Ji Young Yoon
- Course: MSc Engineering Management
- Year of graduation: 2022
What have you been doing since finishing your studies? What are you doing in terms of your career?
Since graduating, I have applied for Chartered Manager (CMgr) status with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). I successfully obtained the status and it was a rewarding experience as it showed everything I learned from Leeds, I was able to demonstrate required knowledge and competency to be chartered. This achievement gave me confidence in myself more and provided recognition as a technical manager and commitment to continued professional development. I am already seeing many opportunities I am qualified for and feel ready to challenge myself. I believe it is exciting time in my career where I can further challenge myself not only as an engineer but as an engineer with a leadership capabilities.
What experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career/will help with your future career?
I have developed further research and critical thinking skills during my study and it has been extremely helpful in my career. For example, when someone in the organisation was looking for data on a certain topic in the industry, I was able to find it at the Leeds library. You develop research skills and as an engineering manager, you will need to know how to find accurate and useful information that could help your organisation. I found business strategy, enterprise and business planning, decision making, people and organisational performance, safety and CSR modules are particularly helpful. I was able to apply my learning immediately and now that I have learned, they will come very useful in the future.
Why did you choose to study online? How did you find the experience of completing a degree off-campus?
Once you start working, it is very difficult to go back to school full-time. For me, I could not afford to quit my job and do MSc. The only way that could work for me was studying part-time alongside working full-time. With Covid-19, people had to adapt to new ways of working and even studying! I know a lot of students had to suddenly study off-campus and Universities were not prepared to deliver high quality teaching online. This programme was designed to be taught online. Therefore, despite starting the course in May 2020, I felt Covid-19 had no impact on my learning. I believe most people are now more confident to communicate effectively online, have a lot of online meetings, and even attend conferences or training online. With technology, the education sector is changing, and more and more universities are now offering 100% online programmes. It is important to highlight that Leeds planned and offered an Engineering Management programme much earlier than other Universities and it was already an accredited programme by CMI when I started in May 2020. It is an established programme that you can trust that will deliver quality teaching. You may find other programmes with cheaper tuition fees, but it is very important to look at the reputation of the University with their quality of teaching.
Looking back, why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds?
Initially, I considered doing an online and weekend MBA. My workplace also offered degree apprenticeships in Management and MBA. I did consider a few institutions and have consulted with multiple admissions teams. However, after reviewing the course content of a traditional MBA, I was less interested and found it was not relatable. Later, I found a few engineering management programmes and saw the modules that Leeds was offering. It was the most relatable and relevant to my career, it sounded interesting and something I wanted to learn. I have decided to study with Leeds as I knew they offered modules tailored to engineers and technical people which was important to me. I also knew Leeds is a good University in the UK and have heard many good things from people about the education Leeds offers.
What was the best aspect of the course/the University and why? Any highlights?
I have met so many passionate teaching fellows and university staff who cared for my learning experience and helped me to become a better engineering manager. I believe it is the people that make the place. University of Leeds academics and staff were kind, warm, caring & hardworking. Because I was a student representative, I had regular meetings with the programme staff. Being a student representative was one of the best memories as it helped me to feel closer to the Leeds community by getting to know my fellow cohorts and University staff. I can’t thank enough my final research project supervisor. They were very approachable and always helpful. They challenged me to do better. I felt that they cared for my learning and wanted me to become a critical thinker. It felt amazing to complete my 6 months research project and meeting some of the University staff at the graduation was the highlight of my MSc experience.
What would you say to students thinking about studying the same course at Leeds/thinking about the same career?
Continuing professional development is important for any professionals. You want to keep up to date with knowledge, ensure you are competitive and competent, and prepared to tackle the next challenge. If you are a keen learner who likes to continue to develop, you should not hesitate in investing in yourself. Also note, it is a big commitment, and it will sufficiently challenge anyone with a full-time job but it is a very rewarding experience.