Meet Alyona Afonina
from the Russian Federation, who achieved a distinction on the Pre-Master's (previously Graduate Diploma) at INTO Manchester. She is now studying MSc Marketing at The University of Manchester.
Have you felt at an advantage at university since progressing from INTO Manchester?
From the very first day of my master’s course I started to use knowledge which I had gained during the Graduate Diploma programme at INTO Manchester. We were asked to write an essay using two academic articles and make a reference list in Harvard style. Although this task was difficult for some students, it was easy for me as I had done the same thing, many times during my English for Academic Purpose lessons at INTO Manchester. I felt at an advantage writing my dissertation because I was familiar with the process as I had written both a research proposal and short dissertation during my Graduate Diploma programme. As I was one of the few students who were familiar with the research proposal structure, other students frequently asked me for advice on the research proposal writing process.
Do you view the INTO Manchester as an integral step in your career success?
I view the INTO Manchester Graduate Diploma programme as an integral step in my career because having competed the programme I entered one of the best universities in the world. As I was prepared for my master’s course, I did not waste time learning how to avoid plagiarism, using academic English or writing a dissertation. I was able to focus entirely on my marketing subjects. This, I believe, became the reason for my high academic achievements and gaining excellent knowledge of marketing this year.
Would it be difficult to progress to a master’s without Graduate Diploma?
I think it would have been very difficult for me. The system of education in Russia differs from the UK education system. For example, if you write an essay you do not have to justify your opinion with a reference to an academic source and you do not have to paraphrase other authors’ words. So I would probably have been accused of plagiarism and spent much time learning paraphrasing techniques, instead of focusing on my core modules. This would have slowed my progress down.
Will you use things you learnt at INTO Manchester in your career?
Yes, of course. As I am planning to work in marketing I will have to give presentations frequently. Therefore, I will use my presentation skills, which I learnt at INTO Manchester very often. I learnt how to bring a presentation to life with the use of visual aids and how to keep an audience’s attention. Moreover, due to my tutors’ feedback I stopped an annoying habit of moving whilst presenting.
Do you believe students hoping to study a master’s in the UK would benefit from taking the Graduate Diploma course?
I am absolutely sure that students who are planning to study a master’s in the UK would benefit from taking the Graduate Diploma course. This course will help them to improve their level of academic English. After this programme they will have a clear understanding of academic text structure; will learn how to write an essay using different academic resources; and how to describe research data and findings in professional language. Students will be taught how to avoid plagiarism which is essential for education in UK. In addition, different types of research and data collection will be explained to students. This will help them to have a clear understanding of dissertation writing process which is very important for a master’s course in the UK.