Title: Daniela Lungu - PSA Student of the Year winner video
I truly believe that these years at Birmingham have been absolutely instrumental in terms of both my personal and professional development. I have grown so much. I remember years ago when I came here I was very shy and scared and found it very difficult to adapt to a fundamentally different culture. Back there in Romania, I was only focused on academic achievement. I was only proving myself academically and I've done quite well I managed to achieve 95.8% from the college that was ranked 1st in my country in 2011.
But by coming here and doing the PSA [Award] and networking, I realised that I can be brilliant academically but if I don't have one key ability, that of dealing with people and all the skills associated with this, I will not get far or at least as far as I want and expect to get. So I need to build self-confidence and this is where Global Challenge came in because winning the prestigious Global Challenge Finance Internship with GlaxoSmithKline in Dubai gave me the confidence boost that I needed. It showed me one more time that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to and that was all I needed because, coming back from Dubai, I literally took every opportunity that gave me the chance to build relationships with, work as a team with and lead people. I think most importantly with different types of people different cultures, different backgrounds, different mentalities.
So I've done anything from being a London Ambassador for the 2012 Olympic Games at which I achieved an Excellence Badge, a Student Ambassador for the Accounting and Finance department, a Generation to Generation volunteer and then got selected to represent the whole programme and the Birmingham area at the Nationality Youth Conference. I've been the Co-Chair of Oxfam Society. I achieved 6th place out of over 4,000 students across the UK at the National Student Challenge. I won a scholarship to go to an investment banking conference in Europe last summer. I was actually the only student out of the top who managed to get on the Student Challenge and the Study Abroad Programme China in the same summer. I've done an internship with management consultancy with Grant Thornton and also the Bombay Stock Exchange, which kind of fed this passion of mine for investment banking. And when studying in China, I studied 2 modules at Fudan University at which I achieved a distinction and a merit and I also got to interview a student representative for one of them and I also was successful in getting the Managing Director of Goldman Sachs as my mentor in my final year.
But beyond this you know, doing the PSA and learning about reflection, which was a new thing to me, I became more aware of who I am and what I can bring to the table and I realised that apart from being incredibly self-motivated, very analytical, able to learn really quickly and able to build successful relationships with different types of people, I think what has always distinguished me from people that I'm competing against has been this commitment to excellence. I've basically developed an aptitude, a habit of always striving for the best results and the best quality and I've proven it many times and one example is when I was a PASS Leader in my 3rd year. I didn't just want to be a PASS Leader so I got selected to be one of the students representing the University of Birmingham at the National PASS Leader Conference in Ireland. But I didn't want just to attend the conference, I wanted to make an impact somehow and there was this poster competition and I made a poster in a very short space of time and managed to get our university in the top 3 for the very first time out of 40 universities. After this, you know, the manager of the programme singled me out and then he invited me to represent the whole programme at the Personal Student Forum and then this year he actually hired me to be judge of all the PASS Leaders within the College of Social Sciences and this is just one example.
I'm so grateful for everything that this university has done for me. I've had so many opportunities to grow which satisfied this hunger of mine for self-development and I've met some brilliant people who more than believed in me and that was crucial for my self-confidence in trying to achieve my full potential. And winning the PSA Student of the Year is like an accolade, is like a symbol of everything that I've managed to achieve within these 4 years.