Planning your studies: Tips on CPD studies

Taking a step towards CPD studies can be daunting at the beginning. You do not yet know how much effort you will have to apply to your studies or how you can reconcile your course with your job. It is all the more important that think these points over in advance. Talk to friends, family, colleagues and your employer about your project. Please use counseling and develop ideas on how you want to organize your studies. We have put together advice and tips to prepare you as one of our students on this page.

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Tips on CPD studies from our students

Stay on top of things

Nele Dowerg, studying business administration on a professional Bachelor programme
Nele Dowerg, studying business administration on a professional Bachelor programme

If you are studying on a professional programme, it is important to keep up to date even at times when you are not very motivated. Keeping on top of things makes it easier to follow and get the most out of lectures, and to progress afterwards in private study. I would advise always attending the lectures as they are your chance to address any problems and questions in direct contact with the teaching staff. It is also worth taking the optional classes such as the maths preparatory course for the Business Administration Bachelor in any areas where you don't feel confident.

Don’t overdo it

Henning Albrecht, studying for an MBA in Sustainability Management
Henning Albrecht, studying for an MBA in Sustainability Management

One key challenge is not to take on too much. There are so many interesting topics that sometimes you just have to tell yourself: I’m finishing up after this module booklet. There comes a point in the evening when you have to call it a day. You need to get used to setting yourself limits and knowing when to stop.

It has to be enjoyable

Marco Blome, former Innovation Management certificate student
Marco Blome, former Innovation Management certificate student

My tip is only to go for a professional programme if you are really enthusiastic about it. It can be hard to sit down at your desk again after a day’s work and with your family waiting for you at home. However, things are easier if you have chosen a programme that you find genuinely exciting and at a time when you will enjoy getting to grips with the material alongside work, family and leisure commitments. It has to be interesting, and it has to be enjoyable.

Perseverance pays off

Sarah Kautscher, Corporate and Business Law LL.M. graduate
Sarah Kautscher, Corporate and Business Law LL.M. graduate

Studying at the weekends alongside work demands strict personal discipline and it was a tough period with little time off – you need to be aware of that when you choose a professional programme. Nonetheless, looking back, the hard work was definitely worth it and that I am very glad I took the Masters.

Make sure you have support

Christina Bach, took the Prevention and Health Promotion (MPH) course
Christina Bach, took the Prevention and Health Promotion (MPH) course

Support from your employer and your family is essential if the course is to be a success. It is also important to put aside enough "me time" while studying.

Plan in longer terms

Ilyta La Combe, student on the programme MBA Sustainability Management
Ilyta La Combe, student on the programme MBA Sustainability Management

Under no circumstances should one underestimate the CPD course. I would think over this decision well and in close coordination with the employer. My decision to study forced me to plan in longer terms than I was actually used to. It's been a challenge when for example examination phases collide with phases where I have to be on a fair. One should consider what will happen at the workplace before one embarks on any course, so that, in case of doubt, one still has the possibility to withdraw from a project or postpone an examination. I did that a few times, because I simply did not want to become overwhelmed with the work. But thanks to the flexibility of the degree course, this was no problem.

Prepare for attendance phases

Christian Metz-Pieper, student on the programme Master Construction Law and Management
Christian Metz-Pieper, student on the programme Master Construction Law and Management

Sometimes, it isn’t so easy to get one's ducks in a row, because one still has plenty to do in one’s job. In any case, I would recommend at least taking the time to print out the lecture notes before attendance phases. In my case, having a two-hour train journey fits perfectly well, then I can always browse through the lecture notes. If I can give you one more tip, it is the exchange with fellow students. It is very important and one can, for example, share the tasks with homework or with making abstracts of some lecture notes.

Speak to your employer and keep time free for studying

Jan Böttcher und Marisa Fischer, students on the program MBA Sustainability Management
Jan Böttcher und Marisa Fischer, students on the programme MBA Sustainability Management

Jan Böttcher:

In order to prepare for the CPD course, you should definitely first speak to your employer. One should, beforehand, bring all the information together and discuss this with the boss, and enquire if any subsidy programmes are available. In any case, it is important to check if the CPD course is the right thing for my future career. If it is the case, do I have enough strength and motivation to bring the studies through to the end?

Marisa Fischer:

As I am self-employed, it is especially important to make sure that I can combine studies and professional activity. Actually, I spend nearly seven days a week and 24 hours a day thinking about my profession; insofar it is important to keep at least one day of the week free for studying. By doing so, one creates the necessary space to do the homework and exams.

Organize your studies

Julia Buntkiel, student on the programme MBA Performance Management
Julia Buntkiel, student on the programme MBA Performance Management

Time management is an important aspect of the organization of CPD studies. The attendance phases at the University require a high degree of organization. Therefore, only if you are really aware of what it involves, should you embark on these part-time studies, because your social network also suffers from the situation.

Inform yourself in detail

Ingo Schütt, student on the programme Certificate in Innovation Management
Ingo Schütt, student on the programme Certificate in Innovation Management

In preparation for the CPD programme you should definitely inform yourself in detail before things start. The programme puts relatively high demands on the students - because it is not enough that you only have attendance at weekends. You also have to work at home and you have to really be clear about the fact that the study takes time and you have to consciously free up that time. Depending on how you are involved at home, you have to get acceptance for the time spend on the course from your close relationships.

Think about your way of learning

Andreas Kramp, student on the programme Certificate in Innovation Management
Andreas Kramp, student on the programme Certificate in Innovation Management

Before starting CPD studies, one should pause to think over how much time one can devote to the study and how it fits into the professional and private context. As for me I have asked myself how do I learn best. Am I the type of person who can learn at home in distance learning by working on lecture notes and viewing webinars or do I need to exchange with people? That's the case with me, so I opted for a course with compulsory attendance. That would be the questions, with which one should deal in the case of CPD studies. And of course: Why am I studying this subject anyway? How do I choose the exact suitable subject? Do I want to apply it now or use it in five years’ time, or is it just a transfer of knowledge in another discipline, which will bring me further?

Studying step by step

Sonja Ahrens, alumna of the Social Work Bachelor
Sonja Ahrens, alumna of the Social Work Bachelor

My advice for new students is to approach studying with structure and discipline, but to remember to enjoy it. Take things one step at a time: a lot of students start worrying about final year dissertations right from the beginning – don’t put that pressure on yourself. Start with the first semester, and the first written paper. You have another three years before the Bachelor dissertation is an issue; you don’t need to have it all sorted right from the start.