Swapping languages for management: reflecting on my first semester at Cass
How did I end up at Cass?
I graduated from Durham University with a BA in Modern Languages and Cultures in 2019. Although transitioning from studying medieval French poetry to quantitative methods for businesses may not appear to be the most natural progression, it was exactly my passion for languages and cultures that sparked my desire to apply for an MSc in Management.
I decided to study Management first and foremost to develop a more comprehensive understanding of how businesses operate. I felt that I could have had a more meaningful impact in my previous internships with a deeper business knowledge. In this sense, the MSc in Management represents a bridge between my academic and professional background.
Life at Cass
The incredibly diverse choice of modules at Cass has not only enhanced my business knowledge, but has also enabled me to formulate a more concrete idea of the areas of business I am interested in. I was slightly apprehensive about taking on an MSc in Management having a completely unrelated undergraduate degree, however, I quickly realised that Management students at Cass come from diverse educational backgrounds. Juggling graduate scheme applications and academic commitments has been no easy feat, but the professors and careers team at Cass are incredibly supportive.
One of the best things about Cass is the people. Cass offers the unique opportunity to study alongside internationally-oriented and like-minded students who represent many nationalities. The strong emphasis placed on group work has enhanced my team-working capabilities and has helped me to understand the value of utilising diverse perspectives when approaching strategic business decisions. Cass also presents fantastic opportunities for building networks outside of the classroom, with guest speakers and recruiters regularly visiting the campus.
Global Women’s Leadership Programme
The Global Women’s Leadership Programme is an integral part of my life at Cass. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a Future Fund Women’s Leadership scholarship and given the subsequent opportunity to sit on the Executive Board for the Global Women’s Leadership Programme as an MSc Representative. The Executive Board meets regularly to discuss the progress of the subcommittees and the direction of the programme more broadly. Working alongside other ambitious women at different stages of their careers through the programme has already taught me a lot and I am looking forward to seeing what we will achieve in the future.
Women at the Top Summit
In October, I was invited to attend the Financial Times “Women at the Top Summit” alongside other members of the board. Hearing leaders share their stories of successes and setbacks and participating in action-focused debates with the women and men driving change was an incredible opportunity. The main takeaway from the event was that it is essential that we continue to discuss the obstacles stalling further progress towards achieving gender balance in the workplace.
Organising my own event
I also organised a panel event alongside the other bachelor’s and master’s scholars. With the panel composed of young professionals, we wanted the experiences of the panellists to resonate strongly with students soon entering the workplace. The panel spoke openly about the challenges they have faced in the workplace and opened important discussions about working towards gender equality. The event was a huge success, with attendees networking long after the event ended.
Looking to the future
My first semester at Cass has certainly been intense, but there is a lot to look forward to in 2020. With a study trip to Budapest, consulting projects, and international electives… I am excited to see where the rest of my Cass journey will take me.
Elizabeth Barr, MSc Management (2020)