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

The First Week of Lent Term and Prepare for Chinese New Year

Hi everyone, my name is Xuanyin, Hu and I am studying MSc Money, Banking and Finance at LUMS now. I am from China.

People always say: “all things are difficult before they are easy.” There was no surprise that, from the perspective of learning, the first week was also challenging, even though I have already studied for almost half a year at Lancaster University. Even so, I was so excited the whole week because the spring festival is coming (celebrating the lunar new year).

The main challenge was the choice of optional module. Actually, the programme’s module schedule is quite well–organised since the first semester, there were only compulsory courses and after that, I may get a clue for what I would like to study in the second term. The optional modules from my programme are divided into two kinds. One belongs to Accounting and Finance department which is more related to finance, another belongs to Economics department. So the problem comes out, should I choose one that I am good at or that I am interested in. I have more basic knowledge of finance because I studied investment in the previous study, however, the economics course attracts me a lot even though I have never studied economics before. So I went to economics’ lecture in the first week, however to be honest I quickly found that it was not for me, so instead I chose the Finance course for my optional course. It was quite hard to give up a thing that you are interested in, but I cannot sacrifice all my time to study an entirely new subject which others already learned from their last three-year study.

Tips for choosing a postgraduate optional course:
Choosing an optional module in postgraduate is quite different from undergraduate. In a postgraduate study, the knowledge is based on what you learned from the previous study. To choose a course which you are good at is more important.

Although it is already 2017 now, for a lot of Asian countries’ students, the new year should be the lunar new year. Of course, for me, it is a super exciting week to prepare for the new year.  It is my first spring festival in the UK and I used to celebrate with my family. So, from the start, I was quite worried about it and did not know how to celebrate it. Fortunately, my flatmates decided to celebrate it with me. We ordered loads of stuff online and also came to downtown to buy all materials and ingredients. After that, we made the dumplings together which was quite fun to teach my flatmates to make it. What’s more, I went the CSSA (Chinese Students & Scholar’s Association ) Chinese Festival. There were many traditional activities, for instance, making paper-cuts for window decorations, writing couplets,  guessing the lantern riddles etc. I wrote couplets for our flat and also wrote the “福” characters which mean happiness for each flatmates. Even though I am in the UK, I still feel a strong atmosphere of Chinese New Year, when you come to downtown, you could see  “Chinese red” theme in different shops and supermarkets. Besides, the graduate college porter is full of “Chinese red”, like the red lanterns.

Don’t worry about that you will be alone to study abroad, you will always meet the nice and kind people!  Happy new year everyone!

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.

What is it like to be a Postgraduate Student Ambassador?

LUMS Ambassadors Welcome Event

Many people ask me, what it is like to be a Postgraduate Student Ambassador. I tried to answer this question in the post below.

Every year undergraduate and postgraduate offices hire a bunch of Student Ambassadors, which can literally be considered as a part-time job. The application process runs in November and pretty much resembles applying for a real job in a company. In the first round, you will be asked to submit your CV and a cover letter, so treat it seriously if you want to pass a screening stage. I would suggest that you contact the Career Services in LUMS and ask them for advice with regards to your CV and a cover letter. People who work in the Careers are real professionals with first-hand experience, so they can give you valuable feedback not only about applying for a PG Ambassador role, but also when applying for graduate jobs in different companies.

Once you successfully pass the screening stage, you will be invited for a group interview. This activity takes place on campus and there can be more than one interview set. This depends on the number of applications – for example, in 2015-2016 there were 2 sets, so it was possible to choose between two dates. People who come for this interview are split into small teams of 4-5 people in each. I will let you fully enjoy this experience and will not tell what you will be asked to do – let it be a surprise. However, I can advise you to remain yourself, stay natural and confident, open-minded and be willing to communicate and listen to other people.

After that… congratulations, you’ve become a Postgraduate Student Ambassador! Alright, what does it mean in practice? Firstly, it means opportunities. There are a lot of educational and extracurricular projects running every year – and you can become a part of them. While working on those projects you can develop some of your skills and eventually add them to your CV or LinkedIn profile. For instance, one of my assignments was to write news for LUMS blog on weekly basis. It helped me improve my English and present information in a readable and attractive way.

Secondly, being student ambassador increases your network. This is a chance to meet new like-minded people from all over the world, work side by side and achieve successful results in the end. For example, during postgraduate open day another ambassador and me were assisting prospective students in getting feedback and more information about the programmes of their interest. We managed to persuade 4 prospective students that Lancaster would be there cup of tea – and they submitted their applications.

Lastly, it’s a significant contribution towards your work experience. Student ambassador is a part-time job, which you get paid for. You will have a group of project coordinators who will be responsible for projects allocation. There will also be a manager you’ll have to report to. But make no mistake, studies comes first, and you will definitely not be forced to do the job you don’t want to or can’t do.

