Balazs Mihalyfi

Tell us about the award you have received. What does this award mean to you?

The Management Merit Award, which is given to the best undergraduate student in the discipline, essentially means to me that I made the most of my time at the university. It is difficult to believe that in three short years I managed to spend sufficient time with studying while making friends for life, pursuing my hobbies and taking part in extra-curricular activities. It feels amazing that after long years of being second and third best in everything, I eventually got to be the first, and – not unimportantly – during that phase of my life that I enjoyed the most so far.

What has been the highlight of your time at Exeter?

It is very difficult to pick one highlight because I feel like although I spent only one seventh of my life at Exeter, I made as many memories and learned as much as in the first 18 years of my life altogether. I think happiness is the accumulation of the small things – going for brunch with my best friend, having a pint in Ram, and even finding an essay topic interesting all contribute to the overall feel. However, if I needed to pick one highlight, when my favourite band, Muse performed in Great Hall in my first year, that really is one of the top5 best experiences of my life.

What will you miss the most about University?

Two weeks ago, I would have probably said something like Cheesy Tuesdays or a well-deserved pint after submitting an essay. But now, that I officially and emotionally said goodbye to Exeter, I find it very interesting that, looking back, I am going to miss two very different things. First, what really broke my heart on graduation week was knowing that that was the last time ever of me seating at my usual place in Law Library. It is quite strange that I am going to miss that place the most where I suffered from all-nighters and assignments that seemed endless. Secondly, what I will really miss about university is seeing all my amazing friends every day at home, in class, in the library or in a bar. It is horrible that all of us are going different directions and while I will keep in touch with them all in the future, I will not have the chance to just message them to come over or to just bump into them in the Costa queue.

What did you enjoy about your particular degree programme?

The reason I applied for business and management in the first place was that I think the course occupies a perfect middle ground between humanities and mathematics. While you need to write essays and express your thoughts in detail, you also have to study a bit of finance and a bit of calculus. But now, looking back at my past three years, I think that the best thing about my degree was that it focused inherently on practice. While there were some theory-based modules, most of them helped me gain an accurate and up-to-date oversight of the business world and introduced me to areas ranging from finance to marketing. It feels great to understand why organisations make certain moves and look back at university knowing that I now know what I wanted to learn three years ago.

What advice would you give to current and future students?

To be honest, I have never been very good at giving advice (my friends can testify to that), so I will just have to answer this question with what my mom kept saying to me when I was stressing out about an assignment or an exam: “Keep calm, if you got in, you can also get out of university”. As for non-study-related advice, I would just say that everyone should enjoy their time at university, because it can truly be the best period of a person’s life if they make the most of it.

What are your plans now that you have graduated?

I have wanted to work in the music industry for many years and it remains my main focus today. However, my years at university shaped my aspirations as well, and now I am really interested in things like marketing communications and event management. I currently have a position at an event management company in Hungary as the project lead responsible for creating an integrated brand image for the organisation. However, I would really like to work in London or at a major festival in the near future to move closer to my long-term objective.