Links with industry give students a competitive edge
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.
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
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.”
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"
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?”