Balakumar Arumugham

Country of origin: India

Senior Consultant, Arcadis UK

Undertaking a Master’s degree can be very expensive, but the high reputation of UK universities in relation to Master’s degrees reduces the risk factor and gave me the confidence to go ahead. Before joining LUMS I had 5 years international consultancy experience in numerous different countries: UK, India, Australia, Qatar and UAE, where I worked my way up from a Graduate to a Senior Consultant. While I worked as a Senior Consultant in the Middle East I had to deal with stakeholders from different backgrounds on a day-to-day basis, and to manage small-scale technical projects. Although working in industry gave me an opportunity to begin to learn the art of project management through practice, and by working with senior staff and management, I realised that in order to have a successful career in project management I would need more. I therefore decided to do a full-time course in Project Management MSc at Lancaster University Management School. The UK was my first choice because of its' high reputation and the range of 1-year Master’s degree courses on offer. The MSc in Project Management at LUMS had the right balance for me, focusing on essential soft skills (such as leadership, communication skills etc.) as well as technical aspects (such as the principles, and the advanced and commercial aspects of Project Management). For those reasons I chose LUMS.

At LUMS, both the academic and administrative staff members were helpful all the way through from the pre application stage until I began studying at Lancaster. Their responses were quick and helpful. Academic staff were also very friendly and approachable throughout the programme, which gave me immense confidence. My learning experience at LUMS was highly beneficial, with a focus on critical reflection which helped me to relate theoretical concepts to my own previous experience, resulting in a continuous learning process. Working on group projects with cohorts from different cultural backgrounds, and with a range of experience, further enhanced my learning opportunities.

To wake up every morning to the sight of one of the UK’s most scenic places made my university experience complete. The Lake District is just 20 minutes away by train from Lancaster town centre, and I visited it frequently for trail walking, hiking and trekking. The University’s campus is in itself a beautiful place, with plenty of social activities organised throughout the year, encouraging people of different interests to participate and helping students to achieve a balanced university life.

During my final term I completed an in-company consulting project for a company based in the Lake District. It was one of the highlights of the course, with the students working at the frontline on a real time project, with plenty of support and guidance from the University staff.

I look back on my time at Lancaster University as one of the highs of my life, which will have a positive impact throughout the whole of my career.

I was awarded a Scholarship from the LUMS Management Development Division, which contributed towards my tuition fees and certainly eased my financial burden.

I secured a job in North West England during my final term, and started working immediately after completing my degree. I currently work as a Senior Consultant with Arcadis (UK), one of the top three companies in the world for Design and Consultancy. The skills I gained at Lancaster University have made an immense contribution towards both my personal success and my career growth.