Filipa Marques

Country of origin: Portugal

Graduate Trainee, José de Mello Saúde

I started to travel by myself at the age of 16 to study English in the UK and in Canada, during summer holidays. Then I acknowledged the great value and potential of having an international education. Since globalisation is a reality, knowing how to deal, relate and work with people from several cultural backgrounds gives anyone a professional and personal advantage towards others. Thus, after finishing my undergraduate degree at NOVA University of Lisbon, I decided it was time to leave Portugal to get my long-wished international experience while pursuing my career objectives. Católica University of Portugal, one of the best academic institutions in the country, holds a partnership with LUMS by offering a double degree programme in which students attend the first year of the MSc at Católica (there I learned about general management topics) and for the second year of the MSc students move to LUMS where, in my case, I have deepened my knowledge and skills in marketing but still as part of the MSc Management. The double degree programme thus seemed perfect to fulfil my ambition and will to study abroad, especially with LUMS being a top 10 UK university, which is also ranked by The Financial Times.

The MSc Management programme at LUMS is undoubtedly business-oriented. This, together with the possibility for students with diverse academic backgrounds to enrol on it, is Lancaster’s biggest asset. Thus, both the structure and the modules of MSc Management are designed to fully prepare students for their future careers as managers, regardless of the discipline in their undergraduate degree. For example, after taking all core management modules, students are challenged to solve a real business problem for a real client during a compulsory consultancy project. In the course of this, students apply their theoretical knowledge and related skills, but above all, they have an opportunity to learn how to act, negotiate and communicate in a business environment with actual business players. Such experience provides the students with an advantage when applying to graduate jobs. I feel much more prepared to deal with the challenges ahead at any company.

Living on campus was the best decision I could have taken. Part of Lancaster University’s DNA is to evolve and integrate its students by promoting several social activities, mainly led by students and by the colleges. Both ensure that the students fit into their new home. The best I got from Lancaster, from a social point of view, were the everyday beers I took with friends at Gradbar, a pub right at the college which every week hosted live music and open mic nights. This was an excellent spot where I got the chance to make friends from other degrees. Lancaster also promotes each student’s own personality and identity by holding a huge number of societies created by students (both undergraduate and postgraduate). These range from music, dancing and sports to economics, marketing and employability-focused societies. At Lancaster, there is plenty to do both to enjoy yourself with the activities and sports you love or want to try and through the societies, which can help you develop the skills you need to start the career you are aiming for. 

As part of my MSc thesis, I applied and was subsequently chosen to work on a consultancy project for Bentley Motors Ltd. This work involved a full, detailed and well supported report together with a presentation to Bentley’s Director of Marketing & Sales and his team. Both the report and the presentation stated key valuable recommendations on how Bentley could better enhance its customer’s luxury experience during the awareness and prospecting stages of the customer journey that leads to the purchase of a Bentley. This was a truly great opportunity to know more about the world of such an iconic luxury brand and the major challenges it currently faces. Such project puts you under good pressure as you feel the weight of responsibility which makes you strive to deliver your very best work considering that in consultancy the key is to satisfy your client needs. This made me develop the way I act when facing client meetings, related negotiations and the way I present the agreed deliverables to the client, making it engaging and attractive. This involves the employment of negotiation, analytical, communication and presentation skills.

Studying at Lancaster transformed me into a persistent, determined, confident and results-oriented woman ready to become apart of real businesses. By employing the key hard and soft skills I developed at Lancaster I am much more prepared to be actively part of an organisation and above all to help its respective business to grow strategically and in a sustainable way.

Right after completing the MSc Management, I decided to accept a place at José de Mello Saúde’s graduate scheme. The company is the market leader among private healthcare providers in Portugal, as it owns and manages more than 15 hospitals and smaller healthcare centres all over the country. I have had the chance to work very close to first line managers on two distinct departments and I am completing an annual project with the other 7 chosen trainees, in which we are developing the value proposition and the implementation processes of new innovative services for oncology patients. The experience I got at Lancaster was crucial as it provided me with the hard and soft skills needed to succeed as a manager and a leader in the future.