Our Full-Time MBA is a one-year programme that provides students with vital business knowledge, fused with the latest technology insights .
Chris Holmes, Full-Time MBA alum shares why this programme at Imperial College Business School was worth it. He writes about his motivations for studying at Imperial College Business School, his favourite highlights and his key takeaways from the programme.
Education: Durham University
I’m Chris, from the UK and I’m a clean energy and hiking enthusiast, with a weakness for good coffee and dark chocolate. I grew up in north London, and studied engineering at Durham University, before spending the next 7 years delivering major infrastructure and technology projects. My favourites included working on the Elizabeth Line in London, where I helped design and build the underground tunnels section, and Melbourne Airport Rail in Australia, where I was a project manager for the rail section, as part of my 3-year stint living over there.
Why I wanted to study a Full-Time MBA at Imperial College Business School
I really care about tackling climate change and leaving the world in a better place for future generations and I think a key part of that is through transitioning our energy system. My goal is to make a significant contribution to decarbonising our production of energy, by developing new energy production technologies like hydrogen, or by helping to provide a flexible and reliable grid fit for renewables. I believe that businesses are a key part of being able to commercialise new technologies and knew that I needed more financial skills to take up a commercial development or strategy role in clean energy.
This is where the Full-Time MBA at Imperial College Business School came in – it would give me the strategic and financial academic grounding to allow me to build a network in renewable energy, and the opportunity to develop my leadership and management skills.
"Our cohort was made up of 73 people from an incredible variety of countries, and from the first two weeks we felt like one family.”
My MBA highlights
I was selected to represent Imperial at the World Government Summit in Dubai on the Global Universities Challenge. It was a fantastic experience and my team -Enrico, Nabila, Jose, Aarushi, Professor Pinto and myself - really enjoyed tackling the case study and experiencing the summit and exploring Dubai.
The global experience week to Copenhagen and Helsinki was brilliant (pictured above). It was focused around transforming businesses to take climate action, and we hosted panels with thought leaders, toured innovative companies and developed new solutions to climate problems facing businesses. The highlights were the tour of ARC – a world leading municipal waste recycling plant in Copenhagen, a visit to Hyperion Robotics and a meet with Helsinki City Council. We also loved visiting the outdoor food market in Reffen, and learning about the culture of both Helsinki and Copenhagen.
The Capstone - this is an experience away from campus in a natural environment to give students the space to reflect upon their learning experience. This was the last big event where the whole cohort got together and was a leadership development weekend in the Norwegian mountains. We did some fantastic hiking and reflection on a tough, challenging but amazing year, and grew even closer as a group. It was great to have everyone together, and really helped understand and absorb more of the 12-month journey we’d taken part in.
Networking opportunities and career support
I was able to leverage a strong alumni network to line up a strategic consulting project with SSE Thermal, where I led a team of MBA students in helping SSE Thermal understand Europe and the UK’s hydrogen supply industry and where SSE Thermal should position itself within it.
Another Imperial Alumni helped me connect with RWE Offshore Wind, which was where I did my summer internship. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to work for a company committed to transforming our energy system, with a technology like offshore wind that can be deployed at the scale we need to make an impact. As a Bid & Business Development Manager I was exposed to the challenge of early-stage commercial development of offshore wind projects.
The network of people I met and these two experiences – the Strategic Consulting Project and the Internship – gave me a better understanding of the sort of role I would like post-MBA, and the credibility and experience on my CV to allow me to get through the initial screening rounds to interview at target companies. This helped me land a Strategy Advisor role in renewable energy, which I am very excited about starting.
I met an amazing group of friends from all over the world. I professionally and personally grew from being exposed to a wide variety of thinking
The best part of my MBA
The people! Our cohort was made up of 73 people from an incredible variety of countries, and from the first two weeks we felt like one family. We navigated two tough academic terms, with 100+ deadlines and multiple exams, but somehow there were always events, parties and laughter all the way through!
My MBA cohort created a food society, which explored each country’s cuisine with restaurant trips. There were sports clubs which played football, tennis, and four ran the London Marathon together. Others organised hikes all over the UK and some even went skiing together in the Alps – there was something for everyone.
Also, our cohort was incredibly supportive and kind. It was a tough year and job market, but someone was always there to help, or be a friendly ear for a moan over a coffee! I will always appreciate the amazing, diverse set of friends from all over the world I have made over the year.
Challenges I faced along the way
Undertaking an MBA in one year is not easy. If you are intending to transition country or industry, while learning a lot of new ways of thinking – design, strategic, financial, operational – you will need to throw yourself into it 100%. Realistically, this meant a lot of late nights and weekends working and taking the time to build and maintain connections with a new network! I am grateful for the understanding of my friends and family, who I wasn’t able to give very much time to this year – I couldn’t have done it without their amazing support.
Also, you will need to decide which parts of the MBA are most important to you. For example, you could focus on the social and experiential, academic, or student clubs and networking. The more you pour into one, the less you can give to another – so you need to be clear with your priorities going into the programme.
My advice to future applicants
First, reflect on what your aims are or the growth goal you are trying to achieve –would an MBA really help you achieve it? It is a big time and investment, so you should make sure it’s the right call!
Then decide on what it is you want out of your programme and match those needs with your target school – for example location, its alumni network, or connections into a specific industry.
For example, what helped me was talking to Imperial Alumni, researching extensively online, and really understanding what made Imperial special – technology, innovation and finance. This then helped with my application. Understanding in detail what I could offer Imperial, and how it would help me take the next step in my career, made my personal statements and interviews compelling.
Why Imperial's Full-Time MBA was worth it for me
In short, the MBA was worth it because I met an amazing group of friends from all over the world. I professionally and personally grew from being exposed to a wide variety of thinking (e.g. operations, organisational behaviour, leadership) and it has helped me realise my dream of working in renewable energy strategy.