Sarah Gledhill

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Senior Analyst, Towers Watson

I chose to study at LUMS at postgraduate level for a number of reasons. I completed my undergraduate degree at LUMS and had a fantastic experience: I loved the course, the people and Lancaster itself, so the opportunity to continue studying at LUMS was a very exciting prospect for me. In addition, I was drawn to the high reputation of LUMS, which is recognised by employers across the globe. However, I was first and foremost drawn to the MSc ITMOC as a course, which offered exactly what I was looking for in a Masters degree.

I chose ITMOC for its distinctive, interdisciplinary focus on the social and technical aspects of organisational life. Prior to ITMOC, I had studied Management and Organisation, and was keen to both build on this knowledge, and explore a number of new subjects that have become central to businesses in recent years. In particular, as IT becomes an increasingly influential factor in strategic decision-making, it becomes ever more important to understand how technologies are organised and managed, which involves complex social, cultural and political processes. From this perspective, I felt that ITMOC would be fascinating to study, and would offer me the essential and most relevant knowledge and skills to pursue a career in contemporary business life.

I had an absolutely fantastic year on the course, and enjoyed every aspect of it. The teaching was excellent, and the modules covered a broad range of topics, which were fascinating to explore. The lecturers encouraged critical and reflexive thinking, which transformed the way I thought about different concepts on the course. It helped me to make important connections between diverse ideas, and question and challenge these ideas in order to develop a deeper understanding of them. The weekly reflective practice sessions also created an opportunity for the whole group to share their reflections on the course, which helped me to understand different concepts from different perspectives. Adopting this critical and reflexive mindset enabled me to get the most from the course, and taught me practical analytical skills that have been invaluable in the workplace.

My favourite module on ITMOC was Knowledge Management and IT. I found it fascinating to learn about how organisations seek to address the increasingly important challenge of managing knowledge, and the effectiveness of IT systems. I subsequently chose Knowledge Management as the topic of my dissertation, and worked in collaboration with KPMG’s Global Knowledge Team to conduct research on their newest Knowledge Management technology. This was a great opportunity to understand the conceptual ideas studied on the course in a practical context, and to work closely with experienced KPMG professionals in the field. It was a fantastic experience to work with the Global Knowledge Team, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole dissertation process.

As well as the content of the course, the learning environment on ITMOC was very positive. It was a pleasure to work with and learn from such a brilliant group of students, from a range of different backgrounds and nationalities. I made great friends on the course, both through group work projects and the many social activities we organised as a group. As students, we also built great relationships with the ITMOC faculty; I’m extremely grateful for their encouragement and support throughout the year. I can’t recommend the course and the University highly enough, and have wonderful memories from my time in Lancaster.

I am currently working as an Analyst in the Rewards, Talent and Communication team at Towers Watson. As a team, we assist clients with the design and implementation of programmes that drive employee engagement and overall performance.

I got my job at Towers Watson through an online application to a graduate programme, and subsequently went through a number of stages including ability tests, a telephone interview and an assessment day, in order to gain a place. Particularly in the later stages of this application process, ITMOC was extremely useful in helping me to gain this place. Firstly, having a Masters gave me an advantage over others academically. In addition to this, the specific knowledge I gained from the modules on ITMOC was directly relevant to the knowledge I would need in my role at Towers Watson. I was able to talk in depth about how I could use my knowledge from ITMOC in a practical, pragmatic context in the workplace. For instance, the importance of stakeholder management in large-scale IT projects.