Donglin Duanmu

Country of origin: China

Government Consultant, China Institute for International Strategic Studies

When I decided to do an MBA, I was at a middle stage in my career and felt I needed to improve my career prospects. I had already worked in the Diplomatic Service for over six years – both in the Chinese Embassy in Romania and in the Foreign Affairs Ministry. I had also spent three years as a research project manager in a national think-tank.

I wanted to gain some real business knowledge and a balanced view of various business disciplines, particularly as my aim is to move into strategic consulting. I chose the Lancaster MBA because of its rapidly rising FT ranking and also because I had several friends who had already finished the MBA course at Lancaster, and they all spoke highly of it.

I enjoy the multinational atmosphere on the MBA – sharing our experiences and our unique cultures. Talking to other students within the class is itself a real learning experience for me.

Within the programme, I particularly like the fact that we have three chances to do real live consultancies: the Entrepreneurial Challenge, the Consultancy Challenge and the summer project. These have given me experience of dealing with organisations of different sizes and scales – from start-ups or small businesses through to large companies.

I like campus life for several reasons. Being in the countryside, it’s really tranquil and quiet, which is a nice change from the city life I’m used to. Living close to the teaching buildings gives me more time to study and focus on my programme. I’ve got the luxury of getting up five minutes before my lecture – and rushing to get there on time! There are also many facilities I can make use of, like the Sports Centre, where I go swimming virtually every day – a great way to relax after the intensiveness of the study.

I have also been able to get help from staff in other departments outside the Management School – which was very useful, for example, in our consultancy projects. Through these projects and other assessed modules we get many opportunities to challenge ourselves and improve our presentation skills. We have outside consultants who come in and advise us on presentations. That has been very beneficial for me, since I didn’t have much confidence before in public speaking.

My intention is to go back to China and find a job there, but I’ve had a lot of help from the MBA Careers Manager – such as advice on how to adapt my CV to the requirements of different companies and opportunities to network with Chinese companies with branches in the UK. The brand value of the Lancaster MBA will increase my profile a lot, which will be very useful in the job hunting process. The Career Advancement Programme has also helped me to identify what type of job will really satisfy my career ambitions – and how to go about getting it!