The world is your oyster, isn’t it? Do not hesitate and send an application to join a friendly gang of student ambassadors! For more information, procedures and deadlines contact Postgraduate Office. Good luck!

Management Science: modules I’ve enjoyed the most

StudyingDuring my Masters at MSc Management Science and Marketing Analytics programme I’ve been studying 10 modules in total – 4 in Autumn and 6 in Spring. Below is the list of my favourites.

3rd place: Marketing Analytics
This was the core module of my subject. It was taught in both terms, although in Autumn it was called ‘Introduction to Marketing Analytics’. Taught by Nikos Kourentzes, this course was rather practically oriented and although it gave some theoretical knowledge about concepts like 4P, brand power or promotional modelling, it was mainly focused on data analysis. During this course I’ve done conjoint analysis, clustering, multidimensional scaling, promotional modelling, regression analysis, forecasting newly launched product with statistical approaches. I’ve used SPSS and R extensively. It gave me good understanding of how to make data-driven marketing decisions and taught that marketing is not only about creativity and advertising – there is massive data analysis behind the scenes that actually helps companies make right business decisions about promotion and positioning.

2nd place: Forecasting
Centre for Forecasting located in Lancaster University is the No. 1 forecasting centre in Europe. One of the key factors that made me come and study in Lancaster was my passion for forecasting subject. And undoubtedly it was one of the best in the course. Interesting lectures, well-structured workshops, excellent delivery of a new and sophisticated material. This module was organised very thoroughly, not to mention that it was taught by the well-known scientists in the forecasting field – John Boylan and Robert Fildes. Eventually my dissertation project was related to short-term electricity demand forecasting, and this module and people helped me a lot. By the way, you’ll learn R programming language during this module.

1st place: Spreadsheet Modelling
This was a fantastic module run by (in my humble opinion) the best teacher in the department – Adam Hindle. It was a well-structure course that implied no prior Excel knowledge. In the beginning I was a bit biased given my 2-year analytical experience with a company where I’ve been using Excel extensively – what new can I learn at this module? However, although this course started from very basic things such as operation with simple formulas, design of tables, structuring information, etc., it was constantly speeding up – the pace was good, and each new task was more difficult the previous one. At one moment of time I was surprised to find myself writing codes in VBA, performing macro, solving optimisation tasks in a Solver add-in and composing pivot tables.

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!

A skillset of a management scientist

Dmitry opportunities

Being a master student implies huge responsibility, especially when studying in a TOP-8 university in the UK and TOP-1% worldwide. Is there value for money, what knowledge and experience do you get, and most importantly – how can you use those skills in a real life? Those are the questions to be answered in this post.

I study Management Science and Marketing Analytics, so everything that follows is based entirely on this programme. I am a foreigner, and for me English education was a completely new experience from the very beginning. The crucial thing is to understand that it is difficult to study for a master degree. Really, it is difficult. Although there were not too many modules – just 4 in Autumn and 6 in Spring – the amount of material to learn was impressive.
Most of the modules were assessed based on the three assignments – individual coursework, group coursework and exam. In order to perform well in all of them you will need to have good time management skills and be able to work under pressure with strict deadlines. It does not necessarily mean that you will have no spare time on friends or extracurricular activities – for instance, apart from studying I was a student rep, a teacher of Russian and a PG ambassador which did not prevent me from getting an average mark of 69 and (fingers crossed) a distinction diploma.
Plan your work thoroughly and get the courseworks done before the deadlines. Yes, it will be time consuming and sometimes exhausting – but make no doubt, the result is worth it.

At my programme I have learned 3 new languages. Well, programming languages – VBA, R, SAS. Being able to handle massive datasets, to provide quick summaries and to give data-proven recommendations is an essential skill of a good analyst. A lot of practice is required, isn’t it? This is what you can get in Lancaster – well-structured workshops assist you in getting started, whilst the difficulty of tasks keeps growing alongside your progress. Personally, I’ve spent hours on coding and massaging the data before I could provide more or less reliable result. If you want to achieve good outcomes practice is the key to your success. Fortunately, all the facilities on campus help students do their work well – there are postgraduate zones in Graduate college and in the library, 4-screen computer lab in LUMS, plenty of computer labs on campus, projectors to rehearse your presentations, etc. On top of that, teachers are easy-going and willing to provide support whenever needed. They have open-door policy, so you could simply drop in with a question or book an appointment in advance.

I’ve mentioned earlier that some of the modules include group work. This is a great chance to develop or enhance your teamwork and leadership skills. This interaction helps to develop communication skills as well – just imaging working in a multinational group where all people are from different countries having different backgrounds and cultures. This is so cool! That’s an opportunity to speak English and make new friends – eventually, people might be the most valuable asset you’ve acquired while studying in Lancaster.

