I’m Fabio Zheng and I studied MSc International Management in the class of 2021. Having recently graduated from the programme. I now work as a Junior Consultant for a leading international management consultancy firm in London.
In this blog I share my journey to Imperial College Business School and my experience studying the MSc International Management programme.
Choosing MSc International Management at Imperial
I graduated with a BSc Economics & Management from the University of Florence in Italy prior to joining Imperial College Business School. During my undergraduate, I focused on narrowing down my interests and shaping my future career trajectory.
Over the summers I worked in many different industries, ranging from e-commerce to chemicals. Through the course of these experiences, I realised that the thing I love most is exploring new things and tackling challenges, which is why I decided to pursue a Master’s upon graduating.
I chose MSc International Management at Imperial College Business School mainly because it had the most fitting curriculum for my personal development. The programme is very challenging and intense, targeting students with a relevant background, whether in business, economics, or related fields. The programme is structured into three main pillars: core modules, electives, and Leadership in Action.
The core modules at the beginning of the year delve into advanced management subjects, but it’s the other two pillars that were my main reasons for choosing Imperial’s MSc International Management programmes.
The electives can be chosen from all of the management suite’s modules, such as those from the MBA, MSc Strategic Marketing or other Management programmes. This leaves ample opportunity for students to personalise their own curriculum, whether that be in strategy, marketing, finance or human resources.
The final pillar, the Leadership in Action module, is what really differentiates MSc International Management from other Master’s. This module starts from the first term and lasts a whole year, with the aim of developing future leaders for the business world.
Starting my studies
The first three months of the of the programme were busy! I was mentally prepared before joining, however, the amount of work still exceeded my expectations. The workload for me was divided into two parts: academics and job searching.
For teaching in the winter term, we had two sets of five-week core modules to strengthen the basics and bring the class to the same the knowledge level. The lectures and self-study/teamwork elements are divided very evenly. What differed the most from my undergraduate studies was the focus on teamwork in syndicate teams of six. The biggest challenge I encountered is this adjustment from an individual mindset into a team mindset.
Academics alone would have left me plenty of time to partake in extracurricular activities and learn new things, but Imperial also motivates its students to start preparing for job-hunting early in the programme. I was interested in the consulting industry, which had application deadlines in October and November. Therefore, I spent half of my time preparing for the applications and interview process for these roles.
Furthermore, every Tuesday of the first term was a Careers day, where students can participate in a list of career workshops and events. These range from CV and cover letter surgeries to more general tips and advice in the job-hunting process. There were also a lot of industry-specific workshops and employer presentations.
Highlights of the year
There are so many big and small highlights during this year that made it special. I would like to share three of them.
Firstly, MSc International Management students have the opportunity to study some of the MBA electives. These were my favourite modules as they give you the chance to work with MBA students who have different backgrounds and expertise. It is interesting to notice the difference between an MSc and an MBA classroom. I highly recommend taking them in your study path.
Second is the consulting projects. As an aspiring consultant, I found the university consulting projects to be good introductions to the consulting world. They gave me a taste of what a consulting job looked like and whether I was truly interested in it. In my case it really strengthened my motivation in consulting and confirmed my interest in the field.
Lastly and most importantly – the people, who in my view were the biggest highlight of the programme. The diversity and open-mindedness of the cohort was truly astounding. I would rate the programme 10/10 even if I had to base it solely on the colleagues I have met at Imperial. This is no doubt a result of the reputation of the College and the effective selection process of the Admissions team.
Advice to future students
If I enjoyed London and Imperial so much during a pandemic, I have no doubts you’ll be able to make the most out of it! In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges for an international student coming to London is trying to find a base to build your new life. As London is a big city, it is very easy to be lost or buried in the crowd.
My advice is to be adventurous and explore every bit of your new home. University-wise, participate in as many activities as you can handle. Your classmates are the best cornerstone to build your social life in the city. Imperial College offers lots of clubs and student societies – so you’ll almost certainly find one that matches your hobbies and interests.
Career-wise, the best advice I can give is to start early. Imperial’s Master’s programmes are very intense and compact, so you should start preparing even before joining Imperial, especially if you are interested in banking or consulting. Finally, I would like to give you the best advice I have received from an alumnus: enjoy your life in London, as one year goes by very quickly!