Yuantao Peng

Country of origin: China

Senior Project Manager, China Aviation Asset Management

I chose to study at LUMS because of its great reputation for academic excellence and the pleasant environment, but the most attractive factor that influenced my decision was LUMS’ innovative teaching methods.

The structure of the Project Management MSc really gave me a chance to get involved in many different kinds of projects and practise what I learned. The word we heard most in LUMS was “reflection”. In every module, the tutor would encourage us to reflect after participating in a project, which helped me to develop good habits of studying. Even after graduation, I still reflect after every project and it contributes to my life-long learning and improvement. “Reflection” also helped me understand myself better as a project manager and realise that systemic and analytical thinking is my expertise. I do benefit from this understanding when I compete with other project managers in the real business world.

Additionally, I met and collaborated with people from diverse backgrounds, such as IT, construction, finance and manufacturing. This experience broadened my horizons when planning my future career. Owing to other people’s genuine advice, I restarted my career in corporate finance, which is a brand new area for me.

After I made my decision of pursuing a career in corporate finance, I planned to learn more about financial management and analysis. LUMS maintains connections with a range of respected universities and companies, which offer plenty of opportunities to get a work placement or join an international exchange scheme. I selected Bocconi University since it is the best business school in Italy and is located in Milan which is an amazing city to live in.

Over the four months at Bocconi University, I expanded my knowledge in accounting, financial reporting and analysis. I also combined my management and project management background with financial knowledge to develop a deeper understanding of how to finance a project and maintain a healthy cash flow, as well as how to evaluate the performance of a project and its project manager.

I am glad I got the chance to study in Lancaster and what I gained from this experience is invaluable. It is like a journey of self-discovery, for it helped me to explore my capabilities and what I want to do. What I acquired through learning and practice of this programme prepared me to face fierce competition in the real world by being a skilful and constantly learning project manager. In terms of LUMS Careers support services, I took some workshops in CV writing, did a mock assessment centre and interviews and received practical pieces of advice on job applications and interviews.

Currently, I work for China Aviation Asset Management, which belongs to one of Fortune Global 500 companies. As a Senior Project Manager, it is my responsibility to find profitable opportunities for investment and initiate projects to generate great retursn for shareholders. My job includes conducting financial analysis and due diligence to help investors make rational decisions, while selecting project managers, allocating resources and tracking project performances. I have acquired all the necessary skills to fulfil the requirements of my role through studying at Lancaster University.

The most crucial takeaway I got from my studies is accepting my strengths and limitations as a project manager. I had worked for three years before I started my Master’s degree, but I climbed the career ladder way faster after I graduated from Lancaster.