Layla Ghorbannejad (BSc Mathematics with Management 2002) learnt to ‘think deeply’ during her Imperial studies, a skill she now shares with the next generation of mathematicians through her teaching and tutoring work.
Read on to hear more about Layla’s Imperial memories and her goals for the future.
Can you tell us about your studies at Imperial?
I did two years of Mathematics and one year in the Management school, where I was doing the same modules as MBA students. During my time at Imperial, I learnt the importance of hard work, of not giving up, and the ability to think deeply about concepts.
Who did you find inspiring at Imperial and why?
I found the (now retired) Mathematics lecturer Dr George Wilson highly inspiring. His lectures stand out in my memory as always being very clear.
What is your fondest memory of your time here?
Getting a hot tuna panini in the Sir Alexander Fleming building every Friday with friends! Also, the Iranian Society’s New Year’s parties in London clubs were always very special.
What is your favourite place at Imperial and why?
I’d have to say The Clore lecture theatre in the Huxley building, which was a fantastic venue for learning. I also enjoyed using the Central Library for study and group projects.
Tell us a bit about the work you’re doing now.
Today I am Key Stage 3 Mathematics Coordinator at an all-girls state secondary school. I teach all year groups including GCSE and A-level, and I work four days split over five. Outside of school, I tutor Mathematics online.
How has what you learnt at Imperial helped you in your career so far?
At Imperial I learnt how to solve problems by appreciating the bigger picture, and the importance of trying different strategies until you find what works. This mindset has always stuck with me.
What have been your career highlights and lowlights?
Seeing my students understand a difficult concept and make progress in lessons every day gives me enormous joy and satisfaction – I guess you could call that that an ongoing highlight.
A lowlight in my career so far has been receiving a commendation from the panel of judges in the Imperial Entrepreneurship Challenge for a business plan to sell pretzels… and then not doing it. A missed opportunity!
What does a typical day look like for you now?
At work, I teach up to eight 40-minute periods in a day to students of various levels. Lessons are often double periods and I am always on the go, rushing from one classroom to the next. I field a million questions per day, and I have to think on my feet. I often don’t get a chance to sit down! I like that every day is different.
What are your plans for the future?
I recently launched my YouTube channel, Felicidade Wellness. My content aims to improve wellness by sharing guided meditations for everyone to enjoy.
I also plan to take a course in coaching and become a leadership and transformational coach. I want to help leaders in business and education to transform their organisations and professional lives. I speak a quite a few languages so can coach in any of them - English, Brazilian Portuguese, French, Spanish and Persian.
I am also currently developing online wellness workshops focused on breathwork, self-worth, self-care, confidence, mindfulness and happiness. These will be in the form of once-off workshops, online or in-person. Watch this space!
What would be your advice for current students?
Study hard and be organised. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your peers and lecturers. Participate in societies and College events so you can make friends from outside of your course.
Also, network as much as you can, seek guidance and advice from the lecturers and speakers in whichever field(s) you are interested in. Be open to all of the different opportunities that are available to you.
Overall, enjoy your studies and your time at Imperial. It will fly by!
What makes you proud to be an Imperial alumnus?
I am proud of the renowned worldwide reputation Imperial has, and the intellectual stimulation you benefit from as a student of the College. Imperial is such a historic institution with incredible courses, teaching staff, and facilities.
What one word or phrase would you use to describe Imperial alumni?
Trailblazing. I think that Imperial alumni are second to none. I have found my fellow alumni to be intelligent and determined - they find a way to blaze their own trail and make their goals a reality!
Do you have a favourite quote or saying?
I have two.
“Every day is a chance to begin again. Don’t focus on the failures of yesterday, start today with positive thoughts and expectations.” - Catherine Pulsifer
“Opportunities don’t often come along. So, when they do, you have to grab them.” - Audrey Hepburn
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I am interested in networking and would love to connect with current students and fellow alumni via LinkedIn! I can be found at: Layla Ghorbannejad.