Studying at UCL School of Management offers more than just great teaching. We create invaluable networking opportunities to show students how they can implement the skills they have developed on the programme in the workplace.
That’s why this year we organised a Trek to Berlin for our final year BSc Information Management for Business (IMB) students to meet with some of the world’s leading businesses that have decided to make Berlin their HQ.
Why Berlin? Following London, Berlin is the second biggest tech hub in Europe. With over 500 new start-ups establishing themselves in the city each year, it’s no wonder entrepreneurs are flocking to the capital to make the most of the vibrant and creative culture and tap into the diverse pool of talent and expertise it offers.
IMB student, Gordon Lee, said: “I thought this year would just be filled with demanding studying and numerous job applications. But I was wrong, and I am extremely glad that I got a chance to take part in this Berlin trip.”
Berlin Partner Talk
The trip began with a fascinating talk from Christian Treichel, International Project Manager from Berlin Partner for Business and Technology, a company who offer business and technology support for to companies, investors and scientific institutions in Berlin.
In fitting with the significance of the weekend (9 November 2019), which marked the 30th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Christian explained that after wall came down big companies moved away from Berlin. This left an array of vacant industrial plants which young entrepreneurs claimed and started their own businesses, slowly turning Berlin into the start-up and founder-driven ecosystem it is today.
We were delighted to invite an outstanding panel of industry experts, including some UCL SoM Alumni, to take part in a brilliant discussion on how to future-proof your career in Business and Technology.
Hendrik Kalb, Senior Analyst at Zalando
Evi Lazaridou, Data Scientist at Commercetools
Sara Berkai, Data Stemettes at Stemettes
Ryan Clifford, Developer Relations Lead at Finastra
David Sint, Technical Consultant at IBM iX
All five of our panellists gave their top tips for future-proofing your career, which included using logical thinking skills to break down complex problems, keeping up to date with what’s going on in your sector, actively working on self-development, networking in your industry, staying ahead of the game, and always thinking of the next project.
All of our panellists agreed that it was important to focus on developing skills and talents that are transferable to a variety of roles and industries. They also advised our students to choose an employer that gives you the space to learn about different areas of the business that you are interested in for your own self-development.
On the second day we were lucky enough to visit Zalando HQ, and meet employees from all areas of the business, from the Recruitment Manager to Project Managers and Developers. They demonstrated how they are using most cutting-edge technology and AI to improve customer experience, for instance using text analytics to detect customer emotion in reviews.
Final year student, Haemin Jang said: “I was very impressed how Zalando is using technology in business as a tool for proactive customer care. As I want to pursue a career in Business Analytics or Data Science, seeing the actual implementation of data science and innovative technology only further reinforced my career decision to become a Data Scientist.”
Founded in 2013 and after a period of hypergrowth, N26 now ranks in the top 10 Fintech companies in the world. We heard how N26 is using technology to change the industry of banking as we know it and adapt to the changing needs of consumers.
Chief Product Officer, Georgina Smallwood explained how with nurturing future talents from across the globe N26 plans to use technology to introduce a new era of banking where the individual is at the centre. “Retail banking is outdated and stands out with poor design, old technology and high costs…Technology is transforming industries; every industry is getting disrupted.”
Final year student, Belinda Wu, said: “Georgina Smallwood, from N26 particularly impressed me. She was passionate about what N26 does and brilliantly presented the benefit of using N26’s banking options. Other speakers from the two companies were great, too, and hearing from them helped me in deciding on the kind of work environment I want to work in.”
UCL School of Management encourages disruptive thinking like that of N26, so it’s no surprise that we met two UCL Alumni at N26. Hearing about their journey from UCL to such a leading fintech like N26 was invaluable and made showed our students the great things UCL alumni go on to do.
Third Year student, Maxine Setiawan said: “The company visits have given us, especially the international students, an insight to the German working culture compared to the culture in the UK, and it was great to meet UCL alumni in working at N26.”
Peer to peer networking
The purpose of the trip was to show students to the exciting opportunities they can embark on following their undergraduate degree at The School of Management. However, socialising with your peers is a key part of the university experience and something we encourage students to do. That’s why as well as organising these great networking and learning opportunities we arranged a guided bus tour of the city and gave students time to join in with the festivities over the historical weekend.
Maxine Setiawan said: “I found the trip really exciting and it was a really good to spend time with people from the course, getting to know those I don’t usually talk to in class. It made me realise how diverse our cohort is, for example one night at dinner, everyone around the table was from a different country - it’s amazing!”
Interested in finding out more about our BSc Information Management for Business Programme? Learn more on our website here.