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Professional Development Programme

Equipping you with key transferrable skills and relevant experiences for the workplace, our Professional Development Programme (PDP) will give you a competitive advantage in the job market or when starting your own business. 

Flexible and personalised, the PDP can be tailored to your career aspirations, development needs or existing professional experience. Whatever career path you wish to follow, our PDP lets you take control of your future.

Programme Outline

The Professional Development Programe is an integrated module which runs throughout your course.

It involves classroom-based workshops, group tasks and applied learning experiences, as well as a range of assessment methods, including practical activities, reflective essays and a portfolio showing evidence of professional business skills.

There’s support available to help you find work placements and for students on a Tier 4 visa, the University will sponsor your application to enable you to gain valuable work experience in the UK.

The programme will build your confidence, enhance your self-awareness and effectively prepare you for the world of work and the academic requirements of your course. Given the diversity of our students and teaching staff, you’ll also learn how to work effectively in a multicultural context.

Skills Development – Terms 1 & 2

In the first two terms, you’ll take part in various practical workshops and develop a wide range of academic, professional and transferable ‘soft’ skills, all of which are highly sought-after by employers and essential to aspiring entrepreneurs. These include: 

  • Soft skills - presentation, teamwork, leadership and intercultural communication, self-leadership and reflective practice.
  • Academic skills - critical reasoning and analytical thinking, reflective writing and case study analysis.
  • Professional skills – career and enterprise planning, CV and job application best practice, interview and assessment centre techniques and networking.

Experiential Learning – Term 3

In the third semester, you’ll select a development route to suit your professional ambitions.

You can even extend your experiential learning experience for up to 12 months – see ‘The Extended PDP Route’ below for more details.

There are four rewarding experiential learning streams to choose from: 

Stream One: Integrated Study Abroad

Take advantage of this amazing opportunity to live and study aboard with one of our international partner institutions. Experience a new culture, gain a deeper understanding of your subject area and build an international network of contacts.

Our extensive network of partners means you can study almost anywhere in the world, from USA to Australia, as well as at some of the highest ranked business schools in Europe.

Opportunities range from a four-week summer school to a full semester exchange. Find out more about our study abroad opportunities.

There’s even the chance to spend an entire year overseas with one of our partner institutions and gain an additional qualification, thanks to our double degree programme. Find out more about double degree opportunities.

Stream Two: Work-based experience

Gain valuable real-life professional experience, enhance your CV and increase your commercial knowledge and understanding, thanks to our exciting range of hands-on work-based opportunities: 

    • Spend from one month to 12 months on work placement with a company of your choice, in the UK or overseas.
    • Support start-up businesses and a local SMEs with live consultancy projects through our Aston Business Clinic
    • There’s also the chance to take part in an entrepreneurial fundraising challenge and in the process support The Prince’s Trust, a charity that supports disadvantaged young people in the UK. 

N.B. Students on a Tier 4 visa will be sponsored by the University if they undertake a work placement in the UK.

Stream Three: Business Simulations

Develop your teamwork, problem solving and commercial decision-making capabilities through an innovative team-based business simulation challenge.

Compete with other teams to run the most successful virtual business and gain practical experience of tackling complex commercial decisions in a dynamic environment.

There are three separate simulation challenges available depending on your course:

    • Accounting and Finance in Action – open to MSc Accounting & Finance and MSc International Accounting & Finance students
    • Portfolio Trader – open to MSc Finance and MSc Investment Analysis students
    • Global Challenge – open to all other MSc students

 You will find out more about these business simulations during the first and second terms.

Stream Four: Product Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship (PIPE) 

Develop your entrepreneurial mindset, learn to effectively bring a new product to market and discover how to protect your intellectual property.

If you’re looking to start your own business this could be the steam for you. Working as part of team, you’ll develop a business idea and create a business plan to demonstrate your venture’s commercial potential.

You will find out more about PIPE during the first and second terms.

The Extended PDP Route

For students choosing to study abroad (stream one) or undertake a work placement (stream two), you have the option to extend your programme by up to 12 months. 

    • Undertake a work placement of up to 12 months in the UK or overseas*
    • Study abroad with one of our partner institutions across the world**

 *Students on a Tier 4 visa will be sponsored by the University while they undertake their work placement in the UK.
** Places are limited. Terms and conditions apply.

Please contact the International Student Advice Team if you have any questions about how these placements affect your Tier 4 visa application.

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Janki | MSc Work Psychology and Business

Janki talks us through why she decided to study at Aston Business School.