Category: MSc Management

Study trip to Prague

During the second term’s reading week, MSc Management students were offered the possibility of going on a study trip to a European capital, to be chosen out of three options. The idea was to get to learn about a new place, from a professional perspective, but without it having any coursework, exams or any other source of stress attached. No need to say that along with that came a big dose of non-business-related fun, be it touristy visits, intense nightlife or just to enjoy our time with our cohort – there were fifty of us in Prague, so one couldn’t possibly get bored.

What brought me to choose Prague was how little I knew about the Czech Republic in many aspects, but specifically about its business ecosystem, its main industries, etc. The most surprising and interesting aspect of the trip was precisely to discover the economic reality of a country that, even as an EU member, remains very unknown for most of us. We had the chance to have a quite comprehensive grasp of how the Czech Republic is positioned in Europe and in the world in various industries. Personally, I was surprised to see how diverse and solid the economy of such a small country is, and it was interesting to hear experts from different fields talking about how they see the future and how they are preparing for it.

A trip to Skoda

We visited companies as diverse as Skoda, the car manufacturer owned by the VW group; Czech Invest, a government’s accelerator and foreign investment attraction office; the Ceska Sporitelna Bank, one of the biggest Czech banks; Avast, a global cyber security firm; and Sotio, a biomedical company specialised in drugs for cancer. Additionally, we had the chance to attend the presentation event of WeWork, which had just started operating in Prague. I found particularly interesting the visit to Sotio and to Avast, as they both are very innovative companies working on two of the most rapid-moving sectors nowadays. In both cases the speaker was a member of the direction board and their presentations were very insightful and inspiring.

Concretely at Avast, we had the opportunity to hear about the current challenges that the sector and the company face from the commercial director of the company, and then we could see the kinds of things they work on daily, with an impressive screen on the background, showing a world map with the cyber attacks that were taking place everywhere in the globe at that instant (no pictures allowed!).

Prague in the sunshine

Apart from the more “professional” aspect of the trip, I personally enjoyed a lot spending a few days with my cohort, and during the visits and during our free time we had the chance to create a much stronger bond among us. In our free time between visits we wandered around the city centre, sat on a terrace to enjoy the stunning weather, and visited some touristic sights such as the Castle of Prague and an obligatory visit to Karlovy, the five-story club that is supposed to be one of the biggest in Europe. However, if there’s something that makes Prague memorable, that is without doubt the Czech beer; world-class taste at an unbelievably affordable price. The party was served.

Overall the trip was a great experience, a good opportunity to take a break from the course in London, to build our knowledge about the realities of business in another country, and to create stronger bonds among the cohort. I am very much looking forward to the international elective I will be undertaking in May in Paris, which is going to be a more professional trip where we will apply what we have learned in class to a real business problem.

Pol Beà Navarro
MSc Management, 2019

Study tour to Berlin

When I found out about the international study tours, I jumped at the opportunity to join. The study tours gave my cohort the chance to visit Lisbon, Berlin or Prague. I chose Berlin as I had the chance to discover the culture, the architecture, the food, but also to meet local entrepreneurs. We went to explore how their businesses are run, what issues they face and how they resolve them.

There is a world outside the classroom ready to back up young people who are willing to work hard. If you have a good idea and the character to pursue your dream, if London won’t be your home, Berlin could be. Personally, I have already worked in France and the UK, and I will now definitely take Berlin into consideration as another option. Cass Business school gave me the possibility to visit the city from a professional prospective that I could never had otherwise.

We met inspirational entrepreneurs who made us see the city through their own eyes. One of them in particular invited us to see beyond the cold German architecture and the cloudy weather, and instead look deeper to appreciate the thumping heart of the city, so open, dynamic and cosmopolitan. Germany is a country that has stood up twice from its own ruins, and both times it became stronger than before. The future is bright in Germany’s capital.

We mostly visited start-up incubators, so since the first day, I started questioning myself and wondering whether I should set my own business instead of working for somebody else. I had never thought seriously about this option, as it once seemed to be a world so far away that it was hard to imagine what it would really look like. However, by meeting these professionals who so openly talked about the failures and the challenges they had to face to get where they are now, I think I now have a realistic overview of what it takes to be an entrepreneur:  a mix of passion and resilience.

