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!


Things To Do in Lancaster

Have you ever felt tired of all routines, assignments, never ending classes or group work? You feel like you need fresh air, yet you’re too lazy to go outside the city or do not want to spend too much money going out? Then… why don’t you explore our own city, Lancaster! Some of you might not realise that there are so many beautiful places that you can visit only 15 minutes from campus in 1 day!

Before you visit places around Lancaster, it might be good for you to know few facts about Lancaster. Some of you might probably know that Lancaster is the county town of Lancashire, England surrounding the River Lune. Lancaster, is a historic city in England with numerous buildings in Georgian architecture. You might realise when you’re going to the city center that there are many old buildings that you’ll never get tired of seeing!

Now, I will try to give you some ideas on what to do in Lancaster over the weekend. All you need to do is just to take a bus from campus and you’re good to go! 🙂

Lune Millennium Bridge

The first place that I would recommend is Lune Millennium Bridge. It is located near the Bus Station right behind Sainsbury’s. It spans the River Lune, Lancaster. The history of this bridge is that it was built to commemorate the millennium of 2000. It forms a “Y” shape and it is suitable for cyclists and pedestrians. Be ready for a surprise from this bridge as sometimes it will shake a bit when you’re walking on it 😀

Lancaster Castle

After you spend some time on Lune Millennium Bridge, you can take a walk to a hill right next to the bridge. 5-minutes-walk will bring you to one of the icons of our city, Lancaster Castle. You can see the stunning views of Lancaster from above. This castle may have been founded around the 11th century and it used to be a prison! Owned by The Duchy of Lancaster (Her Majesty the Queen is the Duke of Lancaster), the castle has witnessed significant historical and political impact in the thousand years of its existence. Until 2001 it was still functioning as prison, but now it is open for public and tourist activity. If you want to learn more about its history, you can join the guided tour that is available inside the castle. You can also enjoy a cup of tea in the café inside the castle.

Lancaster Canal

Another attraction that you can visit in Lancaster is the peaceful Lancaster Canal. You can walk 10 minutes from Lancaster Castle to this place. You can also grab your lunch in at the White Cross Restaurant by the river. You can enjoy a nice lunch with river and bridge view as well as seeing some cute ducks along the river 🙂

Ashton Memorial Park

This place might be my favorite place in Lancaster! It is reaaaalllllyyyyyyyy beautiful especially on a sunny day. You can take a walk here but it’s quite a distance from the canal or you can just take a bus whereas you still need to climb a bit to reach this place. Many people called Ashton Memorial Park “England’s grandest folly” and the “Taj Mahal of the North” because this iconic building was commissioned by Lord Ashton as a tribute to his late wife.

You will first be welcomed by Williamson Park, a pretty park with some small ponds and various kind of plants. After that, you will get this view.

When you are walking up to the building, you can see the city of Lancaster from above. It is breathtaking! This spot is also the highest point in Lancaster where you can see the whole city. There is a pretty dome that is also open to the public. Please note that the interior will be on renovation from November 21 2016 to April 2017 so you might not be able to go inside. But do not worry because the outdoor view of Ashton Memorial is already amazing!

So yeah, there are many things that we can do in Lancaster right? An important thing that you should note before going around the city is: CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST! It won’t be as fun if the rain is pouring hard. In my case, I tend to go out when the sun is up with a clear and bright sky.

Now… Are you ready to go? 🙂

P.S photos are from writer’s personal collection

Is an Industrial Placement for me?

I have known since the day I decided that I wanted to study a business related degree that I wanted to complete an industrial placement as part of my time at University. I knew that the experience this would offer me would be invaluable, not only for furthering my understanding of my subject, but also when it comes to applying for graduate jobs when I leave Lancaster. But the decision isn’t always so easy for everyone.

Applying for a placement year can be incredibly scary. Because it divides your degree into two segments (first and second year, the placement, and then returning for final year), this means that everyone else completing a three-year course will have graduated by the time you return. This is something I am absolutely not looking forward to – leaving my friends behind during what would have been my last year with them.

Not only that but during first year I felt completely unprepared for a real life, real responsibility, real workload job. As much as I was loving University life, I wasn’t ready to take the next leap on my career path. These are the fears that often prevent people from applying for a placement year as part of their degree.

I cannot stress enough how valuable a placement year is. This is especially true in industries like mine (Marketing) where not just graduate jobs but the job market in general is fiercely competitive. A placement gives you the upper hand over other candidates – you already have a whole year of work experience in your field, working on real projects with real people in a real company. That is something that makes you stand head and shoulders above your competitors when it comes to finding a job at the end of your degree.

Not only that, but the beauty of getting a job in-between your degree is that the support on offer to you is unlike any you will experience outside of University. The dedicated LUMS Careers Team is always on hand – during term time and holidays – to offer you support and guidance, look over your applications, and put you in touch with previous Lancaster students who can guide you through your application with first hand experience themselves.

I myself am already feeling the benefits of a placement year, and I am still only in the application stages. I know I am more confident and independent, and where last year just thinking about a placement year make my stomach churn, now I am excited by the prospects and the opportunities that lie just around the corner. Yes – I am still out of my comfort zone, and each application poses a new challenge, but that is exactly what an employer wants to see. The entire process improves your resilience, self-confidence and ambition.

So if you’re considering a placement year as part of your Lancaster degree, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Though there are sacrifices involved, and some of your friends won’t be here when you return for your final year, the benefits more than outweigh the costs.

