At the forefront of taking on the challenge of a rigorous part-time MBA programme like the Global Online MBA or the Weekend MBA is a goal. A goal to improve skills, abilities and develop personally and professionally to support long-term career progression.
The Careers team at Imperial are the tool that every student needs to unlock their career potential, especially when juggling a busy schedule. The Global Online MBA and Weekend MBA is just part of a student’s life. Studying needs to fit alongside a busy work schedule, family commitments and downtime. So making time for the support offered by the Careers team is paramount to reaching post-MBA your career goals, even if you have a lot on your plate.
As part of your career development as a Global Online MBA or Weekend MBA student, you will embark on a Personal Leadership Journey, which provides a structured approach to growing leadership potential through a range of expertly crafted exercises, workshops and one-to-one career coaching sessions. Careers Consultants, like myself, are experts in our field and use our wealth of experience to provide personalised support to help you achieve your career goals while studying at Imperial.
As a Career Consultant for students on the part-time Global Online MBA and Weekend MBA programmes, I share my advice on how to make the most of career development at Imperial.
- Engage with your dedicated Careers Consultant
As a Careers Consultant, our job is to help students make the most of their MBA and achieve whatever their version of success is, whether that’s a promotion, a transition to a new sector, a new function, starting a business or something else – the possibilities are endless.
Each student starts the programme with their own aspirations. We work with them on whatever their challenges are to get to where they want to be. In practice, that means a dedicated Careers Consultant for each student who provides in-depth psychometric assessment feedback and supports all aspects of developing career progression from CVs, interviews, networking to ongoing development coaching.
There are also great speakers on senior leader competencies and opportunities to network with alumni and across cohorts. We encourage students to make the most of all Imperial resources so they can explore different career paths, even if they turn out not to be the right ones for them. We want students to have knowledge of as many options as possible before deciding which is the most suitable for them.
- Work out what you want to achieve
Lots of students on the Global Online MBA and Weekend MBA want to perform more effectively in their current role and use the MBA for that. A large proportion of students are also interested in switching some aspect of their career. Imperial’s part-time MBA programmes help with that in many ways, from having a network of peers in many top companies to using the knowledge gained in class to unlock new career opportunities.
Sometimes the career direction students go down in is not what they expect at the start of the MBA programme as they get exposed to new subjects. It is important to stay open-minded throughout the programme.
I recently worked with one Weekend MBA student who had spent most of her career working for a small London recruitment company – rising to become it’s Managing Director. She was looking to move on to a new sector for the first time and we spent a lot of time focusing on her interview technique to make her recruitment experience relevant to other sectors. She has just joined a (non-recruitment) multinational organisation to lead its operations in a new city and country which she is delighted with and is the perfect next step for her.
- Carve out time for career research and reflection
While studying your MBA, the Careers team are a voice of reason in your ear, reminding you to think about your career progression throughout the programme. Good planning and time management are also important of course. There are gaps in the academic calendar which many students use to research, reflect on or make career decisions.
- Think about the long-term
We often see students use their MBAs to enter new sectors long after their studies have finished. I recently worked with an MBA alumnus who graduated three years ago and moved into a Product Manager role for a major tech firm having never worked in Product Management before and moving from a telecoms company. The Weekend MBA opens your eyes to a wealth of industries, roles and new opportunities, it’s not always the first role post-MBA that defines you.
- Expand your horizons outside of the classroom
Join societies relevant to your interests, attend employer presentations or sector insight sessions (even those you might not be interested in) to understand career opportunities. Use all the opportunities provided to network with alumni or other guests and develop your competencies by attending webinars and workshops on areas such as leading, public speaking or developing your personal brand, amongst other things.