What does it mean to be an Imperial College Business School student in 2020-21?
During these uncertain times, when everything around us is changing and evolving at an unparalleled pace, the pressure to make a life-changing decision about your future might seem intimidating. Should you pursue a Master’s degree? Or maybe defer your plans for a year or so and look for other alternatives? Trust me, I have been there.
I applied to my programme (MSc Management) last year in December, long before COVID-19 became the unfortunate reality of our everyday lives. When I received my acceptance in February this year, I was ecstatic, yet couldn’t help but have reservations. Now, three months into my journey at Imperial, I am certain of the path that I have decided to take. Here’s why…
1. The same high quality education, but in a new format
One of the most important things I’d like to convey from my experience so far at Imperial is that regardless of the circumstances, you will get the same intense (and highly rewarding) Imperial education that you have signed up for. The difference is it will be delivered in a completely revamped, COVID-adapted setting.
Our 155-student cohort has been allocated to smaller “bubbles” as part of a new multi-modal learning system. Each bubble attends face-to-face lectures two times per week, and otherwise logs in from home via Zoom. Students at home get to be “in class” through monitors that display their faces at the back of lecture theatres. You can speak up and contribute to the discussions at any time regardless of which group you’re in. It really is almost like you are there in person, and there are no barriers to participation.
2. Making friends is easier than you think
When I found out about Imperial’s multi-modal system during the induction week, I have to admit, I was quite nervous about making friends. But don’t worry, it is much easier than you would think. At the very beginning, we were assigned to groups of roughly five people, called the “syndicate teams.” What it means is that every time there is a group assignment, it is to be completed in your syndicate team.
This eliminates the hassle of forming a new group each time and dealing with the awkwardness of not knowing what to do if you are ever left out. We were put together at random, but have quickly become very close friends.
Once you start spending time at the Business School and get to know people, you will be surprised how genuinely friendly and kind everyone really is. Once the term starts, spend time on campus (when you can!), approach people and have conversations. You won’t regret it!
3. The job market is hard right now, but Imperial can help
We all know times are pretty challenging right now, especially for young undergraduates like me before I came to Imperial. I graduated from a college in the United States in May and watched many of my friends struggle with the job market before they all gave up and decided to go back home.
At Imperial, you will see that there is not one particular way of finding a job, but a number of avenues you can explore to help you eventually land that dream role. One day, you might be filling out a job application like everyone else, and the next day you can find yourself having a chat with the CEO of Tory Burch, who had casually dropped by to give a presentation in one of your classes.
Don’t underestimate the value of getting involved! Through my role as the Head of Social Media at the FMCG, Luxury & Retail Careers Club, I have had the opportunity to meet several alumni who now work at industry-leading companies such as Lamborghini and L'Oréal. Making these connections helped me realise just how powerful and vast the wider Imperial network is, and how willing everyone is to help when you are ready to take the opportunity.
At any point of hesitation, the Careers team is there to support you throughout your career journey, whether it be a structured meeting for a job interview, or much-needed guidance on what your next logical step should be.
On a more personal note...
I hope that through my words and experiences, you are able to discover and relate to some of the reasons why I am so grateful for being a part of the Imperial College Business School community in 2020-21. Particularly as an international student, moving overseas to start a new life, and not knowing what to expect can be pretty daunting. But here, you will find some of your most meaningful friendships, have your biggest laughs, make deep connections, improve yourself and most importantly, find your purpose - even if the end might not always seem clear.