Alexandra Maria Serbu
Course studied: BSc Business Management with Finance
Graduating year: 2020
What was your time at university like?
My time at university was an enriching experience. I learned how to manage everything on my own, as I was away from my family. I had to be truly independent for the first time, to learn how to be responsible, and how to efficiently manage my time and budget. At City University there is so much diversity, I made friends with people from lots of different cultures. Studying in the beautiful city of London has definitely enhanced my academic experience. I visited museums, popular attractions, and tried out many new restaurants and cafes.
What was the most memorable part of your university experience?
The most memorable part was right at the beginning of my academic journey. When I walked into my first class I noted my colleagues were chatting, becoming friends with each other. The mix of cultures was overwhelming, given that I came from an Eastern European country with little population diversity. There was a relaxed atmosphere in the room, which made taking part in conversations very comfortable and natural. By the end of the class, after introducing myself to many of them, I realised that even though we came from very different parts of the world, we were brought together by a common goal: to study business.
What skills did you gain from your degree which have been particularly helpful in your career?
Apart from the theoretical knowledge I acquired, I was able to work in diverse teams and improve my leadership skills, which taught me how to manage diverse cultures, different ways of thinking, and reaching consensus among team members. I have also strengthened my spoken and written English, through the presentations and reports that I worked on throughout the entire three years. Additionally, I have learned the importance of meeting deadlines, for which incremental work is crucial, unlike leaving all the work to the last minute. As a Student Representative for my course I have also understood that change comes as a result of gathering feedback and speaking up using appropriate arguments.
What has your career journey been like since graduating?
I decided to pursue an MSc Finance, in order to deepen my knowledge in this field of study, which I am passionate about.
What is your current job role and what does a typical day look like?
Currently, I am focusing on my upcoming MSc Finance course, on reading as many books and articles relating to the Finance field as I can in order to deepen my understanding of this subject. This will definitely prepare me for the challenging process of obtaining a job, and then successfully complete the job’s tasks.
How did your university experience and degree help you to secure your job/jobs?
In my second year of university I secured a summer internship at Citibank in Romania. After one week of my manager observing how I handled the required tasks, I became a full time intern in the Corporate Banking department. I applied the analytical skills and knowledge of financial markets and institutions, which I had gained from modules in my first and second year. I was familiar with accounting calculations from one of my modules, therefore I was prepared for my duties on the job, which included analysis on financial statements. Additionally, skills like working in a team and taking into account every member’s opinion, minding a deadline, have helped me integrate into the workplace’s culture and helped my team in getting their work done successfully.
What advice would you give students who are thinking of studying here?
My advice to students would be to choose City University, as it is a place for everyone, with wonderful academic opportunities, many extracurricular activities to take part in, and networking events where you meet people with whom you make memorable connections. At City you feel part of a community, where people from all over the world become your friends.
What is the one thing you can’t live without?
People. Without family and friend support, I would not be where I am today. Being on your own is extremely hard, and meaningful connections with people is what helps an individual succeed.