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Lucy alumna Natalya Shulga (Real Estate Finance) tells us how she achieved her academic and professionals goals

All our childhood dreams largely determine our adult life. If we believe in our dream, know exactly what we want, why we need it, and take steps towards it, it will come true.

I have always dreamed about having a good education and a profession that will not only give me financial independence, help to build a good career, but will always stimulate me to constantly improve my professional knowledge.

I knew that it was necessary to study foreign languages, knowledge of which would allow me to expand not only the circle of contacts in the professional community, but also to increase the number of sources of information. As a first step, I decided to study English and Spanish intensively. After completing my higher education at the university in Moscow, I started working in the construction and real estate investment sectors. In my opinion, a good specialist cannot be satisfied with just one professional education; they must constantly improve their knowledge. Therefore, when I found out about the competition for a grant to continue my studies at Cambridge, without hesitation, I took part in it and successfully passed all the stages. 

In the Russian language there are wonderful expressions: “The brave one takes cities” (there is an analogue in English language “if one takes no risks, one will not gain any benefits”) and “The water does not flow under the lying stone” (analogue - “nothing ventured, nothing gained”). Indeed, each dream is given along with the strength necessary to make it come true. The main thing is not to be afraid to take the first step.

I won the competition and my dream of studying at the world's best university, Cambridge, came true. In 2008 I entered the Department of Land Economy to study Real Estate Finance. And Lucy Cavendish became my first and favorite college that offered a place of residence, supervision, and an adaptation programme during the period of study.

Although more than 10 years have passed, I still remember the warm and soulful atmosphere that reigned in Lucy Cavendish College. I remember my cosy dormitory and wonderful classmates, some of whom I’m still friends with now (I even went to Ankita Satnaliwala for a wedding in India, met with Diana Chin in Singapore during my trip, and with Vivian Leung from China in Moscow during her travel with parents). I remember our wonderful holidays (it will just suffice to mention the 800th anniversary of the university); Formal Halls; the work of different interest clubs; organisation of a city quest on the first day of arrival in order to get to know Cambridge; very pleasant, friendly mentors. Everything was done in order to help keep in touch with the university, in general, and the College, in particular, to feel like a part of this wonderful place, the academic environment.

One of the main advantages of Cambridge and its colleges: you will always be surrounded by like-minded people, people with similar interests and dreams.

The subjects studied at the university: real estate finance, development, quantitative methods of analysis, real estate investments, urban planning plus a field trip to Germany - all this helped a lot in my work, and became a good foundation in the profession.

Studying at Cambridge helped me expand my horizons, and brought my knowledge to a whole new level.

Today, in my portfolio there are already many projects in the field of commercial and residential real estate, including the most significant one - preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2014 in Sochi (Russia). The company I worked for was an investor and developer of two Olympic hotels to accommodate media representatives from 11 countries, which was the most interesting experience in my life. I think, for the sake of being involved in work on such projects, we are learning and improving ourselves, making a career and raising our rating in the labor market.

In this work I could use not only the professional knowledge gained at the university (“hard skills"), but also the interpersonal skills ("soft skills"), which develop in such an intercultural and multinational environment that are provided by the University and Lucy Cavendish College, in particular. To strengthen my “soft skills”, I was glad to work as a volunteer at the Olympic Games in Sochi (Russia), in Pyeongchang (South Korea) and at the FIFA World Cup in Moscow (Russia).

PyeongChang 2018 (South Korea)
PyeongChang 2018 (South Korea)
Natalya Shulga
Left photo: World Championship 2018 - Right photo: Sochi 2014

Currently, I continue to work in Russia on other important projects for the country.

I will always fondly remember my college, university, and everything they gave me in my life.

Dreams come true for those who make efforts to achieve the goal. Paulo Coelho said: "There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible: the fear of failure". Therefore, never be afraid to change something in your life, because all our achievements were once a dream.