total after completing APC, but it's doable and there is always a demand for Surveyors world wide. So my passion is IT/Graphics/consulting, but vocationally, to become a technical expert the Surveying route is more practical and in demand.

    Money.I have £3k - Masters degrees these days cost just over £5k. I have saved that £3k from my last job. No holiday in over 5 years and dont own a car even though I passed 7 years ago. My career is more important so I have to use that money towards a Masters


    So this is an insight really as to being a graduate over the age of 30. I wish I chose more strategically with my degree. I.e, a degree which had some kind of technical element to it (Business and IT), or a degree which could lead onto a vocational profession.

    Degrees in Law, IT, Sciences, Maths, Engineering, Economics, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Health, Physiotherapy, Dentistry. THESE are pretty much the degrees which can lead onto a good career. A profession.

    I massively respect those mature students who chose to do a degree in itself - irrespective of the subject area. I know how much of an achievement it is/will be.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope it provided some insight as to being a mature graduate looking for a career change/improvement.
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    Thanks for posting this. The days when a degree - any degree - was a passport to a decent career are gone, I'm afraid. Your Chartered Surveying plan sounds like a pretty sensible option at this stage. The IT/Graphics route is always something you could try freelancing with, but I suspect getting qualifications in this field is less likely to get you a job than the surveying qualification. Good luck.
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    I've only very recently graduated but I already feel the same way. I'm not over 30 yet but I'm not far off, I'm not feeling too confident about my careers prospects. Like you I think I probably should've done something more vocational. Have you spoken to the National Careers Service about funding towards the Masters? I went there the other week and was told they could help you find funding for post grad. Good luck for the future

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    Have you tried accountancy? A lot of firms take any (even no) degree (to do AAT instead of ACA). You might need to pass tests at interviews etc. It's a profession, can be rewarding, can work and study with no costs for your chartered qualification.

    I'm a history grad, 22 years old, and due to become a chartered accountant in a couple of years.
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    Aca is very business oriented too.
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    (Original post by Melancholy)
    Have you tried accountancy? A lot of firms take any (even no) degree (to do AAT instead of ACA). You might need to pass tests at interviews etc. It's a profession, can be rewarding, can work and study with no costs for your chartered qualification.

    I'm a history grad, 22 years old, and due to become a chartered accountant in a couple of years.
    Is it hard to get into?

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    (Original post by gemmam)
    Is it hard to get into?

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    It's hard to say. Probably depends on the size of the firm and the pay you're looking for, aswell as the wider job market. All I know is that I got the job. Dunno about how many other people applied and didn't get it. Had to pass two interviews, numerical reasoning tests, etc Enjoying it.
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    (Original post by ScouseEmma28)
    Hey fellow mature students

    As a recent graduate - BA Business (Hons) 2013 - and having re-entered back into the working world after my graduation, the experience has introduced a lot of introspection about degrees and careers as a mature student over the age of 30.

    That's opened my eyes a bit.

    I'm hoping to do Business Management with Entrepreneurship at uni but having read this i'm not sure whether or not it's a good idea.

    My dream job would be working in International Development and helping small start- ups in developing countries or working for the DFID.

    What are your thoughts?

    If you could go back to the age of 18 what would you do?
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    If I could go back to 18 I would (if you're in the least bit interested) do healthcare (doctor/dentist/nurse/radiographer etc) Im 23 yrs old a graduated in 2012 with a 1st class degree in Education that I knew deep down was not for me. But I worked my ass off in my final yr to ensure I got top grades to show I can commit to a programme of work. Now I am on the long, challenging path to get into dentistry - something I have always wanted to do but didn't get the science grades at GCSE/A levels. At 23 I am going back and doing GCSE maths to improve from C to a B as they look that far back. I bagged an evening job in a dental lab working with crowns and bridges which is great experience. Prior to this post graduation I worked for 1.5 yrs in IT Recruitment, a competitive sales focussed role, the only job I could get into that would allow me the scope to control my income to some extent and save to go back to uni. You're never too old but being both a student, graduate and a recruitment consultant. The demand for IT skills (especially .net web development) is so high it is frightening. I have put grads in £20k roles in 2013 and re-placed them this summer into £29-£32k roles and who can then go contracting and demand £350/day+. Without being on this side of the coin it's hard to see what a specific market lacks in skills.

    I went to uni, because I .. don't even know I just went and had been told that my idea of being a dentist wasn't realistic with my average/non science A levels... well duh but some advice on how to get there would have saved me the last 5 yrs. There are so many pros to being a mature student though - good luck everyone.

    Again if you wanna go back to uni as a mature student make sure you're gaining demanded skills, no point wasting the time going back, and as an employer/recruitment consultant ensure that you do anything ANYTHING at all related to your field work wise, do 5 hours a week free if you have to beg companies to let you come in, those 5 hours over 2/3 yrs will make your cv stand out like crazy, even better get summer, weekend paid jobs related.

    It is great to see other mature students, I know at 23 I'm not that old yet!


    (Original post by cdude)
    That's opened my eyes a bit.

