5 Reasons why I chose Lancaster University

My journey of making the decision to pursue Management from Lancaster University has been very unique. It was a bright sunny day early in February when I decided to attend the college fair organised by a counselling agency in Delhi. I chose it because, with a full-time job, I knew I would not be able to do thorough research on my own. It was a good decision because they gave me an opportunity to meet 100s of Universities under one roof. On the day of the fair, I was given a list of all the participating Universities and Colleges and was asked to approach the ones I was interested in. Seeing all the Universities and students being so specific in their approach, I got scared for a moment. It was finally happening. I had a few universities in mind that I definitely wanted to speak to, and so it all began. I went round and round in circles, crossing out the names of the ones I’d spoken to and making notes of whether or not I wanted to consider them and finally I came to the desk by Lancaster University. The programme appealed to me right away. I went home and started my research. I shortlisted 10 colleges from the long list and decided to further shortlist just 5 colleges where I wanted to apply.

My criteria of shortlisting those 5 colleges were the programme structure and modules, rankings of the University, FT ranking of the programme, fees and other living expenses and career support.

These were also the 5 reasons I chose Lancaster University:

  • Programme Structure and Modules: The programme had very interesting modules and a few modules that drew my attention were Digital Innovation in Businesses and Entrepreneurship. Most of the other universities were not offering these modules and I really wanted to learn them. Also, I was unaware of the block-taught structure of the programme while applying, but the structure closely resembles the industry environment and it prepares you for the future challenges. The 9-5 classes and different modules in different weeks made me a better manager of my time.
  • Rankings of the University: I made it a point to thoroughly check the rankings of all the universities and their programmes as well. Lancaster University is very highly recognised by institutes such as Quacquarelli Symonds World University rankings, Financial Times rankings, etc. 
  • FT ranking of the Programme: It is extremely difficult to find out the world rankings of the particular Programme, however, it was important to me. So, I took the challenge and researched and found that the programme was amongst the top 100 programmes in the world.
  • Fees and other Living Expenses: I would not say that fees and living expenses were my top priority but I understood the reality and I was definitely influenced by the amount of money I would be spending.
  • Career Support: It was an important criterion for me. I wanted to choose a University that not only provided the career support during the year of education but also after it. The careers support at Lancaster University has been exceptional. The team is amazing and I go to them with everything. If I have to prepare my CV or for an interview, they have the solution to all my problems. Also, it is just nice to have a chat with Martine whenever I am disheartened by the result of my job application, which has been the case so far. She seems to always know the right words to boost my morale!

I would just say that I applied to 5 universities and got offers from them all. I spoke to my counsellor, my friends as well as my family but in the end, I decided to go with my gut instinct and I could not be prouder. It was the right decision. I have grown more as a person and professional in this one year. It has been a difficult year, for people who say that it will be a cakewalk are probably being dishonest. But, at the same time, you are successful only when you challenge yourself. So trust your instinct and take the road not taken!

 

Where are they now?

From the very beginning of the course, I have always enjoyed Employability weeks. These are special events designed by the Careers team in order to prepare us for life ahead. Over the two terms, there have been many events, such as Networking day, Team Building away days, and one-on-one sessions with Martine and Peter (Career Mentors). In such a demanding course as ours, these weeks have been a source of relief, when we don’t have to think about the theories of HRM or the concepts and mathematics of Economics.

One event that stood out to me the most was “Where are they now?” It was basically an event where MSc Management alumni came and told us about their experience while pursuing the course and journey after they had finished and had gone on to pursue jobs. Some of them had over 10 years of experience now, and some of them had graduated just last year. They all had the different opinions and yet in many ways, they were all the same. One alumna, who had graduated in 2002 and had a work experience of over 10 years under her belt, told us to persevere while applying for jobs. She suggested websites which she found relevant when she was applying for placements. Listening to her story rejuvenated us and filled us with hope. After all, failure is not the end and success is not all. She was an international student and I could relate to her story as in many ways, I am going through a similar phase, the confusion of whether to go back to India to work or to keep applying to get a job here in the UK. She chose to go back to China and returned after a few years of experience.

