My First Exam in the UK

As I entered the registration hall in the first week, my heart pounded heavily. I did not know what to do, where to go. Was it too late to go back? Of course, it was. I was not only in a different country but also in a different continent. At that point in time, I was just following everyone because they seemed to know what they were doing and where they were going. We ultimately reached the final destination of the day, the Management School: The place that LUMS postgraduates absolutely worship. The Hub, the Lecture Theatres, the meeting rooms – I had never seen a place like that. I was sitting with a few of my classmates and they all were talking about Lancaster and the University as if they had known it for ages. As it turned out…they did. They had all done their undergraduates at Lancaster University and I had no idea what was happening around me anymore. I felt overwhelmed and anxious and I kept quiet, taking it all in.

As days passed by, we got busier with lectures and assignments but at the same time, we grew closer to each other. The journey had begun, and we spent the days learning and the nights exploring the University. Soon, the first module was over and so was the second and before we realised, it was exam time. With just a week left for the exam, the late-night excursions had taken a halt and the late-night coffees had replaced them to ensure that we were burning the midnight oil. There was chaos and confusion everywhere. This was a big thing. It was the first module and we all wanted to leave a mark. Being from different educational backgrounds, we all were facing challenges. Most of us had never studied business modules before and jumping right into Marketing and thinking like a Marketing Manager was difficult. The exam was case based. We were provided with a case and had to scrutinise it well before the exam. In the exam, we were asked questions based on the case and had to answer them in an essay style. This was very new, especially for someone like me. My last essay-based exam was in primary school and being from CBSE board (Central Board for Secondary Education, India), I was cut out for point to point answers. Luckily my lecturer was a sweetheart. She gave us precise directions of what she needed and also made us practice with a mini case in the class. On top of that, we were also provided with past paper questions. All these resources ensured that we were fully equipped to face the exam.

On the final day of the examination, I prayed to all the Gods and reminded myself that I would be fine because of all the group studying sessions I had with my classmates and the resources that were provided by my professor. I went for the exam and “answered the questions”, precisely as mentioned by my lecturer and as it turned out, I managed to get a distinction!

 

 

Going Frugal- It’s not just about managing finances, it is about managing yourself…

Frugality- the quality of being economical with money.

For all those who are living on their own for the first time, this too shall pass and when it does, you will emerge as a different person. I came to Lancaster University with the dream of becoming a Manager and landing a good job. Little did I know that the first step of the process would be to be a manager of myself. From studying to cooking to managing a budget, you are on your own. The degree teaches you far more than just the modules. This was the first time I was in-charge of myself. I’ve lived on my own during my undergraduate but there things are different, pocket-money was just a phone call away and moreover, there weren’t any currency conversions to be kept in mind. I came to the UK with 500 Pounds, thinking that it’ll last at least 4 months, after all, they were 40,000 Indian Rupees and how much could I spend?

After the first month and an expense of almost half the money that I possessed it became very clear to me that I’d have two options, either I can cut down on my expenses (which was usually spent on buying food and, being a Punjabi, that’s something you cannot compromise on) or I could earn more money by doing part-time job. I wasn’t thinking too much and I chose to go with the first option as with classes from 9-5, I wanted some time to explore as well, so getting a  job was postponed till the next semester. It was time to strategise my frugality plan and more or less it was simple for me.  I had to focus on where I spent the money most (except food, of course) and cut down those expenses to a minimum. However, I wasn’t as simple as I  thought. The pattern wasn’t consistent. With a month of struggle and just 90 pounds left, the third month began and that’s when I came across the Master Plan as I like to call it. I still follow it and it is an amazing way where you don’t even realise you are saving money. All you need to do is save 10 pence on day one and keep adding 10 pence to it the next day. It follows the laws of Arithmetic Progression (flaunting Mathematics-my dad will be so proud of me!!! ). By the end of the first month, I had already saved 15.5 pounds. It isn’t a large sum of money but considering I had 90 when I started and I managed to save 15 pounds, I went straight to Greggs and ate a cookie. After all, I deserved it! Treat yourself and be frugal!

Guest Post: MSc Management Student Keira talks about her experiences of the course

While sitting in the backyard and enjoying Christmas time, I started to receive sweet greeting messages from my MSc Management cohort. When those beautiful words floated onto my screen, I had no words to describe how lucky I felt to be in this cohort.

