Ioannis Vaganof

Country of origin: Greece

Commercial & Marketing Executive, BCMY

I chose to study at LUMS, not only because it’s among the UK Top 10 Business Schools, but also because I was particularly interested in the E-Business & Innovation programme. In addition, there is an excellent careers service, which was an important factor in order to support me while I was looking for my next professional step.

The course was a perfect fit with my previous working and academic experience, which included seven years in a variety of commercial and marketing roles in Greece, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Informatics & Management. The programme was demanding and competitive, making it very challenging.

The E-Business & Innovation MSc offered an excellent and rich variety of modules related to my interests. The programme also involved being a part of a multi-cultural cohort, in which 11 different countries were represented. I had the opportunity to work on more than 10 different group projects, where it was very important to identify respect and understand the different habits and attitudes of each person, as well as their working style.

The highlights of this course for me were:

- The E-Business module - which had rich content, a unique style and guest lecturers from Google and IBM.
- The Innovation module – we learnt new and useful knowledge about a large variety of innovation theories and concepts.
- The IBM module – which involved professional guest speakers who spoke about their experiences.
- The Forrest Hills activities day – this gave us the opportunity to improve our teamwork, leadership and cooperation skills.
- The Consultancy-based project - for 2 months we successfully supported a Marketing Agency to create a new website and a social media strategy. The project resulted in excellent references and feedback about our analysis and project management skills.
- Participated in the 'Google Online Marketing Challenge' with 4 other MSc EBIN students - we were ranked as AdWords Business Semi-Finalists, achieving second place in the UK out of 57 teams.

Student life is very enjoyable at Lancaster University. There is a Sports Centre on campus, a lot of socialising areas, from pubs to cafes to bars, and plenty of societies to join. Personally, I had the honour of being the ‘Social Representative’ for my course, giving me the chance to organise events such as general socials/get-togethers, the festivities to celebrate the programme’s 10th anniversary and a Greek Party, which was very memorable and successful.

Towards the end of the programme, I led a team of three in a consultancy-based project for a marketing agency in Manchester. The main objective was to recommend key characteristics for their new website, based on analysis of their competitors’ websites using Usability Evaluation Methods of Heuristics and User Testing. This was the first real interaction I’d had with a company based in the UK, where we had to show our professionalism and apply the knowledge we had gained during the academic year.

The facilities at Lancaster are excellent, particularly within the Management School. In addition, the accommodation offers an ideal environment for students to focus on their studies but also to enjoy their social life. With regard to my course, I was very impressed by the high standard of professionalism from all the staff members. I would also like to express my gratitude to the EBIN External Exam Board who honoured me with the EBIN Leadership Award. I truly recommend that you study at Lancaster, as it will be the best year/s of your life!

I was so pleased when I found out that I had been shortlisted to receive a scholarship from LUMS regarding my tuition fees. After a demanding and friendly interview with the Programme Director, I received one of the highest amounts, which supported me financially during my academic year. I was also impressed by the fact that we could apply for funding to attend important conferences relevant to our studies. I was able to attend the international conference of “Future Internet Assembly” in Athens as all of my travel costs were paid for through the Tony Verdon funding at LUMS.

Another important factor which played a part in me choosing to study at Lancaster University was the LUMS Careers Team. A huge benefit of this service was that I received one-to-one advice about transforming my CV so that it truly reflected my experience and further goals. In addition, the LinkedIn workshops were valuable to understand the importance of professional social networking and how I can take it advantage of it. The support I gained from the Careers Team began in my first week at Lancaster, up until I found a job!

After completing the EBIN course, my plans were to stay and work in the UK to gain important experience working abroad. I’m proud to say that I’m currently working as a Commercial and Marketing Executive at BCMY Ltd, which is an innovative and sustainable printer cartridge recycling company. The knowledge I was taught at Lancaster supported me in becoming a valuable member at BCMY Ltd. My position has enabled me to be part of projects related to: online marketing, website usability and challenging business competitions, such as Richard Branson’s (Virgin Media Business) ‘Pitch to Rich’ competition. I organised the online marketing promotion for this competition, which led us to be shortlisted for 8th place among 530 companies during the first stage of the competition.