December 6, 2018, by Matthew Lumley

A Postgraduate’s guide to completing the Advantage Award

By Natasha Barigye, LLM International Criminal Justice and Armed Conflict, Postgraduate

You may have come across the Advantage Award and decided that it is just the thing to help you stand out in this competitive climate.

If your experience is anything like mine, it will be every bit as satisfying and beneficial as you think.

However, you may feel there are a number of factors standing in your way:

  • How do I complete it with the 20 credit rule?
  • How do I fit it in around my intense degree activities?

Yes, it will involve a lot of hard work, but I successfully completed it so why not you too?

Spring applications are now open so view the module catalogue here.

Why did I decide to take part?

Law is an extremely competitive industry where you need to consistently perform at your best. I joined the Award as a stepping stone to afford me a real chance at competing at the highest levels in my industry.

Rather than holding me back, the 20 credit rule only served to push me to work harder to complete the Award. It also serves as an example of how I overcame a challenge. However, it also meant that I had to undertake all three modules during one calendar year – our PGT year overlaps two academic years.

I undertook the Skills for Employability and Public Speaking modules in the autumn and spring terms respectively – fulfilling my 20 credits for that year. However, as the summer counted towards the following academic year I was able to participate in the Part-time jobs, vacation jobs and volunteering module to attain my final 10 credits.

Why these modules?

After my Masters I will be venturing into the job market for the first time. Therefore, I chose the employability skills module to pick up tips on how to be more marketable to potential employers.

As an aspiring lawyer, the public speaking module felt like an obvious pick for me because a key part of law is advocacy. The module was designed to enhance your communication skills not just professionally but also in daily life such as chatting to your neighbour or making a speech at your best friend’s wedding. In all these scenarios the key is to communicate your message, whilst also holding your audience’s attention.

Finally, since I was interning with the University’s School of Law, I thought that the part-time jobs module would help me get the best out of my internship. It encouraged me to reflect and self-assess how to get the best results out of my work – a practice I have continued to use after completing the Award.

My key advice for you

1. Manage your time effectively

Your ability to complete the Award relies heavily on choosing appropriate modules that do not impact your already massive schedule. You might be spoilt for choice because the Award offers an impressive selection of modules. Just remember – time management!

2. Do not delay

Complete the exercises as they are assigned. This will take the pressure off and allow you to concentrate on your degree.

3. Motivate yourself to seize every opportunity

I chose to supplement my degree by joining the Advantage Award. Recently I have been offered a placement with the International Criminal Court in The Hague – the highest, most competitive level in my field. I believe that my Award experiences played a great role in me achieving this.

My final reflections

The Award experience was one of the most memorable ones of my academic year.

Highlights included:

  • Off-the-cuff speeches in the Public speaking
  • CV/LinkedIn building sessions in Part-time jobs
  • Meeting students outside my field of study

Unfortunately, us PGT’s are unable to attend the annual Celebration Event as we complete the Award after it occurs in June. However, the crisp white certificate and overall Award experience more than make up for it.

I completed it and I hope you do too. Good luck!

Enrol on the Award for this spring

All three modules are available for enrolment in spring term. Find out more and sign up to modules here.

Have your say

We realise that the current structure makes it difficult for PGT students to complete the full Award. Therefore, we are looking for enthusiastic postgraduate students to lead a project investigating student needs to develop a postgraduate Award pathway.

For more details email

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