Case study – Shambhavi Singh

What is your nationality?Shambhavi


What/when did you study at Durham?

I was enrolled in Durham University Business School‘s erstwhile MA Human Resource Management, now MSc Human Resource Management.

What are you doing now?

I work as a senior program manager at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

I previously worked with an international charity called Ark headquartered in London as a young professional in their India branch in Delhi. Ark’s YP program is a highly competitive program for high caliber, motivated young professionals.

What does your job involve?

I currently work for a national level scheme called National Mission on Higher Education around aspects of policy design, policy analysis, policy reform and project management. The scheme has a coverage of 29 states and 7 Union Territories in India. The scale and the impact of reform is huge.

How did your time at Durham help you to succeed?

I am currently working in a very international environment. The international environment at Durham definitely helped me in easily conversing with individuals from different parts of the world. Also, brand Durham resonated with my employers.

What advice would you give to current students?

I would advise them to choose careers where their passions lie. Technical skills can be built but passion comes from within. Also, they should keep an eye open for opportunities within the campus and outside. University offers many events where students come face to face with employers. Try and gain work experience while in university through internship programs and volunteer programs. In my student days I wrote for Durham University‘s online newspaper, Palatinate.

Any other information you want to provide?

I was recently interviewed by the UK Aid and this can be viewed here.


Tiziana’s HR success

Name: Tiziana Ellul

Course: Human Resource Management

Graduated: 2009

Nationality: Maltese

Employer: Valletta Fund Services Limited

Current position: Human Resources Representative

After working for five years with the leading Fund Administration Company in Malta, while studying part-time for my undergraduate degree, I decided to further my studies by taking a full-time MA. 

I chose Durham because of the reputation it carries, the rankings, and the multi-cultural student body. Durham Business School also has all the resources and facilities a student needs.

The MA programme has an extensive range of modules. It allows students to get a good understanding of the main business areas together with in-depth knowledge and understanding of HRM.

Although a small town in the North-East of the UK, Durham has its own character and is an ideal place for study. Most of the students within my college were international, which made it easier for me as a foreigner because we all wanted to get to know each other and make friends. Durham and its University offer everything to make a student’s life an enjoyable one. Joining one of the clubs and societies will certainly help students enhance their personal skills. I was appointed onto the Student Staff Consultative Committee and was also elected as the Formal Secretary on the College Committee. Both forums gave me the opportunity to speak on behalf of MA students and give my opinion on various areas which concerned us. 

Having successfully completed my MA, I returned to Malta where I have the role of Human Resources Representative at Valletta Fund Services Limited. My role is to analyse what HR policies and practices need to be introduced within the company, evaluate the options available and implement them in the best possible way. This is not a plain sailing task within any organization; it’s a very challenging role and involves a lot of work. However I am willing to make this a complete success both for the company and for myself. Although I returned to the same employer, I feel I am a completely new employee with a lot more knowledge. The experience I gained during my year in Durham is helping me build confidence and courage to face the new challenges ahead. Obviously learning has to be continuous and this has been a fantastic starting point to my HR career. 

Looking back, Durham University has not only equipped me with great academic knowledge but also an experience of a lifetime which I will cherish all my life.


Michalski Makes the Moves

Name: Derek Michalski 

Degree: MA Marketing

Graduated: 2011

Nationality: American

Current position: Buyer, General Mills Worldwide Sourcing

Attending Durham Business School opened many doors for me and allowed me to accomplish many exciting things. In my year at Durham I was able to study alongside a very worldly cohort and be introduced to eager young professionals from all over the world.

On the international stage, I found out immediately that a Durham degree was very sought after by many different kinds of professional fields. Every week there were major multi-national companies on campus for recruitment engagements. I knew immediately that the place I was studying was special, and would be very helpful when it came time to begin my professional career.

There are no shortage of activities on campus, and all are welcoming to new participants. There is seemingly endless space to take advantage of the outdoors– with the university’s many playing fields and courts, wooded trails, and recreational facilities. I was fortunate enough to participate on the University Men’s Lacrosse Team with an incredible group of young men, and represent the University in winning a BUCS National Championship. This will always be one of my fondest memories of my time in Durham.

Upon completion of my studies at Durham Business School I was able to land a job immediately with a Fortune 100 company and one of the world’s largest food companies at General Mills. It is my belief that my experience living internationally and conversations regarding my postgraduate studies abroad is a major contributing factor to what made my story unique from other prospective candidates. For that, I am very appreciative of the program and look forward to the day that I will be able to return to Durham.

If you are an overseas student looking for a challenging course of study in an environment that is both very different than what you are accustomed to and unsurpassed in terms of its scenic beauty and historical significance—than look no further than Durham University.

HR success for Ling

Name: Ling HE

Degree: MA in Human Resource Management

Year: 2008-2009

Nationality: Chinese

Employer: Schneider Electric (China) Investment Co., Ltd. Shanghai Branch

I gained so much from studying at Durham University. I especially liked the teaching styles in Durham Business School which were varied and included group work activities. The advice and information provided by the Careers Centre on job applications and interview preparation enhanced my confidence for my future career path. I am now working at Schneider Electric in China. I was first recruited as the director’s assistant. My interest to work in the human resources area lead to an internal move and I am now working full-time in the recruitment team in HR. I work closely with our HR manager and am confident that my MA from Durham was a strong factor in my career success. To advise future international students, I would say that it is crucial to have a clear career aim. Use the resources provided while you are at Durham and this will help you to achieve your goals.

Anika’s making changes at PwC in Dubai

Name: Anika Christine Mascarenhas

Degree: MA Management, 2010

Job: People and Change Consultant

Nationality: Indian

Employer: Price Waterhouse Coopers LLC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

I have been in the consulting world for two and a half years since my undergraduate degree from James Madison University, USA and graduate business degree from Durham University, UK. The consulting world has been both exhilarating and challenging. The learning curve is exponentially high,  given the breadth of knowledge required and industry expertise gained across a variety of sectors.

Prior to joining PwC, I worked with the Hay Group in Human Resource consulting. I delivered professional job descriptions in line with the Group’s project objectives, developed role accountabilities, key performance indicators, evaluated jobs using the Hay Group’s job evaluation system, undertook job grading, salary, benefits and reward assessments. The clients included the healthcare industry, media, oil and gas and the real-estate sectors through various HR consulting projects I was involved in.

As part of my MA at Durham, I completed a Dissertation on Change Management at Avis Rent-a-Car Company, who sponsored my research project. Through internal meetings, interviews and focus groups with employees I evaluated the changes and new management structure in place at Avis. During the research project I conducted a study on the external environmental and internal organizational factors, including a SWOT analysis and a change management diagnostic framework called The Burke-Litwin Model, in order to raise the performance of the organization. I would highly recommend that Durham students undertake internships or research projects inside organizations, as the practical learning experience is critical to succeeding in future career endeavors.  

Since graduating from Durham I decided to join the consulting world again. In order to secure my current consulting position, at PwC, I went through a combination of interviews with the Director and a Senior Manager and a case study of a company facing losses in the sports shoes market industry. The interviews were gruelling and intense but prepared me for a future consulting career at PwC. However, along with the prestige of working with a top consulting firm, I must also contend with long working hours, tight deadlines and travelling long distances to the client site that make life extremely hectic. I encourage graduates who are flexible and open to change to definitely consider a consulting career as it opens up a lot of avenues and doors, develops critical logic and strategic planning skills, writing and oral presentation skills, and provides real life exposure to the business environment across different industries that extends well beyond the realm of the classroom.