Managing your Time

This past week has been extremely busy and I realized that I happened to do the one thing that I have been avoiding and neglecting since I was born aka TIME MANAGEMENT. I have been wandering around the city with a book in my hands and whenever I have time, I scribble in some new notes about the things I need to do and when I need to do them by. Dn’t worry though, this lifestyle is totally optional!

How did I get here?
Besides your lectures (where attendance is mandatory for the most part), you can engage in a variety of other extracurricular activities.King’s College is home to a number of student-led societies. Sport clubs, business clubs, interest groups, religious groups and even political groups. At the beginning of each year every student is welcome to take a look at a sample of these at the so-called Fresher’s fair. Societies at Kings cover almost every aspect of interest you long for and they love having members. I personally am a member of three societies: Fencing Club, Business Club, and Czech and Slovak Society. But don’t worry as being a part of a society doesn’t mean adhering to super strict rules and mandatory attendance. They’re more of a hobby or a treat for yourself after a long week.

Another time-consuming activity is work. For those of you that want to make money for that extra bit of cash or just to get that feeling of being independent, this will be one of your agenda. The important thing to note is that getting a job doesn’t only require sending applications. You have to prepare for everything, starting from spending time on your CV and cover letter, to prepping for interviews to actually landing the job. There are different kinds of jobs available internally at Kings and externally as well. I myself work for King’s and my hours are quite flexible which works for me.
Also, if you want to work on your personal and career development, King’s offers a variety of choices that will help you reach your goals. You can find courses such as essay-writing courses, leadership and professional skills, CV reviews and computer literacy as well.
Did I forget anything? Yes! UNIVERSITY PREPARATION TIME! Coursework, tutorial work and everything else does not like to wait and is the only obligatory thing that you should focus your efforts on.

What I’m trying to say, in the end, is that everything that I’ve mentioned above (except university attendance and work) is optional. You can happily go out every other day or you may want to be super involved in different activities (which you can do) just make sure you can manage your time effectively so it doesn’t start affecting your coursework and your sleep!!

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Misconceptions about Business Management

Around this time last year, while I was in my senior year of high school, application deadlines were just around the corner and I had to decide which university to go to and what course I wanted to pursue at the higher education level. I felt a little lost and I had considered the business route before but its not something I was sure of. When finalizing my course selection, I recall it being a really nerve-wrecking process. I remember asking myself  ‘Am I actually a business person?’ ‘Is this what I actually want to do?’”

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If you find yourself undecided and you are considering the business management route, it is nothing to worry about. Business management is for both types of people, those who are decided and those who are undecided. The worst that could happen would be realising that you do not like it, change your course and do something else. The best outcome, however, would be to actually like it and end up with a job you love, which, to be fair, is very likely considering all the possibilities you will have.

I’ve come up with a few guidelines/misconceptions I had about business management at King’s and I’m hoping these are useful for you when you make your final selections:

1. I have no practical or theoretical knowledge of business, I will fail immediately.

What did I even think? You don’t necessarily need anything before starting a course at University, and I mean any course. Whether it is business management, biology, electrical engineering or philosophy. The reason why universities require some grades (ex. Biology for biology degree) is to find the aptitude and interest in the field, not the knowledge of it. First years of any course are introductory. Lecturers try to bring people from different backgrounds to the same level, starting from the basics and working up to the most complex concepts. Therefore, not choosing the degree you would like to study, just because you do not know too much about it was not an actual reason.

2. I have never been involved in any kind of business. I cannot even bargain, I am bound to fail.

University is not a stock market, you do not have to have any trait of a future successful manager. Studying management is basically learning the best practices in business.You will learn how to handle financial as well as human side of the business and you can then choose which part of business you want to actually focus on. I didn’t realize that business management is not only being a CEO of a corporation. It is much more. There are plenty of functions for every kind of personality and you can make it to different managerial positions in the sector that you choose. Some professional management consultants say that the managers are born not made but I have to say it is a very 21st century thought.

3. King’s is for nerds, I will not be able to keep up!

This was my biggest misconception so far. King’s is full of smart people indeed but by far they are not all nerds. Business management course, especially, is a diverse course when it comes to students. In my course, there are people with interests varying from banking, through football, to music. If you think you will just not be able to keep up, think about this course as one big team-work project. Some people are better at theoretical modules and others at numerical ones and the goal is to match ones with the others, hopefully in bigger groups, in order to create synergies. I am not as good with people studies (sociology and psychology) but happened to be a good friends with a girl, who loves psychology and she helped me with my despair. She, on the other hand, has problems with understanding finance and I helped her get a better grasp of the finance components. So its all about creatively solving problems and using the resources around you such as lecturers, students, libraries, tutors etc to help you overcome.

4. I do not want to work in business, but after graduating I will just have to find a boring corporate job… My life is going to suck!

I do not have to be in business at all. I can do whatever social science research in the future I want. I can carry on and do a Masters and a PhD. I could also use my undergraduate degree, get a job and build my career without any further academic progression. The beauty of the course is in the ease of selecting the future focus. I can be anything I want (except for natural scientist): a super successful banker, a statistician, a sociologist, depends solely on what I choose to do next.

I must say (a cheesy phrase again… I think I will have one in every blog post) that I was lucky when choosing business management at King’s. Business management undergraduate degree opens so many doors that you might be overwhelmed with choices. Yet, it provides insight into business areas, which makes it easier for you to choose. Since the last year of high school (2 years ago) I have significantly reduced the number of options I had in terms of career and actually feel like I know where I am going at the moment. So if you are considering a degree, do not hesitate. Business management all the way!!!

New Beginnings

20141113_155308On the 11th of September, it was exactly a year ago since I first set foot on London ground as a King’s College student. I can recall how stressed I felt when looking out of the plane window that evening at Heathrow Airport, all I could think was: ‘You are going home in December.’

I am Ivan and I’m from the small country of Slovakia, with strong bonds with my friends and family, and I had left all of them to pursue my dreams. I felt selfish and foolish, I could have been happy at home as well. In addition, my first moments were far from being fabulous… The tube with shady individuals, the streets overflowing with people, the weather murkier than ever… I was stuck in this city and had nowhere to run, no one I knew, and no one I could really talk to.

Luckily, this scary first impression faded extremely quickly. Soon after my arrival in London, I got to meet with some of my future classmates from the Business Management course. We had organized an event on social networks before the start of classes. I must admit that going to that event was one of my best decision so far! I got to meet these equally scared yet motivated people from countries like Romania, Singapore, Germany, Indonesia etc. who were just as lost and alone as I was back then. These kinds of situations somehow attract people of similar natures and interests and brings them together. These people then became my buddies who I can always find support from.

Halloween in London

Halloween in London

Aside from making new friendships I then went on to discover one of the greatest aspects of London: it does not make you feel different from others! I have had the chance to get to know an incredible number of people I would have never thought I could have met. People from different cultures, backgrounds and places I had only read about! Multiculturalism is the weakest point of Slovak Republic, but London is just amazing when it comes to that!When you stroll around the city, you can see that it does not matter where you come from. I personally believe the best thing about London is the fact that people do not perceive you as a member of a race, religion, sex or orientation. The differences exist, but in harmony and everything (well, almost) is acceptable.

So when I look back to the initial situation, a lot has changed. London is not the scary place with never-stopping rain anymore. It is now a very friendly and welcoming place filled with people who are able to relate to you from the first moment because almost everyone has experienced the same initial shock. If I had known this before moving to London, would it have changed how stressed I was? Probably not! But experiencing it first-hand was a life-changer!