The Management School automatically made me feel at ease and excited to study there

Portrait of student Rhiannon Thefaut
Rhiannon Thefaut
Undergraduate student
International Business Management with Study Abroad BA
Rhiannon highlights the opportunities she took while studying at Sheffield including studying abroad in Rennes, France and completing an internship at Amazon.
Portrait of student Rhiannon Thefaut

A great atmosphere

When deciding on a University, I considered the normal factors such as table positioning, reputation, whether they were triple-accredited but whilst these things were important, I mainly went by how I felt when I went to the University on open days and what vibe I got - the management school automatically made me feel at ease and excited to study there, I felt I could imagine myself there - whereas, at other Universities, I couldn’t. This was probably the biggest factor to me and is why visiting the university if possible is so important. 

I chose International Business Management because I wanted to have the chance to travel and have a unique experience to help develop me as a person.

Rhiannon Thefaut

Outstanding student support

My main concern before starting my studies was that I would fall behind due to my illness. I have chronic fatigue syndrome which means that some days, I cannot function and have to miss lectures. The best thing for me about Sheffield and that has majorly helped me is having encore, which records lectures that you may miss and lecturers who you can go to at any point to ask them questions and get help from things you may not understand. There is a really strong support system at the University, from the management school to the students union facilities that you can go to to get help or to explain your situation.

With regard to my experience of the staff at the University, everyone has been really helpful - if you’re lost in the management school (which does happen!), you can easily ask anyone for help. The facilities are second to none, the management school is so modern and comfortable - it makes working there a lot easier because you feel comfortable.

There are numerous types of support available depending on what you want. There are student representatives if you have something you want bringing up to your course leader - any ideas to develop the course further. There is the Futures First hub, where you can go for help on deciding what to do with your future and discuss all options. There is also your personal tutor, who you will meet at least once a term, maybe more if you need - who will help provide guidance and answer any queries you may have. 

Developing yourself on the year abroad

For my year abroad, I went to a city in France called Rennes, which is in the northwest of France. The perk of going here is that Rennes was very easy to travel back home if I needed or wanted to. I studied at a University called ‘Rennes School of Business’, which is a triple-accredited University, like Sheffield and therefore the quality of teaching was amazing. However, it was very different to the UK. I was with the same group of people every day and just moved around tutorial rooms, similar to school. This may sound strange, but it was actually one of the best things about studying there - it meant you could form a real bond with the people in your class. These bonds were also developed by each class having group work. My class alone had 13 different nationalities and this led to the chance to learn a lot more about different cultures and backgrounds. The highlight of my year abroad was having the chance to interact with people from these cultures, learn about their backgrounds, religions, ethnicities and their histories. We had many different events where a specific nationality would cook food from their home country, and we’d listen to music from their country and they’d teach us about their culture.

Overall, studying overseas was a very different experience than Sheffield. I think it’s a great way to help develop yourself and develop more skills, especially as versatility in jobs is so vital. Studying abroad helps give you the chance to develop and create new skills that you never thought possible, and also give you a chance to become more knowledgeable on different cultures and how best to interact with them, which in a globalized world, is vital.

Sparking areas of interest

After my year abroad, I did an internship at Amazon working in Human Resources. Whilst there, I led a project on unplanned absence, creating a tool that helped predict what absence would be for each department. This required significant data work and used a lot of skills that I’d developed in my Decision making module, and also allowed for significant development of new skills, such as how to do macros. It was a really interesting project, as I worked out trends such as how absence increased the morning after a football game and then used this in my forecasting tool to help them predict what absence would be when a football game was on an evening in the future.

My time at Amazon was beneficial in that it taught me a lot about what I didn’t want to do and what I didn’t like and also sparked an area of interest to me, data analytics. It also helped me learn a lot about myself and since leaving, I have done a lot of self-reflection on how to be a better employee and what I want from a company.

I would really recommend doing an internship during the summer if you can; it’s slightly more difficult to apply when you’re abroad but most companies will do skype interviews and these are slightly less daunting than interviews in person (in my opinion).

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