Tag: Postgraduate

Work and study from home: how to stay productive

Remote work has become our new reality, especially in 2020.

A lot of us are new to working or studying from home. It can be challenging to organise our work processes in our homes. As a Cass MSc Global Finance student, my programme is taught online so I have unique insights into how to study effectively at home.

Here are my top three tips that help me stay productive while working and studying from home:

  1. Create a schedule

For me, the benefit of studying from home is that I do not need to follow a typical 9-to-5 schedule. While you need to be present online during normal working hours to be able to contact your colleagues and classmates and join meetings, you also have the opportunity to optimise your day according to your productivity.

Figure out what your peak workflow times are by writing down your state of mind throughout the day. Some people would rather get all of their hard work out the way in the morning, even before breakfast, while others can only start thinking clearly after lunch and reach the top of their productivity by late night, like I do. Luckily, working from home means that no matter which category you fall into, you have the choice of making a schedule that best suits your peak workflow times.

Separating your working hours from personal time is helpful too. I always include regular breaks in my schedule. I use five to 45 minutes of rest every few hours to do things like home workouts, making another cup of tea or coffee, reading the news or even scrolling through my Instagram feed. I don’t consider my break times as a working time, otherwise, I’d be frustrated by the fact I’ve been working all day long!

  1. Dress for work

I think home clothes are so comfortable! However, they make me feel too relaxed and don’t motivate to study and work. A business-casual look would be the best option for me for working from home.

The smarter you look while working from home, the more dedication you show to yourself and your peers. If you were used to taking a shower and shaving every day for the office or university, keep doing it at home too.

  1. Make a to-do list

I am a firm believer in making to-do lists, with one caveat: don’t make it too long! The optimal size for me is three to seven tasks per day. It’s easier for me to arrange the whole week in advance by evenly spreading my plans throughout the week.

Why should it be short? Because there are going to be some unexpected or urgent tasks coming up throughout the day that you didn’t expect. Your schedule has to be flexible to manage those cases. If it’s already full, it means you’ll have to delay tasks to another day, which has a knock-on effect on your next day and I know the disappointment of having uncompleted tasks in your to-do list at the end of the day. To-do lists help you to see your work progress and keep you motivated.

Following these three simple rules, I can stay productive when I’m self-isolating and I can achieve even more goals right from my home. I hope my experience will be helpful to you too.

Stay safe and work hard!

Nikita Kozachenko, MSc Global Finance (2020)

Exploring Frankfurt, the financial capital of the Eurozone

One of the main reasons Cass is so highly rated is because of its international outlook. Cass has a number of international electives for the master’s courses and this year, the MSc Finance travelled to Frankfurt for a trip based around the European Central Bank (ECB).

Day 1

During our first day in Frankfurt, we had a walking tour organised in the east end of Frankfurt and the area surrounding the new ECB building. It was a great informative tour on how the area has developed from a working-class neighbourhood to the home of the ECB as well as a large number of apartment blocks. In the afternoon, we had a talk organised at the Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof. The talk illuminated the strengths and the weaknesses of the German economy and the general culture of businesses within the country. After the talk, we were offered tickets to catch the views of the city from the top of the main tower.

Day 2

Day 2 started with a trip to the ECB building. The mainpurpose of this trip was to attend a talk by economists on how Brexit will have an effect on the UK as well as the rest of EU. This was a very interesting talk as it gave us a great insight into what to expect in the future in relation to Brexit and what has already happened in the UK and EU because of Brexit. Following the talk, we had a tour of the Geldmuseum at the Deutsche Bundesbank. The tour consisted of the history of the euro as well as the history of money, how money originated and what different civilisations used as money.  After our time in the museum, we then had some spare time to explore the city. We decided to head to the Main Tower as the sky was clear. We were not disappointed and we got an amazing aerial view of the city.

The next day, after a full weekend of learning and exploring, we flew back to London.

Ismail Khan, MSc Finance (2020)

If you’d like to find out more about Ismail’s experience or have any general questions about studying on a master’s degree at Cass, contact him on our ‘Ask a student‘ platform.

Choosing to study MSc Business Analytics

 Business analytics is a combines statistics, coding and business. This combination allows business analysts to narrow the gap between management and technology.

I have strong interests in data and technology and their application in real life to help businesses grow. I am always curious about how important data analytics for business is in modern society, so being able to work on making data-driven business decisions really energises me.

In my MSc Business Analytics studies, I have been learning everything from coding to data visualisation, network analysis to Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. All these new skills will help me smoothly adapt to the digital business world and are the building blocks for my future career.

My career aspirations

During my undergraduate years, despite majoring in economics, I took four elective courses about energy, learning all about the industrial chain — from exploration to sale — and found great fun in this industry.

