I arrived at the office on the morning of April 7, 2017 to go about my regular work day. Little did I know of the surprise to come. Finally, the email dropped…the acceptance email from Cranfield University for me to study its Finance and Management MSc course. Yaay! I’d be going to Cranfield. Wait a minute! I took another look at the tuition and other study-abroad associated costs; I knew I had to take fund raising more seriously. Like many students, funding a foreign postgraduate programme was a challenge. By God’s grace, I overcame this through a combination of scholarships, personal savings and support from other sources. However, due to visa delays, I missed the orientation week and eventually resumed on 9 October 2017, which was two weeks late.

Settling in was not easy for me. I initially had the distraction of completing my registration and health insurance, opening a bank account and sorting accommodation. I also had to adjust to the food available and got used to the study tools. Acclimatising to the weather and new environment was another hitch. Although I had visited the UK on different occasions in the past, it was my first time during the winter season. I remember once walking past the building where my classmates were, thinking it was the wrong place – typical newbie behaviour *covers face*.

It felt better as days went by. I became acquainted with my classmates and familiarised myself with the course modules. I particularly liked the teaching methods. The combined Finance class, i.e. Finance and Management MSc as well as Investment Management MSc, is made up of 79 students from various nationalities. We took lectures in two groups to enhance the learning experience. Each group was further divided into learning streams made up of an average of six students for the purpose of solving case studies, assignments and course works. Some of them required us to make presentations in class. This helped to foster interaction among students and to understand the complexities of working in teams, especially with people of diverse backgrounds. The faculty also embellished the theoretical teachings with real world examples and scenarios to make them more practical. Other attractions were the regular Friday Guest Speaker sessions, where invited guests shared knowledge on their areas of expertise, as well as various other career related programmes by the Career Development Service. Being Career Rep for my class, I coordinated some of these events.

On the fun side, our welcome dinner provided good bonding time. We went to Cranfield Students’ Association (CSA) afterwards to party, play games and unwind. Students also engaged in several sporting activities on campus at the sports hall. At times, my classmates played football at the field. As much as I would have loved to, I did not join as I couldn’t see myself running around wearing shorts in the harsh weather. Mondays were movie nights at the CSA and I cherished the African food served there on Wednesdays and Fridays. Classmates’ birthday celebrations and hangouts were other times for recreation. We had a Christmas dinner to wrap up social activities for the term. I live in one of the shared houses on campus. My housemates (two French, one Spanish and one Egyptian) have generally been neat and easy going. Lest I forget, I experienced the snow for the first time too.

Slowly, exam time came and the library became my base. Being the first set of exams, it was important I started well. Afterwards were the holidays. Everyone had varied holiday plans and different travel destinations. I spent mine in London visiting a few friends. It has been a good experience so far. I am looking forward to the new term as it gives an opportunity for a fresh start after a well-rested break. Now that I am cognisant of the workings of the Cranfield environment, I am ready to explore as much as possible!

Find out more about our Finance and Management MSc course…

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