If you heard the words “design thinking”, would you assume it had something to do with look and layout? Or would you realise that it’s a method for unlocking problem-solving, imagination and insight within a business?
When Heather Mack (Weekend Executive MBA 2017) started her studies at Imperial College Business School, she hadn’t even heard the term. So she was intrigued when she discovered it would be one of her modules.
“I really benefited from the expertise of our teachers,” she says. “They were all so engaging, and very supportive. But it was the sessions on design thinking that were the most influential for me.”
She started reading more widely on the subject, and became hooked. Her final project focused on how design thinking could be put into practice in corporate environments, and from there she hasn’t looked back.
Sense of family
Heather was already working full time as a management consultant when she began the MBA programme. She opted to stay in London, and Imperial College Business School seemed the ideal place to broaden her business knowledge. She was thrilled to meet like-minded people on her programme and soon made a set of supportive friends.
Heather says: “One of my strongest memories of my time at the Business School is the sense of family. It really felt like we were all in it together. People came from all kinds of backgrounds and sectors, and I loved being able to learn from them all. We could collaborate, discuss and challenge each other; it was a very collegiate atmosphere.”
These are the kinds of people who will flourish at Imperial College Business School, she says: “You need to be a team player. To share your opinions but to also embrace those of others. To join in the conversation. To be collaborative. To really throw yourself in.”
During her second year, Heather moved to KPMG, the result of a referral from one of her friends on her course who also worked there. This was the spark Heather had been waiting for: after joining the company, she began focusing on how design thinking could help her team improve their approach to projects. She’s now the go-to person on design thinking in her team.
One of my strongest memories of my time at the Business School is the sense of family. It really felt like we were all in it together. People came from all kinds of backgrounds and sectors, and I loved being able to learn from them all. We could collaborate, discuss and challenge each other; it was a very collegiate atmosphere.
Heather is even working with a current Imperial College Business School student, who is writing their dissertation on how Heather’s team could further benefit from design thinking. She says: “It is really helping me raise the profile of design thinking within my team at KPMG. It’s great that I can use my connections from the Business School to validate why it is important and to bring new ways of thinking into the team.”
She credits her time at Imperial College Business School with raising her ambitions for the future. “I would love to take on a more strategic leadership role in the future,” she says. “My time at the Business School opened doors I didn’t expect it to. It gave me networking opportunities and allowed me to be able to discuss a wide range of business subjects.”
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