Why I Chose Lancaster

Applying for University can be daunting – it presents what for many is the first major ‘fork in the road’ moment in life. Two years ago, I had concluded my nationwide University tour -the infamous hunt for the perfect degree programme and perfect University that my friends and I had become so familiar with – and settled on my decision.

I remember vividly two University open days – Leeds and Lancaster. Both excellent institutes. Both very high up the league tables for Marketing (first and second). Both fiercely competing for applicants, and I was torn. Leeds was everything the inner teenager in me wanted – the bright lights of the big city, far away from home, a reputable night out. Lancaster appealed to me rationally – a safer city, closer to home and most importantly, first in the country for my course.

I fought with myself for months, visited both applicant days and, eventually, firmed Lancaster after speaking to a student ambassador on the open day who assured me Lancaster met both needs – the very best teaching quality and the great student night out that my heart desired.

Not only this, but in my months of torment in deciding on which University to firm, I eventually weighed up the pros and cons of each University, and Lancaster came out on top by a country mile.

Firstly, the Lancaster University Management School rankings are incredibly high – consistently ranked within the top 10 Business Schools in the UK and within the top 1% globally. This gives makes me a student of one of the best Business Schools in the world, which is completely invaluable when it comes to applying for jobs, internships and placements.

Which leads nicely onto my next point – Lancaster has some seriously impressive links with companies who offer industrial placements for University students. As a placement year is something I have always wanted to complete as part of my degree, the way Lancaster approaches this was a hugely influential factor in my decision to come here. I found at other Universities, the general attitude towards industrial placements was ‘you can do one if you want, but you’re on your own in organising it’. Lancaster could not be more different. The Management School has a dedicated careers service specifically for placement students, runs drop-in sessions and lectures, mock assessment centres, interviews, psychometric tests and CV and cover letter workshops to ensure that every student is fully and completely prepared for both the application process and the actual work place. This is something I really value and having such a strong support network throughout the entire process made the idea of a placement year seem a lot less daunting.

The final major benefit of Lancaster which really swayed my decision was the campus. I come from a relatively small area and have never experienced living in a city (in fact, the only time I ever used a bus was when visiting family friends in Edinburgh – talk about country bumpkin!). As a result, I wasn’t convinced about how much I would really enjoy city life – I felt like I would embrace it for the first term but the novelty of not being within walking distance of everything (literally, everything) as I was at home would quickly wear off. Lancaster was the perfect in-between – just out of the city, I would have access to the city life with the comfort of a campus bubble to retreat to.

Here’s me visiting my accommodation just after A level results day when I knew I’d made it, not knowing how my University experience would unfold or where the next four years would take me.


Having been here for a year now, I am confident I made the right decision with Lancaster.


Exploring Lancaster: food shopping

Students' Union

Once you arrive in Lancaster University, you will find yourself in a completely new environment, and probably the most important question for you will be where to buy everyday essentials and food. There are plenty of supermarkets in Lancaster, which is positive on the one hand. On the other hand, it makes your choice more difficult. In this post I will try to compare different means of shopping.

1. On campus Convenient Stores (LUSU Central and Spar)
These are two small stores located on campus. LUSU Central belongs to the Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU) and Spar is a well-known brand. I consider them together since they are quite similar, they have almost the same assortment and pricing policy.

Plus Minus
Convenient location – if you want to buy something on spot (spontaneous purchase) or if you immediately need an ingredient for your meal, these stores are always in the vicinity.

Spar offers good deals on vegetables.

LUSU Central offers good meal deals, plus Purple card holders can benefit from discounts and special offers.

Prices are significantly higher than in the big supermarkets.

Product range is rather narrow.

2. Sainsbury’s
Sainsbury’s is the biggest supermarket (I would even say a department store) in Lancaster.

Plus Minus
Product range is extremely wide.

On-line delivery (your basket must be worth of £40+) with convenient time-slots.

First-purchase discount. Excellent client service.

There is a free bus that goes on Wednesdays every hour from Lancaster University to Sainsbury’s and back. If you want to use it when returning on campus from the town centre, you must show to the driver a receipt from Sainsbury’s worth £5 or more.

Prices are lower than in Spar or LUSU Central, but I would argue this is one of the most expensive supermarkets.

If you order online delivery, they quite often replace 2-3 out-of-stock items with what they call ‘a suitable match’. The delivery man always asks you if you are happy with the replacement or not, if not, money for this item will be returned.

3. Marks and Spencer
M&S is a famous department store which sells fine clothes and food. In Lancaster, it is located on the main street – Penny Street.

Plus Minus
Undeniable quality. Products from M&S will be good souvenirs from England for your friends and family. There are many special offers before Christmas, New Year and Easter.

Quality. Quality. Quality.

Price is rather high compared to other supermarkets/food retailers.

ASDA is located in Morecambe, not in Lancaster. Like Sainsbury’s, it is a department store, but of a slightly lower scale.

Plus Minus
Prices are quite cheap (definitely cheaper than in Sainsbury’s or M&S).

On-line delivery (your basket must be worth of £40+) with convenient time-slots.

The same issue with product replacement as in Sainsbury’s.

Quality of food is slightly lower than in Sainsbury’s (on average, not always).

ALDI is the cheapest supermarket in Lancaster (imho), although it’s located in Morecambe.

Plus Minus
ALDI provides the lowest prices on the market.

Product range is wide (but narrower than in Sainsbury’s or ASDA).

No food delivery available. That is a very big minus.

TESCO is a world-known brand. There are no TESCO stores in Lancaster, however you can order food from them online.

Plus Minus
Online delivery.

Good quality of food.

Slightly expensive (Sainsbury’s level, sometimes even higher).


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.