Links with industry give students a competitive edge
If anyone is well–placed to see the impact of LSBU’s commitment and involvement with enterprise and entrepreneurship, that person is Christina Anderl
An LSBU graduate herself, Christina now lectures in Economics, so has seen the benefits of the forward-thinking ways we encourage our students to adopt.
When asked to identify the best thing about our links with the Institute of Designers (IoD), she is quick to answer. “It takes away the fear of the business world,” she says.
Attending IoD events and talking to business people from all sorts of industries really helped to build my confidence.
Our relationship with the IoD extends well beyond attending events. “There are lots of links between the IoD and LSBU,” says Christina. “For example, I was asked if I wanted to chair the steering committee for IoD student members. At these committees I thoroughly enjoyed mentoring students and helping them to take full advantage of the IoD. As I was already connected to some people at the IoD, I could direct students towards members, who work in their respective fields which was great.”
Christina’s involvement with the IoD went as far as securing an internship as a result of the contacts she made. “It was a one month internship in a private bank,” she recalls. “I was working on projects for the compliance team. Even though it was a completely different field to what I wanted to go into, I was interested in experiencing different areas of business. I had the opportunity to learn about financial compliance and anti-money laundering regulation, which has since proven to be an invaluable experience.”
Indeed, Christina was offered four further internships in the space of a month, but had time to take on only one – a five-week spell for a foreign exchange broker which really underlines the value of engaging with businesses. “After my internship, I was offered a permanent part-time position and I still work part-time as a project manager for the company,” says Christina. “I ensure the integration of all company platforms, from trading to back office to sales. I do a lot of projects on margin adjustments and scenarios for forward and option contracts. Mostly I build formulas which automate information flows from FX systems to Salesforce and vice versa. I also do corporate research on business risk management strategies and various types of OTC hedging instruments.”
When it comes to getting involved with the IoD, Christina is adamant that students should do so as soon as they can, to give their education a real edge. It’s not advice she followed herself. “I received an email offering the membership, but did not realise what an opportunity that was,” she confesses. “It was only when a friend signed up and recommended it to me that I looked at the email again and took the plunge.”
Her advice to current students is not to make the same mistake. “Start doing it immediately!” she says. “It will help you find what suits your interests and abilities. There is so much scope to shape your own future, and the networking and communication skills you’ll develop at the IoD are a great asset.”
As a lecturer, Christina sees even more benefits for students. The student membership is a great opportunity for everyone,” she says. “Members come from all sorts of industries and have great business ideas, and the seminar series are excellent with amazing speakers"
Network of International Business Schools
Christina’s belief in the importance of entrepreneurial skills is further demonstrated by her involvement with the Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) Case Competition. “I’m coaching the NIBS team for the 2016 competition, and was actually a part of the first team LSBU entered into the event myself,” she explains.
NIBS is a case study competition which assesses each team’s ability to analyse case studies with their own knowledge in time-constrained sessions – without any help from the internet or textbooks. Afterwards they need to present their analysis to a panel of judges from business and academia.
Christina feels that involvement with competitions such as NIBS help LSBU students stand out from the crowd when it comes to finding employment. “The competition provides the students in the team with a vast amount of really useful skills, so there are huge benefits to being involved,” she says. Christina should know, having been part of an LSBU team that reached the quarter-finals of this prestigious international competition.
“The first aim for this year is to qualify for the finals,” she says pragmatically. “If we can do that, then the students will go to Texas where they will compete against the best teams from universities all over the world – and who knows how far they could go?”