    I'm hoping to do Business Management with Entrepreneurship at uni but having read this i'm not sure whether or not it's a good idea.

    My dream job would be working in International Development and helping small start- ups in developing countries or working for the DFID.

    What are your thoughts?

    If you could go back to the age of 18 what would you do?
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    (Original post by emmalooo12)
    If I could go back to 18 I would (if you're in the least bit interested) do healthcare (doctor/dentist/nurse/radiographer etc) Im 23 yrs old a graduated in 2012 with a 1st class degree in Education that I knew deep down was not for me. But I worked my ass off in my final yr to ensure I got top grades to show I can commit to a programme of work. Now I am on the long, challenging path to get into dentistry - something I have always wanted to do but didn't get the science grades at GCSE/A levels. At 23 I am going back and doing GCSE maths to improve from C to a B as they look that far back. I bagged an evening job in a dental lab working with crowns and bridges which is great experience. Prior to this post graduation I worked for 1.5 yrs in IT Recruitment, a competitive sales focussed role, the only job I could get into that would allow me the scope to control my income to some extent and save to go back to uni. You're never too old but being both a student, graduate and a recruitment consultant. The demand for IT skills (especially .net web development) is so high it is frightening. I have put grads in £20k roles in 2013 and re-placed them this summer into £29-£32k roles and who can then go contracting and demand £350/day+. Without being on this side of the coin it's hard to see what a specific market lacks in skills.

    I went to uni, because I .. don't even know I just went and had been told that my idea of being a dentist wasn't realistic with my average/non science A levels... well duh but some advice on how to get there would have saved me the last 5 yrs. There are so many pros to being a mature student though - good luck everyone.

    Again if you wanna go back to uni as a mature student make sure you're gaining demanded skills, no point wasting the time going back, and as an employer/recruitment consultant ensure that you do anything ANYTHING at all related to your field work wise, do 5 hours a week free if you have to beg companies to let you come in, those 5 hours over 2/3 yrs will make your cv stand out like crazy, even better get summer, weekend paid jobs related.

    It is great to see other mature students, I know at 23 I'm not that old yet!

    What did you study at uni?
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    I mentioned at the top of my essay lol Education studies, got a 1st, most people then go on to do a PGCE and teach. I knew I wasn't going to do that so just geeked it in final year

    (Original post by cdude)
    What did you study at uni?
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    (Original post by ScouseEmma28)
    Hey fellow mature students

    As a recent graduate - BA Business (Hons) 2013 - and having re-entered back into the working world after my graduation, the experience has introduced a lot of introspection about degrees and careers as a mature student over the age of 30.

    Prior to graduating last year, I worked for HMRC for 10 years in Estates/Facilities Management. Opportunities were dire, moral low and I couldn't bare the thought of staying the same grade job for another 10 years. So did an Access course, then quit my job, then went onto do my degree at University of Liverpool.

    The experience was fantastic, and I chose Business because I've always had a 'business brain' you could say. So I chose it on the basis that it was a subject I knew I would enjoy studying - absolutely fundamental when choosing a degree I am sure you will agree.

    After graduating, it was like 'shhhh1t...what do I do now??!' :/ Yep, that's it, apply for grad jobs. So I did - lots of them. All of them knocked back. I still persisted, same result. I knew it was because of my age. My CV was top notch - I introduced infographics, used key buzz words, transferable skills, etc etc. So i was left disillusioned.

    As a matter of chance, a recruitment agency i registered with offered me an interview with a Estate Agent working for their Commerial agency (lettings and disposals of commercial property). Interview went brilliant, got offered the job next day at £20k per year. Obviously I took it what with being out of work for nearly 3 months.

    Over the subsequent 10 months at my job, I learnt SO much. I liaised with investors, surveyors, tenants, buyers, vendors and dealt with commercial leases, dilapidation reports, etc etc. I loved my job so much, I would stay late most nights and come in the odd saturday. So because of this huge interest for my job, I looked into becoming a Surveyor. I needed a PROFESSION. Being a 'sales negotiator' at 33, I still saw myself as a subordinate - I had never reached management level. Of course I valued having a job, but my career was important to me hence why I did a degree to further progress. So John Moores University offered an MSc in Surveying (conversion course for non-cognate graduates), on a part time basis over 2 years.

    10 months after working my rear off, I was laid off. Without any warning. It was a small company comprising 150 members of staff, and they had no HR department/system in place, so I didn't have a leg to stand on.


    So that was 6 weeks ago. I've been job hunting, searching job websites but again, looking for 'anything' that would fit my experience. All I can see are jobs for teachers, programmers, cleaners, care workers, business analysts, electricians.....etc.. Did I tell you I thought about teaching? I could do the PGCE, but...... I researched so much about the profession for weeks and new/old school teacher reviews and it put me off massively. It's a shame as it's a profession were I could qualify, and there is no genuine age/gender barrier. I couldn't see myself teaching children anyway, it just wasn't 'me'.

