Serena inside the Esther Simpson building

Serena West

Why did you choose Leeds University Business School? 

After attending numerous open days around the UK, what stood out to me at Leeds was the abundance of opportunity beyond your degree course. Beyond being highly ranked and triple accredited, the Business School felt like a place truly invested in your development as an individual.  

What do you enjoy most about your studies? 

The ability to get involved in such a wide variety of things is what I enjoy most about studying at Leeds University Business School. I will attend lectures delivered by distinguished business professionals and then go straight into a group project. There’s the option to work part-time to expand my employability and network, as well as the opportunity to volunteer to help give back to the community.  

You never feel limited when studying at Leeds and it is such an inspirational place to be, both from a personal and professional perspective. 

Have you taken up any of the extra opportunities available to you? 

I’ve always been really keen to utilise the experiences at the Business School and wider University because they are invaluable for self-development and building your employability.  

To name just a few of the opportunities I’ve been able to take part in: I attended a summer school in Shanghai, took part in the Student Global Leadership Conference and completed a placement with L’Oréal. I've also enjoyed being a PASS Leader, Course Representative, School Representative and President of the Women in Leadership Society. 

My experience of these enrichment opportunities has been extremely positive. I have now built a network internationally which will be so useful for my career, made friends for life, and had the chance to gain exposure to industries and career opportunities I would never even considered. 

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

I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in an abundance of opportunities representing Leeds University Business School. Myself and my team have won awards such as at the International Case Hackathon competition, which involved pitching a business industry solution to a panel of Canadian professionals. A team of us from the Business School also came runner up in the McKinsey & Co. ‘Solve it’ competition out of 42 teams from other Universities in the UK. 

Winning the International Business Citizenship award alongside another course mate for “going above and beyond to support the welfare of a fellow student” was a key highlight from my time at Leeds, as it demonstrated that the Business School truly values student input and contribution. 

I have spoken at multiple events and written blogs to highlight all of the great opportunities to be involved in at Leeds. Hopefully my story inspires you to also seek these opportunities! 

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

I’ve had a very positive experience with the staff and community at Leeds University Business School. Everyone is always willing to help and go out of their way to ensure you are maximizing your time at Leeds.  

Leeds University Union is one of the best in the country and that is a direct reflection of not only the diversity of great support services they offer but also what a great extra-curricular programme Leeds has to offer.  

In times where I've needed to have support with my degree, staff have always been supportive and helped me to find a solution that works for everyone.  

My peers and the staff at the Business School are some of the most talented people, both in the UK and internationally, so it’s great to work alongside them. The community at Leeds is what makes it such a great place to study. 

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

I completed a placement at L’Oréal in the Consumer Products Division. My placement is the experience I feel has developed me most as a student. I was immersed in one of the most innovative and fast-moving international businesses, which provided me with practical knowledge and experience that I could then directly apply to my International Business degree in my final year.  

The University was a great support – the Business School Employability and Opportunity team often hosted workshops and were available for 1-to-1 chats throughout the search process. We also had industry speakers come in to give advice on applications and were given personal tutors and regular catch ups throughout the placement year to check on our progress and well-being. 

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

Leeds is one of the most exciting cities in the UK to be in as a business student as it’s a hub of activity and exciting businesses. It’s a city where you can truly get the balance between a campus student bubble while still being at the heart of a city centre.  

To enjoy the countryside scenery, there’s surrounding areas like Ilkley and Otley, and for an abundance of shops and restaurants you have the city centre – all within half an hour of each other. There’s lots to explore, something for everyone, and you will never be bored! 

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?

Taking part in summer schools and international opportunities at Leeds has given me a passion to go travelling and do international internships after graduation. 

I hope to lead a business one day and use all the skills I have learnt from my leadership positions during my time at university. Skills such as adaptability and taking initiative have developed hugely during my time at Leeds and these will no doubt be invaluable to my future career. 

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

If you are looking for a Business School that will offer you so much more than a degree, then you should definitely choose Leeds! You will leave having met such a diverse community of people and with new skills developed through opportunities you never thought possible.