Student Stories

My one-of-a-kind experience

My life up to 2018 followed the natural progression of your stereotypical Asian kid. Right after high-school, it was pre-U, university and off to work. 7 years into my career, now an Assistant Manager at Public Bank Berhad, I had an aching desire for more. Not just another paper qualification, but an enriching and purposeful learning experience.

Cynthea Louis
Studied in University of Glasgow MBA (Master Of Business Administration)

Why University of Glasgow and The Glasgow MBA?

I spent time researching many universities, their MBA programs and respective world rankings, making sure my expectations were met. I then applied to a few universities, and was soon offered a place on the triple-accredited MBA from the Adam Smith Business School of the University of Glasgow, along with a scholarship. I was thrilled, excited and eager at the chance to break my mould, develop my professional skills, and for personal growth. While this may sound like something taken off a cliché mission statement, it was in every sense, what the Glasgow MBA offered – an intellectual and pragmatic academic experience.

One of our very first activities on the MBA was competing for a place to represent the university on the John Molson MBA International Case Competition in Canada. In groups of 5, we were tasked to read and analyse a case study (sometimes up to 20 pages), crack the issue, derive viable solutions, and present them in a Power Point presentation to a panel of judges – all in just 3 hours! Although I was not on the winning team that represented the university, it was one of my most memorable experiences. It was challenging yet thrilling to work with different colleagues from various backgrounds (in high-stress conditions no less), and together, produce an outcome that we couldn’t have individually.

There were also class trips to Germany and the Netherlands for various educational purposes. In Germany, we were met and trained by Germany’s Federal Agency of Technical Relief (THW – Techniches Hilfswek). One of the most enjoyable activities here was when the entire class was put on THW’s training field for a mock emergency situation – to stop a flood while searching for 3 missing bodies. While this may seem like a far stretch from business studies, it taught us important lessons on risk management and decision making under uncertainty.

The Consultancy Project was also particularly significant as it was a hands-on opportunity to engage with and solve real-life client problems. My team was assigned Scotland’s Department for International Development (DFID), who we worked with at their office in East Kilbride. Over the course of 1 week, we studied their problems related to data management and their SME market. We then presented our solutions (strategies to enable a data-driven culture within the department and an SME Development Plan) to a panel of judges comprising of the MBA teaching team and DFID personnel.

The above are just a few of the many things that I would not have imagined myself doing outside of the Glasgow MBA. Being pushed out of my comfort zone was strangely enjoyable to me. The lectures, assignments, class trips, and other events pushes students to their limits to deal with difficult problems and challenging situations that were at times, pretty stressful. However, it was under these circumstances that I learnt what my true potential was, where my passions lie, and how to use both my strengths and weaknesses for my personal advancement.

My experience in Scotland

Glaswegians are extremely friendly – giving Glasgow the ‘warmth’ that makes up for its weather (Honestly, the phrase ‘People Make Glasgow’ goes further than just a saying). Plus, having lived in Kuala Lumpur (KL) all my life – don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love KL and all it offers – but living in Scotland felt like I was plucked out of a concrete jungle and thrown into a Disney storybook setting. In fact, the stunning architecture of the University of Glasgow campus was definitely the cherry on top of my MBA cake. I mean, who hasn’t dreamt of studying at Hogwarts (Seriously, Google it!)

I went to Scotland with an open mind, ready to embrace the biggest change in my life thus far. Looking back, what I can say is this; Scotland is a land of folklore and fairytales that formed a beautiful tapestry binding what would be an unforgettable experience, challenge and memory in my life.

University of Glasgow
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