As part of submitting an application study an MSc programme at Imperial College Business School, you will answer a series of career planning questions and upload your CV.
When reviewing an application we consider all aspects, including professional experience (if any) and career planning; so your careers questions answers and CV will highlight whether you have thought about how an MSc will support you in achieving your career aspirations.
This post aims to provide you with some tips on how to approach answering our career planning questions, as well as how to make your CV stand out.
Career Planning Questions
The career planning questions in our application form are designed to enable you to write focused and specific answers; there are no right, or wrong answers to these questions. Your responses help us to identify your professional goals, allowing us to review your suitability for your selected programme, and for the Business School. It will also help our Careers Team to target employers and regions more effectively.
There will be a series of short questions for you to answer, which will allow you to tell us about your future career aspirations; such as the sector you are interested in, your ideal employer, role or country, as well as areas for your own professional development. Additionally, as part of completing these questions, you will need to identify three skills required for your target role and explain how, from your previous experiences, you meet this criteria.
Every question that requires a written response will have a guide as to how many words are expected, or permitted. There is no time limit to complete the questions, so do take your time to research your ideas and plan your answers. However, please take your chosen programme’s admissions rounds and deadlines into consideration.
We appreciate that not everyone will be aiming to join a large multinational company. If you are planning to set up your own business you will need to outline what expertise, product, or service your business will deliver. You will also be expected to demonstrate a coherent understanding of the targeted market, as well as existing market competitors. Of course, we understand that some plans can change by circumstance, or by choice, therefore it is important to consider other career options that could also interest you. For candidates interested in further study after one of our MSc programmes, such as a PhD, we would recommend that you focus your answers to these questions on what you plan to do after completing your PhD qualification instead.
- Thoroughly research your career goals by looking at job specifications for potential roles and employers you may want to work for after completing your MSc. Such research will also help you to grasp a better understanding of the sector in which you want to work, and help you to ensure it’s an area you are really interested in!
- Ensure you have a clear understanding of the programme you are applying to, as well as the industry you aspire to enter. We recommend you take a look at the programme content for the MSc you are applying to, to ensure the content aligns to your career aspirations.
- Utilise your previous studies, work experience, volunteering and/or extracurricular activities in demonstrating how you have developed your skillset so far. Such experiences will provide the best examples for answering the careers questions.
- Be as specific as possible! We recommend you choose a specific skill and explain how your experiences (examples) meet these specifications (criteria).
- Think about the gaps in your skillset and how completing an MSc at Imperial College Business School will support you in acquiring new skills such as these.
- Use this section to reiterate parts of your Personal Statement – we will read this too, so you don’t need to repeat yourself!
- Write one line answers with no examples. We would like to hear about what type of candidate your chosen company wants to hire, and how your experiences (examples) meet these specifications (criteria).
- Write only about the recruitment process and not about the skills required for your target role. We are aware of the recruitment process graduates go through with large companies, such as application forms, interviews, assessment centres etc., so we recommend you don’t use the career answers to explain the recruitment process of your selected company.
- Write about academic results criteria – this is a given with the majority of graduate employers, and you should use this section to illuminate your more unique skills.
- List experiences that you have already highlighted in other aspects of the application form for example, studying for a degree, unless you are elaborating on these points.
How can I make my CV stand out?
In addition to completing the career planning questions, you will also need to submit a copy of your most up-to-date CV. Although the format for a CV is fairly standardised, there are still things you can do to make your CV really stand out to the Admissions team when submitting an application to the Business School. We recommend the following:
Ensure your CV is no longer than two sides of A4 in length. Keeping your CV shorter in length will ensure you to include only the most important and relevant information.
Use a template, which will make your CV clear and doesn’t contain too much text. You can download a CV template here or find a template online – there are lots of guides readily available.
Include full dates, highlighting the exact duration of any internships/work experience you have completed.
Only include work experience or extracurricular activities if less than three years old/or if relevant.
Fully highlight any international study on your CV in the education section.
Include extracurricular experiences, as well as academic and professional experience.
A well thought out career plan will be invaluable if you are made an offer to join the programme, and accept it. We have several pre-study modules available to students, which should be accessible from around early summer onward. It is definitely worthwhile for you to begin to plan your future career now because this can really streamline your route to working with Careers.
We also consider it especially important for candidates to be focused on their career path early on in our application process because many employers open for applications to their graduate roles before our MSc programmes have even begun. We therefore want our students to be in the best possible place, early on, in order to have the option to be considered for the roles these companies offer.
Please do let us know if you have any questions.
We look forward to reading your answers and seeing your CVs!