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Undertaking a research project as a University of London student

Date

Written by
Saranga B.

MSc Professional Accountancy student Saranga shares his experience of the Capstone project and how it has changed his views on academia. Learn more about his inspiring journey and read his words of encouragement for fellow students.  

Saranga B.

By way of introduction, I am an international student currently studying the MSc Professional Accountancy with the University of London (UoL), as well as being a professional in a Big Four Accountancy Firm. Upon completing the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) professional qualification, I sought another post qualification, such as Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). However, I came across the MSc Professional Accountancy, which seemed like a good fit for the working professional because the programme takes into account prior learning and experience.

Thereafter, I enrolled for the April to September session which commenced right after the end of my busiest season. The Capstone Project – a project involving extensive independent research - was the subject I had elected to start first. As it falls over six months, I thought the off-season would be the best to invest my time and focus on the Capstone Project.

Research proposal and literature review

I did not know much about the Capstone project until I opened the modules through the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The Capstone project has three stages: research proposal, simulation, and the final six-month project. When I first started the research proposal, I struggled to select my research topic but eventually, I decided on a topic that is relevant to my profession, i.e. accountancy. As doing a research proposal was new for me, I managed to align the course modules with the timetable issued by UoL. This was alongside the book included in the reading list which was very useful as it explained the approach and purpose of the research proposal. The most memorable section was the literature review in which I read all the articles published previously relating to my research proposal topic. I cannot forget my first ever experience of using a referencing tool and adding the reference list to my research proposal. In the end, when I ran the reference list, it was huge, and I was surprised to see how many articles I had read and referenced. This experience improved my report writing skills and fortunately, I was able to guide and support my friends studying in other universities in discussion on related research topics and articles.

Putting learning into practice

As part of the project, I had the opportunity to do the ICARUS simulation activity, which allowed me to play a real-life role based on interactive airport management. Moreover, I had the opportunity of working together with a group of students from various countries. This was an amazing experience for me as it allowed me to apply the theory I had learnt and put this into practice. 

Final project

The last phase was the final project. At this point, I had the initial understanding of how to carry out the final project through the cumulative knowledge I had gathered from the research proposal and the ICARUS simulation phases of the programme.

Working on the Capstone project has added to my academic journey and my professional career and I am now eager to embark on my next steps.

My advice

My advice for fellow students would be that, even if you are a full-time student or a professional studying at the University, engaging in a research project will broaden your horizons for your next academic steps. The first step may be challenging but thereafter, it will be worth it for the experience you gain. Ensure you read the articles, newspapers, books and other published research proposals provided and add these to your referencing tool which you can use for your research proposal or your final project. Get into the habit of using all the resources available to you, including the recommended reading list for your particular module, the University of London Online Library and the discussion forums for your modules. 

Saranga studies MSc Professional Accountancy in Oman.