Studying for a competitive edge

How to make the most out of your study time

Whether you’re still at university or have embarked on your career, a successful approach to study can be a critical advantage if you want to thrive in today’s global market.

There are many extra study options to choose from. But how do you select the one that’s right for you and set yourself up for future success?

Here’s what to do:                         

Have a clear goal

Is there a job you’ve got your heart set on? It’s good to get an idea of where you want to be and work backwards from there. If your dream role lists post-graduate qualifications as an essential pre-requisite, you know what you need to do. Don’t know the role’s prerequisites? Check out job ads and company graduate recruitment pages.

Be realistic

Set specific goals to measure your success over the course of your study and take time to review your results. It helps if you break your course down into bite-sized chunks based around assessment due dates. Then, keep your momentum going by setting strict deadlines like handing in an assignment at least one day earlier. Don’t forget a small reward for each achievement to keep yourself motivated.

Gain experience 

If you want an example of demonstrated leadership skills, why not lead a team project while you’re studying? You’ll be able to describe how you made sure everyone contributed. And how you scheduled meetings, and developed a communication plan that kept everyone up to date with both progress and their individual responsibilities. Or even how you dealt with those who weren’t pulling their weight.

Look for hidden benefits 

Attending a course is also a great way to connect with new people in the same field. Try and always sit in a different seat so you meet as many new people as possible and strike up conversations. Even if you are studying online, many courses offer forums or groups where you can meet other people, so make the most of your chance to expand your network.

Celebrate success 

When you get to the end of this particular study journey, make sure you acknowledge your achievement. Remember the small things, like adding the study or qualification achieved to your resume and LinkedIn profile. Then treat yourself by buying a gift or having a celebration with your peers or friends. Studying is hard work and before you think about hitting the books again, take a break and enjoy the fruits of your success.

It’s just the beginning 

To get to the top and stay there you’ll need to be open to new experiences, and keep up to date (if not ahead) of the changes in the ever-evolving marketplace. Setting yourself up for success and making the most of the journey along the way will ensure study and learning is something you will enjoy coming back to again and again. 

Tips for studying for an academic competitive edge:

  • Set a goal that relates to your career aspirations
  • Be realistic about the time
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Look for hidden opportunities, like networking
  • Celebrate your success


CPA Career Mentor