Kerstin Karu

Country of origin: Canada

Chief Executive, Karu

Involved in entrepreneurship activity during her time at Lancaster, Kerstin has gone on to found two companies, Vagaema (Wagamama) Apparel and, more recently, Karu.

There were a variety of reasons influencing my decision to pursue my undergraduate studies at Lancaster University. As I was determined to study Marketing, I was seeking a university that held a high reputation within the field and I stumbled upon Lancaster University Management School. I was also tempted by the fact that the University, in general, was and still is, ranked as one of the best in the UK.

The opportunity to live on a university campus that stands separate from the city, and that combines all the aspects of the student life together, seemed very tempting. Furthermore, the positive word of mouth from a friend of mine, who was already studying at LUMS back then, also had a major impact on my decision to choose LUMS as my first choice for higher education.

Project work and working as a group certainly taught me a lot during my three years at Lancaster University. Project work allowed me to apply theory into practice, which was a unique and exciting experience.

I believe that working as a group, however, taught me the most. I learned that it can be very enjoyable to work as a group if one has good team-working and interpersonal skills. On the other hand, it can be very challenging at times and I certainly learned a lot about how to solve problems with people who come from different cultural backgrounds and with people who are simply not motivated to work. In terms of my favourite modules, Digital Marketing and E-Business certainly stood out from the rest.

In my first year of study I managed a project for SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise), which was very challenging yet rewarding, as I had to learn how to manage individuals who were of older age than me and who came from different cultural backgrounds. Furthermore, it gave me the opportunity to strengthen my team working skills and learn about smart phone application development and market research.

I was elected course representative for the Marketing department and also Vice President, then President of Lancaster Entrepreneurs Society, which meant that I had to take upon a manager’s job running a society with several hundred members. By my final year at Lancaster University, I was also elected as the President of Lancaster Entrepreneurs Society and as the Vice President of the Marketing Society.

After my second year of study I was hired as a search engine optimisation (SEO) analyst to work for three different companies from July 2012 until November 2012.

My time at Lancaster University has been absolutely amazing – and that is an understatement! I would never have thought that by the age of 22 I would have friends from all over the world and the portfolio of experience that I have now. My time at Lancaster has made me realise that I am capable of doing so much more than I ever thought.