Friday - - SELF-HELP -

Is it pos­si­ble to do a Mas­ter’s in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent field from what I did for my un­der­grad? I’m a grad­u­ate in fi­nance but me­dia is my choice.

AIf you look around, jobs and ca­reers pur­sued by lots of peo­ple are very dif­fer­ent to what they pur­sued when they were 20. So it is not un­com­mon to de­sire some­thing else to what you stud­ied in col­lege. Of­ten we se­lect dis­ci­plines due to peer pres­sure or de­sire for em­ploy­ment – only to re­alise that nei­ther did we have the skill sets nor the ap­ti­tude for the pro­gramme. I feel psy­cho­me­t­ric tests should be done by stu­dents in schools and col­leges.

Mov­ing from a BA in Fi­nance to a Mas­ter’s in Me­dia is def­i­nitely pos­si­ble on pa­per. What is more im­por­tant is whether your in­ter­est and skill sets match the pro­fes­sion. An in­tern­ship while at univer­sity is a prime op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore and iden­tify not only ar­eas of in­ter­est but also ca­reers that do not ex­cite you. An in­tern­ship pro­vides an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity to de­velop prac­ti­cal and pro­fes­sional skills and to make in­dus­try con­tacts.

In to­day’s en­vi­ron­ment a de­gree in me­dia stud­ies is not nec­es­sar­ily in­tended for stu­dents who wish to pur­sue a tra­di­tional ca­reer path in an area such as jour­nal­ism, ad­ver­tis­ing or broad­cast com­mu­ni­ca­tion. In­stead, the fo­cus is on how com­mu­ni­ca­tion is pro­cessed through var­i­ous me­dia forms and the ef­fects it makes.

Ca­reers in the me­dia in­dus­try are ex­tremely di­verse – rang­ing from desk jobs to con­tent cre­ation jobs to the per­for­mance arts, from copy­writ­ing in the ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try to de­sign­ing graph­ics to man­ag­ing events. It is a highly cre­ative field, of­ten fraught with tight dead­lines, long work­ing hours re­quir­ing pas­sion and a flex­i­ble mind­set to adapt to dy­namic work­ing con­di­tions. Ex­pe­ri­ence is ex­tremely im­por­tant in this in­dus­try so while iden­ti­fy­ing a pro­gramme en­sure the univer­sity has link­ages with the in­dus­try both for in­tern­ship and em­ploy­ment. Per­form­ing or pro­duc­ing mu­sic, chore­og­ra­phy, film-mak­ing, act­ing or di­rect­ing are op­tions in this dis­ci­pline.

Apart from me­dia there are other arts that are equally in­ter­est­ing. Vis­ual arts can in­clude fine arts such as paint­ing and sculpt­ing; dec­o­ra­tive arts such as jew­ellery; and con­tem­po­rary arts such as pho­tog­ra­phy and videog­ra­phy. All these have im­mense po­ten­tial as a ca­reer op­tion. An in­ter­est­ing field can also be found in art his­tory in which you will learn to iden­tify and ap­pre­ci­ate the evo­lu­tion of paint­ings, ar­chi­tec­ture etc. Such a choice gives you the op­tion of work­ing in mu­se­ums and art gal­leries.

The top uni­ver­si­ties for me­dia stud­ies would in­clude Berke­ley, Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, LSE, Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin, Stan­ford, UCLA, Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia and NUS.

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