Hear from Adale Bennett - MA Philanthropic Studies Alumni

What attracted you to the programme?

I have been in fundraising a long time and wanted to develop myself beyond the usual 1-2 day courses. I loved studying at undergraduate level and thought that the MA would be a great opportunity to get back into academia – and it was!

Which areas of study did you find particularly inspiring?

A real mix. First and foremost has to be the other students! I was constantly inspired by the people I met through the MA. If I’m honest, I’m an antisocial type and didn’t expect to make friends or network during my studies but I can honestly say that the group of people I studied with are some of the most wonderful humans I know.

From an academic perspective I was really inspired by the exposure to the real breadth of what philanthropy can be. In particular, the module on Global Philanthropy was truly eye opening. And the dissertation, of course! The dissertation seems scary at first but is actually an amazing opportunity to get stuck into something that you’re really inspired by.

What sort of support is there for postgraduate students?

More than you’d guess! The team at the Centre for Philanthropy are hugely supportive and unwaveringly generous with their support and encouragement throughout. Kent also provides amazing academic support through the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) who can help you with time management, essay planning etc. they’re invaluable!

Financially, UK students might be able to access postgraduate loans, many employers were very generous with their support for my cohort – try to be creative in where you find funding if you need it.

How do you find work-life balance with part-time study?

Honestly, it was tough at times! I have a big job and a young family and, if I’m really truthful, I over committed myself at times throughout the MA. That said, when I was being sensible with what I thought I could achieve, it was doable. Supportive friends and family are a must, though!

How is your course helping you in shaping your career?

When I started the MA I thought my career would be largely unchanged – I’m a deputy director at the moment and my plan was to aim for a directorship. That’s still true, to an extent, but the MA has directed my interest and encouraged me to think about what I do in a totally different way.

How has this course changed you?

I am a lot more informed about what I do. Although I am mainly just more aware of how much I don’t know, I am also much much more knowledgeable about areas that I had never considered before. Doing the MA has really instilled in me the importance of rigorous, high quality training and has helped me to really commit to providing that for my team.

Outside of my professional life, doing the MA has changed me insofar as it has helped me to reassess what I want and what I enjoy. It’s also given me a bunch of friends and a network that I never anticipated!

What are your plans for the future?

Who knows. A directorship, probably, maybe (hopefully?) a PhD? I don’t believe in plans but I am hopeful that I’ll have further opportunities to build on what I’ve learnt through the MA.

Any advice for prospective students?

HAVE FUN! The MA was my playground for two years and I loved it, it was such a blast. Jump in, don’t be shy. Write some absolute nonsense online forum posts and be proud of them. Oh, and lean on your cohort – they’ll be brilliant.

Last updated