Recently, Econsultancy announced the news that over 90% of the latest graduates from its MSc programmes in Digital Marketing Communications and Internet Retailing achieved a merit or higher.

I can proudly say that I am one of these graduates. As I was recently asked to recount my MSc experience, I thought it would be of interest to those of you considering applying.

What was my motivation for joining the course?

I have been part of the digital industry since my days hand-coding websites in the mid-90s. Nonetheless, I had been primarily self-taught with little or no formal training. In 2009 I attended one of Econsultancy's public training courses and picked up a marketing brochures for the MSc in Digital Marketing Communications.

The thought of achieving a professional qualification in a field that I already worked in, on a subject I was already passionate about, really interested me. 

In addition, the course included a wealth of professional training, something I had been craving for quite a while. A few phone calls, long discussions and even longer emails later I found myself enrolled on the course in September 2009. 

What was the most important thing I took away from the three years?

Critical thinking. I find myself questioning everything. Every decision, every element of a strategic plan, everything. Asking the difficult questions and justifying the choices made. 

Before starting the MSc I would not have had the ability or confidence to do this. Now it is ingrained in me and I believe that is a good thing.

How has the course impacted my day to day work and longer term career?

It has certainly had a major impact on my day to day work. As the course encourages the assignment papers to be short reports that can be (and have been) deployed within the business, it has:

  • Enabled me to improve our websites, email campaigns and social media use;
  • Given me the confidence to raise the bar in every digital delivery I manage;
  • Revealed a love of data I didn't know I had and allowed me to use my existing graphical skills to improve analytics reporting that is of greater value to others in the business;
  • Helped me to understand how digital fits within an organisation and how I can use this to enhance its performance.

In short, I do not think there is a single aspect of my professional or personal life that it has not affected in a positive way. As for my longer term career? It's too early to say yet, come back in a few years and ask me again.

What advice would I give someone trying to decide whether the MSc is right for them?

The only advice I would give is to seriously think how passionate you are about digital marketing (or internet retailing), whether or not you want the ability and knowledge to make a real difference in this field.

It is not an easy course to stick with, especially with work and family pressures. Nonetheless, if you have the willingness to give up holidays, weekends, nights out and (essentially) sleep as well as the willingness to learn, you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

Finally, for your amusement I have included a little infographic I created that demonstrates my MSc experience:

Infographic: Mark McGee's Econsultancy's MSc experience

In future posts I will be exploring some of the aspects of my MSc dissertation in more detail. If you have any questions about my MSc experience, please feel free to ask.

Mark McGee

Published 29 June, 2012 by Mark McGee

Mark McGee is a freelance digital marketing consultant and a graduate of our MSc programme, as well as a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him on TwitterGoogle+ or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (5)

Paul McManus

Paul McManus, Head of Mobile at Betway

Agree with everything you've said Mark - as a fellow student on the course I can most definitely say all the hard work, late nights, stress but most importantly the change in thinking is definitely worth it. Again as you said, the MSc has given me another level of confidence to "talk the talk" yet with solid facts and data behind me, rather than going off a hunch, as well as critical thinking we now know we have to justify everything we say. And in Digital, you can do that.

about 6 years ago

Mark McGee

Mark McGee, Director at InfoJuice Ltd

I would also add that the network of friends and other contacts within the digital industry you make during the course is a massive benefit.

about 6 years ago

Vivien Underwood

Vivien Underwood, Econsultancy

Thank you so much for your post Mark. You've been an invaluable delegate. We'll miss you, but looking forward to seeing you graduate in July!

about 6 years ago

Andrew Lloyd Gordon

Andrew Lloyd Gordon, Digital Marketing Expert, Speaker and Trainer at New Terrain Limited

I'd second Viv's comments about Mark.

As someone who's been given the responsibility of training both Mark and Paul (and all of their fellow MSc students past and current), it's been both a pleasure and a great honour. Well done to them all.

With people like Mark and Paul working in digital, this industry has a bright future.

about 6 years ago

Kai Kurihara

Kai Kurihara, Online Marketing Manager - Assurance at NCC Group PLC

Well done Mark !

As a fellow student (1 year junior) and as I hit the depth of disillusionment soon, I do jokingly relate to my decision of undertaking this adventure as the "worst decision of my life".
It is a tough challenge. English not being my first language has nothing to do with it. It all has to do with what Mark has underlined as "Critical Thinking". I was surprised to discover how much "facts" I took for granted, without knowing if they were true or not. Without sounding geeky, it is a true “red pill/blue pill” moment; “worst decision” because I could have lived stupid and happier by taking the blue pill, but no, I took the red pill by saying “yes” and it made me opened my eyes.
I encountered so many interesting people who swallowed the red pill and I am glad. It is a difficult and challenging profession and Econsultancy and the MMU take you through this fast pace journey.
I still have the “big bit”, the dissertation, left but I do not regret one single second of labour, not one single second shared with my colleagues.
In addition to a wonderful eye opening gift, this MSc made me encounter some rare gem like Mark.

So what are you waiting for? Blue pill or Red pill?

(the author would like to apologise for the excessive usage of "cheese" in his text, unfortunaltely Monday is not a highly creative day for him, thus adding quite a lot of unnecessary hyperboles.)

about 6 years ago

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