Naeem Desai

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Graduate Management Development Programme, Lidl UK

My decision to study at Lancaster University Management School stemmed from my earlier academic and professional experiences. Having previously studied a Law degree at Lancaster University, I was aware of the Management School and its excellent reputation. Furthermore, following my professional experiences—and more specifically having held management positions in a number of companies throughout my studies—it became clear to me that I wanted to pursue a career in management. I researched LUMS further and noted that, in addition to the School’s high ranking in a number of league tables for the quality of the teaching on the courses offered, there was an emphasis on practical learning through company projects and real-life consulting projects. Therefore I concluded that studying at LUMS would provide me with the knowledge and skills required to help me to achieve my career goal.

The overall experience is what I enjoyed most about my Management MSc degree programme. I very much enjoyed the subjects that were taught on the programme, such as Operations Management, Human Resource Management and Accounting and Finance for Managers. I was able to learn about both the theoretical and practical aspects of management from leading academics in those areas, which will better prepare me for my role at Lidl on the Graduate Management Development Programme. Additionally, the MSc in Management attracts students from many different parts of the world, and being able to learn about other cultures and work alongside diverse people was an experience that I enjoyed enormously. I have been able to develop my personal and professional network on an international scale, and I am now able to speak a total of seven languages owing to the fact that during my time at Lancaster I have had opportunities to learn Mandarin, Hindi and German, through a combination of formal teaching and learning from my peers.

There are a variety of clubs and societies to get involved with, and I chose to join the ‘European and Asian Languages Society’ in order to learn Mandarin. I also attended a number of social events held by the University, including class dinners. These were great fun, especially at the beginning of the year when members of the new cohort were getting to know each other.

As part of my Master’s programme I completed a company-based consulting project. I was given the opportunity to work on a real-life case for a medium-sized UK-based company. The client company wished to increase its rate of growth, and my team and I were required to advise them on how they could achieve their new growth percentage target. Working on this project taught me how to implement what I had learned on the course, in areas such as accounting and finance, marketing and strategic management. Through a combination of primary and secondary research my team and I were able to identify potential avenues for our client to explore in order to achieve its aim, and to submit to the client an executive style report setting out our findings and recommendations.

My experience at Lancaster has been excellent. I have learnt so much and also built my professional network, which will be extremely useful throughout my career. I have been able to take part in a number of extra-curricular activities alongside my studies, and I will take with me vast amounts of knowledge that I will be able to use in the future.

In addition to the Alumni Loyalty Scholarship that I received from the University for having studied here previously, I received the MSc Management Programme Scholarship for demonstrating academic excellence and evidence of existing skills in leadership. These scholarships allowed me to purchase all the learning resources needed for the course.

The application experience has been extremely challenging, especially because I was studying for my MSc in Management qualification and working part-time, whilst simultaneously applying for graduate positions. The LUMS Careers Service provided me with advice and support, and helped me to prepare for the various stages of the recruitment process, which ranged from writing applications to assessment centres and final interviews. Their help and support, combined with my hard work and dedication, allowed me to secure offers from Lidl UK, BAE Systems, Grant Thornton and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and ultimately enabled me to choose the direction of my career.

I have accepted a position at Lidl UK GMBH on their Graduate Management Development Programme. On completion of this graduate scheme my ambition is to progress within the company and undertake a role in senior management. In addition to the many areas of management that I have learnt about, the skills I have gained during my time at Lancaster University will aid me significantly in my role. Through my studies and practical experiences I have further developed my ability to think strategically, and I also have developed a number of the competencies that employers look for. These include leadership and teamwork, both of which I have developed through group work assignments and team-building activities on the course. As I am undertaking a management role I will be required not only to lead my team but also to work collaboratively with them. The high level of exposure to leadership and team-working opportunities I experienced during my Master’s programme has taught me how to deal with a number of situations that could arise in my job, and this will be extremely useful.