Country of origin: Greece
Project Manager, Edenred
I chose the MSc in Project Management at Lancaster mainly because of the curriculum which entirely fitted my needs and expectations. Together with Lancaster’s great reputation for academic excellence, the course seemed ideal for my ambitions, namely to gain a depth of project management knowledge and give me the opportunity to find a competitive job in the sector.
The MSc helped me to combine my IT background from my Bachelor’s degree with a complete project management tool kit. It also developed my management and leadership strengths.
Studying at Lancaster was a great experience. I had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with people from all around the world, from China to Europe and Canada. This multicultural environment enhanced the learning experience since students from different backgrounds could provide a wide variety of ideas and solutions to the problems we encountered during our assignments. Expect to work on many group projects along with individual essays, balancing theory and practice. The curriculum is so well structured that you know from day one that this can only be a Project Management course!
The most interesting part of the course was my summer placement with HSBC, where I helped an experienced project manager to set the plan for a big project (both in terms of duration and budget) using a structured approach. This was for a performance improvement project in the rail industry in which HSBC has a big stake.
Over the two months I travelled to different client sites, including London, Manchester and Glasgow, to analyse the problem and gather the client’s requirements. I was free to use all the tools and techniques that I was rigorously taught throughout the year and test them in a real business environment. Meanwhile, the University supported me by providing guidance from a process consultant who guided me through the whole client entry process and helped me keep my focus on the real business need instead of losing myself in the depth of the technical information that the project involved.
The learning I acquired through this exercise was invaluable, for it made me understand the strengths and limitations of project management, the politics in a real organisation, team work and the cultural differences between me and my colleague from China. My dissertation was directly linked to this project; by investigating three critical incidents from my personal experience, I was able to draw from the academic literature solutions to real issues that I was likely to face in my future career. And indeed the entire course helped realise my initial target and get a job with IBM as a Project Management Trainee.