I was really inspired by the quote: “ask yourself where the pain is bigger.” This was told to us by Maurice Grassau, CEO at Architrave, which develops digital processes and solutions for the real estate industry. He delivered an incredible speech about launching a start-up that I will remember forever. He explained to us that from his experience, if you will ever find yourself looking for a valuable idea to base your start-up on, you should focus on what is the factor that causes more issues to get done, the thing that is so tricky or time consuming that people would love to pay for getting it sorted. During his speech, he gave us other important insights about managing a business, such as choosing a partner who will often challenge your ideas and thinks differently from you. He also imparted that you should always acknowledge the pressure on your co-workers, as he said “you can’t keep people on stress mode for 12 straight months”.

I’d like to thank Cass for the possibility to listen to such experienced people and see another part of the world. Sometimes we are so focused on the textbooks that we forget that the things we study are aimed to be applied. This trip was a good reminder of that.

Prost!

 

Bianca Gabellini
MSc  Management, 2019

 

A throwback to my year at Cass

Rushlene Kaur Bakshi, MSc Management (2018)

It is rightly said, “Everything happens for a reason.” Although my academic background is in computer science and engineering, I have always had a keen interest in learning about business and management. I wanted to academically explore it further, so I decided to take it up as a master’s degree at Cass Business School.

Student life kicks off

The course formally kicked off at orientation in October 2017, where I walked into an auditorium with approximately 100 people. Back then such a sight would have been extremely overwhelming for an introvert like myself, yet I had no idea that these unfamiliar faces would soon become an integral part of my experience at Cass.

Unlike the Indian system of education, the teaching system at Cass focuses a lot on group work which had me gradually connect with my peers of different nationalities, with different ideologies and different backgrounds. I feel fortunate to have worked with a budding film producer, an economist and a mechanical engineer, all at the same time.

Initially, I was not accustomed to working in groups, but over time I realised the true value of debate and discussion, which influenced my way of thinking– yes, for the better! The ideas suggested during meetings were often unique and contradicting in nature. While there were times when my peers sitting around the table held polar opposite opinions, the contrast brought ahead some amazing solutions. I feel this has made me more open-minded to the different situations that I encounter.

Work hard and play harder

The year has been such a rollercoaster ride, especially in London where you may experience four different seasons within the span of a single day. Furthermore, the events have been a revelation:  from freshers’ parties, to networking trips to Milan and Florence, the exposure has been extremely fun-filled and phenomenal.

The Cass library has been a great resource for me, I feel it is so easy to flip through the webpages in the comfort of my home. I have access to multiple databases so extracting supporting secondary data was never too hard.

As I reach my third term, nostalgia has already started kicking in as there are fewer classes with each passing day and everybody is focusing on completing their individual dissertations. I particularly miss indulging in more group work.

Putting my skills to the test

Nevertheless, working on this term’s real-time consultancy projects with large companies has been interesting. I am currently consulting for real estate giant Tishman Speyer exploring investment opportunities which has been intense yet satisfying.

I am also enthusiastic about working on a Corporate Responsibility Project for my dissertation– Cass is one of few business schools across the UK to provide such an opportunity to students! I look forward to presenting the findings to our client, the international law firm Slaughter and May, this August.

Overall, I feel pursuing a master’s degree at Cass is a lifetime opportunity where you get to experience the best of student life living in the heart of this truly global city, London.

Rushlene Kaur Bakshi
MSc Management (2018)

 

An Investment in Knowledge

I decided to study the MSc in Management at Cass because of its practical focus, prestige and international standing. I tried to take a very proactive role at Cass and ran as one of the class representatives of the MSc in Management cohort. Thanks  to this role, I built relationships with almost all my peers and tried to find ways to improve our experience at Cass. Before joining Cass, my career goals were to secure a full time job in London. My initial areas of interest were management consulting and FMCG, but most importantly finding a job that was dynamic, where I could always learn, with fast career progression and strong values.

On a professional level, I attended seven one-to-one appointments with career coaches, which helped my career and recruitment preparation. I also attended five professional development workshops with various focuses, from CVs and covering letters to preparing for assessment centres and behavioural questions. These seminars were vital for my application process, especially the two employer presentations – both had line-ups of great guests, like current employees and HR reps, who gave me  practical advice about the recruitment processes of their particular companies. I also attended many of the events hosted by the Cass Consultancy Society, such as seminars and panel sessions with top experts in consulting firms an opportunity to network with many employees.

A key piece of advice I have regarding the recruitment process is to start early (around September/October) and be well-informed. I am an international student and, for this reason, finding a job was more challenging for me as I need sponsorship to work in the UK. After applying for many jobs and doing several interviews, I also realised the importance of networking and of forging professional relationships. A referral from an existing employee significantly adds to  your application. It is very important to practise as much as possible, to be comfortable with yourself and to be able to play to your strengths.

