Studying abroad is helping this showbiz professional’s career development
Young professionals with several years of working experience under their belt might want to think of some of the additional skills they could master that would help them with their career development. That’s part of what prompted Irma Masood to travel thousands of miles away from her native Pakistan to Hungary’s capital – Budapest – to pursue a MSc in Marketing Management.
The 25-year-old was enjoying a successful and lucrative career in showbiz before dropping it all in pursuit of her higher education at the International Business School (IBS). The experience, as she soon discovered, would also give her an international exposure and an unparalleled networking experience – important for anyone’s career development in today’s borderless economy.
“The university’s name itself says it all – I have made friends from all over the world. My own class is so diverse that it’s interesting to discuss any topic. I wouldn’t have thought of meeting people from Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico or Kirghizstan and now they are a part of my life,” she told U2B via an email interview.
IBS is affiliated with the University of Buckingham in England — a perk for Irma to get a highly valued British degree while staying in Europe at an affordable cost.
She obtained a scholarship and chose to study marketing management to complement her bachelor’s in media studies.
“I have learnt to shoot films and advertisements previously; studying marketing now will give me an edge to market my projects. I believe the world revolves around marketing – you can have the best product but you can’t sell it until you know how to market it,” she said.
Europe is a great city to study
“I was surprised to find out that Budapest is indeed a great city for students and it has a bunch of universities that are gaining recognition with time,” opined Irma.
She added that Budapest is a central city with high connectivity with neighbouring countries, making it ideal for travel too. There are stunning architectures that dot the city, while she also considers it as among the cheapest cities in Europe.
“The rents, transportation and daily expenses stay very much in budget and I feel safe around the city. I am blessed to call it home for now.”
Irma is also an avid traveller who has been using her time abroad to travel when the time permits. Her first international exposure as a student was during an Erasmus programme in 2015 when she went to Turkey.
The experience equipped her with many useful skills, chief among them, the ability to socialise with people of different backgrounds. It also contributed to building confidence to study abroad, full-time, at the postgraduate level.
“The course is very informative and the teachers are cooperative here. The only problem in Europe is the language barrier,” she said, adding that it’s not limited to Hungary, but to all European countries.
Hungarian is spoken by the majority of the country’s population, but one of the perks of attending an international school is that Irma’s social circle are fluent in English.
It can be challenging when students are looking for a job as that’s when the language barrier becomes prevalent. It’s still possible, however, for international students to get by in English, she said.
Career development in a time of COVID-19
COVID-19 has upended many aspects of life, and Irma is not spared. Universities have had to step up to support its students during this unprecedented time, and IBS is no different.
“My university has made all efforts to provide its students with the best services. I have six modules this semester and each teacher came up with different ways to make it interactive for their students,” she said.
Some of her courses have regular online classes where she and her classmates would meet online and have a discussion, while other lecturers would create forums and discussion tabs where students can actively participate. Class presentations went online too.
“I was so tired sitting in sleeping PJs all day that I wouldn’t mind dressing up and putting up makeup for my online classes – at least there was something to look forward to!”
During her masters, Irma also works at IBS as a media manager. Her job entails making testimonial videos for international students.
“Due to COVID-19, my work suffered more than the studies,” she said. The pandemic has also fuelled fears about job prospects post-graduation.
“I had high expectations and trust in myself that I’ll easily get a job once I start applying but now, I can’t say anything as the employment opportunities aren’t the same.”
Budapest, however, pulled through the pandemic safely – the city recently reopened last week, said Irma.
“Everything feels like it’s back to normal other than wearing the masks. The offices are operating again, my university is commencing in September again. All the restaurants, pubs and outdoor places are open. While taking precautions, I can say Budapest is back to life, to how it used to be. I feel relieved right now and hopefully the employment opportunities will return as well,” she said.