Lessons the alumni have learnt

Masters alumni around the world talk about the high points and pitfalls of their degree

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Die Sun

Università Bocconi, graduated 2014

Buyer, Dolce & Gabbana, Shanghai

What advice would you give to someone starting your programme?

Studying needs to be balanced with other things like getting to know your classmates, spending time with friends, doing sport or simply relaxing. Finding the right balance between work and personal life is something everybody should do, no matter what phase of your life you are in, and especially if you are under a lot of pressure.

Even if you work very hard, it will sometimes not be enough, there are always people who will outsmart you or recruiters who will reject you. You can learn from these people, while following your own path. Always embrace new opportunities.


Orestis Brentas

University of Edinburgh Business School, 2014

Trade Support Analyst, BNP Paribas Corporate and Institutional Banking, London

How has your school’s alumni network helped you?

The school stores our contact details, which are updated regularly and available to other alumni. The team also keeps track of self-organised groups of alumni around the world and how to get in touch. This helped a lot when I spent three years in France as an expat consultant. One of the first things I looked up when I got to Paris was if the city had a University of Edinburgh alumni group — it did. The local network was very active, with regular nights out and other activities like golf. The alumni network made me feel part of a special group, in a place where I knew nobody. Over the years, I have also kept in touch with the people I met during my year in Edinburgh and I have visited many of them in their home countries all over the world.


Sepideh Solhi

Leeds University Business School, 2015

Project director, BGS, Tehran

What was the most challenging experience during your studies?

Some of the methods we learnt during the course could not be directly applied to my home country, Iran. This was both challenging and interesting, as the gap between what I learnt and what I would be able to apply in Iran sometimes made me feel frustrated. However, it also turned out to be an opportunity. I ended up writing my thesis on problematic management in third world countries and I identified gaps that I proposed should be seen not only as problematic, but as an opportunity for entrepreneurs and international business. The potential possibilities from filling the management skills gap in developing countries is what drove me to do my masters in management.


Zauresh Zhumayeva

St Petersburg State University Graduate School of Management, 2014

Project manager, Strategix CFT, Moscow

What was the most important lesson you learnt during your degree?

I had just started my career as an electrical engineer when my boss asked about my plans for the future. I just did not know how to answer and I was too smart to stop at that. I decided to do a masters in management to develop my ambitions. It was probably the wisest decision I have made so far.

Networking is everything. Do not waste too much time trying to get top grades and do not spend all your free time in the library. In the end, the grades and theory you get from your education are not what is most important. What really matters is the chance to meet cool people from all over the world, make good friends, share and arrive at beautiful ideas and launch projects together that make a difference. Just think about it — in 10 to 20 years you will be shaping this world and it is good to have good friends with you.


Nalin Gupta

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, 2017

Manager, Tata Administrative Services, Delhi

Why did you decide to do a masters in management?

I made the decision to pursue a higher education in management already during my undergraduate studies. Through my extracurricular activities I realised that I enjoy managing teams and being the person responsible for leading and growing an organisation. At the same time, I noticed that business-level details were more interesting to me than engineering details.

Before joining IIMA, I also worked two years as an investment banking analyst, during which my career ambitions were further reinforced. Pursuing a higher education in management was thus an outcome of all these experiences, which made me want to equip myself with the right leadership skills.

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