Executive MBA Class of 2021-22


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In February, we welcomed our new students to the Executive MBA class of 2021-22. Starting their Imperial journey during one of the most crucial of times for the world’s business leaders, this exceptional group has much to look forward to over the next 23 months.

The blended learning* format of the Executive MBA programme allows candidates to pursue a busy, full-time workload while balancing their MBA studies. It also provides a thorough grounding in essential business disciplines and strategic leadership skills, as well as opportunities to specialise in areas of expertise and experiences to develop the students’ global perspective on business.

For the new class, choosing to study in an unusually tumultuous year has meant an incredible commitment to furthering their careers in pursuit of becoming leaders in a technology-driven world. The road to the Executive MBA at Imperial meant hours spent crafting their application, interviewing with our specialist team, and engaging with pre-study modules - all before the first day even began.

Such dedication, in many cases managed alongside a demanding full-time role, is a testament to the already impressive achievements of this year’s class. Find out more about this inspiring group, and hear from them directly on their backgrounds, as well as what drove them to study the Executive MBA.

What does the new class look like?

EMBA Class 2021-22 Stats

The diversity in the Executive MBA programme is integral to creating rich class discussions and enabling students to build a global network. This year’s class represents 14 nationalities, with 35% currently residing outside the UK. They also bring to the classroom a remarkable amount of experience, with an average of 15 years spent in the workplace. The Executive MBA candidates will surely have much to learn from one another.

This year’s cohort also join the programme from a variety of sectors, which enables them to gain insight from peers with varied industry-specific knowledge. The top sectors students work in are pharma, biotech and healthcare, consulting and professional services, energy, and IT, tech and telecoms. As is to be expected from such an exceptional cohort, a fifth (22%) of the class of 2021-22 have received some form of sponsorship from their employer as a testament to their effort and achievement, with a number also receiving one of Imperial’s wide range of scholarships.

What lies in the year ahead?

Having already completed a range of foundation-building online pre-study modules in areas such as accounting, finance, and data analysis, the Executive MBA 2021-22 cohort now begin getting to grips with their first set of core modules. These cover the general functions of management, explore essential business topics, and equip students with the skills to be effective and inspiring leaders in their field. Each module provides a solid grounding in business theory and practice, with an emphasis on applied learning, providing opportunities to test understanding through case studies and simulations.

The class will also begin their individual ‘Executive Leadership Journey’, a unique element of the Imperial MBA that runs through the length of the programme and draws on themes from core teachings in Organisational Behaviour and Responsible Leadership and Corporate Success to provide an opportunity to practice the behaviours required for success. A fundamental part of this process is coaching, which all students will receive on a 1:1 basis, in conjunction with different tools and experiential learning situations, which all contribute towards candidates getting to know themselves better, gaining in confidence, and ultimately changing behaviour to make the step from manager to leader.

The programme culminates with the individual final project, in which students have an opportunity to create value for their employers at the highest strategic level in a tangible and measurable way as a culmination of their learning experience.

The Executive MBA has been designed around and for our students. Our cutting-edge online learning platform enables students to stay connected with their peers, tutors and the greater Imperial community, allowing us to deliver a world-class blended learning programme that delivers ultimate adaptability no matter what difficulties may arise during the year.

By the end of their programme, the cohort will have a comprehensive toolkit that is tailored to their future careers and will enable them to deliver impactful outcomes in their future leadership roles.

We’d like to extend a huge welcome to the class of 2021-22 and wish them every success as they continue to build their careers with the help of Imperial College Business School.

Meet the Executive MBA students

Nana Adjoa Hackman

Nationality: Ghanaian

Job prior to the MBA: Managing Partner, Africa Legal Associates

How did you come to the decision of studying an MBA, and why did you choose Imperial? 

As well as my day job as a corporate lawyer, I have always felt like an entrepreneur. I have a varied business background – including some years in banking, as well as setting up and running small businesses in real estate and the media – which led me to set up my own law firm, Africa Legal Associates, in Accra, Ghana, five years ago.

My firm is now at a stage where we are accelerating our international expansion across Africa. I believe that getting a formal business education will help me build on what I am learning in my job every day, and become a better leader to take my firm to the next level.

Imperial has a great reputation internationally and benefits from its location in London, the global capital for business and finance. The programme is known to be challenging, but ultimately rewarding, and is supported by a top-class faculty that takes a rigorous, scientific approach to research. I am excited to learn from my experience here. 

What goals are you hoping to achieve on the programme? 

I was lucky enough to be selected for a scholarship by Imperial College Business School and the 30% Club, a campaign that champions board-level diversity. This chimes with my core aim of building and strengthening my contributions at the boardroom level and expanding my experience of corporate leadership internationally. I hope that what I learn and contribute at Imperial can help me prove the value of having people of diverse backgrounds on the boards of international companies.

Stewart King EMBA 2021-22

Stewart King

Nationality: British

Job prior to the MBA: Partner – Europe, Nolan Partners

Can you describe your career journey up until now?

I have over 15 years of experience working in executive search as a headhunter. The first half of my career was spent working in the city, partnering with major corporates to recruit C-suite executives.

In 2015 I transitioned into the professional sports industry as a headhunter. At the time, football clubs in England were shifting to become more professionally run (both on and off the pitch). Since 2015, I have advised and worked with sports organisations across a range of sports to recruit CEOs, presidents, sporting/technical directors and chief commercial officers. Whilst I am proud to have worked across a variety of different sports, 75% of my time is spent working with football clubs. Specifically, I work with ownership consortiums to advise them on leadership appointment as well as organisational restructures. We also advise investor groups looking to acquire football clubs/assets (largely US PE/investment groups acquiring European football clubs).

