How organisational development and cross-cultural management can shape the future? Watch this webinar and learn about Allison's experience studying a Master's Degree in the UK and how her research project at LSE could help organisations develop at a global scale.
About Allison Murdoch
MSc Human Resources and Organisations
Allison was looking for a globally diverse student body when she decided to study in the UK. Originally from New York, she has had exciting challenges and opportunities while in London, a hub for international talent. Her research project at LSE aims to drive real change for student engagement at her department. Discover how she is creating a supportive pathway to help others through organizational development and cross-cultural management.
What motivated you to study in the UK?
I’m interested in organizational development, scaling, and cross-cultural management, and I saw immense value in getting an international experience. While I chose to study in the UK, the greatest appeal of attending was the incredibly diverse student body at my university. My program alone has students from more than 42 countries, and I couldn’t think of a place to find a more globally diverse student body
What was the most valuable experience about studying in the UK?
The UK, and London in particular, is a hub for so much international talent. Almost everyone I meet in New York is at the very least Americanized, if not American. The UK doesn’t have such an all-consuming culture, and people tend to move here a lot later in life, so people stay tied to their national identities. My usual lunch group alone includes friends from Spain, South Korea, Denmark, France, Hong Kong, Japan, and (shockingly enough) the UK itself. I’ve learned so much from hearing so many global points of view on a daily bas
Why did you choose LSE?
In addition to LSE’s stellar global reputation, I was drawn to the global focus of the university. Having gone to a highly competitive undergraduate institution I knew what to expect from the workload, but the diverse student body has provided me with an unexpected and exciting challenge in my learning community. I also can’t deny the draw of London and all of the opportunities it presents. After living in New York City for the last 7 years I would’ve had to be dragged kicking and screaming to a small university town.
What was the greatest challenge you experienced when studying abroad?
Admittedly, being so far away from my friends and family back home has been tough. But I’ve made some amazing friends here and it’s been incredibly valuable having to rebuild my community from the ground up. Modern technology and budget airlines also make things a little easier!
What are you working on at the moment?
In addition to pursuing my degree and beginning my dissertation, I’m currently doing a research project sponsored by LSE Changemakers, where I’m doing a qualitative study on student engagement in my department. I’ll get to present my findings to important people in the department to consult and drive real change, which is incredibly exciting. I’m also preparing for a Muay Thai fight at Kings College with LSE’s Muay Thai fight team.
What inspired you to become an organizational development specialist?
I’ve worked in a massive global investment bank and in a rapidly growing technology company that was just starting to globally scale, and it really sparked my interest in how organizations develop and grow, what makes them succeed, and what makes them fail. I’m particularly interested in organizational culture and employee wellbeing in light of the countless exposes coming out about tech companies falling from grace due to cultural pitfalls.
What is the part you enjoy the most about your profession?
I’m currently in school so I can go through a career change, so it’s a bit too early to say! But I’m excited to start focusing on people, and I’m hoping to find a work environment where I get to experience and learn new things every day. My career up to this point has been very quantitative and routine, and I’m excited to focus more on building relationships and helping others.
How do you think you can make a difference?
I know I can’t change anything by being complacent. I can make a difference by fighting for what I believe in at all costs and not being afraid to be a voice of dissent when I think something can be improved. And if all else fails, I do Muay Thai, so I’ve always got a backup plan (kidding—mostly!).
If you had the chance to give advice to your younger-self, what would that be?
Figure out your core values and the people you look up to, and live by those values and aspirations. Don’t let societal expectations for women and past trauma dictate your responses to difficult or scary situations. Yourself and your beliefs are worth fighting for. Do what you want to do, not what you feel like you ‘should’ do—it’s okay to say no to opportunities that you don’t want, and it’s okay to leave bad situations. And start doing martial arts earlier – you have no idea how much you’ll love them!
What skills and abilities do you consider important for women to develop?
Learn how to negotiate. I’m currently enrolled in a Negotiation Analysis course and it’s been incredibly eye-opening, since it’s revealed how uncomfortable I am with approaching conflict head-on and gunning for what I want. Also, even if you’re not pursuing a traditionally quantitative career, learn the fundamentals of data analytics and get comfortable with numbers—almost every career path nowadays is data-driven, and it’s important to know how to use data to tell your story and promote your goals.
What advice would you give to women who are thinking about studying in the UK?
If the only thing that’s holding you back is fear, take the plunge—otherwise you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering and regretting. Also, take Vitamin D.
Describe your experience in the UK in 3 words: exciting, chaotic and transformative.
I am inspired by Connson Lock (head of my program at LSE).
I’m passionate about creating more supportive pathways to success for marginalized people.