Dimitra Papachristou

Country of origin: Greece

Supervising Advisor, KPMG, Greece

Before joining the MSc in ITMOC in 2005 I had gained a BSc in Industrial Management and Technology and already had some working experience. Due to the fact that the graduate job market is getting more and more competitive, I felt that a postgraduate degree would enhance my employability and career prospects for the future.

During my undergraduate studies and throughout my working experience, I discovered that in the new knowledge economy, the best MSc is one that consists of two main disciplines: technology and management. My desire to study also stemmed from my need for personal satisfaction; I simply loved the subject and wanted to continue academic study.

After researching many MSc programmes, I concluded that ITMOC was second to none. What differentiates ITMOC is that it provides the perfect balance between IT and management.

The programme provides students with the necessary knowledge of tools and methods in order to exploit the technical nature of IT, but most importantly focuses on how one should develop and manage IT in the organisation of the future; the organisation that considers IT as a factor that induces change and is one of strategic importance. The modules and assessments are designed in a way that accurately reflects the demands of today’s business. The theoretical context enables students to understand and foresee managerial issues regarding IT-induced change, while the more practical modules provide them with the knowledge and skills to offer guidance in terms of effective ways of action.

However, one should not take for granted that the knowledge and skills that ITMOC provides are acquired just by attending the course. The programme is demanding in terms of tasks and effort, but one can meet these demands by efficiently allocating time for groupwork, individual assessments, study for the exams, and of course time for pleasure and entertainment.

An important factor that contributes to achieving the above is the environment in Lancaster. The staff and faculty are so kind and always present to help in any concern; the campus is a great place to live since it provides everything one might need; the University offers every kind of facility in order for one to research and study; the student accommodation is ideal, and last – but not least – Lancaster is such a wonderful place and offers so many options for leisure activities that one will not feel for a moment deprived of anything.

Three months before completing ITMOC I was offered a position to work as an IT Advisor for KPMG in Greece. I strongly believe that the abilities, knowledge, and skills that I acquired on the programme contributed significantly in my being offered the job by KPMG. First of all, just the fact than one holds a degree from LUMS gives you a competitive advantage. Recruitment executives are aware of the University’s worldwide reputation. When these executives interview Lancaster graduates they are aware that they are dealing with people who have obtained their degree by working really hard, and that they are responsible and prepared to meet business demands.

From the time I had my first job interview until today, I constantly make use of everything I learnt on the course. The Skills Development module helped me tremendously in promoting myself and demonstrating my abilities not only during the assessment centres but also when I had to deal with client issues, for example a progress presentation or a project delivery.

My position in KPMG concerns Risk Advisory Services and especially Enabling Technologies where most of the cases have to do with implementing a new system or replacing an existing one. The majority of the projects are carried out by following certain procedures on which ITMOC modules are absolutely applicable. For example, Project Management ideas and techniques are being used throughout a project’s lifecycle since each project has to remain within the defined limits of budget, work plan, cost, and time. Moreover, the initial phase of a project has to do with business requirements and analysis specifications where methodologies learnt on Systemic Interventions and Consulting and Analysis and Design are made use of.

Regarding the more theoretical modules I perceived their major importance as twofold. Apart from the fact that an advisor has to make organisations understand how IT should be used as a strategic factor – the knowledge of which is learnt in Strategy and IT Management –when it comes to replacing an existing system an advisor must assist the organisation in managing the IT-induced change – concepts which are analysed in The Management of Organisation Change.

The second aspect has to do with the organisation one works for. Today, organisations want employees who are flexible and adjustable to new initiatives and trends. The fact that ITMOC helped me understand the various interpretations of IT and the roles that IT has in an organisation – for example in Knowledge Management – enabled my smooth transition to the modern organisation, provided me with the requisite qualification and renewed my confidence so I can stand up to conversations with seniors regarding similar issues.

Overall, my year in Lancaster was a unique, and unforgettable experience which influenced me from a personal and professional perspective. I developed my intellectual skills and my ability to use my initiative and motivation wisely, both as part of a team and individually. I feel privileged that I met so many people from all over the world – whose culture has affected me positively – and that I acquired the invaluable knowledge ITMOC has offered me through the high-quality education and teaching methods that LUMS guarantees.