I've worked in internal communications for over 15 years, and was pretty confident that I had a level of knowledge and expertise that meant I was doing a good job. However, when an email landed in my inbox about studying for a Masters in Internal Communication, it sparked an interest immediately. 

I've always been incredibly passionate about development and helping my own team understand the skills and qualifications out there to make us better at our jobs. I am also proud of the profession, and the role we can play in an organisation. The email, announcing a new partnership with Solent University, prompted me to be honest about my own development and that this could be a great opportunity – so I signed up!

Beforehand, I'll be honest – I underestimated the amount of time I'd want to put into the Masters. My original degree was a practical journalism degree, so I had little experience of an academic approach – this was probably the biggest jump. But the support that the course tutors offer, and the help they provide to make sure you can do it – it's been fantastic. In addition, our small learning sets have become really close – I know our WhatsApp group will continue and they've been a great source of support through the year.

Yes, it takes time and effort – it's a Masters. I'd say there have been two key learnings for me – aside from all the academic knowledge of course! Firstly, understanding the best way for me to study. I have realised that I can't do anything after a long day at work – so I've chosen to maximise my weekends when I'm more productive. Secondly, learning how much I want to commit to it. I've got married this year and moved house twice – but I've given up lots of time for the Masters and when my results come through for each assignment, I can genuinely say I feel like I've earned them! 

And finally, it's not just an academic exercise. By being able to pick real world subjects for my assignments, means I've been able to apply my learning to my day job. The theory I've learned that sits behind what we do has been incredibly beneficial, changing the conversations I have with senior leaders and giving me more confidence in my role. 

When we were three quarters of the way through the Masters, I changed role. Some of the things we'd studied earlier definitely influenced my decision, and it has meant I can apply my final project – the research project – to the key priorities in my new role. It will be incredibly useful to be able to carry out a piece of research that will then influence a key area of my strategy for the year ahead.

To anyone considering studying for the Masters in Internal Communication Management, I'd say DO IT. As long as you are honest about what you're signing up for, understand how much you can commit then there are no downsides. And at the end, you'll have a fantastic academic qualification that will set you apart.