Self-confidence identified as vital skill for master’s students in new study

Developing self-confidence is the most important skill to acquire from a master’s degree, reveals the latest Tomorrow’s Master’s study

In the global study of 1,755 prospective master’s students, nearly a third of respondents (31 per cent) cite self-confidence as the most important skill to develop during their studies. This compares to 25 per cent in the previous year’s study. Leadership (30 per cent), communication (28 per cent) and critical thinking (24 per cent) remain crucial skills among master’s students.

As the grip of the Covid pandemic recedes, the study shows that the proportion of students preferring blended (15 per cent) or entirely online (14 per cent) study has decreased from 38 per cent in 2022. Almost half (47 per cent) favour full-time on-campus study. Some 24 per cent of respondents expressed a preference for part-time, on-campus study. Last year, nearly 60 per cent agreed with the statement, “I am more likely to consider studying all or most of my master’s online”, while this year the figure has dropped to 52 per cent.

Technology dominates the subjects that students want to study, but it is business forecasting and modelling (36 per cent), and business ethics (35 per cent) that top the list. they are followed by digital marketing (35 per cent), artificial intelligence (34 per cent), ecommerce (33 per cent) and data analytics (31 per cent).

The research was carried out by Carrington Crisp in association with EFMD; study author Andrew Crisp commented on the findings: “The shift in students’ confidence and the renewed preference for on-campus learning are two key post-pandemic trends. Students are looking to business schools to help them specifically prepare for the workplace and are craving the more personal learning experience of face-to-face study.

“With the growth of AI and digital, it’s no surprise that technology subjects are in demand. It is a reminder of students’ desire to develop a strong ethical foundation and understanding for a business landscape that has several grey areas, not least because of technological advancements.”

The study also examined the factors influencing students’ decisions when choosing a master’s programme. Value for money is the primary consideration of respondents at32 per cent, closely followed by teaching quality (31 per cent), a strong employment record (24 per cent) and academic reputation (21 per cent). 

Linked to value for money, only 21 per cent of respondents reported being able to pay their master’s fees in full without external assistance, with most students relying on additional support. Nearly a third (32 per cent) expect to seek financial assistance from their families, while 28 per cent plan to apply for loans and 27 per cent depend on scholarships to finance their degrees. 

Moreover, the study reveals the demand for flexible forms of learning. Some 30 per cent of respondents were interested in a master’s that offers opportunities for further study at a low cost over 10 years. Master’s students are also willing to explore alternative programmes, with 29 per cent saying they would consider a short online course with a provider such as LinkedIn Learning. More than a quarter (26 per cent) hold the same view about micro-master’s courses, studying as and when required, rather than adhering to the format of a traditional full-time master’s programme.

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