Another alum from the 2012-13 batch, who is currently working in Rapid7, described his learning from the course as a stepping stone to the future. He mentioned that the course taught him the essentials but working life had much more in store. He mentioned that he did not have a technical background, but the knack for learning. He also mentioned that it is essential for us to figure out our strengths and be honest while applying for jobs.

Another alum from the same batch, who is currently working in DHL, mentioned his struggles while applying for jobs. He mentioned that he applied for 27 jobs and got rejected at some stage or the other before landing the job in DHL as a consultant. His will to not take no for an answer made me wonder. I am going through the rejection phase myself, where most of the companies do not provide VISA sponsorship. When they do, they don’t like my application form. If I clear that round, I get rejected in the situational judgment test and if all goes well, there is absolutely no way I’m clearing the video interview round. So far, zero success rate. But what is life without struggle? To have a good story, we need failures and the will to fight back. (Luckily, I am not scared of failure so bring it on, Life!!!)

The session was not just inspirational but informative too. All the alumni gave us insights, not just into the struggles they faced, but how we can apply to the companies they are currently working in. I connected with most of them on Linkedin and asked for their advice on my CV and on whether their companies provide VISA sponsorships. I feel that this event was a good opportunity for people like me who felt they were lost. Getting rejections is not easy but knowing that others have faced the exact same thing and have still made it work somehow, makes it a lot easier.

My graduate plan

‘‘So, what are your plans for after you graduate?’’I am sure that for many students, like myself, who have entered their final year at university, this question has become a regular occurrence in conversations. It seems that final year lights a spark and leads career plans, graduate schemes and interviews to become a part of your daily personal thoughts.

At the start of the academic year, my plan reflected that of many of my course mates. I planned to update my CV, apply for graduate schemes and enter into the graduate market…Studying a Masters degree was not an option I had even considered.

However, speaking to some of my friends in the graduate market and friends who are currently studying a Masters degree, they expressed that they recognised the enjoyment and positive attitude I have towards education and encouraged me to consider furthering my studies.

At first, the thought of studying a Masters degree was a little scary for myself. I worried that it would be too challenging and I was apprehensive about remaining in education whilst my friends and coursemates progressed into graduate jobs. However, I admit, I became intrigued about the option and started to have a look at what courses were available.

By exploring Masters courses and the modules that different courses offered, my interest in progressing my learning grew. I discovered that many universities were offering an International Business course and this was an appealing option because I am interested in learning about culture and have enjoyed the international perspectives I have been given so far on my course. Not only that, but with ambitions to work within an international firm, studying International Business would be in line with my career plans and provide me with greater depth and understanding about operating in international markets.

So… having been drawn in by the courses available, I decided to apply for some courses.

It’s 4 months on and having accepted a conditional offer, I can finally say I know what my plans are for after I complete my final year at Lancaster University! Having reached this point I thought it would be a chance to share some advice and tips for if you are considering applying for a Masters degree.

  1. Apply on the university website: When I was researching courses and looking at university websites I found that, unlike applying for an undergraduate degree, you apply for a Masters course directly on the website of the university you want to apply to.
  2. Personal Statement: The personal statement is your chance to let the university know more about your interests in the course and your motivations for studying a Masters degree. One tip I can share is to make the personal statement specific to the university you are applying to. I did this by mentioning a module I was looking forward to or a facility at the university that I would like to make use of.
  3. Seek Advice: From my experience I highly recommend that you seek feedback from friends or a careers advisor once you have written your personal statement and CV. When completing my applications I went to a drop-in clinic and attended a one-to-one appointment with the careers advisors at Lancaster University Management School. These sessions were really helpful as the careers advisors shared their advice about how to make your personal statement stand out.

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!