With a Bachelor of Arts (English Literature, History and Philosophy) and considerable work experience already under his belt, Ross knew a Master of Professional Business Analysis at the Wellington ICT Graduate School (WICTGS) was the next step in his professional development and to fulfil his aspirations of becoming a business consultant.
We caught up with Ross two months after completing his Master’s to share his experiences of the programme, his future in tech and working as a BA.
Q. Hi Ross, tell us what drew you studying business analysis?
“I was unhappy in my previous admin role and wanted to grow as a professional in a different area. I knew that I wanted to get into the IT/IS space, especially seeing the growth in the industry is strong and looks like it will be for the foreseeable future. I’m the kind of person that grows bored of doing the same thing over and over, and the role of a BA and consultancy potentially offers a lot of variety which I find attractive.”
Q. How did you hear about the programme?
“I enquired about doing a Diploma in Information Systems at Victoria University of Wellington then came across the Master of Professional Business Analysis (MBusAn). Once I looked through the curriculum and compared it to the skillset of a BA, I was really impressed with how closely they fit. I thought: ‘I’m unhappy with what I’m doing now, the programme compares well with what I need to learn, so I went with it’.”
Q. What did you enjoy most about studying a MBusAn?
“Several things. We engaged in a lot of group work across the whole programme. It helps you learn how to deal with different personalities in pressure situations. I also really enjoyed the amount of work that dealt with real-world examples. We would study business cases and assess what went wrong and what went right; applying newly learned concepts to difficult scenarios. Some of our projects were also for actual clients, which places, at least in my case, more importance in the work you produce.”
“We also had a great bunch of people on the programme. We pretty much all became friends and would meet up outside of class. We’ll be keeping in touch in the future which is great but also important. Having a network is useful for someone trying to build a career.”
Q. Any course or project highlights during the programme?
“The final industry project was great. Our project was the development of an online platform. We started with requirements that we gathered from stakeholders, produced user stories, and validated our work with the primary stakeholder. We then created an architecture which we presented to offshore developers and implemented a solution for the business. We learned so much in a short amount of time! BA techniques applied using certain toolboxes and methodologies.”
Q. Tell us more about the teaching style at the WICTGS?
“The classroom is an excellent space for learning and it was great to have a good blend of lecturers and practitioners. The balance between theory and real-world application is what stands this degree apart. One of the criticisms of academic study is “they’re only theoretical” but this programme does a great job linking them together.”
Q. Would you say the MBusAn lived up to your expectations?
“It was a really good programme. I found that the skills we learned were in fact being used by industry. One of the positives of the programme is that we are formally trained as BA’s. We enter the market trained in BA competencies. Even with this training it’s important that I work toward certifications in the future. Upskilling and staying up to date are necessary for a BA.”
Q. What are some opportunities studying at WICTGS has offered you?
“Networking opportunities for sure! I was referred to certain contacts in the industry by the Wellington ICT Graduate School. Contacts in the industry are really important. They give you insight into movements, preferred skills and if you’re lucky, a lead on a job.”
Q. Would you recommend the programme to others?
“You’ll need to do your own research as to whether the programme is a good fit for you. From my point of view, if you want to learn the foundational competencies required of a Business Analyst, it’s great. The curriculum links up well with industry practices and what you learn will help you build a career.”
Q. Any advice for future MBusAn students?
“Make sure you try to connect with everyone in the course. A lot of people will have different ideas of how to approach a situation and it’s good to expose yourself to diverse opinions. They’ll help to shape your own. So, try not to stick to your group of friends because you’ll miss out. On the flipside, don’t be afraid to disagree with someone (within reason of course!), and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. It’s all a part of learning.”
“I also recommend using project planning tools to set out your workload. It’s a good exercise that will come in handy. It also gets you into a structured mindset. Pro tip: use a text reader so you can listen to your readings on your phone!”
Q. So what’s next in store for Ross?
“Since completing my Masters, I’m now contracting as a BA for a contact that I met through the School. I’m building some great connections and experience, and working towards my goal of becoming a consultant.”
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About the Master of Professional Business Analysis (MBusAn)
The Master of Professional Business Analysis covers how to solve complex business problems using technology, processes and data. This qualification is open to anyone with a Bachelor’s degree and has been designed for people with a non-information technology background.
The MBusAn is a 180-credit Master’s programme, completed in three full-time semesters over 12 months at Victoria University of Wellington, School of Information Management.
Next intake: July 2019 — June 2020. Applications open 1st October 2018.