Executive MBA Class of 2022-23

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In February, we welcomed our new students to the Executive MBA class of 2022-23.

Joining us from a range of professional backgrounds from banking to retail, energy and more, they begin their journey at Imperial with the goal of developing as leaders and enhancing their global perspective on business.

Embarking on this 23-month path in 2022 is an exceptional commitment for all of this year’s students, especially against the backdrop of the past two years which have demonstrated the need for well-rounded leaders in business, policy and beyond.

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’ worldview and understanding of global business practices.

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 Feb 22 Class Statistics

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 represent 14 nationalities, with 13% 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 IT, tech and telecoms, banking/finance, consumer goods, engineering, and energy.

As is to be expected from such an exceptional cohort, a fifth (23%) of the class of 2022-23 have received some form of sponsorship from their employer as testament to their effort and achievement, with a number also receiving one of Imperial’s wide range of scholarships.

Meet the Executive MBA students

Sim Riordan - Executive MBA 2022-23

Sim Riordan

Nationality: British and Irish

Job prior to the MBA: Head of Sales, Octopus MoneyCoach

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

Coming to the decision to study an Executive MBA was the ‘trickiest’ bit for me, as I only knew a few women who had done this themselves. During my exploration phase I researched and read lots online, attended webinars with female alumni from Executive MBA programmes and sought out feedback from my mentors and wider network. As I became more certain this was my path, I also submitted my profile for review by the admissions team. This final step and their encouragement helped give me that additional boost in confidence to just go for it.

Deciding on which university was straight-forward for me; Imperial was the obvious choice for me for a variety of reasons:

  • It is a world-class university whose reputation is outstanding and whose brand is a household name internationally.
  • The Business school’s connection with the wider university gives Imperial students deep and broad expertise across science, technology, innovation and of course, business.
  • Imperial’s classes are hand-selected to foster diversity of thought and background. These smaller class sizes give you the chance to know and be known by your colleagues and the faculty from day 1.

Going into the programme I bring 11 years of commercial leadership experience in a particular sector; my goal is to round out and balance those perspectives through practical, classroom and peer-to-peer learning. The MBA programme equips you with practical problem-solving skills to apply innovation in the everyday challenges that leaders of the future will undoubtedly face.

I feel especially honoured to be studying at Imperial whilst holding Imperial’s Inspiring Women Scholarship. This scholarship is a partnership with The 30% Club, and seeks to further gender equity in organisations at a senior and executive level.

What aspect(s) of the programme are you most looking forward to? 

There are three things I’m most excited about:

  1. Getting to know my fellow students, experiencing the cross-functional learning process, and having the chance to travel abroad with some of the electives
  2. The Future Leader speaker series which gives unique insight and access to the perspectives of high-profile current and former CEOs and business leaders.
  3. (Hopefully!) graduating in the beautiful and historical setting of the Royal Albert Hall!
Tim Denny Executive MBA 2021-22

Tim Denny

Nationality: British

Job prior to the MBA: Senior Director – Head of Strategic Retail, CBRE

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

I decided to do an MBA because of a desire for self-improvement, accelerating career progression and opening my eyes to the opportunities outside of my professional sphere. The Executive MBA particularly appealed because it is targeted to more experienced levels and focuses on applying the skills learned at an executive level. Professionally, I was increasingly involved in projects and working with business functions that I felt I didn’t have a strong technical base in. I wanted to develop those areas to become a more skilled and rounded business leader and have the confidence to expand my career beyond my subject matter expertise.

Imperial was an easy choice for me - I am passionate about the need and optimistic about the opportunities around sustainability & climate change. Imperial brings together the globally leading STEM expertise & business like no other university. I was impressed with the cognitive diversity of the classes, the modern hybrid teaching methods, and elective module options. 

Did you have any reservations about doing an MBA? How did you overcome them?

I had two reservations. Firstly, did I really want and need to do an MBA and how could I find the time with a busy job and a young family. Overcoming the first one was easy; the recruitment team were fantastic at explaining the programme structure and content. Understanding the elective options was a big boost (there are so many great options that just picking a few is going to be hard!). It quickly became clear to me that this was learning and information that I wanted. The time commitment was assisted with the hybrid learning structure that resonated with me and enables me to fit it into my available time. The support of my wife and family to enable me to spend time on campus and studying is what makes it all possible.

Hoa Le Executive MBA 2022-23

Hoa Le

Nationality: Vietnamese

Job prior to the MBA: Global Marketing Manager, Nestle

Can you describe your career journey up until now?

I am currently the global marketing manager for the strategic business unit at Nestle HQ in Switzerland and have over 12 years of experience in the consumer goods industry. Staring as a management trainee, I can summarise my career into three phases so far:

For the first five years, I built extensive commercial knowledge in both local and global roles, working in marketing, innovation and operation. Over the next four years, I progressed into leadership roles, managing a globally significant business to outstanding performance with several internal and external awards. For the last three and a half years, I have been shifting gears to consulting & strategy. I started as an internal consultant for different businesses before later being promoted to a strategic marketing role. I have only lived and worked in three countries - Switzerland, Singapore and Vietnam, but my job has given me valuable opportunities to work with consumers from all walks of life: from developed markets in Europe and North America, to deep rural or remote areas in Asia, Central Africa and Latin America. These meaningful experiences are what I am grateful for the most and what have shaped me today. This journey has strengthened my belief that I should work where I can create real tangible value and positive impact.

What are your long-term career goals and how do you believe the MBA will support them?

For my long-term career, I want to prepare myself for executive or corporate strategy roles which will follow on from the third phase of my career mentioned above. Many people think of an MBA as a degree only - I think of it as my learning opportunity, a preparatory step for bigger momentum and a real investment.

An Executive MBA is an ideal option as I can have both work and study at the same time. I want to take concrete action to recharge and polish my knowledge, consolidate my experience after a decade of non-stop working, and equip myself with new skills to stay relevant in the long run. I was particularly looking for an advanced programme designed for an ever-changing world, where I could learn and apply the latest technologies to my work. Imperial's programme fits this description in perfectly. Having now met with my new (super cool) cohort and seeing the diversity of backgrounds, I feel even more inspired and confident that I will learn a lot from them in the coming years.

Gemma Balasingam Executive MBA 2022-23

Gemma Balasingam

Nationality: British

Job prior to the MBA: Director – Strategic Planning, Risk & Control Office, Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation

What is your main motivation for studying the Executive MBA programme?

My main motivation for studying the Executive MBA is my belief that the programme will be a transformational journey of personal and professional growth.  The programme covers the core tenets of business and the technologies at the forefront of innovation. The Executive Leadership Journey is an opportunity to learn, challenge and refine my leadership style. The exposure to the School’s strong network of industry leaders, world class Imperial faculties and depth of experience of the cohort unlocks a wealth of lifelong learning! 

Did you have any reservations about doing an MBA? How did you overcome them?

My reservations for completing an Executive MBA were twofold – would it pay off and would I be able to juggle this demanding programme with the rest of my life?  Speaking to former students and the faculty, and my desire for personal growth on a different scale, convinced me to just go for it.  By the first weekend on campus, I was so glad that I made this investment in myself.

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 2022-23 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 an effective and inspiring leader in their field.

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. 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 which 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.