MSc Finance Student, Kim Ta, reflects on the summer term as a Master’s student and takes us on their personal and academic growth journey. From exploring European culture; to engaging in summer school programmes; to moments of contemplation and focus in the library, Kim shares with us an unforgettable summer.
Where the Journey Begins
As term two draws to a close for a Master’s student in the UK, it doesn’t so much herald a traditional summer break like undergraduate courses, but the beginning of a distinct and enriching phase. Unlike undergraduates, the experience of a Master’s student is intense; the programme is devlivered in one year, offering little room for a typical long summer hiatus. However, this does not imply a lack of excitement or respite. Instead, it’s a period of anticipation filled with personal exploration, the creation of enduring memories, and of course, the crucial task of crafting our dissertations.
This summer was different, not just because of the unusual British sunshine but because of the broad spectrum of opportunities it presented to every Master’s student at SoM. Some of my fellow classmates packed their bags for a grand European escapade to delve into the rich cultural hertiage that Europe has to offer, and undertake a whole new adventure. From the awe-inspiring Colosseum in Rome, to the enchanting vineyards in the South of France, from the peaceful and progressive atmosphere of Stockholm, Sweden, to the serene fjords of Norway - they planned to traverse it all. A significant number discovered the beauty within the UK’s borders. From visits to the picturesque lavender fields in Cotswolds, to bracing dips in Canary Wharf, from exploring the cultural riches of the British Museum, to hiking the breath-taking trails of the Lake District, their activities painted a vibrant picture of the multitude of experiences within our reach. The UK, in its entirety, was a canvas for adventure, learning, and personal growth.
In addition to the lesuirely summer pursuits, the summer also brought a gamut of international academic programmes. Some of us were drawn to the academic allure of summer schools. One such opportunity was at Aarhus University, Denmark, where students chose from modules like Behavioural Corporate Finance, Financial Risk Management, or High Frequency Finance and Algorithmic Trading. In Belgium, the “Europe Inside Out” programme at KU Leuven (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) beckoned students with an intimate view of Europe. Further afield, the Universidad Externado de Colombia offered insights into the Latin American business landscape. Even the online corridors of Tsinghua University, China, resonated with the bustling discussions on business concepts in the Chinese market context. These diverse experiences painted a vivid tableau of academia’s global expanse.
Intellectual and personal Growth
Meanwhile, many of us found ourselves in a summer of contemplation and focus, dedicating our time to delve into the intricacies of our dissertations. The silence of the library became our companion, the aroma of old books our comfort. As we journeyed through the layers of research, piecing together arguments, and analysing data, we experienced an intellectual growth that only the process of dissertation writing can offer.
Though it might seem a solitary pursuit, it was anything but. The shared solidarity amongst us, the regular check-ins with classmates about our progress, and hearing about their various summer exploits, added a sense of communal experience. Their stories of UK-based adventures, international academic pursuits, and diverse classrooms brought a global perspective to our summer of dissertation writing.
The summer term for a Master’s student in the UK isn’t just a season but an experience. It’s the time when we branch out; some spreading their wings across Europe, some dipping their toes in different learning environments, and some immersing themselves in the world of research. But irrespective of the paths we chose, the common thread that wove us together was the enriching journey of personal and academic growth. As we navigated through our individual routes, our collective experiences served to enrich the tapestry of our student community.
As the summer term comes to a close, we’ve emerged more informed, more connected, and one step closer to our academic goals. And even though the dissertations may have been daunting, the long hours well spent, and the journeys of my fellow students inspiring, we all shared one thing - a unique and unforgettable summer term in the UK.