Catherine Rickmann

Catherine Rickmann

How did you hear about Leeds University Business School and why did you choose to study here? 
I found Leeds University Business School while I was specifically looking for International Business Masters programmes in the UK. I had been researching Masters courses quite extensively at that point, but I knew quickly that Leeds University Business School would be my first choice because the MSc International Business course was a great match for my interests. I also liked the prospect of studying with people from a large number of different countries so the business school seemed a great fit for me.

Tell us about your course – why did you choose it? What elements of the course inspired you to study here?
I chose the course for a number of reasons. Most important for me were the modules of the course which fit my interests perfectly, especially the elective classes. I was interested in learning more about doing business in emerging markets such as China and the course offered a number of modules on this topic. I also liked that the programme would give me the opportunity to work with and learn from experts in the field of international business.

Another reason for me to choose this course specifically was the high ranking of the MSc International Business programme in addition to the good reputation of Leeds University Business School in regards to teaching and research. Since undertaking a Masters degree requires a great commitment of time, money and energy, I wanted to be sure that I chose a high-quality course at a reputable university. As an international student, it can sometimes be difficult to judge the quality of a course or university from its website alone, so the rankings helped me to make an informed decision.

Did you receive a scholarship to study here? If yes, why did you apply for the scholarship and why do you think you were successful? What did it mean to you to receive it and how did it help you?
I was awarded the Leeds University Business School MSc International Business UK & European Scholarship. Every EU/UK student who applies to the International Business course is automatically considered for this scholarship, so I did not have to fill in a separate application. I believe I was successful because my application showed my enthusiasm for the subject of international business.

The scholarship helped me tremendously as I was able to focus on my studies without having to worry about any financial issues or taking on a student job. This was especially important for me as I did not have any other sponsors and had to use my savings to have the opportunity to pursue a postgraduate degree. Due to the scholarship, I am now able to afford to take some time off after finishing my degree to follow my passion and take a language class in China instead of having to find a job right away.

What was the best part of your studies – what did you enjoy the most? 
The aspect I enjoyed most about my studies was working with students and staff from all over the world. Studying with such an international cohort has been a unique experience and I was able to make friends with people from really diverse backgrounds. Working in international teams during group assignments also helped me to experience cultural differences in working styles and to learn how to adapt to each style. While this could also be really challenging at times, I believe the experience has helped me to grow personally and to build my intercultural skills. Most importantly, I made some great friends that I hope to visit in their respective home countries once the course is finished.

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? 
For my undergraduate degree, I studied industrial engineering and while I still value my technical background, I knew that I did not want to pursue a career in engineering. In Germany, it would have been difficult to change my field of study from engineering to business, which is why I decided to go to the UK for my postgraduate studies. I chose to study international business because my goal is to work in Asia in the future and I wanted to learn what is important when doing business internationally.

The MSc International Business programme has helped me to extend my business skills, especially in regards to emerging markets. I now feel more prepared to work in a business-related field for a multinational company. The experience has helped me to work on my intercultural skills and I have been able to build a network of people from all over the world. I hope to use my new skills and experiences in addition to my technical background in order to fulfil my career aspirations.

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. 
One of my favourite assignments during the course was developing a (fictional) foreign market entry strategy for a company of our choice. In teams, we had to select a company and analyse which country would be a suitable new market for it and then develop a strategy for how the company could enter this market and sell its products. My group chose the firm Tesla (who develops electrical cars) and the topic was so interesting that we ended up doing a lot more research than what was expected from us. Our effort was rewarded in the end when our assignment got the highest score of our course and we also gained new practical skills.

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? 
The transition to a foreign country was made a lot easier with the two-week induction programme. During those first two weeks we only had a limited amount of introductory classes and information sessions, which gave me enough time to get settled in my accommodation, meet fellow students and get to know the University and the city. This way, by the time the actual classes started, I already knew my way around the University and had made some friends, which made the start of the course a lot less difficult.

In addition, I would advise anyone to use the University’s many resources for international students to make the transition easier. For example, The University offers tours of the city centre, introduction tours of the library and writing classes for postgraduate students, which have all helped me in the beginning of my time in the UK.

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.
Leeds University Union offers so many different extra-curricular activities, it is impossible to try them all and everybody can find something that fits their interests. Through the Union, I was able to try new activities such as yoga and sewing and I joined the music society to participate in their choir. I also went on a couple of daytrips with the Union to places such as Newcastle and Durham, which was a convenient and affordable way to explore new cities in the UK.

Would you recommend the Business School to others who are considering studying here? 
I would recommend the Business School and the MSc International Business especially to anyone who is interested in studying in a diverse environment and wants to work with experts in the field of international business to expand their knowledge of the topic.