On Monday 11 September, we excitedly welcomed the September 2017 Global Online MBA class for a full and illuminating Induction Week. A diverse group of students from varied experiences, countries and sectors travelled to London to kick-off the programme and make lasting connections for their MBA journey and beyond.

This intake we’re proud to have over 80 students from 20 countries, representing 28 nationalities, and a range of sectors including energy, finance, nuclear physics, IT, medicine, engineering, oil and gas, consulting and more. The students expressed their motivations to advance their careers, change sectors, serve as role models for their families, and stay up-to-date with the current business environment.

Day 1 – What does a Global Online MBA student and a chameleon have in common?

Dean Professor Francisco Veloso, and the Programme Director, Dr Paolo Taticchi, kicked off the week with an introduction to the programme, expectations of the students and how they will see their study progress. Paolo highlighted that while doing an MBA involves separate modules, the Global Online MBA has been developed with real-life business and leadership scenarios in mind. In particular, the students will be learning to broaden their horizons and open their thinking to real-world problems that are multidisciplinary and complex. However, perhaps most importantly, day one was a chance for the students to meet each other for the first time and get to know who they will be working with over the next two years.

Students met in groups and presented each other to the room. After half an hour it seemed like the students had known each other for years, not mere minutes. Some, in fact, had, with two students who attended school together in Nigeria 20 years ago meeting again on the programme by complete coincidence, despite living in different countries. 

Day one was topped off with an opportunity to network, mingle, make memories and have fun with drinks and a three-course dinner at London’s County Hall, overlooking Southbank, the River Thames and Palace of Westminster. 

Day 2 – Setting expectations of student life

After students were cast back  into the world of library and preparation for study and group work, they  were walked through our award-winning learning technology, The Hub (which you can try for yourself) , shown how their learning will play-out over the next two years and how the technology has been developed to ensure the community remains connected from all over the world.

In the afternoon, a panel of current Global Online MBA students talked to the inductees about their experiences around managing study with time, workload, family, and other priorities (read our student profiles for more information). The panel advised that students “be honest about what you can’t do, and then fill in the gap. You build confidence when you ask for the help of your peers” and “to be disciplined and set the expectations of study with your support network”. The day was wrapped up with evening drinks across the road from the Business School in South Kensington to allow students to reflect on the day, get to know each other more and experience London.

New inductee Carrie Mootz, said that induction so far “had exceeded expectations and the calibre of the programmes’ students and staff was incredible.”

Day 3 – Business 2.0: Inconvenient truths, known risks, unknown opportunities and elephants in the boardroom

On day three the students were treated to their first full day of lessons from Dr Taticchi in his area of expertise, sustainability in business and the future of cities. The lesson focused on teaching students that contemporary business is not just about profit and growth both individually and organisationally, but it’s about the broader business context relevant to our times and beyond. The human and environmental factors to consider in business that are traditionally overlooked, such as sustainability and corporate responsibility.

Day four – Personal Leadership Journey, careers, self-reflection and self-awareness

Day four was careers day, led by the Careers and Professional Development Service coaches, Ayo Adegniji and Ceri Willmott. It focused on the students’ reasons for joining the MBA and how they can use it to excel their career goals.

Ayo and Ceri introduced the students to the Personal Leadership Journey, a key component of their MBA. The Personal Leadership Journey is a set of personalised activities and support aimed at increasing self-awareness, developing leadership potential and building and implementing a career strategy.

To start their journey, students reflected upon two seemingly simple concepts: How do you perceive yourself, and how do others perceive you?

To examine these questions, students did the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a useful model for introspection and exploring personality. Understanding these MBTI results improves knowledge of self and working with other people, and students were able to use the results to assess their “best-fit type” for syndicate group work, and identify personal areas of development for leadership and interacting with others.

Of the experience, new inductee Cecilia Ghilea, said ‘What I loved about the Career’s Day is that it touched on more complex matters such as the various personalities that can arise in a group and how we can best work with each other given our MBTI scores. The MBTI tests will definitely help me in the long run, in understanding my strengths and in identifying areas for development!’

What I loved about the Career’s Day is that it touched on more complex matters such as the various personalities that can arise in a group and how we can best work with each other given our MBTI scores. The MBTI tests will definitely help me in the long run, in understanding my strengths and in identifying areas for development!

This led to the last section of the careers day; networking in an online environment. The majority of the Global Online MBA students would not have got to the stage of their careers if they weren’t effective networkers, but the nature of the programme meant that the students would need to become adept at networking online.

The careers team broke networking down into its simplest form. At its heart, networking is simply the action and art of building positive human relationships. They stressed that networking goes far beyond collecting business cards, competing for LinkedIn connections and asking people for a job if you need one. Networking is about creating, building and nurturing professional connections so that when needed, you can enlist support and comfortably ask for ideas, advice, information and referrals.

The careers team then provided tips for networking online; common pitfalls to avoid, develop a strategy and how to conduct yourself in the online space. They discussed LinkedIn and how to best use it as well as providing insight on how the students could build and maintain their cohort community. They also stressed the value and importance of connecting with alumni and the Business School community at large.

‘The Career’s Day at Imperial opened my eyes into how much I can do to improve myself and to enhance the way I present myself to employers! I was not expecting the session to be so lively, entertaining and fun! I had no idea that you can do so much just by using LinkedIn, so I was very glad to learn about various LinkedIn tips’ Said Cecilia.  

With their Personal Leadership Journey now well underway, the students can look forward to being more effective and aware professionals, which will lead to: more chance of promotion; a different way of thinking to approach new fields and challenges, and; new opportunities to expand their network with fellow professionals, colleagues on the course, and Imperial alumni.

With the careers session over, a panel of industry experts were then interviewed to close the second-to-last day of Induction Week.

Day five – Challenging options for management, wrap-up and the beginning of the MBA journey

Day five is the last day of induction and the last day all of the students will be together in person for a long while. The students have one final lesson on challenging options for management, as well as guest speakers and a wrap-up from programme staff and teaching faculty.

The teaching staff at Imperial are fortunate and privileged to now know and inspire the brilliant minds that are the most recently inducted cohort in the Imperial Business College School, who join a highly distinguished network of over 14 000 Alumni to this prestigious school.

So, What DOES a Global Online MBA student have in common with a chameleon? In a word – adaptability. The ability to change to meet a specific objective. The abilities necessary to thrive in an ever-changing world and adapt to the situation at hand and enhance decision-making.

So begins another exciting chapter for the next cohort of Imperial students, who will start a challenging but extremely rewarding journey for their MBA.

If you would like to find more information on the programme, visit the Imperial College Business School Global Online MBA website.

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