Overall, my experience at Cass was very enriching. I had the unique opportunity to meet people of various nationalities which allowed me to understand cultural dynamics and diverse approaches to doing business. I also enjoyed very much working with my study group as we all come from different backgrounds and brought new perspectives, making our work more comprehensive. Another thing I liked about my studies was its practical implementation, like for instance the consulting and strategy seminar working with Bain that simulated a real-life business scenario. And then, on a personal level, the trip to Florence was incredible as we explored one of Italy’s most iconic cities as a cohort, which made many nice memories. It was very nice to get to know my peers more in detail and in a different setting. This trip definitely created stronger bonds between us.  I really look forward to our reunion at the graduation ceremony so we may celebrate our achievements together.

After my master’s at Cass, I am joining Gerson Lehrman Group in their London office as a client solutions analyst in their two-year graduate programme. I am really looking forward to joining GLG as it is the world’s largest membership network for one-on-one professional learning.

Valentina Delgado Buitron
MSc Management, 2018

 

 

How intense is business school?

 

There are many reasons to undertake a master’s. Some study to gain knowledge, others because they feel lost or want to change their career paths. For me, an MSc in Investment Management was a way to learn more about the trading floor.

Whatever the reason, almost every student comes prepared to fight a battle. This became apparent in my first lecture. No one needed to be pushed. Everyone seemed motivated to study the content, ask questions and actively participate in class.

I would be lying if I said that this wasn’t intimidating. I came from an undergraduate degree and all my knowledge was either theoretical or acquired first-hand from short internships. By contrast, most of the students I’ve met have more experience in the financial sector, so have a better understanding of the practical application of academic theory.

But I was determined to outdo expectations. So I picked up every article, book or journal I could find. I asked a thousand questions to my peers and lecturers. The lecturers didn’t mind explaining the same concepts repeatedly until I understood them – that was a major benefit for me. Coursework was fun but also draining. If you got a hardworking group, you sailed through. But this same group could also end up pushing you too hard – we were assigned teams and so couldn’t pick them. However, in my case, luck was on my side and I got blessed with an amazing team. Not wanting to let anyone down, I pushed myself to work extra hard to deliver the best for them. For almost a month, from 9am to 12am, I was either at the university library or the lecture hall. I lost count of the days and the library, especially, became my home.

This is where friends served as my strongest support. Being an international student, they were the closest thing to a family and I’m grateful for their solicitude.

Lastly, if I have frightened you off the MSc course, then think again! Find the motivation, because for me yes, it has been tough it has helped me to grasp the inner-workings of finance, nonetheless. I want a career in private equity an emerging branch of finance and this goal always motivated me to push through. Ultimately, if you love your subject, your passion and ambition will help you weather the most intense and stressful situations.

Mansi Patel,

Investment Management MSc (2019)

The invaluable experience of an international elective: A MSc Management trip to Mannheim

After a lengthy exam period, I was certain the other MSc Management students were also looking forward to our trip to Mannheim, Germany.

The Procurement international elective choice took place at the highly reputable Mannheim Business School, its main campus located within Mannheim Palace, one of the largest baroque castles in Europe. Needless to say, we were excited to see it in person.

When we arrived, my jaw dropped as I marvelled at the building. Wow. Mannheim may not have made it onto Germany’s most beautiful cities rankings but the university looked absolutely majestic.

I didn’t want to begin class immediately so I could soak up the atmosphere from the square, among the students congregated on the fine Monday morning.

Lectures commence

We were escorted to the lecture hall where we met Dr. Thorsten Makowski. Thorsten left the impression that he was more than a lecturer, and so it was true; the man loves hiking and he is set to climb Mount Kilimanjaro sometime next year.

Before lectures commenced, he talked about the German culture and briefly about its economy, but I particularly enjoyed his talk on the “mittelstand”– commonly referring to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Most of the establishments around the city are small businesses, and the city does not rely on global corporations to drive the economy. I was pleased by this concept as common traits associated to mittelstand establishments include family ownership, emotional attachment, generational continuity and strong regional ties.

Kicking back in the German vineyards

Fast forward about 36 hours to Tuesday afternoon. After two days of lectures and case study discussions, our hosts were kind enough to take us to the Palatinate wine region. We had a wine tasting in a small yet beautiful winery, followed by dinner in a neighbouring region, where we dined on delicious German cuisine.

Though we has our own friendship circles on the course, I particularly enjoyed the dinner, as we got the chance to mingle with everyone outside the classroom – a different experience altogether.

