Tom Huggon

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Associate, Ernst & Young

After completing my undergraduate degree in Economics at Newcastle University I came out with a feeling of having enjoyed my time at University, meeting some incredible people and getting through my course. However, I wanted a greater commercial perspective and deeper insight into business in the real world. I wanted to go to a top-class institution that would provide me with a more practical understanding of business concepts and give me an edge in the graduate recruitment market.

I chose to do the Management MSc at Lancaster because of the University’s reputation, but also because of the location, close to my home in the North West, and because the MSc was affordable.

Study

I wanted to enjoy my year, but also work hard at the same time. I believe that I got a perfect balance in this respect. Work was intense at times, and the duration of the Masters was something that I had not experienced before. Having said this, I was able to get time off and enjoy myself whilst also gaining excellent marks. There were a number of different modules which genuinely gave a very good overview of different areas within academia but also the different divisions you are likely to see in the vast majority of companies.

I was kept interested by the variety of different modules and also within the modules by the variety of assignments we were asked to complete. There was a broad range of teaching styles as well as assessment methods and a strong focus in many modules on group work. Having said this, there were also opportunities to shine as an individual and I never felt like the group work was too arduous or unpleasant, unlike experiences I had had with these types of assignment in the past. I’m not sure whether this is a reflection of the type of people in my cohort or the way that group work was organised.

I enjoyed the flexibility of the workload, and was able to successfully manage all the other things that I enjoy doing in my life along with the work at Lancaster. I was also able to balance a part-time job with the course.

Social life

As a relatively local student, I lived at home throughout my Masters. However, I didn’t have any problems getting involved with numerous social activities within the MSc Management cohort, LUMS and the University as a whole. The programme appointed two social secretaries at the start of the year and they were great in organising events for everyone to get involved with.

Within LUMS, I mainly took advantage of the various careers events put on by a host of employers – not only were they essential in gaining a graduate position but they also gave me the opportunity to meet with people from other areas of the Management School. I was also an active member the badminton club and a regular 1st team player. I’m still in contact with so many people from the MSc Management and a number of people from outside the course because of those strong relationships we built up during the year.

Project work

As part of my dissertation, I chose to complete a business project for a relatively small company called ‘tripbod’. I am passionate about travel and this seemed such an interesting company to work for and a small start-up where I could make a tangible impact within a short space of time. I was given a great deal of responsibility with producing a research document outlining the position of the enterprise at present, and how the company could move forward with a marketing mix that would ensure strong results.

I loved working on a project which had a tangible impact on a business and that was used to drive change rather than just a piece of work which had a very theoretical basis. This was the general tone of much of the work I completed at Lancaster.

International exchange

During my first term of the Masters, I applied to go on an exchange to St Gallen in Switzerland which would take place after I had completed my degree. I felt that this was one of the very few things I had missed out on during the three years of my undergraduate degree and so I pounced on the opportunity. After speaking to the Exchange Co-ordinator, it became clear that the Swiss exchange was probably the best opportunity of the numerous exchanges on offer. I completed a semester of an MBA whilst there which was a daunting, challenging, but ultimately mind-blowing experience.

I had incredible exposure to experts from different industry sectors as well as experienced lecturers who were world renowned for teaching and their impact in other pursuits including the WTO. I was also able to go on in-depth company visits to companies such as BMW, Nestle and Roche, as well as visiting Luxembourg to see the European Court of Justice and EFTA. All of this was paid for by the University and not only was it a fascinating insight into the workings of successful companies and institutions around Europe, but it also enabled me to travel in a number of different countries and extensively throughout Switzerland.

Career

I secured my graduate job with Ernst and Young during an internship that I completed during the final term of my MSc in Management. EY offered me a role to begin in September 2011 which meant I was able to pursue the exchange to Switzerland that LUMS had offered me and also to gain work experience in the Charity Sector and travel a little more before my career began.

I think my experiences on the MSc Management were crucial in securing my job with Ernst & Young, and I would highly recommend anyone to apply to Lancaster.