Portrait photograph of: Georgia Harper

Georgia Harper

Country Of Origin: United Kingdom

Degree: BA Management & Entrepreneurship, 2017

When deciding on where to go to university I had been accepted onto courses at all of my five choices with LUMS being on top. When it came down to choosing, it was a relatively easy decision, as LUMS offered an innovative and more practically minded course with the honour of being part of a consistently top 10 university in the UK. Generally I also loved the Lancaster University campus and the college system creating more of a community.

Throughout my university career I have learnt that I am an experiential learner, therefore I have really loved the practical elements of the course. In my second year I took a consulting module in which we worked with real businesses or charities as student consultants and produced a report with recommendations. I really enjoyed this module as it was our first opportunity to experience a semi-professional environment and relationship whilst still with the support of the teaching staff. I believe this was a great foundation for us to go into the real business world for our placement year. For me the placement year has been the most worthwhile decision of my university career. I learnt a lot at IBM, and living in London, that I have been able to draw upon in my final year at university, allowing me to make the most of university resources while I can and going on to earn Management School Student of the Year 2016, and James Milnes Placement Student of the Year Award 2017! The final year modules have been thoroughly stimulating, requiring us to think about how we learn individually and how people we manage may learn; how to go about setting up a business and drawing up a business plan to achieve our goals as entrepreneurs; the various ways in which we can use existing products/ services and make our own through innovation; and, through my dissertation I have spoken to many EIRs, creating some valuable contacts.

From my first year I have found the best decision I made regarding my social life was to live in a townhouse in Grizedale College. Townhouses, in my opinion, create a greater sense of community and a larger pool of people to find friends, living with 12 people you immediately have your own little club to socialise with.

I also saw university as a chance to try out everything I wanted to before it was too late, so I joined a new sports club each year. During first year I joined the University women's football team, it was not as easy as it looked in 'Bend it Like Beckham', in my second year I joined the Grizedale netball team and kick boxing, and in my last year year I became vice captain of the Grizedale netball A’s and joined trampolining. Joining these clubs allowed me to broaden my horizons by meeting new people, making lifelong friends, and also taking me out of my comfort zone to gain new skills. I think everyone, no matter how bad you may be, should join multiple societies!

And of course you can't mention Lancaster University social life without...SUGAR (Student’s Union club)

In my third year I worked at IBM in London. I was part of the Government and Defence sector working as a Business Operations Advisor. This basically entailed me working with the sales team and management. My primary roles included; updating the management team on the latest developments with client deals, searching for new opportunities among our clients to sell IBM services/ products, analysing the team sales, forecasts and potential and taking part in client meetings. Additionally I carried out the development of an online catalogue within a government database that acted as an Amazon type marketplace for clients to obtain supplier services. This involved me managing a team of 60 people, all more senior than myself, to upload 200 products within 6 weeks. It was a great experience! I also managed to work my way into the Watson team which allowed me to learn about the up and coming technology of artificial intelligence.

A placement year is such a worthwhile experience. I picked up lots of new skills, in excel, presenting and carrying out meetings, creating reports, etc. I also gained experience and with it confidence in the corporate environment. Mainly I learnt that every experience is what you make of it. I carried out my primary role but I wanted more, so I took on more responsibility, networked with more people, worked with different areas of IBM and utilised the different training programmes, spending a day at the UK Sale School (meant to only be for graduates and experienced hires). If you know what you want from an experience then do everything you can to get it, if you don't like the experience you are having then change it!

Experience from Lancaster University is fantastic - for me personally it has been such a worthwhile journey both personally and professionally.

I used LUMS Careers services at several points during my time at LUMS. Firstly for help obtaining a placement, they looked at my CV and gave advice, carried out a mock interview and listened to my presentation. I have also used them towards the end of my degree in helping to find graduate jobs in hospitality, which is still a work in progress. I have been pleasantly surprised by the willingness, friendliness and availability of the careers team.

Following my graduation I am taking a year out. I have always enjoyed working in the hospitality industry and since I was little I have wanted to own a chain of boutique hotels. Graduate jobs in this industry however are not as obviously promoted as those in the Big 4 and during my final year at university I decided it was more important to get the degree and then think about a graduate job. Therefore I am using this year to find the right graduate scheme for me while acquiring new skills and experiences at the same time. In September I will be taking a 2 week sailing course to earn my day skipper certificate and with that I will work on flotilla holidays abroad, in a completely new environment! I am also going to travel around South America! Without my time at university and on placement I would not have the confidence and self-belief to be able to take a year out and seize these opportunities while my peers all enter into careers. Watch this space!