Alright, let’s summarise the skillset you can develop while doing Management Science and Marketing Analytics programme (and maybe other programmes too) in Lancaster University.

  • time management
  • ability to work under pressure
  • project management
  • result orientation
  • multitasking
  • out-of-the-box thinking
  • computer knowledge (coding)
  • public speaking
  • communication skills
  • data analysis
  • statistical analysis
  • problem solving
  • teamwork skills
  • leadership skills

Enjoy your time in Lancaster University!

Come, get yourself a taste of Lancaster!

Come around here, and experience all the tastes LUMS has to offer!

LumsCupcakes Ipshitha

Hola! I am Ipshita and currently pursuing a MSc in Human Resources and Knowledge Management. This is not my first time in the UK, nor is it my first time in Lancaster, but it is the first time I have been here for more than just a summer school or a holiday. I have travelled quite a bit, almost to 13 countries and a few times alone as well. I flew alone for the first time when I was 6, but this is the first time I have ever lived by myself for a whole year! As life is, there have been ups and downs, but the best things are so worthy that I would never trade them for anything else.

I am fond of travelling, meeting new people and experiencing cultures. I remember a new module we started in the second term, the professor decided to ask everyone to introduce themselves, as he wrote down all their native countries on the board. He started with the last row, there were 10 students and all 10 of them were from 10 different countries! Could you believe that? In total, there were 37 students from 18 different countries! Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, France, Greece, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and the United Kingdom. It was the first time that it really hit me that I am actually studying in a truly global environment. Not to mention the friends I have made from many other countries.

Apart from academics, this experience is also enriching because of how I have grown internally. Stepping away from your comfort zone can really do wonders! (those quotes you see on Instagram or tumbler are true!) The magic actually happens outside your comfort zone.

There were all sorts of things I was worried about before coming. I have always been the younger kid in the class. When the course was about to begin, I thought to myself “A 20-year-old kid doing masters? Nah, they will for sure treat me like a baby”. I was pretty wrong. I have gotten to know people from all walks of life and I have learnt a great deal from every single one of them.
Also, before the course began, I wanted a self-sufficient studio because I did not know what kind of people I might have to share my flat with. I am glad I chose an en-suite room with a sharing kitchen,  I have made some of the best friends I could on my flat. Moreover, I have actually learnt to cook a few good meals from scratch! [mind that, ramen noodle is not cooking].

The experience is not just the academics, being here at Lancaster University is a package of an experience!

 

Presenting my PhD research at EurOMA 2016 conference in Norway!

Hi I’m Amy and I’m in the second year of my PhD in Management Science. I’m going to be sharing some of my experiences of life at Lancaster!

Trondheim Norway Amy

LUMS encourages PhD students to go to international academic conferences to present their research to others within the field. I love travelling so I am so pleased that we have the chance to do this! Last year in the first year of my PhD, I presented at the EurOMA Sustainability Forum in Barcelona, Spain and the EurOMA conference in Neuchatel, Switzerland.

I have recently returned from 10 days in Norway for the EurOMA 2016 conference. I went with two other students in my department so it was nice to get out of the office together! The conference took place in Trondheim and brings together leading academics in the Operations Management field. I spent the first two days of the conference at the Doctoral seminar. This is an opportunity for PhD students to present and discuss their research to other students and established researchers. This was my second doctoral seminar having attended the first in Switzerland last year. It was therefore really good to see the friends I made last year and I made some new friends. I also presented my research in the main conference. The conference was made up of numerous streams and you move around listening to different presentations depending on your interest. It is really motivating to learn about other people’s research which also challenges your own thinking. It also provides the opportunity to network with leading academics in your area- often the ones you cite in your work!

It’s not all hard work though! Meeting people is one of the best parts of the conference especially other students and we socialised every evening! The food was also amazing! I have made some great friends that I know I will always keep in touch with- we are still all swapping photos and reminiscing about the fun we had!

The conference arranged a number of social activities which ranged from an amazing concert in the beautiful local cathedral to the main conference dinner. The highlight was definitely watching sunset after midnight at the sky bar! This was shortly followed by sunrise as it never properly gets dark at this time of year!

On the last day of the conference there is always the opportunity to go on a factory tour at a leading local business. This year there was the added bonus of an afternoon sightseeing in Røros a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After a week of hard work and socialising we decide to have a few days sightseeing in Oslo on our way back home where we saw Munch’s renowned ‘The Scream’ painting and did some island hopping in the Oslo Fjord!

Conferences are a fantastic experience, I have had the chance to develop research contacts with both fellow students as well as senior academics within the field. I received invaluable feedback that will help me further develop my research. I have also been able to explore Norway and created some memorable experiences.

I took the photo in Trondheim- the same view was captured and used on the cover of the conference promotional material. I always make sure I get my own version at each conference I attend! We also have a tradition that we buy a postcard from each conference location we present at to display in our office!