You might be wondering how much free time you will have during your MSc programme. I’d say – never enough. You will experience an overflow of information and opportunities. It’s good, but it’s also bad in a way.
Have you been shown this diagram before? I still remember the time when I used to think it was a mission impossible. Well, forget about it. It’s way more complicated than that now.
In one of your first management accounting lectures you will be taught that there can only be one limiting factor when coming up with a production plan. If I can apply this concept to the MSc International Health Management programme, the limiting factor is TIME. Therefore, you must manage it effectively. Get a diary and start writing down your ‘to do’ list.
Lectures on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (for the first block of the winter semester, then we had Thursdays off – such a relief!). Prepare for 2hr-long quite interactive lectures; grab a cup of coffee and a snack to keep you going.
Group work. That’s been the most important and time consuming responsibility of my experience so far. Let’s see – two presentations and a 3500 word report for Global Business Strategy for Healthcare Professionals; one presentation and a 1500 word report for Health Informatics; a case study for Accounting; a computer simulation exercise, a video and another report for Organizational Behaviour and let’s not forget one mid-term MCQ exam, and a total of 13 ongoing quizzes and surveys. There were seven people in my team this term so, imagine finding suitable times for everyone to meet and work. It’s a challenge.
Evening language classes. These are optional, but a significant number of people chose to learn a bit or improve their current knowledge of German, French or Spanish. The more challenging Arabic and Mandarin among others are also available. That’s another 2hrs of your time.
Careers events and clubs. These will be happening all the time. They are most often evening events and will last for one or two hours with some time available for networking. Thankfully, most of them are held around the Imperial campus and there is no need to travel too far.
Job applications. My advice – come to Imperial prepared. Do a bit of research in advance. Make a plan over the summer. Or at least think about it. Have an idea about possible areas for work in the future; think about different types of jobs and where you might want to develop in the future. The careers service at Imperial is very helpful and provides a lot of support, but the time constriction and short deadlines for a number of companies makes it really difficult for everyone during the first term.
Sport clubs and societies. There is a huge variety on offer; there’s something for everyone. You only need to find the time to commit to it. Alternatively, get a gym membership. At least this option is more flexible and you can fit it around all your other responsibilities.
Part time job. Have you realized how expensive life in London is? You will soon enough. If you want some extra cash for eating out, shopping, night clubbing, visiting London’s tourist attractions, ice skating and visiting Winter Wonderland in the winter, going to theatres, cinemas, concerts, then you might think about finding a part time job. There are different opportunities which are quite flexible and could fit into your timetable, but make sure you stay focused on everything else I’ve mentioned so far. If you think you can take it, go for it. I personally did and I enjoy it.
Go out, socialize and explore London. There’s so much to see and do, you’ll never be able to cover it all. Go to a different place every time. Visit museums and galleries, go to a movie premiere or a theatre performance, try different cuisines, explore different night clubs, go to a football game or a tennis match. Last but not least, if you like going to concerts, be quick when buying your tickets (on the release date if possible) or otherwise you will be very disappointed finding out that every gig is completely sold out.
Sleep. What sleep?
In conclusion, it is going to be a very busy and challenging year, but also a very fun and exciting one. In order to get the most of it, manage you time wisely, don’t procrastinate, don’t wait. Set your goals and chase them. If you want it bad enough, you can always find the time to do it.
Elia is studying our MSc International Health Management programme