Saloni at Leeds University Business School

Saloni Dikshit

1. How did you hear about Leeds University Business School and why did you choose to study here? 

I heard about Leeds through multiple sources. I knew a few people who had studied here previously. It was also recommended to me by my education counsellor back in India. Besides, I also did my own research on the rankings and quality of the university. All these factors made me choose Leeds.

2. Tell us about your course – why did you choose it?

I chose the course because it was unique. It combined a sound theoretical base with industry experience. I found out that we will be taught by several practitioner guest lecturers. Also, the modules offered were unique compared to other universities, for example the ‘Systems Thinking and Consulting Practice’ module. It helped that the professors themselves were practitioners.

3. What are the best things about studying here – what have you enjoyed the most? 

There are several things. The course itself has exceeded my expectations. You are always encouraged to apply your theoretical knowledge to real-world problems. This is actually helping me contribute to and cope with my current job. Although starting work is daunting, I feel a bit more confident because of what I’ve learnt.

The business school also has so many opportunities for extra-curricular activities. For example, I took part in the Leaders Challenge. This was a consultancy challenge where we had to propose recommendations to solve a business problem for a multi-national company, Mott MacDonald. The best part about this was working together with students from different courses within the Business School and interacting with the panel of executives from Mott MacDonald.

Also, our course was a mix of people of different personalities and backgrounds. It’s been great to know them as colleagues and as friends. By the end of the year we’ve bonded so well. We were a support system to each other during the challenging times of the course like exams and the dissertation. 

4. Have there been any notable highlights during your studies – any prizes or achievements you are particularly proud of?

Two things come to mind. First is being given the opportunity to do an applied dissertation project with Bentley Motors. Second is being part of, and successfully completing, the Leaders Challenge.

5. Tell us about your dissertation project with Bentley Motors, how did you get the opportunity and what is the focus of your project?

I got the opportunity because of the Business School’s relationship with Bentley Motors, through the Socio-Technical Centre (one of the research centres at Leeds).

I had to make an application for the project. The title of the project was “Creating a cost conscious culture within a luxury automotive industry”.

I first visited the company along with my fellow course-mate David, as we were working on the project together. We met with the Head of the Product-Cost-Optimisation department at Bentley. It was an opportunity for us to get to know Bentley’s expectations of our project and get a glimpse of the culture and workings of the organisation. We also visited the company during our dissertation period to interview employees and managers.

6. How will the work you have completed during your dissertation help Bentley?

Through our dissertation we made recommendations on how the Product-Cost-Optimisation department can approach organisational change. We’ve applied the theoretical knowledge from our course, like systems thinking, to suggest how the organisation can take a holistic approach to change.

7. What have you gained most from the dissertation project, what have you enjoyed and how will it help your career?

I’ve gained most from working closely with such a large-scale and reputed organisation. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing employees and managers at the organisation: listening to their experiences and challenges at work.

Career-wise, I feel lucky to have been involved with such a high impact project. We’ve been given the opportunity to implement some of our recommendations in the organisation which is exciting and extremely challenging at the same time.

8. What have you been doing since you finished your Masters degree?

I am currently interning within the Product-Cost-Optimisation department within Bentley. I’m helping implement some of the recommendations David and I made through our dissertation.

I am also involved with other activities in the department, like competitor analysis and process improvements. For example, I’m looking at several different engineering software available to employees and suggesting how to promote and improve their use across the organisation.

9. How do you think the experience and skills you are getting at the Business School will help you in your future career?

My experience with the Leadership Challenge, and the dissertation project has helped me confirm the career path I want to take. It has given me confidence in my skills.

10. How was the transition to studying and living in a foreign country?

It was challenging, but honestly, the year went by so quickly I was handing in my dissertation before I knew it. What made it smooth was making great friends in Leeds.

I think the University services were very helpful, especially during the beginning of the year when I was a bit lost and needed help the most.

11. What has been your experience of life as a student in Leeds? 

It has been great knowing and learning from my peers and staff at Leeds. Leeds is such a vibrant and accepting city. I feel like you can find a niche for yourself here irrespective of your interests. 

12. Are there any experiences outside of your studies that you particularly enjoyed?

I did enjoy exploring and traveling around the UK.

13. Would you recommend the Business School to others who are considering studying here

 Based on the experience I have shared so far, I definitely would.