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.

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!