Human Resource Management student Stefanie

Stefanie Mueller

Why did you choose Leeds University Business School? 

I have always aspired to be in a managerial role one day as I enjoy leading people and having responsibility. I am also a very sociable person and when I went travelling, I realised that what excites me most is meeting people and sharing stories. I therefore decided that I wanted to study Human Resource Management as this would give me a mix of both aspects. 

Being German and having travelled in Australia for two years, it was important to me to continue my studies with English as my main language. I searched online for the best business schools in the UK and Leeds came up as one of them.  

Leeds stood out to me as an affordable city and although it is a big city, you can walk to most places. I also had a few English friends who told me to go to Leeds as the music scene is very good here. It certainly has been the right choice, I have had a great time in Leeds so far. 

What do you enjoy most about your studies? 

I love that my degree is so broad and covers such a range of different topics. It gives me all the important information in Human Resource Management, but also offers me a good understanding in areas such as employment law, economics and organisational behaviour. This means that I am not confined to one job upon completing my degree, but I could work in many different positions. 

Have you taken up any of the extra opportunities available to you? What was your experience of these? 

The Business School offers so many different opportunities which really help develop your skills and give you the chance to make an impact during your time there.  

I have been a course representative in first and second year where I was collecting feedback from my fellow course mates and then communicated this to the Head of Division. By doing this, I helped to shape modules to better suit the needs of students taking them in the years to come. 

I have also been part of the Nurturing Talent Mentor Scheme where I was paired with a HR Generalist at Co-op as my mentor. Through this I gained an insight into the HR profession and I was able to visit the Co-op head office in Manchester. 

In my second year I helped first year students as a Peer Assisted Study Session Leader. Together with another course mate, I planned and led on sessions aimed at facilitating learning for first year students.  

We were also there to answer any questions and to help the students revise for exams. It was a rewarding experience to be a point of contact in their peer group for any support the students needed, so they have our perspective as well as their tutors’ or lecturers’. 

Do you have any noteworthy achievements from your study at the Business School that you can tell us about? 

I was nominated for a partnership award in the category of Positive Impact for being a course representative in years one and two of my degree which has helped make the programmes better and embodies the partnership at the University of Leeds. I did not receive the award, but it felt great to be nominated! 

I have also been successful in securing the role of the Work and Employment Relations Division Admissions Intern. In this role, I deliver talks to prospective students about my experience at the University of Leeds and I answer any questions they might have.  

I also assist with the induction activities of the new students and with any other work that comes up in which I can provide my student perspective and experience. 

How has your experience been with the facilities, the staff, your peers and the student union? 

At first, the campus was a little bit confusing but once I got through the first week I found it easy to find my lecture theatres. The libraries are well maintained and easy to access and there are lots of computer clusters dotted around on campus which is great if you are looking for a quiet space to study. There are lots of cafes and shops on campus as well if you get peckish whilst studying. 

My experience with the staff has been really positive. My degree is very specific and specialised which meant that the course size is rather small, and we have close interaction with our personal tutor. Whilst university means studying very independently, I still have support when I need it, as my tutor helps me not only with academic issues, but also personal ones. 

As a course representative, I have also worked with the leaders of my division where I was treated with respect and my opinion was taken seriously. This was also the case when giving feedback on my programme of study and my learning experience at the University to the Dean of the Business School. 

If you completed a year in industry, how was your experience? Did you feel supported by the University in finding your placement? 

I was successful in securing a placement as a Learning and Development Assistant at Janssen, the pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson. It was such a great year that enabled me to grow professionally and personally.  

One highlight was overseeing the student recruitment for 2020/21 and their onboarding, during which I managed to adapt to the virtual environment that was required due to the working from home policy.  

One of the key experiences for me was building my network and meeting so many friendly people throughout the company. We were treated with respect and seen as equals which meant that we were able to make a real impact and of course, make some friends along the way too. 

I felt very supported in finding my placement as the focus when starting a degree at the University of Leeds has always been on employability and providing opportunities to network.  

You can choose an optional module called ‘From Study to Work’ in which you will learn about all the stages of the recruitment process and receive advice from guest speakers from prestigious companies.  

I would also encourage students looking into a year in industry to make use of the career centre of the University of Leeds as they can help refine your CV, give you lots of helpful advice on job applications and provide you with resources to do your own further research. 

What do you think of Leeds and the surrounding region? Where is your favourite place to go in the area? 

I love that Leeds is a big city and has lots to offer, accommodating any hobby or interest you might have, such as sports, shopping, culture and leisure activities. But at the same time, it is small enough to be able to walk to many places.  

It is also great that not too far out of Leeds, you can enjoy the nature and go for lovely walks. I live by the River Aire and absolutely love walking along the river through Leeds Dock into the vibrant city centre. 

What are your career aspirations? Do you think the experience and skills you will gain from your degree course will help you in your future career plans? In what way? 

I really enjoyed my year in the Learning and Development department and can see myself in that profession later. My degree has prepared me by giving me knowledge of important aspects of the profession, such as Organisational Behaviour and Strategic Human Resource Management.  

My course also helps me develop important skills, such as analytical skills, time management and critical thinking. A key advantage of studying HR in Leeds is that I will receive a CIPD Level 5 qualification as part of my degree which I sets me up well for a successful career in HR. 

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

Yes, I would recommend the Business School to others. What I like about the Business School is the focus on employability right from the start and the many opportunities provided to network with companies and other students. There are also lots of extracurricular activities you can get involved in that equip you with important skills.  

All this gives you a great chance of developing your employability and scoring a job in your desired profession when finishing your degree. 

If you are not from the UK, how was the transition to a foreign country? Did the University offer support or services that you found helpful? Can you offer any advice? 

When I first moved to Leeds, I found it difficult to settle in due to my personal circumstances. During this time, I found that staff as well as student representatives from the student union were very kind, listened to me and gave me the support I needed to move forwards and have a positive experience at the University of Leeds.  

There are lots of opportunities to meet new friends, for example you can make friends in your halls of residence, by joining clubs and societies or getting involved in extracurricular activities. The University also offer lots of events for international students around living in Leeds, ranging from practical aspects such as opening a bank account to making connections with others that are in a similar situation.