The opportunity to play volleyball while furthering her academic achievements convinced Alyssa Ballenger to take up her Master’s at BU.

Attracted by the reputation of BU’s Faculty of Media & Communication, Alyssa enrolled on the MA Marketing Communications degree to boost her career prospects after completing her undergraduate degree at home in America.

Alyssa said, “Since I already spoke English, I thought that studying in the UK would ease the transition. My undergraduate degree more broadly covered speech communication and public relations, and I knew that obtaining a Master’s degree would help my future employment.”

Alyssa Ballenger, a Bournemouth University graduate, celebrating with teammates during Varsity Alyssa and TeamBU volleyball teammates

“Being a part of the university volleyball team outside of my coursework was extremely rewarding. We’d often head to Dylan’s Bar on campus to have dinner and a pint after practice and I met people from all different backgrounds. The women's and men's volleyball teams were successful in winning the student cup during my studies, and I was awarded MVP (Most Valuable Player).”

Since graduating, Alyssa has gone on to play professional volleyball in Sweden, as well as drawing on her marketing skills.

Alyssa Ballenger, a Bournemouth University graduate, playing volleyball. Since graduating, Alyssa has gone on to play professional volleyball in Sweden. Alyssa playing professional volleyback back home in Sweden

She said, “I led the league in points and gained a new cultural perspective of living in yet another country. I also ran the team’s social media accounts where I created and implemented campaigns to increase engagement and promote our brand. This has been a career highlight for me. I found it particularly rewarding because I got closer to my goal of working within international marketing by reaching an international audience.”

Since finishing this chapter in Sweden, Alyssa has moved back to Bournemouth and is working freelance for Redside Property Maintenance and UK Beach Tours. She said, “This has been beneficial in gaining experience in email marketing and blogging, which will support my aspirations to become a content marketing manager for a travel agency.”

Alyssa Ballenger, a Bournemouth University graduate

Reflecting on the experience of studying in another country, Alyssa acknowledges that it wasn’t without its challenges. She said, “I struggled with my very first assignment and didn’t score as highly as I expected. I had to realign what was expected from me in terms of how an assignment is completed. Going through this experience, I found that BU Professors were willing to chat and provide support, and after this I was able to complete much better work.”

When asked for her advice to current and prospective students, Alyssa said, “Firstly, if you are considering an MA, take your time to explore how it matches your interests and personal skills. Also research the job market and decide if the MA you are considering supports your future aspirations.”

“Secondly, once you’re here, get networking within the community of students, academics, and the wider university. Building strong connections is so advantageous whilst you are studying and as you look to start your career.”