- Course: MA Corporate Communications and Public Relations
- Year of graduation: 2015
- Nationality: Kazakhstani
- Job title: PR & Communications Manager
- Company: OCM Lead, Takeda
How did you hear about Leeds University Business School and why did you choose to study here?
I chose to study at Leeds University Business School because of the programme – MA Corporate Communications and Public Relations. It is rare mix of communications and business.
Tell us about your course – why did you choose it? What elements of the course inspired you to study here?
It is unique, there are no other university programmes that cover corporate communications in the scope that Leeds does. Also there are marketing elements that help in understanding business processes within organisations, and there is some fun with PR modules that provide opportunities to develop communication skills such as presentation, writing, and public speaking.
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 am a scholarship student. It is not a scholarship from the Business School, it is a government scholarship from my country. I applied for this scholarship to cover the cost of studying in UK and I am glad that I had this opportunity. It opened the door to a more successful, professional life.
What was the best part of your studies – what did you enjoy the most?
I enjoyed the diversity of the programme. We had core modules in Corporate Communications and PR, but we also had a range of other modules such as Consumer Behaviour, Brand Management, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Change Management that helped to expand our knowledge and gain experience. There is also a great practical part of the programme involving group work, roleplay and simulations.
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?
I had experience working in the corporate world and my career goals were to work as an in-house corporate communications professional. All the experience and skills that the programme gave me are applicable and relevant to my career.
How has your career progressed since leaving the Business School? Have there been any notable highlights?
Definitely. The year spent studying my Masters degree gave me a clear idea of where I wanted to work and who I wanted to become. The theoretical background we learnt through some of the modules, such as Corporate Communications Strategy, Internal Communications, and Change Management, helped me to get my job and apply that knowledge in practice. I’m glad that I’m developing as a communications professional.
Where are you currently working, and what is your role?
I work at Takeda as a PR and Communication Manager for the Asia-Caucasus cluster. Also I'm leading organizational change and actively participating in a project work.
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 would say that everything requires hard work. For me, the first semester was not easy due to the different style in teaching, writing, referencing, and certainly speaking/thinking in English every day. It took time to adjust and you need to work hard to make this adjustment quick and easy. You need to expand your mind and open your heart for everything to become what you want it to be. The second semester was easier because I tested myself in different roles and it brought me high scores in all of my modules. My thesis supervisor was excellent; he gave me all of the guidance I needed and thankfully I received a high mark for it.
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?
It was not difficult for me in terms of culture or lifestyle. It was different in relation to study, but you need to give yourself time to adjust. The University’s library provides different skills sessions which were helpful, especially regarding academic writing and referencing.
What was your experience of the facilities, the staff, your peers, the city of Leeds and the Yorkshire region?
I love the city and I already miss it so much. It will stay in my heart forever. The city is vibrant and there are so many things to do. Yorkshire itself is a place with magnificent nature. I enjoyed hiking days with friends in the Yorkshire Dales. I also like that at the Business School staff members are always helpful and friendly. Many students who study here are from different countries, which makes the overall studying experience more interesting.
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 hundreds of societies. I was a member of two societies: Kazakh society and Swing dancing. The first one was the opportunity for countrymen to gather, and the second one taught me new skills and was a fun way to socialise. I was also one of the course representatives and enjoyed organising different activities for our course with my peers. You can always find something new and fun in the city: concerts, festivals, cinemas, clubs and pubs. The compact size of the UK makes traveling across the country easy, with opportunities to visit the Highlands, to go to Cardiff Bay, to fly to Belfast, and even lie on the beaches of Brighton on weekends.
Would you recommend the Business School to others who are considering studying here?