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Updated: May 4, 2014 15:05 IST

Overwhelmed by Reading

Apoorva P. Ramanathan
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Apoorva P. Ramanathan
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Apoorva P. Ramanathan

The flexible education system at Henley Business School, U.K., brought in challenges and opportunities, writes Apoorva P. Ramanathan

When I decided I wanted to go abroad to pursue my education after school, I was greeted with shocked expressions. Well, the idea of going abroad for undergraduation wasn’t very popular.

At least, not in Chennai. But I decided to take the risk. And so, after various hurdles and uncertainties, I was finally on my way to University of Reading, U.K., to pursue BSc Finance and Investment Bank in ICMA Centre, Henley Business School in University of Reading (pronounced “Red-ding.”).

This centre offers the only undergraduate programme established by ICMA, which is the European self-regulatory organisation for capital market participants.

The Centre offers students a range of opportunities to add to the student’s skill such as the Rotman International Trading Competition in Toronto.

Quaint little houses and lush green grass stretching till the eyes could see the beautiful colours of autumn — this describes the landscape of this beautiful university town. The campus is huge. And for someone like me, who has barely walked one kilometre at a stretch, going from one class to another seemed like a Herculean task! I panted and puffed for the first two weeks until I got a cycle.

Hardwork and learning

As a student of Finance and Investment Banking, I knew I was in for real hard work.

The course being unique to the University, I was sure they demanded high standards. Thanks to my preparation, I was able to understand the concepts pretty well.

The education system here is very different from India. In school, the evaluation system was based on exams. So it came to me as a surprise that most of my modules had only 30 per cent to 40 per cent of the evaluation based on marks.

But this did not mean it was easy. I had to write essays and present seminars, which was pretty challenging. And another surprising factor was that I did not have a fixed time-table unlike the colleges in India. My time-table changed every day.

This gave me considerable amount of free time, and therefore I decided to volunteer for student tutoring. This required that I had to teach few local school students.

I recently got an excellent opportunity to understand the finance industry by participating in a national-level college competition called University Business Challenge.

To sum up my experiences over here, I learnt a lot more than I had all my life. I understand the value of my family and friends. But most importantly I understand the value of money.

(The writer is pursuing an undergraduate programme at the University of Reading.)

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