Michael Birsak | Middlesex University London
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Michael Birsak

Michael BirsakIT Consultant, Allianz Group

MSc Computer Science, 2013

Tell us a bit about what your current job involves.

As an IT Consultant I support and consult several international organization units within the Allianz Group regarding architecture, development, and implementation of the insurance software ABS (Allianz Business System). I am also actively contributing to the development of the software system as I am implementing new features and hot-fixes along the way. Furthermore I am an instructor on the internal Allianz Java development framework where I give training courses to different international developers all around the world.

What drove you to a career in this area? Why are you passionate about it and what do you enjoy?

I am passionate about developing things, solving problems, as well as working together with people and helping others on a regular basis. Within the role as technical consultant I have the opportunity to combine all these interests and perfectly unite the roles of a developer and a consultant. What I love most about my job is that I directly receive feedback from colleagues I work with and colleagues that I support. Helping them and feeling their sense of gratitude and appreciation is more than satisfying to me.

What has been your proudest achievement to date?

To me, my proudest achievement is probably the fact that I have passed all my studies with distinction and received excellent grades for my final examinations and theses. I put really hard work and a lot of time into my studies and projects, and I am proud that I could prove that all the extra work and renouncement has paid off.

In your opinion, what are the benefits of postgraduate study?

In my opinion, one of the largest benefits of postgraduate study is that you can deepen your knowledge in specific areas and you can find the field of interest you want to focus on. On the one hand it helped me to broaden my horizons and on the other hand I was able to concentrate my skills on a particular area.

What work and life skills did you learn on your master’s?

Due to the fact that I did my master’s abroad in a foreign country I became a lot more independent and learned to stand on my own two feet. I also gained more self-confidence, which helped me to develop in both my work and private life.

What did you enjoy most about your master’s at Middlesex?

I enjoyed all the areas and fields of study I have been privileged to get to know but what I enjoyed most was meeting so many interesting, intelligent and exciting people. Whether it was student colleagues, lecturers or new friends, I am glad that I had the opportunity to connect with all those people.

Finally, what advice would you give to others thinking about postgraduate study?

Unfortunately I have seen and met a lot of people who decided to go for postgraduate study just because it was “trendy” or they didn’t know what else to do with their lives at that moment.

I would advise really thinking hard about it and only deciding on postgraduate study if you are really interested and passionate about the subject, or if you can see a real benefit in the study. Only then can you maximize the outcome for you and really gain benefit from it in both your life and career.

You should also keep in mind that a postgraduate study demands a great deal of dedication, interest in academic research and time that you have to invest. But for all I can say – it’s worth it.

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