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Flonia Xhelilaj

MSc  Finance

Flonia has always had an ambition to complete a Master's programme, but couldn’t give up her job to study. Once she began looking into what was available, Flonia quickly decided that Birkbeck, University of London's MSc Finance, taught in the evenings was an excellent option. She says: 'I wanted to do a programme to increase my employability, and the fact that the course content was relevant and applicable to the finance world, combined with the reputation of the university was a key factor in deciding to study at Birkbeck.'

The other key factor for Flonia was the flexibility that studying in the evenings gave her. She comments: 'I was able to maintain my full-time job, as well as get my Master's, and that flexibility was very important. It works around your lifestyle, and allows you to have variety – a professional challenge in the day, and an intellectual challenge in the evening.'

As an international student, Flonia was pleased to discover that her classmates were from a wide variety of different backgrounds. She said: 'Studying with people of different ages and nationalities you get to learn from other people's lifestyles and experience. I'm happy that I made the choice to study at Birkbeck, it's given me a different perspective on working life and studying.'

Although studying alongside full-time work can be challenging, Flonia said that her lecturers and tutors understand this: 'I really appreciate being given plenty of time and support to prepare for assignments. The staff make a real effort to make things clear and easy to understand. All students get worried from time to time, but the lecturers at Birkbeck are very approachable and will support you.'

Careful planning, along with the support from lecturers have been key to managing the workload. Flonia explains: 'We were given a really useful presentation which helped me to plan timeframes for researching and writing my dissertation. I also have to plan time for attending lectures and reading the materials beforehand. It's helpful that the staff also make the lectures available on-line as well.'

Flonia has found that she has had support from her employer and says: 'I'm lucky to be in a company that supports staff who are studying and gaining new skills, and is flexible with employees.'

Moving into a career in the finance sector is Flonia's ultimate goal, and she believes that her Master's degree will be beneficial in this: 'The course teaches you things that you can apply in every day working life. I've learned a lot about finance, and what it takes to work in that sector. There are also really useful seminars, given by people working in finance, and those are helpful in understanding how to enter the sector.

Gaining a Master's while working full-time shows employers that you can handle pressure; and that's definitely a plus. Considering the friends that I've made, the support I've been given, the knowledge and the skills that I've gained, I would definitely recommend Birkbeck to others'

Learn more about Finance courses.

'I was able to maintain my full-time job, as well as get my Master's.'