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"I first heard about the IoIC's Masters in Internal Communication Management last year when I was Googling internal comms qualifications. I attended the programme's launch event back in June, where I met Jenny and Liz who are two of the tutors, some programme alumni and lots of other potential students. 

After finding out how the course might benefit my professional development – and getting a good understanding of the workload involved – I decided to apply. The application process involved an interview in which Liz and I discussed my experience in IC so far and she tested my awareness of some of the key issues the course covers. I was relieved to be accepted shortly after!

Enrolment day at Solent University in Southampton was on 10th September, followed by three days of workshops in central London. It was brilliant to meet the other 25 students on the course and I was relieved to find that we are a very mixed bunch; my cohort includes IC professionals from sectors as varied as retail, engineering, finance and law, and also includes freelance consultants and IC creative agency project managers. I'm so glad to have a chance to find out about other people's experience of the profession and to have a ready-made network of people who I can learn from.

We were also put into learning groups during the first workshop. There are about five people in each one, and we'll be working closely together for the whole year, giving each other support and collaborating on some of the unit tasks. 

During the all-day workshops for Unit 1, we explored the fundamentals of communication and the concept of "Sensemaking" in particular. Understanding sensemaking helps you to consider more carefully how people in organisations derive meaning from signs, symbols and language. Some of the reading we've been doing is quite challenging (Weick, anyone?!) but a lot of it really resonated with me, and I've noticed that I'm already starting to apply what I've learnt to my work. 

Unit 1 also examines organisational structure, the various power sources at play (not as obvious as you initially think!), and the various cultures and subcultures that can be found. Looking at all these factors from an IC point of view has given me a totally new perspective on my job. I feel like I "get" my own company so much better, whilst also wanting to do more work to understand it even more deeply. 

The first task in Unit 1 is an online discussion board, in which the tutors pose questions related to themes from the workshops and we post our thoughts and analysis of the reading we've been doing so far. We'll also have to produce an academic poster which summarises our learnings and submit a 5,000-word assignment by late November. 

I'm not going to lie… on top of a demanding full-time job and my social life, fitting in my Masters work has been tricky, but I'm learning to manage my time better and fit it all in. I still think there's room for improvement but I keep telling myself, it's only for a year, I'm enjoying it so far, and it will all be worth it in the end!" 

Learn more about the programme here.

Kate Sheriff, Senior Communications Advisor at Eni International 
I’ve worked in internal comms for two years, but my background is talent attraction. Since moving in-house and taking on internal comms responsibilities, I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned to a new discipline. I’m excited to be part of FutureNet; it’s an opportunity to share ideas with like-minded people, and to be part of a support network!

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