Cherrie Hui - maintaining balance

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My name’s Cherrie and I’m currently studying the MSc Strategic Marketing (online, part-time) programme. Alongside this I am also working full-time in media consulting. In this blog, I want to share how I effectively manage my time to balance both work and study harmoniously.

My working week

I work as a Junior Media Consultant for Abintus Consulting, a London-based media consulting firm. We help global advertisers find the loopholes in their media processes, assess the service and pricing of their media agencies, and help them maximise their return on advertising spend by improving their media agency contract, providing training, and transforming the way media is being handled internally.

In principle, I work five days a week with full-time hours. Since it is a client-facing role where we have tight deadlines to meet on certain deliverables, sometimes there is a need to work overtime. Therefore, I usually try to go through my MSc Strategic Marketing online sessions in the morning before work during the week, and I complete most of the work during the weekend.

Managing the programme coursework

In every module, there are weekly live sessions where we discuss key concepts covered in the online materials together with the professor or tutor. Thankfully, there is a morning and an afternoon session of each live class to accommodate students’ needs and time zones. In my case, the evening session is perfect because I can jump straight onto it after finishing my work.

Apart from classes, we also have group assessments to do which include coordinating with students from other countries, who are also likely working full-time, to set up meetings and get work done.

Imperial does a great job at managing the underlying complexity of group work with the cohort studying and working across the world. Our Programme Manager arranges students in similar time zones into the same group to make it easier for us to complete group assessments. We usually try to meet at least once a week to go through group work and prepare for the final projects together.

Keeping the balance

Studying a Master’s programme takes up most of my non-working hours. A high amount of self-discipline is needed because no one is monitoring you to ensure the work is being completed. It forces me to manage my time well and be focused.

I also believe that maintaining balance is vital to avoid getting burnt out. While I try to cover programme materials in the morning before work, when there are no evening live classes, I try to go for a jog or meet with friends after work. It is necessary to take some time off a screen and have some fun to keep the momentum! When I feel overwhelmed, I like to talk to my classmates, who are mostly in the same situation as me, and we try to help each other out.

After studying the programme for a year, I believe overall that maintaining the balance has been easier than I expected. While sometimes it seems a lot to handle in both work and study, the journey is extremely gratifying. We can sometimes apply right away what we learn in class into work practices.

My tips for prospective students who are considering applying to Master’s programme at Imperial, be it full-time or part-time, is to enjoy the learning and the global network the Business School provides.

Doing a Master’s here is not only about adding an extra line on your resume, it will be a remarkable experience full of stories that you will remember for a lifetime. Enjoy every moment of it!

About Cherrie Hui

MSc Strategic Marketing 2020-21