UCL School of Management

Patryk Sobczak | 3 May 2022

A Student's Guide to Transitioning from BSc to MSc at the School of Management

I have been a student at UCL School of Management since 2017 and what a journey it’s been. It all started with my BSc in Information Management for Business (IMB) and will soon be ending with the completion of my MSc in Business Analytics. While it is bittersweet that this chapter is now closing, it has been a great opportunity to experience both undergraduate and postgraduate study at UCL School of Management. 

why i chose to stay at ucl school of management

I had a very positive experience studying my BSc at the School of Management and, despite the fact that it was enough to prepare me to go straight into working in industry, I wanted to do an MSc to further explore an area I was interested in. I could see that this would be beneficial to my future career, particularly within Europe where I plan to reside. 

I very much enjoyed the diversity of my BSc cohort and I knew that by staying at UCL and the School of Management, I would experience the same in the MSc. To my surprise, the diversity of the MSc cohort blew that of my BSc out of the water; there are innumerable nationalities, degree backgrounds and, because this is a Master’s programme, there is an array of work backgrounds too. UCL truly is London’s “global” university. 

Furthermore, I knew the Bloomsbury campus and surrounding areas well, so adjusting to a new campus at Canary Wharf was much easier for me than moving cities. In addition to this, being familiar with UCL’s processes surrounding grading, term structure, and IT resources made it a smoother transition. With the chaos of COVID-19, it was nice to have something familiar in place. 

studying an msc with purpose

Reflecting on both of my degrees, I have noticed that I began each programme with contrasting thought processes and expectations in mind. Before commencing my BSc, for example, I was not sure what area I wanted to work in (just that it would be tech-related), which therefore made the IMB a good choice as it covers a broader range of topics and is more general subject areas than for example ‘Computer Science with Cybersecurity”. In contrast, for my Master’s, I wanted to pursue something I was passionate about and would want to use in my future career. The decision to study Business Analytics was therefore very deliberate and had a more forward-thinking strategy in terms of how it would benefit me. 

bloomsbury versus one canada square

One key difference between studying a BSc to an MSc at the School of Management is the location. The Bachelor’s programmes are taught at UCL’s main campus in Bloomsbury, whereas Master’s programmes are taught at an exclusive School of Management campus in Canary Wharf, London’s financial district. 

Bloomsbury has perhaps a more typical ‘university campus’ feel to it, as it is so large and you always have the opportunity to meet people studying across all disciplines. It was also great for getting involved in societies as you could easily attend a meeting or speaker talk after class as it would be a few minutes away. You also have the opportunity to regularly use the libraries for studying or group meetings in one of the many bookable rooms. 

On the Canary Wharf campus, UCL School of Management occupies two floors of One Canada Square: Level 38 and Level 50; the latter being a much newer addition. The first thing you notice is the view. I mean wow. It’s incredible. Overlooking London with a view of the Thames, the London Eye, London Bridge and all the skyscrapers at Liverpool Street & Bank, it is truly a unique view not many students in the world get to experience. On top of this, the campus is very secure and clean, with a more professional high-end feel to it. For coffee-lovers, there are very fancy Nespresso coffee machines for students to use, though I personally do not drink coffee. 

While I love the Canary Wharf campus, there are some aspects that I did miss about the Bloomsbury campus, such as having the option to attend a variety of speaker events or having the ability to choose from a larger selection of rooms for studying or group meetings - those in Canary Wharf get booked quite quickly.

workload differences

Studying a BSc and MSc consecutively within the School of Management allowed me to experience the stark contrast between the study approach and workload across both stages of higher education. Focussing specifically on MSc Business Analytics, I made the following observations: 

  • Lectures have more content - they are typically longer and cover topics at a more intense pace
  • The volume of group coursework is higher - In Term 2, every module I studied contained an element of groupwork
  • The group coursework was more enjoyable - in my experience, MSc students were much more engaged and worked harder, making these assignments more fun to do as it felt more like a team effort
  • Higher workload - this was primarily due to the nature of the Master’s programme, but I found that I was more interested in the content and therefore wanted to put more effort in. This meant that I also spent more time on assignments.
  • The MSc assignments are much more practical - the coursework was much more relevant to real-world scenarios and was almost entirely practical. BSc coursework was often more theoretical and less specific
  • The MSc contains much more programming - my Python abilities improved drastically throughout classes and assignments; every module included programming in their assignments, which I loved.

The above list demonstrates that there is more of everything in a Master’s programme – a testament to the higher expectations of study compared to a Bachelor’s. 

I would like to thank all those for the support and countless opportunities to improve myself and my prospects throughout my journey at the School of Management – my lecturers, careers counsellors, classmates, friends, and everyone in the course and School of Management administration team working tirelessly behind the scenes. 

Patryk Sobczak

Last updated Friday, 6 May 2022