Salford Business School 21.07.24

GRADUATION 2020: Masters success for single mum

A single mother of 3 young children and no previous experience of studying, has graduated from the University of Salford with a Masters Degree.

Sarah Balint, 34, who lives in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, spent two years attending evening classes in order to complete the part time Master of Science degree in HR Management and Development. She is now also a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Sarah said: “I went straight into work after leaving school, I have no A-levels or first degree, but after ten years of working in the HR industry, I decided I wanted to build on my skills and develop my knowledge.

"When I got on to the course, I was focused on my overall objective which was attaining the MSc degree and every obstacle I faced, I saw as an opportunity for learning. It was challenging at times as I had to be incredibly organised and focused. I would set off to university as soon as I had picked my children up from school, some nights I wouldn't get home until after 11 pm. I couldn't have done it without the support of my mother who looked after my children while I was at the university. The remaining evenings and weekends were spent reading, writing assignments or studying for exams but of course I had to factor in some downtime to keep a healthy balance. There were points where I thought I couldn’t do it but resilience and perseverance as well as remembering the bigger picture are all things that kept me going."

She should have been enjoying a graduation ceremony with her course mates this week which would have been her first graduation but due to Covid-19 it had to be cancelled. Instead she has spent the day with her family.

Sarah said “I have been on a big personal development journey over the last couple of years. The degree has helped to improve my independent learning skills and grow as a person. It has also made me more confident and given me an in-depth understanding of theory which pieced together nicely with my hands on industry experience."

Sarah is hoping to develop her career as an HR consultant and is also considering moving into academia and doing a PhD.

She added: “I’m hoping it will be inspirational for my children, it’s good for them to have seen me working hard for something and then get the rewards. Everyone is so proud of me.

The University of Salford Business School offers dozens of courses aimed at people with industry experience but no formal qualifications.

Kathy Hartley, who taught Sarah as part of her course said: “Sarah’s commitment to the programme, alongside a busy work and family life, is typical of many of the professionals who come to study with us on the evening HRM programme. She is a fantastic example of what can be achieved. It was clear during practical exercises that all she needed was a little more confidence in her own ability, so it is heartening to hear how this has developed. “

Sarah Balint and her three children