Ansumana Bai-Marrow, a Global Online MBA student, takes a moment to look back on his journey at Imperial College Business School, and offers valuable tips on how you can make the most of your own Business School experience.
Focus on your goals
In many ways, to gain the right perspective, you should start at the end to determine how to get the most value out of Imperial College Business School. There are things you already know you want to get out of your studies, others will come as revelations as you go through the process.
1. What motivated you to come to the Business School?
If it was to broaden your technical and sectoral knowledge and experiences, it will be important to you to undertake as broad a range of subjects and activities as possible. Whereas if your motivation was about changing sectors, the electives, clubs, and activities you choose to undertake will be focussed around your target sector/industry.
2. Do you want to start or scale up a business venture?
If so, the electives you choose should focus on entrepreneurial modules. You can also engage in relevant enrichment activities such as undertaking pitches and reviewing them. Aim to study start-ups where your coursework allows and reach out to founders when given the opportunity.
3. How do you want to be remembered?
This may sound like a strange question, but thinking forward, it will determine where you put your energy now. If you would like to get into academia, or do a PHD/DBA, this will drive you to spend more time with tutors and professors as you fact-find. Seeking to get involved in a new venture? This should drive you to attend incubator sessions and connect with individuals who are entrepreneurs. Want to practise your leadership skills or soft skill abilities? The Business School is a safe space to practise new approaches to social interaction, leadership, and organisational behaviour frameworks.
My tips and tricks
Here are a few tips and tricks I wish I had known before beginning my studies that may help you to succeed if you decide to join the business school:
1. Know the rules of the ‘game’
Study and understand the programme handbook, thoroughly. Knowing what comes next, how marks are calculated, and what opportunities there are, will give you an added advantage and allow you to have a strategy.
2. Pace yourself
If you push yourself too hard right from the start, you may burn out. On the other hand, if you take it too easy, you might fall behind and miss out on the full benefits of your Business School experience.
3. Don’t ‘go it alone’, ‘go it together’
Connect with a study partner or group. Make friends and inspire each other forwards. Get as much advice from programme and academic staff as possible. An insight or recommendation by a member of staff could pay large dividends later.
4. Create a strategy
Like in any other aspect of life, when you write down your goals and the steps to reach them, it becomes clear what you need to do, and it keeps you motivated each time you revisit your plans. The plan is something you must review at least three times a term, once at the start, once halfway and once at the end. Personally, I reviewed my plan every week. This constant review allowed me to remember goals, assess performance, iterate my strategy, and where necessary change the plan.
5. Embrace a Business School mindset
Being a part of the Business School becomes a core part of who you are. Embracing it helps you develop a mindset where you believe in your ability to handle challenges like reading complex materials, creating top-notch work under time constraints, and confidently presenting your ideas in public. The more you practice these skills, the more they become a proven reality rather than just a belief.
6. Build relationships
The connections you build while at Business School will become increasingly valuable over time. Be sure to make the most of networking opportunities and nurture the relationships you've formed to keep them strong and meaningful.
Being well-prepared and having the right information is the best way to plan ahead. Have conversations with current and past students, read the syllabus materials and handbook twice, and speak to the tutors/professors of some of the classes a few weeks beforehand. You could also ask for suggested reading and tips for programme success and share with and seek views from fellow proactive fellow students.
Good luck on your Business School journey! It has the potential to be a transformational experience, if you fully engage, both in and out of the classroom.