Graduating with a first honours degree in BSc Marketing from Lancaster University marked the end of my Bachelor journey. Wanting to extend my knowledge of the business world, to enhance my professional network with incredible people and to keep receiving individually tailored career services, I stayed at Lancaster University and joined the MSc Management programme in September 2017.

Life on the MSc Management is never boring because the programme is fundamentally different from any ordinary Masters programmes in any UK Universities. It’s 9am-5pm intensive, weekly block teaching style makes it an MBA-like programme for candidates who have yet to gain extensive work experience in the industry. The programme is designed to foster future leaders with essential knowledge of a wide range of critical business areas.

Because of the one-module-per-week learning style, the entire learning process is so fun and dynamic. We could be analysing and creating marketing campaigns in week one, while composing and understanding accounting and financial reports a couple of weeks later. Or we could be designing and calculating the optimal inventory level and manufacturing capacity one week and change to be mastering the restructuring of organisational structure and human resource systems this week. Every day is full of new challenges and experiences – presentations, group work, business games, networking lunches and career fairs to name a few.

The quality of the cohort is incredible thanks to the rigorous selection process. Not only do we have a balanced mix of different races, ethnicities, religious beliefs, genders and academic backgrounds with no dominating nationalities, but as we spend about 40 hours together every week, we quickly became close friends and families. Christmas Dinner at the lovely Lancaster House Hotel, the International Foodie Picnic with breath-taking views at the Ashton Memorial, and Team-bonding day at the Lake District… we share a passion for the programme as a cohort. A passion that brings joy, friendship and love.

This course is the highlight of my 2017. It brings me friends who are mature, mindful and caring, it equips me with the knowledge that enables me to stand out from other Masters students, and more importantly, it strengthens my employability and helps me to secure a great graduate job at an international giant. Having been in this programme for more than three months, I have no single moment of regret.

Guest Post: From Varanasi to Lancaster

MSc Management student, Anjani, shares with us her journey from Varanasi, India, to Lancaster, UK.

 

“We are pleased to inform that you have been selected for the Masters in Management programme at Lancaster University.” These words blurred in front of my eyes when I first read them. Excitement and joy took over. A small town Indian girl was now going to be a part of the top University, it was more than dream come true. I was sure that my struggles were finally over, but it is usually when we think that the struggles are over do they really begin. Amidst the excitement, I had missed a fundamental detail. The course commencement date. I had exactly 32 days when I noticed the tiny detail I had earlier missed and I was yet to apply for visa, arrange my funds and select accommodation for my self.

If I have learned anything from my life, that is to never give up. I wasn’t ready to give up, not just yet. Days passed by, and all I had accomplished was booking my accommodation. I was happy that I had accomplished one of the major tasks. But the pressure was building, with just 15 days in hand I had gotten the Visa appointment. If things went well, I’ll be carrying my visa in a week. However, the very same day my bank had deducted a large sum of money in order to fulfil one of the loan criteria. I was devastated when I found this out the next day. There was nothing I could do. I did not want to lose this precious opportunity, but what could I have done? I prayed to my stars, I hoped for the best. I am an atheist but I believe in Karma. I believe that if we work hard enough, if we don’t give up, we will get what we deserve. The 4th day, the visa came through and the preparations began.

This wasn’t the first time I was leaving my home, but this was the first time that I was leaving my country. More than anything, I was scared. The excitement that I had felt a few days ago, had now turned into fear and anxiety. Even my family was anxious, their little one was off to a country they knew nobody in. I come from a typical Punjabi family in India, my parents are over-possessive about me. But this entire time they were nothing but supportive. To be honest, I expected them to ask me to stay but they realised that I was finally emerging from my cocoon. They realised that it was time for me to fly and to make my own mistakes. Not a day has passed, when I don’t learn something new. I make mistakes, I fall down, but with every new day I get up again and strive to achieve my goals. Life rarely gives us second chances so I want to make the most, in this first attempt.

Guest Post: The Start of my MSc Management Journey

Maariyah, MSc Management, reflects on her first term here at LUMS.

Receiving those life-changing words ‘…we are delighted to offer you a place on the MSc Management 2017 programme…’ was a truly unforgettable moment.

