Studying in autumn 2020 during coronavirus

Maja Stefanczyk

Maja Stefanczyk, BA Tourism, MA HRM

Format AreaPrinciple Resource Specialist, Credit Suisse

BA Tourism, 2007

MA Human Resource Management, 2009

What made you choose Middlesex University?

Middlesex University is well known for its international environment and bringing the 'whole world' together. The students have a unique opportunity to engage with academic assignments and establish friendships with people from different cultures who have diverse opinions and views. The chance to experience such cultural diversity was one of the reasons for my decision to choose Middlesex University.

Moreover, the university's location close to the centre of London provides students with unlimited access to a broad spectrum of cultural events and entertainment. Being able to take advantage of these and develop my interests in other areas further was another major factor for choosing the university.

What attracted you to your course and made you apply?

I picked a BA in Tourism because of my strong interest in different cultures, sustainable travel, and my desire to better understand the businesses processes and dialogue that takes place within the industry.

The course contained many modules that focussed on management, making it a good choice for people who want to develop careers not only in tourism but also in business more generally and better understand management practices.

What aspects of your course did you enjoy most?

The best aspects of both my courses was the opportunity to attend professional meetings, take part in field trips, such as the working trip I went on to Tunisia, as well as access to Middlesex's high quality academic resources and infrastructure.

What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?

I have a number of fond memories directly associated with Middlesex University, however the friendships I established during this time are the most precious for me.

Having attended Middlesex, I can honestly say that I have friends from all over the world. One year I can be attending the wedding of one of my university friends in India and the next, visiting a university friend in Portugal or Germany. I will treasure these connections with people from all over the world for life.

What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?

I would strongly encourage prospective students to enrol on courses with professional accreditation such as the HRM course which has CIPD certification.

Having professional accreditation creates a lot of opportunities after graduation. Not only does it increase your practical knowledge of a particular professional area but also your chances of employment.

How did your course and time at Middlesex help you to get where you are professionally today?

The MA in HRM course I studied equipped me well for the role I now have. I learnt not only theory but also the practical skills that are essential to my business area.

The ability to strategically plan my work and engage in a professional conversation with a thorough understanding of HR and Business strategy are skills that I learnt. These make my role easier, more enjoyable and help me achieve the goals I have set for myself to progress professionally.

What made you choose the industry you work in and what are its pros and cons?

What I enjoy most about my work is the interaction I get to have with various people and my ability to influence the company's performance by selecting the best talent.

Credit Suisse operates globally and therefore the recruitment process involves candidates from all over the world. This gives me a great opportunity to gain professional experience within a very multicultural environment.

We aim to select the best fit for every position in our bank, thus Credit Suisse is an organisation filled with very skilful and talented people. This in turn creates a huge opportunity to learn and progress within the organisation.

I recruit for the IT department that focuses on the core areas of software development for the bank. Every successful hire puts a smile on my face as the market I operate in is purely employee-oriented. Working with such demanding target groups makes my role more difficult, which could be considered as disadvantageous, but it also provides me with great satisfaction.

How did you get your foot on the career ladder post university?

I applied for an internship but instead was offered a full time position. This enabled me to get my foot on the career ladder and ever since, I have placed great emphasis on personal development and continued learning. My career progression has happened automatically but also intentionally.

What has been your defining career break or highlight to date?

To date my career has been focused on recruitment and achieving the goals I have set for myself. I am glad I have been able to gain experience in a cross-cultural, multinational business environment.

I consider that every company I have worked for has offered an opportunity for professional enrichment and personal development. Working for one of the top ten Investment Banks in the world and building its Human Capital is definitely a very inspiring opportunity.

What does the future hold for you?

My near future is strictly focussed on the business environment I currently work in.

I feel confident that in due course I can move towards an HR advisory role within the financial industry. This will enable me to strategically influence resources planning and management.

What are the top three career tips you would give to current students and recent graduates?

Be passionate about everything you do in life and have an appetite to learn more than just a degree. Adopting a continuous approach to learning always determines success, especially at work.

Choose studies that will provide you with unique soft skills that are crucial in a professional business environment.

Realise what it is that you really like to do and be passionate about. If possible, tailor your career path so that it overlaps with your interests. Remember that you will probably spend the majority of your lifetime working!

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