Christos Gardikis

Country of origin: Greece

Corporate Actions Analyst, Citi

I had a financial background and a strong interest in the banking sector before joining the Money, Banking & Finance MSc programme at LUMS. What attracted me to the programme was that not only does it provide students with a holistic understanding of banking and finance, but also there is a wide range of optional modules which allow students to further explore their special interest areas. I chose to study at LUMS for a variety of reasons. Firstly, LUMS stood out from the crowd because of its reputation, as it ranks in the UK's top four and in the top 1% of universities worldwide. Secondly, the fact that the intake of the programme is 25-30 students was a sign for me that the interaction between tutors and students would be much more fascinating, which actually was. Moreover, the lower tuition fees compared to others universities along with the £4,000 scholarship I received from Lancaster University convinced me that it's a value-for-money choice without any doubt.

The unsurpassed moment that I enjoyed the most during my programme was my dissertation in the third term and the workshops I had with my classmates during that period on econometric and statistical packages, which I used to write my thesis. I am deeply grateful to my supervisor, Dr Marwan Izzeldin, for his constant encouragement, guidance and support for doing my dissertation in the last four months of the programme. His knowledge and commitment to the highest standards motivated my effort and aroused my interest for the topic of my dissertation. Moreover, I enjoyed the discussions I had with my classmates as part of our coursework assignments, because they helped me broaden my horizons and see things from many different perspectives.

LUMS has provided me with a reputable brand name which employers recognise not only for its quality, but also for the right skill set I acquired in order to demonstrate to potential employers that I have the required awareness of the global banking sector and I can rise to the challenge in the current difficult climate. The Careers team was of immense help in my job search, helping me to identify the right career path, developing my story for networking and job interviews, and finding appropriate channels for me to seek opportunities for myself. I was also able to reach out to a global alumni network that was ever ready to help when I was going for interviews, as well as after I joined my current employer. I find it a great asset to be able to talk to people at different stages in their finance careers and seek their guidance. A few months after graduating, I have been successful in securing a role with Citigroup, which I feel is the right stepping stone for my long-term career goals. The MSc MBF helped to ensure that I was up-to-speed from day one, creating an immediate positive impact.

Apart from my formal academic requirements, I was also the student representative for my cohort; a demanding, challenging, but absolutely beneficial and enriching activity. Being a Student Rep means that you have the chance to put across the views of your course mates which can help enhance their university experience. You get to form a great relationship with your Department, and understand how your Department functions better. You have the opportunity to work with fellow Student Reps across from the other master programmes within LUMS and exchange ideas of how your courses may be improved. It's a really rewarding role that enables you to serve your fellow students, while you are able to learn and develop new skills in the process, such as time management and communication skills.

All in all, I would describe my time in Lancaster as an once-in-a-lifetime experience and definitely the best choice I have made in my life so far. The practical knowledge and skills I acquired and the people from different parts of the world I had the chance to meet here made this year totally memorable, which contributed towards both my career and personal development.