With my final law undergraduate summer exams and dissertation deadline fast approaching and the optimism that comes with a fresh start, it’s always daunting to experience a new beginning. But I had promised to bring my very best self to this programme and to say I’ve gained far more in return than I could have hoped is an understatement. The heart of this programme lies within the unique experience of growth and confidence to become the very best manager of you.

A pleasant surprise was learning that the course began in September, a month before most other courses. Welcome Week was a great start to the term because those initial nerves were gone in an instant during our Team Building Away Day in the Lake District! This gave us a better opportunity to get to know each other and we eased into what is usually a leap from undergraduate to postgraduate study. Starting earlier also meant the entire campus was ours to explore and long walks along the Woodland Trail gives us that well-needed refreshed mind-set during a full week of lectures.

The course structure of block teaching as a module per week is fascinating when you can aspire to be a marketing expert in one week and an entrepreneur in the next. Through the managerial perspective, all aspects of a business are explored during the year and what’s most rewarding is becoming an excellent well-rounded individual while staying true to your own core values. An exciting balance is created between the academics of becoming a future leader in the business world but also accessing the right tools and guidance to managing yourself to question what kind of leader you want to be. A year onwards it will definitely be inspiring to learn the diverse paths we’ve taken.

With diverse modules and a vibrant cohort to match, this time marks the end of our first Michaelmas term as Lancaster University’s MSc Management students. The Business Strategy Game was our final module this term and perseverance, teamwork and creativity were paramount while competing against each other to demonstrate our accumulated knowledge of all modules over the term. Although we work hard we also find time to celebrate those achievements and our end of term Christmas Meal at the Lancaster House Hotel was a night to remember with fabulous fashion, amazing food, humorous awards and a dance party to celebrate our successes and end on a high note as a farewell before Christmas!

From three years of law books to three months of managing my own strengths and weaknesses, it’s been a tough but rewarding process to see just how far I can challenge myself and overcome certain difficulties as a master’s student. Being a part of a world-ranked business school definitely has its unique challenges but the reward is far more than ever expected!

 

Guest Post: Roseanne Willison-Parry- Life as an intern at Valeocon

Roseanne is a MSc Management graduate, who secured an internship with a global company off the back of interviewing them for part of her course. Here, she talks about her experiences. 

Not only did my MSc in Management prepare me for the world of business and give me confidence in many different areas, it also opened the door to my first experience of working in the consulting world. Roseanne Willison-Parry

For my dissertation, I decided to interview CEOs and leading figures in a variety of industries. One such interview was with the CEO of a global consulting firm, Valeocon. After asking all my questions and exploring the use of secrecy and transparency in the company’s strategy, the interview got turned on its head; it was my turn to answer questions! I discussed my ideal working environment – small business, responsibility from the outset, opportunity for travel, creativity encouraged – and Valeocon appeared to be the perfect fit and thankfully vice versa!

Initially, there was a discussion about working with the London office and I began to get excited. A week later I had my job offer; three months at the company HQ… in Hamburg. It definitely ticked my travel box!

Two weeks after my dissertation hand in I moved to Germany and it was absolutely the right decision. Within two weeks I was sitting in on a client meeting and given the opportunity to contribute to the discussion, document interviews and collaborate with a team of consultants. It was a fantastic first insight into consulting.

As well as client work, I was entrusted with organising a three-day conference in Lyon for Valeocon’s global consultants. I was able to see the inner workings of the business and learn what constituted a successful conference. I also gained a first-hand overview of trainings, case studies, brainstorming exercises and the current and future business development of the company. Being asked to teach Ballet/Yoga as an agility exercise at 7am every morning was an unexpected addition! It was an invaluable experience and the accommodation and food was an added bonus!

Throughout the conference and in the weeks following I had a variety of separate tasks to perform – proof reading, marketing refresh, presentation development, research – it has been an all-round education. The level of responsibility and collaboration has been great and I really feel part of the team. It has helped me realise I want to be involved in consulting, next steps have been discussed, and this is the start of a fantastic relationship between Valeocon and myself.