Socialising with one another in such an environment gave us the opportunity to connect on a deeper level, whether it was football, hobbies or interests, I am glad the dinner forged new friendships that evening.

Facing our true selves

One of the activities which took place during our lecture on Wednesday was the simulation of the infamous prisoner’s dilemma. The “dilemma” faced by the prisoners is that whatever the other does, each is better off confessing than remaining silent. But the outcome obtained when both confess is worse for each than the outcome they would have obtained had both remained silent.

It gave me a true opportunity to learn about myself. I imagined it was the same for everyone else, as some of the students were astonished by their results and others!

Good vibes to end the trip

During the closing ceremony, Dr. Makowski and our hosts reflected upon the three days and if I were to simply put it, there were good vibes flowing around the room.

I felt a sense of accomplishment. Studying in that lecture theatre – albeit beautiful – for three straight days may have sounded daunting, but the overall experiences certainly compensated for that. It was a bittersweet goodbye as we went our separate ways.

Departing from the team

A few of us decided to spend a day in Frankfurt where we would board our flight back to London. Why not experience Frankfurt as it was only an hour away by train, right?

It was undoubtedly a memorable trip and I will cherish the moments I had with a great bunch of people with whom I feel I have made lifelong friendships.

How to maximise your international elective?

If you’re considering taking the leap and joining the Cass MSc Management programme, I have a few words for you. You must attend the international electives. Immerse yourself in areas unfamiliar to you, the experiences will last a lifetime. There are a few prerequisites for you to follow though.

(1) Do your research.

Familiarise yourself with the area you will be based in, and trust me, you will learn and accomplish more.

(2) Use this opportunity to make friends with the students and staff on your course.

You’re not alone, there will be people out there who share the same passions, interests and hobbies as you – I spent a lot of time talking about my religion; football.

By the time you read this, the few of us who once knew nothing about each other prior to the trip, would have played football together at least twice after, reminiscing the great times we had in Mannheim.

(3) Keep a positive attitude.

Make the most of the Cass resources available to you. Such experiences can change your perception on life and make you appreciate who you are.

On a final note..

Oh, and if you are going to Mannheim, bring some Euros along with you, as most of the local bars – serving truly authentic and ice-cold beer – prefer cash. You really think I would have written a post about Germany WITHOUT mentioning beer?

Amit Tolani
MSc Management (2018)

Assassin’s Creed, Armani Silos, and Pinocchio – it must be the MSc Management study tour of Italy

The Arctic freeze that recently swept across Europe didn’t prevent 172 MSc Management students from travelling on their annual study tour in February. The study tour is a non-credited option in term two that provides students with an alternative experience to traditional classroom-based education.

Students had a choice of either visiting Florence to learn more about the wine industry, culture and art or to Milan where design, branding and the luxury goods sectors were the main focus.

Tours were led by four Italian Cass faculty. Professor Davide Ravasi and Dr Alessandro Giudici guided students in Milan and Dr Simone Santoni and Dr Paolo Aversa in Florence. Each of the faculty was able to share stories and their local knowledge via passionate storytelling which brought to life the country they call home.

The Florence study tour started with a day trip to the enchanting Tuscan hilltop town of San Gimignano which was the location of Assassin’s Creed, the massively popular mixed-media franchise.

Students then roamed the picturesque streets and squares, browsed the local shops and ate award-winning gelato while walking among the town’s famous medieval towers. After lunch the group visited the Fatoria Poggio Alloro vineyard, where they were able to taste world renowned wines such as Chianti Classico.

The second day was spent in Florence, a city noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture. Students visited the Galleria dell’Accademia Museum which displays Michelangelo’s “David” as well as The Uffizi Gallery which displays Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation”.

Students who chose the Milan study tour visited the Kartel and Alpha Romeo museums as well as Galleria Campari and Armani/Silos, a new edition this year.

Armani/Silos is a fashion art museum which showcases Giorgio Armani’s career in fashion. Armani is the most successful Italian designer ever and is fondly thought of as the patron saint of fashion having designed a gospel book cover for the Pope, as well as uniforms for Milanese taxi drivers and the police force.

Students later visited Terrazza Triennale, a rooftop restaurant with a magnificent view to listen to a guest speaker talking about design.

“We hope that our study tours are a refreshing and fun experience” says Course Director Dr Joanna Zaleska. “An option to take part in a study tour enhances social skills as students spend time with peers outside of the classroom to explore new things together. The Cass master’s study trips are about experiencing the real world and provide a learning experience that is creative, lively and encourages new friendships.”

Joanna Zaleska
Director, MSc Management 

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