Gabriella Pricop is originally from Eastern Europe but was raised in Turin, Italy. At the age of 19, she moved to Edinburgh to study at Queen Margaret University (QMU). She has recently graduated with a BA (Hons) in Business Management and now plans to apply her skills to a career in the creative industries.
From as early as she can remember, Gabriella has had a love of history and all things related to art and architecture. She credits this to growing up in Italy, surrounded by the beauty of Renaissance architecture and paintings. She also loves travelling to new countries and feels that her bi-cultural upbringing helped prepare her for university life as it made her appreciative of the differences between people, cultures and traditions.
Why did you choose to study at QMU and what attracted you to the course?
Although my main interests are art, culture and languages, I chose to pursue a Business Management degree because I was keen on learning and developing a set of skills which are vital in every workplace. I was looking for a course which could teach me about the business world while allowing me to develop effective communication, presentation and negotiation skills. I recognised that the degree pathway at QMU was able to offer all of this to me. I also wanted to improve my English and embark on a journey that would not only expand my career prospects but also help me grow as an individual through the challenges of studying in a different country.
Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh?
Edinburgh has always been on my travel bucket list for its majestic views and impressive architecture. I saw no better chance to fully explore the city and immerse myself in the Scottish culture than the one offered by studying at QMU.
What was the most enjoyable part of your course?
I truly enjoyed studying this course because, during each semester, we were able to delve into new modules and gain new knowledge in the process. The Business Management degree programme offers classes which cover all fundamental aspects of running a business; from accounting and management to marketing, negotiation and more. Our lecturers were always happy to share their experiences, skills, and knowledge with us as well. Guest lecturers also gave us a chance to see how the theoretical knowledge we learn in university can have concrete applications and results in real life.
Was there a particular course activity you found especially interesting? How did your lecturers support your learning?
Many of our modules required us to come up with innovative and unique concepts, plans or projects. A project I remember vividly needed us to come up with a business idea and to make a profit from it, starting with a small budget given to us by the lecturer. It was part of our Entrepreneurship class, and I think it was honestly the best way of teaching us about the entrepreneurial mindset and the importance of failure and creativity. I also enjoyed the freedom we were given from our lecturers to come up with our ideas, and the support and guidance we then received to transform our visions into concrete projects.
What were some of your challenges with the course and university life? How did you overcome them?
All new chapters in life, especially when set in a new country, are bound to be challenging. For me, getting acquainted with different ways of learning and doing things was sometimes tricky, but with time and patience, everything eventually becomes more natural.
As part of your course, you studied a semester abroad in Paris. Tell us about that.
I heard about the opportunity of studying abroad from lecturers and staff at university, and I attended an informative meeting about the programme. I was convinced that I had to apply the moment Paris came up as one of the exchange destinations for my degree.
Studying in Paris was the most exciting, challenging and fulfilling experience of my time at QMU. Although I know that I can always go back and visit Paris, being there as a student was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I would recommend studying abroad to anyone! I had the time and the freedom to explore the city, learn a new language, make friends, and mistakes - all of which have left a permanent mark on me.
Most of all, I had the chance to leave behind what had become comfortable and embark on a new journey designed to challenge my knowledge and convictions. This experience also helped me develop new skills and satisfy my curiosity.
My advice to students considering studying abroad would be not to be afraid of a new challenge. Instead, fear the moment you start to feel too comfortable, as it probably means that you are not stepping far enough out of your comfort zone and that you are not taking the right steps that will help you adapt and thrive.
Any advice for students who might be interested in this course?
My advice would be to find out early what your strengths are, the things you are good at, and use them to add value and distinctiveness to everything you do. When you are aware of your talents, you can contribute something meaningful and unique to every class discussion, every report you are asked to write and every piece of group work you are involved in.
In the process of identifying my strengths, I found out that creativity and art shape my distinctive personality traits. Although these might not seem like the most useful features to have for a Business Management degree, I have found them helpful in crafting my work to best express who I am.
"My advice would be to find out early what your strengths are, the things you are good at, and use them to add value and distinctiveness to everything you do. When you are aware of your talents, you can contribute something meaningful and unique to every class discussion, every report you are asked to write and every piece of group work you are involved in."
Life as a student at QMU
We understand that you are one of the founding members of QMU’s International Society. Can you tell us a little about that?
As an international student myself, I remember coming to QMU excited to meet new people and hear their stories. I realised there was an opportunity to create more space and time for international students to get together at QMU and share our knowledge and experience from around the world.
Together with Rachel (the co-founder of the society), we pitched our idea to the International Office and the Students’ Union; through their help and support, we were able to establish the International Society. Within the first month, we had successfully built an international community of over 100 students, and the number has been growing steadily ever since.
The society was founded to integrate and promote diversity and cultural exchange within QMU. Now that Rachel and I have both graduated, the society continues to run and attract new students.
What's your 'top tip' for making the most of being a student?
My top tips for students would be to embrace every opportunity, as they might not come up again. Don’t be afraid of mistakes, as someone who hasn’t made a mistake has probably never tried something new. Lastly, work on yourself and understand yourself, because if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’re never going to find it.
What’s the most valuable lesson that you learned at university?
During my time at University, I learned the importance of time and preparation. It is only with time and patience that you can gradually adapt to every new reality or challenge that life throws your way. It is also with time that you can prepare yourself so that when you come across the right opportunity, you can take it. I have learned that success has nothing to do with luck; it is with hard work, perseverance and preparation that you can achieve great things when the right opportunity presents itself.
I am not just leaving university with a Business Management degree. I am going out with the consciousness that hard work does pay off and that limits are just milestones waiting to be accomplished if you know how to push those limits.
What are your plans now that you have graduated?
I have been looking forward to having the opportunity and the time to fully commit myself to study a new language, which is what I have been doing since my course finished. When the summer is over, I intend to find a job within the creative industries, where hopefully I will be able to combine my business knowledge with my enthusiasm for art.
Management (inc. Business, Events and Festival and International Hospitality and Tourism)
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