Q: I finished my local O/L in 2008 and started my AS level in July and will be sitting the exam in June 2011. I would like to know whether it is better to stop my AS level and start doing the Diploma in Economics and commence the second year of my Degree at Royal Institute as they give exemptions, without wasting 1 year of my life.
A: Prior to answering your question I need to put things in perspective:
- There is a greater need for you to develop a career action plan to see where all this would fit in, for example where the Diploma would lead you to.
- A career action plan basically tells you how to get from point A to point B or even point C or Z as you progress through your career. It can also double up as a development plan
- You need to break down this plan in goals which you can reach in one year or less as well as what you need to achieve in five years.
- I am assuming that you would wish to go through AS level and then make a decision prior to moving into A2
The answer to your question is looked at from a total perspective, which is based on the assumption that many parents and students who also have questions in this area would benefit.
AS and A levels: what they are
AS and A levels are at level 3 on the National Qualifications Framework (NLQ). The framework shows how different types of qualifications compare, in terms of the demands they place on learners.
This is a critical question that any student should ask a qualification provider, for example CIM is an NLQ Level 7 qualification. I hope you understand why I say this, since you have specifically mentioned some options. You need to evaluate the skip option based on the NLQ level, or you would be duplicating your effort and wasting resources.
There are many institutions that entice the student to skip, only to recharge the student for the missing subjects, so please check with the institution for the NLQ level.
Where they can lead
A and AS levels are one of the main routes into higher education, but they're also useful if you want to go straight into a job, such as office administration or trainee accountancy. Again I see a greater need for you to decide on your career plan prior to any move.
A levels: AS plus A2
A levels are made up of the AS level and the A2. Each part makes up 50 per cent of the overall A level grade.
The AS level can be either a free standing qualification, or be valued as the first half of the full A level.
At the end of the AS year, you have two options (depending on the preference of your school or college):
n take the AS level qualification only
continue to the second year and go for the full A level
Year two: the A2.
In year two of a full A level, you take the A2 - this is not a separate qualification, but the second half of the A level. The A2 is designed to deepen the knowledge you gained during AS level.
I am unable to give you specific information without an assessment test, however which route you would take would be based on evaluating three areas:
Balance between your studies, sports and extra curricular activities, for example. I too have Sri Lanka schools Colours in athletics, was deputy head prefect and Vice captain of the champion athletic team. Can you find this balance with the move or are you focused only on your studies???
- Your time frame for example for some long term can be three years whereas for others it can be five years
- Your vision for the future based on my advice above, for example the balance between qualifications and experience.
All the best
2. Dear sir,
Q:I am a software professional having around 16 years industry experience. Presently I am working in Kuwait as a Senior Systems Analyst. I know exactly how an organization works and have a very good knowledge of the overall functionalities of an organization since I worked mostly in business applications.
I want to somehow do an MBA and get into a middle or Top Management related job in a recognized company in Sri Lanka probably in another 3 years' time by when I will be 42. Please suggest me a good MBA and the best way to achieve my goals.
A: People often ask me which is the best MBA programme, when what they should really be asking is 'which is the best MBA programme for me? MBA programmes can be categorized by location, study mode, specializa, For example The Good Universities Guide rates each MBA programme by many measures, including a measure of return on investment.
It is most important for potential students to understand the outcomes they want, before choosing an MBA programme.
"There is a high degree of similarity in the core component of most MBAs. For MBA XY is a general management programme that will give students broad based business knowledge and support the development of interpersonal skills and managerial decision making. However remember that one size does not fit all and it is important to undertake a course that best fits your life.
There are about eight different criteria to consider when choosing an MBA programme. These include personal objectives, the impact on family commitments, flexibility of study options, subject choice, location of the programme, reputation, quality and cost.
Each individual must weigh each of these criteria to help determine which the best course is for them.
However, some of these criteria are very difficult to evaluate by just looking at glossy brochures or slick websites.
When speaking with graduates of a particular programme, especially if it is done through a university's Information Day, you're probably only going to get positive feedback. A university would be unlikely to invite students who were dissatisfied with its MBA programme to attend its information days.
Careful questioning of staff, current students and graduates on issues of particular interest, should provide another layer of information that will either reinforce or contradict a previously held view. The cost of a course may well be the most important issue to an individual. Since you would pay for your own degree, an expensive course may seem out of the question, but its international reputation may open career paths and salaries never previously considered possible by a student.
Face-to-face learning institutions all agree that one of the main advantages of that mode of delivery is the networking opportunity with other students. The programmes with the strongest brand value use their own student cohort as a major part of their marketing strategy.
"There are three strands to an MBA: intellectual knowledge or what is learned in class; personal skills development such as analytical, communication and leadership skills; and networking opportunities. In a good MBA programme you learn as much from the other students as you do from the lecturers.
Each university knows the profile of the students in its MBA programme, for example, research shows that a distance learning programme attracts students who work full-time, have families, around ten years work experience and hold responsible positions. They are also very self-disciplined and are good at managing their time.
I have summarized a process that may help you select the best.
How to choose an MBA that best suits your needs
1. Gather information
2. Identify your criteria
a. Personal objectives
b. Impact on family commitments
c. Flexibility of study options, subject choice and location
d. Reputation and programme quality
f. A feel for programmes
3. Analyze your options using a decision matrix
Do your initial research and get back to me.