Sam McGarry and Gavin Symonds

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There’s a team hard at work to make sure students get the most out of the Global Online MBA. Meet Sam McGarry (left) and Gavin Symonds (right) from the Online Programmes Team. 

Could you please tell us a little about what the Online Programmes Team does?

Sam: We’re responsible for the delivery of the Global Online MBA programme and the whole student experience. Everything from day one of the student journey.

We work closely with students to support them and catch any issues early. With the help of past and current students, we’re always looking to enhance and improve the programme, to keep it ahead of the curve.

Gavin: This year students will find the online interaction to be a lot smoother. 

We also do a lot of knowledge sharing with other institutions. It helps us benchmark our programme and capitalise on other innovations, as well as share what we’ve done.

What makes the Global Online MBA at Imperial different to Imperial’s Full Time MBA?

Gavin: The big difference is how we make learning more accessible. There’s no geographical restriction on how you learn.

What does a typical week look like while doing the Global Online MBA?

Sam: For most, Monday – Friday involves familiarising themselves with the content and tackling module reading. Students then do about 4 – 5 hours over the weekend to get into their assignment or group work. Some students living in the same city might also meet up once a week. London-based students meet fairly regularly, but students travelling between countries are known to meet up with others in the city they’re in. 

Any tips for students to get the most out of their MBA?

Sam: Build your connections within your syndicate groups – you work with them a lot in your first year. There’s a lot of personal support that you get from these relationships during your two years of study. Those we’ve seen struggle didn’t build or capitalise on those connections in the first year. Those who are more engaged with Imperial and other students, who connect with us at any opportunity they get, and have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening, find it easier overall. It’s hard to switch in and out of student mode. 

Gavin: Don’t be driven solely by grades. Focus on the experience and your interactions. If you put in the work, your grades will follow. 

Preparation is also really important. Prepare yourself for the modules and live sessions by doing the readings. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and how you work and learn best. Accept the suggested hours of study to be guidelines only. You might fly through some modules because you’ve got the background knowledge. Others may take you twice as long because you don’t have the experience or you’ve not studied for some time.

As well as preparing mentally, prepare your physical environment and those around you. This is a life changing programme and it won’t be easy. Get support from your friends and family as early as possible because you’ll be taking them on this journey. You may feel like you’re neglecting the things and people you hold dear while you’re studying. At the end of all this, you’ll get a fantastic reward, but it won’t come easily.

When you look back and people ask you what studying an MBA was like, it’s the experience and key learnings you will draw on, not the score of a revision quiz from week one.
Sam and Gavin
Global Online MBA Team
Sam and Gavin

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