    I've looked into what I REALLY want to do, what barriers to industry there is and how long will it take me? 33 isn't exactly an age to be taking me time when considering a career change. A friend of mine said 'why not do an Access/Degree again in the Health profession? They are crying out for Occupational Therapists, Radiologists, etc etc'. The Access and Degree wouldn't cost me anything - it's funded by 24+ loan and NHS. I thought long and hard about it - I love learning so it wouldn't bother me studying for another degree. I looked at lots of youtube footage on a day in the life of..... for different Healthcare professions and I just didn't feel it. I couldn't see me in any health care profession - never have felt that way.

    Back to square one. Ok, my passions have always been computing - consider myself very much adept with computers, particularly design software. I regularly design friends/people's CV's for them, partially using Infographic software. I love doing this, but would have to do a Masters in Graphic Design or some form of GD qualification if I wanted to go freelance. Then there is the Surveying route - perfect for becoming a 'Chartered Surveyor' - would take me about 4 years in total after completing APC, but it's doable and there is always a demand for Surveyors world wide. So my passion is IT/Graphics/consulting, but vocationally, to become a technical expert the Surveying route is more practical and in demand.

    Money.I have £3k - Masters degrees these days cost just over £5k. I have saved that £3k from my last job. No holiday in over 5 years and dont own a car even though I passed 7 years ago. My career is more important so I have to use that money towards a Masters


    So this is an insight really as to being a graduate over the age of 30. I wish I chose more strategically with my degree. I.e, a degree which had some kind of technical element to it (Business and IT), or a degree which could lead onto a vocational profession.

    Degrees in Law, IT, Sciences, Maths, Engineering, Economics, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Health, Physiotherapy, Dentistry. THESE are pretty much the degrees which can lead onto a good career. A profession.

    I massively respect those mature students who chose to do a degree in itself - irrespective of the subject area. I know how much of an achievement it is/will be.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope it provided some insight as to being a mature graduate looking for a career change/improvement.
    You said dentistry twice haha.
    There were a few mature students on my dentistry course, good luck with whatever you do.
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    (Original post by cdude)
    That's opened my eyes a bit.

    I'm hoping to do Business Management with Entrepreneurship at uni but having read this i'm not sure whether or not it's a good idea.

    My dream job would be working in International Development and helping small start- ups in developing countries or working for the DFID.

    What are your thoughts?

    If you could go back to the age of 18 what would you do?
    If I could go back at 18 I'm not sure if I'd gone to university then. Although I sometimes wish I did as I think I would've liked to have had the "traditional" university experience (eg. living away from home, meeting people from different places, societies etc); knowing how I was when I was in my late teens/early 20s I probably would've gone out clubbing most nights, been lazy with my work and ended up getting a third.

    What I would do is change some of the choices I made. For example I did beauty therapy at a particularly bad training provider; I wish I'd either not done it at all or had done it as an interest at night class at my local community college (which I ended up doing anyway as I ended up leaving and transferred my credits over). I think this might've effected my job prospects shortly after I d left as it had a bit of a reputation for being chavvy and ergo potential employers might've thought I'd be the same. I'd also wished I'd resat GCSE maths when it still would've been free for me to get a C or above instead of being a bit lazy and just doing level 2 adult numeracy.

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    (Original post by cdude)
    That's opened my eyes a bit.

    I'm hoping to do Business Management with Entrepreneurship at uni but having read this i'm not sure whether or not it's a good idea.

    My dream job would be working in International Development and helping small start- ups in developing countries or working for the DFID.

    What are your thoughts?

    If you could go back to the age of 18 what would you do?
    Apologies for the late reply!

    I'd say don't give up if you have a dream in that case. Your aspirations sound fantastic.

    What you need to think about is how realistic your chances are of that happening. I would possibly suggest going on to do a MRes/MSc in International Development if that's the case, with a view of pursuing the Phd route.

    I stupidly didnt think about what my plans were when I gained a place on my Business degree. I suppose I assumed I would be able to get onto a grad scheme or get a grad job, or at least find it easier to get another job with my experience aswell. That has proved a lot harder than I thought.

    If I could go back to 18 what would i do? ha - good question! Hence why i think i didn't choose to go to Uni then as it didn't appeal to me plus didn't have any interest in a particular subject lol.

    It's really tough - very confused at the moment as I don't know which Master's to go for (can afford to pay for half a one if i do it over 2 years part time!). I'd really like to do an MRes and further specialize in research methods with a subject I did well in/thoroughly enjoyed during my undergrad studies. That won't increase my chances of getting 'qualified' in anything though, or gaining a 'profession'. There is the Quantity Surveying route (conversion), but do i REALLLYYYY want to do this? Heart has doubts, but strategically[/I] it is a sensible choice because im getting a bit older. It will take 2 years part time, plus additional 2 years for APC to become chartered.

    So my advice definitely is chose a health related degree or a vocational degree that has a technical element to it
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    I'm just about to begin a degree, age 34, and for me doing a degree such as business management, or similar seemed pointless as the experience I had gained as a wealth manager topped that. So for me it was always going to be science, as with science, engineering, medicine you put yourself in a great position to find employment.

    im doing Earth Science, and will probably concentrate on Petroleum Geology.
 
 
 
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