Now, during such a time of energy transformation, I believe the trend of energy transition can lead to both cyclical but structural changes in the global energy market. I feel passionate about this and would like to develop my career in the energy industry.

In the short term, I aim to become a business analyst in an international energy company by using the skills and strengths that I am learning on the MSc in Business Analytics. In the long-term, I aspire to become an expert in this area and actively compete for a leading role to make a lasting mark and as many contributions as I can to this industry.

A greater need for women in the field of tech and business analytics

Many companies are encouraging women to get more involved in roles about technology. Some companies have  set up projects and platforms to help women develop their leadership in tech roles.

More and more women are encouraged to step into this field, which is definitely a good trend for women who want to become business analysts and deal with data and technology in the future.

With half of my class being female, it shows there is a desire on the part of women to pierce into male-dominated fields. In order to do so, I applied to the Global Women’s Leadership Programme (GWLP) scholarship and was lucky enough to receive it.

The Global Women’s Leadership Programme

 As part of GWLP, I joined the Executive Board. We have regular Executive Board meetings to discuss the progress of events held by subcommittees. In the meetings, we share our experiences and exchange opinions with each other. The board will also offers evaluations and suggestions of past activities, so I learn something new and hear new ideas in each meeting.

The Programme hosts events such as “Influence Techniques for Professional Women” and most recently, “A fireside chat with Sir Philip Hampton and Denise Wilson OBE”. These knowledge exchange events helping women at Cass to find more possibilities in their careers.

How the scholarship and GWLP Board has impacted my experience at Cass

This programme provides me opportunities to work with other ambitious women and exchange ideas. For example, alongside fellow undergraduate and master’s Scholars, we organised a panel event and invited female leaders to share their experiences and take part in a Q&A session on their career paths in November. The event received good feedback. I am very proud to organise these kinds of events because I not only learn a lot from our board members, but I am also able to give back by providing further help and encouragement for other women at Cass.

 

Mengjia Hang, MSc Business Analytics (2020)

Top 4 Advantages of Studying Business Analytics

1. Choosing Cass

Prior to Cass, I had completed degrees in Commerce and International Business in Canada. During this time, I went on exchanges to Hong Kong and the Netherlands. I wanted to choose a degree that would equip me with the technical skills of the 21st century. So, when the opportunity to study in London came knocking, I did not hesitate to take up the offer. With data and tech making huge noise in the marketplace, and the master’s in Business Analytics starting its initiation at Cass, the timing could not have been better!

2. A Supportive Cohort

Completing the online pre-course modules, I felt confident in my abilities. But after starting classes full-time in September, I realised there was a personal steep learning curve. Having primarily a background in business principles rather than coding applications, at times it felt like I was not good enough.

Thankfully, in Cass, and especially in my MSc Business Analytics cohort, I found a supportive bunch, always eager and willing to help you out. There is no sense of cutthroat competition akin to some of my previous schools which was a refreshing change. Outside of class it is a huge bonus to have a social community you can connect, spend time and enjoy with!

 

Fun with the MSc Business Analytics ’19 cohort

 

3. Societies, extracurricular fun and networking

I wanted to seek out extracurricular opportunities and reach my maximum potential. I am particularly interested in strategy consulting – and with the right mix of networking, putting my best foot forward and heading up the consulting department at Cass Consultancy Society, I managed to excel and take helm as president of the society.

In particular, the good thing about Cass is that it is not a mammoth school with everyone vying in a constant competitive space. You can have a strategy and execute it with efficiency to take leadership roles within the clubs and societies space.

The experience has equipped me with key skills in leadership, team management, communication and cultural mediation. It has been a challenging and rewarding experience.

 

Cass Consultancy Society meet-up

4. Ace Academia

Initially there was a steep learning curve, but the beauty of pushing yourself to the limit is that you are investing in yourself! When the second term started, I found myself much more at ease with the technical coding aspects of the classes and assignments. It helped me better understand the principles that were going behind the engine that is your computer, the coherence with the data, and making smart analyses and in a sense, data-driven decision-making based on the visualisations of data.

No doubt, I feel much more equipped to take up the pressing challenges of the digital economy and use data as a resource in my career. I always had an appreciation for tech, but not to the extent of studying engineering – but in Business Analytics, I found my true calling: a combination of business and technology applied to essentially take the analytics advantage! I know that within the short span of one year’s time, I have equipped myself with a unique skillset to bridge the gap between business and technology teams – effectively differentiating myself in a hypercompetitive job market. If your passion lies in business and you want to equip yourself with some essential technical skills, you cannot go wrong with the MSc Business Analytics programme at Cass!

Ashhab Ahmad, MSc Business Analytics (2019)

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

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

 

 

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