I grew up in a small town in Malaysia and it has always been my dream to study in the UK for university. I remember marveling at the old historical buildings, the trains, and even the fields where the cows were grazing when I first arrived here in Lancaster. Fast forward four years later, I am about to graduate with a 2:1 in Management, with a year abroad in Milan and also a placement year in Manchester all under my belt.
What I love about my course is the fact that I get to learn modules from the different departments of the management school such as Economics, Accounting and Finance, Statistics, Human Resources, and Strategic Management. As a management student, I believe that the opportunity to study different subjects is crucial as it allows me to fully understand how a company operates and most importantly how everything is interrelated to each other. I also get to meet and work with students from different parts of the world, understand their culture and also work ethic.
Initially, I did not sign up for the study abroad variant, but after attending one of the briefings, I started researching about the different options and the idea really intrigued me. The thought that I was able to study in a different country, learn a new language, meet new friends and learn a whole new culture was really exciting and therefore I applied to study in Milan for my second year.
In Milan, I found myself falling in love with all things Italy. From the food, the streets, music, art, even the language itself – everything was so new and exciting to me. I met lots of new friends from all over the world, attended classical concerts, museums, and even got to meet the Pope, and the Dalai Lama. Every month, my friends and I would do at least one weekend trip to a neighbouring city and within that year I travelled to more than 10 cities in Italy itself. However, it was not all fun and play as I had to apply for my placement job when I was still in Milan. Those months before I managed to secure a job were the most challenging and toughest period of my life to date.
When I first applied I was pretty naive as I thought that the whole process seemed rather straightforward and that since I had pretty good grades, had some job experience, came from a good university, it should be rather easy to secure a job. Unfortunately I faced several rejections at different stages of the process, getting even more demotivated each time. Thankfully, although I was miles away from Lancaster, the careers team in LUMS still remained in touch and would continuously send emails with links to different job adverts, tips and advice on how to succeed in a telephone interview. Moreover, I still had access to the numerical and other practice tests that were available online in the student portal.
It was only in May, 9 months after I started my job hunting that I managed to secure a placement job at a travel company based in Manchester. The combination of what I was studying, the fact that I chose to study abroad in Milan, and my love for travel made me a suitable candidate for the position as an Operations Intern in the company. Throughout this period, I was primarily in the UK department but had ongoing projects from the Sales, European, and Accounting department. I was able to adapt pretty quickly to my role as it was almost similar to how my modules were arranged during my first two years in uni (i.e. modules across the management school).
Looking back, all these experiences throughout my four years of university have definitely shaped me into the person I am today. Although it has been quite a challenging route, seeing that I did both a study abroad and a placement year, I absolutely believe that it was the right choice to make and I would do it all over again.