Guest Post: Naeem Desai – Life on the Lidl Graduate Management Development Programme

Naeem Desai graduated from MSc Management in 2016. Before even graduating, he had received offers of employment from four of the major graduate recruiters, including a place on the highly competitive Lidl Graduate Management Development Programme. It was this position that he chose to accept, and over the coming months, Naeem will share his experiences of this challenging and fast paced programme.

naeem

I was standing outside the Management School when I got the call from Lidl regarding the outcome of my final interview. I was so nervous, practically shaking as I talked to the recruiter, whilst pacing up and down along the side of the building. I was so eager to hear the decision. I burst into laughter as I was told I had been accepted onto the Graduate Management Development Programme! It felt surreal. It took me days to digest that I got the job I always wanted. All of my hard work had paid off. Here I was, six months later, at the Graduate Welcome Event in London. The two-day event comprised of a comprehensive introduction to the company and the graduate scheme. I was told I would be spending six months in the Regional Distribution Centre, and six months in a high-turnover store, after which I would assume the role of a Graduate Team Manager or Graduate Area Manager. Finally, the wait was over, and I was starting in my region on Monday. I left the event knowing that accepting this position was one of the best decisions I ever made.

 

How to beat the blues at Lancaster during the weekends?

Sarada Stratford-upon-Avon

Lancaster is an amazing place yet it can also be a bit quiet, especially when you want to party or chill out. This does not mean that you completely ignore the social life and only focus on academic life. It just means that you study hard while studying as no other activities at Lancaster can prevent you from doing that. And you take time out during the weekends to socialise more.

My one year at Lancaster has been brilliant, I got to meet more people at the Day trips organised by the different colleges here at Campus. These trips take us to all sorts of places, including Stratford-upon-Avon (the home of Shakespeare) and Llandudno! I also got to travel a lot cheaper with the rail card that I bought from the Uni Travel at the Alexandra Square. Manchester, one of the grand places to party near Lancaster, is quicker to reach with the number of train services that we have from Lancaster.

In addition to the travelling, I also met a lot many people at Wibbly Wobbly(burger joint at campus), Go Burrito and at Café 21.

One of the very frequent places that I hung out with my friends was Café Nero at the City Centre, which has one of the best mocha and hot chocolate in the town!

Most often, it is such places as mentioned above where you get to have meaningful conversations and which helps in beating the blues.

A few of the facilities the students are entitled at Lancaster University during their Masters

One of the best things I really like about the University is, there are many things one can try over their study here-especially when one is doing his or her Masters. There are two places in particular which I think is really important for a student doing a one-year course.

 

My academic writing was never that good because I was never used to writing in this style. The mentors at Academic writing zone (AWZ) guided me with my essays. Now, I can confidently say that I write much better than what I used to write. AWZ also has drop in sessions twice a week, where you can take your written piece of work to get opinions on how you should present your work better. One of the must know places at Lancaster University is the Academic Writing Zone.

 

Yet another place that is worth knowing at LUMS is the Career zone which consists of a dedicated team to help you with your CV, covering letter and interviews. They have drop in sessions to help with the aforementioned activities. Career Zone was one of the places I frequently visited places. They also have a huge database of videos to help in attending interviews.

The other places to keep a note are the PC labs for the Post Graduate students opposite the Graduate college’s Porters and Social hub opposite to the Grad Bar.

These are a few facilities out of the many that the Post Graduate students especially the Masters students are entitled to. See you at the AWZ!

Baby steps after reaching Lancaster- What, where and how to shop on student budgets?

Welcome to Lancaster, a city that guarantees new experiences to your one or many years of academic life! I am Sarada, an MSc Management student of the 2015-2016 batch. Life at Lancaster for me was an amazing experience. To start with, it is not difficult to travel in this small town with a population of around 50,000 and the people are really friendly here. The city centre is the best shopping place to buy things.

City2

Landing at your accommodation, you realize that you need to shop to settle in. Though the options of shopping at amazon and online shopping for groceries exist, it is a ritual undertaken by students to do their first shopping at the town. Travelling to the city by bus is one of the most convenient and cheap method of transportation. It takes about 2.50 to travel to the town and back to the University. The few places that are frequented by students to economically shop are:

  1. Wilko- bedding pack, detergents, stationary, cutlery, utensils, bathing products
  2. Poundland- everything is for a pound, but do not expect to see a wide variety of products
  3. Sainsbury- monthly groceries
  4. Mountain Warehouse- one stop destination to stock up on Winter wear
  5. Iceland- exclusive store to buy frozen products

Happy Shopping and do not forget to explore the other shops in the town!