We spoke to some of our past and present Imperial MBA students to find out exactly how they manage the time pressures, accelerating their career development, and the networking opportunities that have come out of the programme.
Part-time and flexible
Our Executive MBA programme runs part-time for 23 months and aims to give you a thorough knowledge of essential business disciplines, opportunities to specialise in your areas of expertise and experiences to develop your global perspective on business, all while you continue working. The ability to remain in your job while completing your MBA is a big reason for senior executives to choose the part-time, flexible MBA programme offered at Imperial.
Sylke Grootoonk, Weekend Executive MBA 2010
A flexible part-time programme structure, a great location in Central London and a friendly atmosphere were other prerequisites. Imperial College Business School ticked all those boxes.
Katerina Gianni, Executive MBA 2017
I was looking for a class schedule that would impact my working schedule as little as possible, and for a London-based MBA that has an emphasis on entrepreneurialism, international business, global leadership and one that attracted students from a wide range of industries and geographies.
While Imperial offer a flexible, part-time format, combining an MBA with your current work and personal commitments is not easy. You’ll need to make sacrifices to accommodate for the time you need to spend studying and preparing for weekend sessions, on top of the three days a month spent on campus.
Pras Gengatharan, Executive MBA 2017
The most challenging part so far has been time. I have a young son and another one on the way. The intensity of the programme forces you to be more productive and clever with your time management. It is a huge yet rewarding commitment and an opportunity to learn things you would not necessarily learn in your career.
The time pressures can be one of the most challenging aspects of the MBA but our Executive MBA is designed to allow you to manage your time to fit study in with your existing commitments. The blended learning format helps to make the mix of online and on-campus resources easily accessible and flexible enough to allow students to manage their own time for study, work and personal life.
Sam Ellis, Executive MBA 2018
To be honest the stresses of study swings between being absolutely fine and a total nightmare! You really need to be organised and prepared to put the time in.
Vipul Patel, Weekday Executive MBA 2016
It is difficult to juggle work, family and the MBA, but you only have one chance to make the most of the experience.
Maximising class time
The preparation done by students in the lead-up to the on-campus sessions is an important part of staying on top of the programme. This preparation also allows for class time to focus on discussions and applications, helping consolidate knowledge and understanding of theories. Before each in-class session which is approximately once a month, there’s 16 hours of online material to be completed which has been split into manageable blocks of up to one hour. As you work through the online preparation blocks you’ll come across discussion points which will be drawn upon during the in-class sessions, ensuring direct connection between learning online and on campus.
Katerina Giannini explains the benefits of being prepared for the on-campus classes:
It is really worth attending the weekend classes fully prepared because you quickly realise the time spent with professors is short and needs to be used wisely – for informed discussion, debate and idea generation.
The online component allows you to complete a significant portion of work flexibly, at your own pace, wherever you might be. This includes purpose built instructional videos recorded in our media studio, interactive exercises and quizzes, cases, readings and additional resources. There’s also access to online discussions guided by faculty members and tutors.
The Hub is Imperial’s online platform through which all your online components are completed. It’s a bespoke learning environment developed by our highly skilled in-house Edtech Lab, and delivers a high-quality business education online, facilitating interactive, engaging and flexible online learning, accessible on any device at any time.
This integrated approach to the Executive MBA offers a higher level of flexibility over pace, timing and location of study. The platform provides a single source for all materials and communications related to your studies making it quick and easy to manage your learning, fitting into a busy lifestyle. Developing The Hub in-house means that we can continually adapt and evolve the platform using student and faculty feedback.
The programme has been really flexible. I can study anywhere I like, and I don’t need to go in all the time but I can if I want to. We’ve been talking to lecturers about possible improvements and Imperial have been really receptive about potential changes, but overall it’s great.
The Executive MBA gave me the flexibility to study, whilst working, at a world-renowned global university.
Covering key concepts and theories in the online preparation blocks frees up time in class for students to share their professional experiences with faculty challenging ideas and posing questions. Our Executive MBA participants have a wealth of knowledge and bring their experiences in business to the classroom providing in-depth and stimulating learning through real-world examples.
Immediate benefits to your career
A tangible and immediate benefit of the Executive MBA is the application of what you’re learning to your current work, making a positive impact at work through implementing new concepts and ideas.
Almost immediately, through the process of intellectual exploration, I am approaching business issues within my current role with an analytical mindset, and this has enabled me to be more sensitive to Boeing’s global strategy and leadership decisions from a top-down perspective.
The whole programme is really practical and I find I’m already applying what I’m learning at work.
You’ll also be able to begin looking at your career progression and growing your network as soon as you start the MBA programme. Imperial’s Executive Leadership Journey runs throughout the programme exposing you to different tools, conferences and experiential learning situations which contribute to helping participants get to know themselves and gain self-confidence. Imperial’s central location and industry connections will help you to grow your network inside and outside the College, beyond your existing connections.
The network of inspirational people who study the programme is invaluable for career progression and lifelong friendships. The variety of additional events on offer, for example the Leadership in Action talks, are a fantastic way to learn about the workings of other industries.
Jasveen Chugh, Weekend Executive MBA 2009
The Career and Professional Development Services were excellent and absolutely a core part of my development. They not only offered career advice but were also hands-on in helping me put together a strong CV and prepare mock interviews and case studies.
Advice for the 2018 cohort
What tips do our current students and alumni have for prospective applicants? Be prepared, make the most of every opportunity and most of all enjoy the journey.
Make sure you have a really supportive employer and that they really understand the time you need to commit to the MBA. You’re employer needs to be behind you. Talk to past students who have done Executive MBAs as they’ll give you the best idea of what it’s really like.
Do not underestimate the effort required (especially to achieve good grades consistently) throughout the programme. Don’t worry if it all seems daunting at first, with a bit of effort and help from your peers, lecturers and support staff, you’ll be fine.
It is a real commitment but the time passes so quickly and before you know it you’ll be on the next step of your journey. I would also say “be yourself” because Imperial values diversity of experience, background and interests, and there is no single blueprint for a Weekend MBA student.
Get involved! There are more opportunities and events than you can actually find time for, and you will get out of this programme as much as you put in.