How did you come to the decision of studying an MBA, and why did you choose Imperial?

I decided to study an MBA to broaden my commercial awareness. I enjoy working with high-profile investors and they have inspired me to continue my personal growth. My role, whilst challenging, is quite specialist so I am looking to develop a deeper understanding in areas I don't tend to encounter on a day-to-day basis (i.e. accounting, economics etc).

I work in a global and entrepreneurial industry. It was therefore important for me to choose a business school that represented my passions for these two mindsets, resulting in my application to Imperial.

Ulas Malli

Nationality: Turkish

Job prior to the MBA: Global Senior Commercial Manager, (Big Data & Artificial Intelligence), Vodafone

How did you come to the decision of studying an MBA, and why did you choose Imperial?

I decided to study an MBA in order to enhance my business skillsets, to advance my career in the technology industry. Specifically, I wanted to develop my strategy, innovation and entrepreneurial knowledge – both areas in which Imperial College Business School excels, making the school a perfect fit for me. I have already met people from numerous countries and diverse cultures and begun exchanging and learning different viewpoints on business issues in my classes.

I chose Imperial because I have observed the positive impact and many success stories of the Imperial Alumni who are senior executives in many companies globally. I also hope to broaden my international perspective by studying in Berlin and Hong Kong - two cities I have never visited prior to joining Imperial.  With its multiple classes around the globe, flexible curriculum, and diverse student profiles, Imperial is a great place for me to achieve my career objectives. 

What aspects of the programme are you most looking forward to?

I am really looking forward to a world-class education in innovation and leadership, as well as entrepreneurial skills from my cohort and the programme content. Imperial’s Executive MBA programme has a wide variety of modules such as Design Management, Corporate Finance, Advanced Strategy and Digital Business which can help with the transition from student to leader over time. I also look forward to joining Careers sessions with the coaches and building great relationships with my fellow students, faculty members and Imperial’s alumni. This will no doubt be an amazing journey at an amazing institution.

Joyce Aghahowa EMBA 2021-22

Joyce Aghahowa

Nationality: British

Job prior to the MBA: Director, Grant a Smile

How did you come to the decision of studying an MBA, and why did you choose Imperial?

As a Social Entrepreneur who is on a mission to implement solutions to social, cultural and environmental wellbeing, investing in an Executive MBA was a no-brainer. In today’s ever-evolving world of business, my background as an educational leadership professional was not enough to help my organisation grow faster, nor was it enough to help me think better and more boldly. It was time to act and hence the decision to study an MBA. I choose Imperial because I wanted to be part of an innovative and collaborative community where I can sharpen my analytical skills and enhance my entrepreneurial skills.

What aspects of the programme are you most looking forward to?

Firstly, I am looking forward to learning new skills and studying modules that will seriously stretch me. I do not have a strong academic background in subjects like accounting, managerial economics and corporate reporting, however I am excited about the unknown journey and eager to learn.

Secondly, I am looking forward to the networking opportunities on offer through the Executive MBA programme and across the College. The amazing opportunity to get to know and connect on a deeper level with my diverse cohort, and the chance to contribute and learn from senior professionals from various industries and countries. 

Oge Akinola EMBA Class of 2021-22

Oge Akinola

Nationality: British

Job prior to the MBA: CEO, Bump n Chic Ltd

How did you come to the decision of studying an MBA, and why did you choose Imperial?

Choosing Imperial for my Executive MBA was not a difficult decision at all. My father, who is an Imperial College Business School graduate, exhibited such an excellent spirit in his work life that he became a challenge to us as his children. In addition, Imperial as a university stands out as one of the best in the world with the reputation of its Business School also ranking amongst the best in Europe and the world. 

Imperial graduates are highly sought after, exhibiting outstanding knowledge in their different fields of endeavour. Imperial College Business School boasts many acclaimed alumni that have and are still excelling in their different areas of expertise. For me, Imperial is not just a university, but a citadel of excellence building formidable world-class graduates that are in great demand all over the world.

What aspects of the programme are you most looking forward to?

I am eagerly looking forward to the entrepreneurship and management consulting/leadership classes. I am also excited about the international residencies to Germany and China, and the face-to-face element of the Executive MBA experience to network with and learn from like-minded executives from across the globe. I am all geared up and ready to hopefully make the most of the great opportunity ahead of me.

Malika Larabi EMBA 2021-22

Malika Larabi

Nationality: French

Job prior to the MBA: Senior Consultant for Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical

How did you come to the decision of studying an MBA, and why did you choose Imperial?

The MBA will give me the tools to become a C-level executive and be part of the strategic decision-making team. I chose Imperial amongst a preselected list of MBA programmes in Europe for their focus on technology, innovative research, and their international environment. Therefore, Imperial will provide me with managerial skills via an interdisciplinary approach which will allow me to become an effective leader. The Executive MBA will enable me to acquire the tools that I need to progress into different fields of knowledge e.g., accounting, finance etc, which will help me further develop my leadership skills and push me forward in my career.

What aspects of the programme are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to every aspect of the programme - the outstanding knowledge to be gained, the project work with amazing teammates, the international environment, and the learning process. Dozens of astonishing elective modules make it almost impossible to reduce the list to 6 selections! Not to mention the Enterprise Lab opportunities that make new ideas happen and change the world for the better. I am looking forward to learning new managerial skills with an interdisciplinary approach, visualising new opportunities, and sharing my past experiences with a wonderful cohort of similarly motivated people.

*On-campus teaching subject to government restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic

Meet the full class in the 2021-22 class profile book