Xiaoyu Zhang

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I have been studying at Imperial College Business School for two months now and come across new things everyday – whether that's new friends, new events or new skills.

Here are the best seven things I’ve discovered in my short-period at the Business School so far on the MSc Strategic Marketing programme.

Programmes are practical

Before I started at the Business School, I worked as a marketing specialist for over two years. Having had business knowledge from my previous job, I found that all the modules at Imperial are very practical and highly relevant to future employment. Lectures are very insightful – the professors are always bringing trending news stories into their teaching, along with interesting campaigns on the forefront of digital marketing.

Learn to handle group work

You will be divided into a syndicate group based on the result of your personality test. Your team will have to work together to finish a series of group work from the first week of new term. Considering students come from more than 100 countries, cultures and working habits, it will be difficult at the beginning.

Hence, group work may not run as smooth as you imagined, which is common in a normal working environment. However, don’t be afraid. It’s a great opportunity to develop transferrable skills, such as leadership and effective communication, so you can be prepared for the future. More importantly, you can learn a lot from each other.

Plan your future career goals

Career planning is a main focus at Imperial College Business School. You will be taught how to write a good CV in pre-study modules, before the first term takes place. During each term, there will be regular career-related workshops discussing a variety of topics, including industry awareness, interview skills and tips for networking.

If you are aiming to be accepted into graduate programmes, you can get personalised help through one-to-one appointments from the Careers service. As a student who already has working experience, I found the workshops on career planning and salary negotiation very useful.

Choose from the variety of societies and clubs

Sometimes, you may feel breathless during your academic study, group work and the job-hunting process. Yes, life at Imperial can be intense, but you can still have a lot of fun in student clubs and societies. Imperial has more than 300 clubs and societies for students.

Regional and industry Career Clubs are very helpful in terms of getting latest industry news and guiding your career. Meanwhile, there are also clubs for sport, debating and food, if you need to blow off some steam. Plus, joining a club is a great way to meet like-minded friends.

Time management is crucial

As I mentioned earlier, life at Imperial can be intense but very interesting. We have lectures, network events, club activities and even internship or part-time jobs. Thus, time management and the ability to multitask are important.

Utilise your Google calendar or notebook to carefully schedule your timetable and to avoid potential conflicts. It’s great for prioritising your personal time too - after writing down ‘have a family call’ on my memo, I’ve never missed bonding time with my family.

English language workshops are available for international students

As an international student, I found it difficult to communicate with English native speakers. I find they speak too fast and sometimes with an accent that I’m not used to, which makes the first few weeks very challenging – especially when trying to make friends.

If you have a similar problem, no need to worry! The Business School has a language workshop for international students. I attended the business news discussion workshop, which helped me to practise speaking English in a very comfortable and relaxing atmosphere, with content provided to practise every day conversation. They also have an academic writing workshop for you to enhance writing skills.

Pack your luggage SMARTLY

Some friends asked me for advice on what kind of clothes they should bring to London. Apart from giving them the weather report, there are a few things to keep in mind. Normally, there is no strict dress code required for daily life at Imperial College Business School.

However, considering the most events are career and networking based, smart casual clothing is good choice for. There’s also a large welcome event in the Natural History Museum in October and a May ball in Spring, so make sure you pack some formalwear too!

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Xiaoyu Zhang

About Xiaoyu Zhang

MSc Strategic Marketing
Xiaoyu studied Accounting at an international university in China. After graduation, she worked as a marketer in both the transport and e-commerce industry.