Rima Sen Mortemart (Chemistry with Management 1993) has fond memories of both her academic life at Imperial and the support that friends and the College gave her during a difficult time. She now works as a consultant, analysing non-financial assets and long term contingency planning for multinational corporations. Rima hosted a recent alumni event at her home in Paris, and we caught up with her to find out more about her time at Imperial and her advice for current students.

What did you learn during your time at Imperial, in class or out?       

“Persistence, especially when you have to repeat lab experiments for results. I also learnt the importance of nature by spending time in nearby Hyde Park.”

Can you tell us about your time at Imperial?   

“Chemistry had few women students. We spent time in the Huxley library since most lecture courses required advance preparation. I enjoyed spending time with the research group of Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson and my fondest memories of my time at Imperial are my brief conversations with Sir Geoffrey. I was amongst the first batch of management students so the lecture courses were in the Southside building with visiting professors.

I will always remember the compassion of friends and Imperial, and how they gave me moral support during rehabilitation after I faced a life threatening illness during the course of my studies. I am a qualified Grade 7 pianist from the Royal College of Music (this played a significant role in choosing Imperial). The proximity of the Royal Albert Hall for musical lectures and performances from all over the world, especially the Proms in the Park, were experiences to remember. Unfortunately, my desire to complete Grade 8 was short-lived as my illness affected the nervous system (the left hand and associated fingers)." 

Tell us a bit about the work you’re doing now.            

“I work for Guardian Plasticote Ltd (India). They are a 50-year-old family business specialising in packaging for MNCs and are currently expanding towards biodegradable materials and entering into a partnership with Pechiney (now sold to Rio Tinto). My consultancy work covers analysis of non-financial assets and long term contingency planning for MNCs in different fields.”

What sorts of skills, knowledge and experiences from your degree do you use in your daily job?      

“In particular, analytical thinking, global standards versus cost/quality optimisation, and food and drug safety measures related to chemical usage in packaging/printing material”

How do you feel your Imperial degree has helped you now that you’re based in France?       

“French technologies can be utilised for growing Asian markets with competitive local manufacturing costs. My Imperial degree is recognised amongst MNCs, although family-owned French SMEs are less aware of the College.”

What have been your career highlights and lowlights?           

“A lowlight is that my belief in compliance and business ethics sometimes conflicts with achieving performance and sustainability for MNCs.

A highlight was my last minute negotiations with the concerned Minister to sign-off the purchase of bore drilling equipment used for evacuation purposes in closed shaft mining. There was a mine collapse and the lives of over 150 miners were saved.

I have also had the privilege of directly interacting with heads of state, diplomats and global CEOs, yet true fulfilment comes from motivating ordinary people to do extraordinary things. My Imperial education was a consolidation of understanding the importance of scientific developments (and medical advancements) on the socio-economic growth path, facing challenges and putting the best efforts for equality of opportunity."

What are your plans for the future?     

“To become a politician.”

What would be your advice for current students?        

“Develop survival instincts because ‘your best friends can become your worst enemies’ in the competitive corporate jungle.”

What are you most proud of in your life?

“My husband for his humility and achievement and the ability to follow his passion to create social awareness documentaries/films.”

Do you have a favourite quote or saying?       

“Be yourself and try to understand that ‘less is more’.”