- Course: MSc Organizational Psychology
- Year of graduation: 2015
- Nationality: British
- Job title: Category Manager
- Company: Noble Foods
How did you hear about Leeds University Business School and why did you choose to study here?
I heard about Leeds University Business School when I was looking at where to complete my postgraduate studies. My chosen course is rather niche and only a handful of top universities offer it. From these, the Leeds course offered the most interesting selection of modules and offered many opportunities for practical experience. The prestige of the University and the knowledge that friends had had brilliant times in the city sold it to me. I was also inspired by the culture of innovation and enterprise that the Business School, and University as a whole, cultivate amongst students.
Tell us about your course – why did you choose it? What elements of the course inspired you to study here?
Organizational Psychology is essentially the scientific study of how to make workplaces, and businesses as a whole, more efficient and effective. The closest analogy would be ‘management consultancy’, but there is so much breadth to the course – for example organizational psychologists might design job selection procedures, find ways of supporting wellbeing in the workplace, design offices to instil the greatest productivity, or find ways of reducing human error in highly complex and dangerous workplaces.
Regarding the elements of the course that interested me, I wanted a course that had a significant component on human factors which was a big area of interest to me during my medicine application. Leeds was one of the only courses that dedicated a whole module to human factors and system design, whilst maintaining a balance with the other areas of organizational psychology. The impact of having a big research centre (the Socio-Technical Centre) at the University was also highly significant.
What was the best part of your studies – what did you enjoy the most?
I think the most important (and best) parts of the course were the opportunities to utilise the skills developed in real-world situations. It is notoriously difficult to gain relevant experience, so to actually be able to say I have had consultancy experience in a range of settings has definitely put me ahead of others in the job-hunt. I was surprised by how well connected the University is and how closely the University keep in contact with alumni. This was evident during my course as we constantly had talks from notable alumni, opportunities to chat with them, and even opportunities to work with them. It was truly inspiring to be able to chat to people that have been sat where I am now who are now leading international companies.
Also, on a more personal level, I perhaps didn’t appreciate it at the time, but I think the opportunity to go back to university and practice giving presentations has been incredibly useful. I have never been the most confident of people when giving presentations, but the opportunities I have had here at the Business School have really helped me develop those skills.
Finally, finding a course that I could excel in has probably been one of the stand-out best things about my studies. Perhaps the wide breadth and very general nature of psychology at undergraduate level didn’t push me, but there was something about my postgraduate studies at Leeds that just worked. I think finding an area of psychology that really interests me and that is incredibly applicable to working life, has opened so many doors for me has spurred me on.
What were your career aspirations? Do you think the experience and skills you’ve gained here have helped you in your career plans? In what way?
If done in the right way, I think a postgraduate degree can be incredibly beneficial to one’s career. The two big factors are picking the right course and the right university that is going to set you apart. Leeds has done both of these. Due to the increased employability of my course and huge number of opportunities that are consistently offered to everyone here at the University of Leeds, I am a lot more confident that I will be able to get a good job following graduation. The brilliance of the Careers Service at the University is also worthy of acknowledgement.
My career aspirations were initially to work in consultancy, however I am moving more towards the insight/foresight field of work for the near future. Long-term, I hope to use the analytical and leadership skills developed on the course as an officer in the army, specifically working in military intelligence or logistics.
Do you have any noteworthy achievements from your study at the Business School that you can tell us about? e.g. prizes, highest scores etc.
I achieved distinctions in 5 out of 7 modules and merits in the other two.
What was your experience of the facilities, the staff, your peers, the city of Leeds and the Yorkshire region?
Part of my decision to come to Leeds was because of what I had heard from friends about both the University and the city. I wanted to experience ‘the north’ and one year certainly isn’t enough to explore such a brilliant part of the country. My experience at the University has been fantastic and I am looking to stick around for a while after I graduate, so the city must have worked its charm on me.
Are there any experiences outside of your studies that you have particularly enjoyed? e.g. participation in extra-curricular activities or groups, nightlife, the region’s historic places of interest.
Whenever I mention Leeds to others, their response is always ‘Leeds is a fun place’ or ‘a great night out’. They’re not wrong! But there’s more to Leeds than the nightlife. I have a lot of different hobbies and Leeds has been able to satisfy them all. I think it’s very important to maintain extra-curricular activities alongside your studies and I have been able to do that due to the diversity of things on offer both at the University and in Leeds in general. My only qualm is that the intensity of the course has not enabled me to explore the rest of Yorkshire as much as I would have liked, but I am hoping to make up for that in the coming months. In short, Leeds has everything you could possibly want from a city and the fact that the Union has been voted the top students’ union in the country goes to show that the University is a brilliant place to study.
Would you recommend the Business School to others who are considering studying here?
Absolutely. The Business School is a well-respected and well-connected institution that will further your career through increased employability and access to both experts in their respective fields and leaders across the country. The bacon and sausage baguettes in the cafe are also incredible.