That’s what Full-Time MBA alumnus Alexander Rodriguez Melo says (OK, maybe the 18th century author Samuel Johnson said something similar). He continues, “Living in London gives you a never-ending list of places to go and things to do. The sheer variety of restaurants, museums, shops, theatres and people in London is immense and very few places in the world can match this.”
It’s especially great if you’re an international student. Adrienne Fung, an Imperial MBA student from America, says, “As well as a ton of great restaurants, bars, shows and events going on, there’s the added bonus that London serves as a great hub for travel all around Europe.”
2. The London advantage for networking and jobs
Full-Time MBA student Supitchaya Jirachaisakul, previously Client Manager at Nielson, says, “It’s London. Compared to Oxbridge, it’s totally different in terms of opportunities to go to networking events and company presentations.”
Global companies are increasingly diverse and international, so global cities like London, where world-leading companies are based, mean opportunity for career progression and change. In London, there are investors, employers, and multiple opportunities to network on your doorstep.
“The job prospects in London are a massive attraction,” Alexander says, “London is not only one of the top financial centres in the world but is fast becoming one of the most important technology hubs. London tends to be ahead of most of the world in terms of trends, technology and policymaking. Combine all of this and London is a very unique city to study in.”
London is a hub of connectivity and your MBA is a good place to start. Alison Lane relocated from New York and built up her London network at events organised by our Careers & Professional Development Service. She says, “I met an alumnus who connected me with another alumnae in his class, who in turn put me in touch with a contact from a large firm. Now they’re the number one company that I want to work for.”
There’s also the network you can build on the programme. Daniel Rose describes the diversity and quality of the electives. He says, “I connected with amazing people from around the world and enriched my intercultural understanding. It was also great to mix with the Executive MBA students in the electives as they bring a completely new viewpoint and a lot of experience into the classroom.”
3. It’s so awesome, it’s actually distracting
Daniel describes a common problem experienced by MBA students living and studying in London. “The ability to balance academic work, your job search, attending career and networking events, and enjoying your social life can be particularly difficult,” he says, “but it’s important if you want to enjoy everything London has to offer.” What we’re trying to say is, just living in London helps our students develop great time management skills.
4. It’s the start-up hub of Europe
Imogen Berman and Jared Ruddy are two Full-Time MBA alumni who co-founded strategy and innovation firm Think. Plan. Thrive., based in London. “Opportunities in London are amazing” Imogen says, “You can be at Imperial in the morning, go to a networking or start-up event, come back to classes and then go to something else in the evening. You’ve got so much on your doorstep – like Google Campus and General Assembly, for example, to help you learn and build your network. Jared and I established much of our network for Think Plan Thrive going to interesting events.”
Jared was offered a great scholarship from another leading business school outside London. “I turned it down to go to Imperial,” he says, “That’s how important being in central London was for me. London has a mindset – it’s constantly pushing forward and at the forefront of change.”
Imperial’s Enterprise Lab supports start-up entrepreneurs and innovators. Whether they hope to become the next Elon Musk or lead innovative organisations such as Google, we help them to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and connections that will propel them through their chosen career.
November 2017 update: Since this article was published, Full-Time MBA student Adrienne Fung, from the class of 2016-17, joined the Think. Plan. Thrive. team as Associate Strategist making it a truly Imperial start-up. Read how Adrienne made the decision to study the Full-Time MBA
5. The food
“London is an incredible place for a food lover like me,” Supitchaya says, “Many famous restaurants are located in the city and there are always new places to try. I love trying the top restaurants but I also enjoy exploring the street food at markets like Borough market. Even after a long day at school we will often go out together to find a delicious place for dinner before heading home to continue our study.”
Full-Time MBA student Adrienne Fung (@fungry.nomad) regularly posts mouth-watering pictures of her food adventures in London on her Instagram page.
6. A truly international city
London is a truly international city and Imperial is ranked as the UK’s most international university. London attracts the brightest minds from across the world. Studying here not only gives you a great opportunity to network with people from all walks of life but, if you’re an international student, you’ll feel right at home immediately.
With 37 nationalities represented in our current Full-Time MBA class, you’ll learn about business on a global scale and international cultures as you share stories with fellow MBA students. An induction week at the beginning of the academic year, helps our Full-Time MBA class to build lifelong friendships and networks over social and team building activities.
Imperial Full-Time MBA alumnae Tatiana Nikiforova says, “It might be a challenge to live in the city far away from your family and friends. But remember, your classmates will literally become your family for a year and your lifetime friends. They will treat you as family, and you will be invited to Christmas and national holiday parties that will make you feel very much included in the culture.”
“I always find a lot of exciting things to do in London and the fun activities from our cohort mean I never feel alone,” Supitchaya adds
7. London is the home of Imperial College London
“Don’t underestimate the power of being part of the Imperial brand,” Byron says. Supitchaya says the same, “When I attend an event, I give out my business card that says I’m doing an MBA at Imperial. It impresses people when networking.”
If you are interested in technology and innovation, it makes sense to join a global leader and soak up the atmosphere. “Get involved with initiatives and make the most of every opportunity. Use the alumni network to stay connected,” Byron says. Learn about some of the programmes on offer:
Full-Time MBA student Rob Thompson has a background in engineering and is using his MBA to explore innovation & strategy opportunities. He says, “Imperial’s reputation as a leading university for engineering, science and technology was a big part in choosing to study an MBA here. One of the things I really liked was the fact that in the core modules there’s a lot of innovation content. A lot of business schools offered innovation as electives but I like that it was fundamental to what we learnt.”
Entrepreneurialism is also built into the programme. “We’re encouraged to think outside of the box in a different way and think strategically instead of rushing to the group for a solution which often happens in corporations,” says Alison, “Even though I’m on the corporate career track, I can use entrepreneurship styles of thought in any corporate role.”
8. The SW postcode
The Natural History Museum in South Kensington where we hosted the Student Welcome Reception in 2016.
We’re biased, but we think the SW postcode is the best. Full-Time MBA alumnae Tatiana agrees. “I lived in Kensington, a beautiful location just a 20 minute walk from Imperial. I was lucky to live close by to two classmates and we had lovely morning walks together to the school,” she says.
On the surrounding area, she adds, “Kensington is next to the Design Museum at the former Commonwealth Institute Building in Holland Park. Holland Park itself is a treasure of London with a Japanese Garden in the centre of the park, so don’t miss a chance to visit and see the peacocks that live there. Kensington High Street is full of pretty cafés and restaurants including Kitchen W8, Min Jiang, Balans Soho Society and many more.”
“I lived in Notting Hill,” says Full-Time MBA alumnus Daniel Rose (OK, Notting Hill is technically W11, but it’s close enough to count). “It’s an amazing neighbourhood, full of bars and restaurants, and it is close enough that I could bike to school every day. You have access to the best theatres, restaurants, museums, and parks. I enjoyed running in Hyde Park in the mornings, going to Soho to watch a musical or play, or seeing the latest exhibition at the Tate.
If you have any other reasons why London is the best city to study an MBA, sound off in the comments below.