We are very proud of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council who were recently awarded the Student Award for Societal Engagement at the President’s Awards for Excellence in Societal Engagement.

We speak to the Chair of the Council, Shaayann Khalid, about what they do and why future students should become involved.

Who are the Dean’s Student Advisory Council?

Launched in 2015, the Dean’s Student Advisory Council is the highest level of leadership in the Business School. It provides a platform for students to connect with Professor Francisco Veloso, Associate Dean of Programmes, Leila Guerra, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programmes, Edgar Meyer, and Student Experience Manager, Julia McShane, to improve the student experience in all facets of School life.

Shaayann Khalid

The Council is made up of the Chair, Advisor and five Deputy Chairs. Shaayann Khalid was elected Chair of the MSc International Health Management programme before taking over the role of Chair of the Council from Mobeen Iqbal.

The Deputy Chairs are a new initiative of the Council this year. Shaayann says:

We wanted to reformat how the Council was structured this year to introduce Deputy Chairs. Each programme already had a Chair and leaders of Academics, Careers and Socials. We wanted to put one Chair in charge of that respective role across the Business School.

From next year, The Council will also be introducing an additional Societal Outreach leader for each programme as we acknowledge the importance of engaging with our community.

What do the Council do?

The Council are trailblazers in the Business School, working tirelessly on projects to make the students’ time at Imperial the best and most enriching it can possibly be.

One of the most notable projects they have led is What The Tech?!, a digital literacy programme launched in mid-2017 to help elderly residents near our White City campus with their technology needs. Launched by Mobeen, What The Tech?! run weekly drop-in sessions with volunteers from the Business School.

The success of the project is demonstrated by its accolades. Mobeen received the President’s Outstanding Student Achievement Award and the Council won the President’s Award for Excellence in Societal Engagement.

One of the other major projects the Council has been working on is the handover between this and next year’s Council. Having sat on the Council for three years, Mobeen has a unique insight into the triumphs and challenges of this transition. He says:

Given our students are typically at the Business School for one year, it is difficult to keep the momentum going with the Council’s projects and sustain some form of continuity. Being new to the Business School means it can be challenging being Chair as you’d be unfamiliar with the best way to run projects and it would take time to figure out what the previous Council has done.

To remedy this problem, they established a new Advisor position to be filled by the outgoing chair. Mobeen was appointed the inaugural Advisor, and he oversees the Council and helps with the handover in a non-operational capacity.

Another initiative is getting feedback from the current class and making sure it carries through to the next year. Shaayann says:

Feedback from students in recent years has been really important in shaping the student experience and, moving forward, the feedback from this year will be just as important. What we’re doing is closing the feedback loop – asking ourselves what the students want and what we can do to make it happen.

The Council held an open forum with students across all programmes to get their feedback on their experience this year – from what they loved to what they would have changed. The Council’s main focus at the moment is to make sure the incoming Council receive this and this feedback continues to improve the student experience. Shaayann says:

The Open Forum gave us so much valuable insight on how students felt about their time at the Business School, what student leaders can do to keep improving the student experience, and how we can best equip the Council with the tools to bring the student voice to life.

Putting the ‘Dean’ in Dean’s Student Advisory Council

With the ‘Dean’ front and centre in the title, it comes as no surprise that the Council members get to work closely with all the Deans of the Business School.

The Associate Deans are present at their termly meetings. All of the Deans and the Student Experience Manager also attend events with the Council where they get to mingle with them on a more personal level. Shaayann says:

Working with the Dean, Associate Deans and the Student Experience Manager is really a pleasure. Change isn’t easy, but when you’re able to work with a team that’s so willing to listen to and engage with students, it really makes the work we do that much more meaningful. We’re lucky to have leaders like them shaping the legacy of our school, and the Council is even luckier to work with them.

Getting to work with Francisco Veloso is incredible. The entire Dean’s Student Advisory Council went to dinner with him the other day and it was amazing. He’s such an inspiring guy and a cool person to sit down with and hear his stories. He’s also really engaged which is super important. As we move forward and engage with the students, it’s really important that the higher-ups are engaging with us as well so we have this really clean cycle of conversation and communication between every level of leadership.

The Council urge future students of the Business School to get involved and take on a leadership position. Not only does student leadership have huge benefits for your future career, it gives you the opportunity to contribute to social change on campus.

Meet the Dean’s Student Advisory Council

The Council is made up of the Chair, Shaayann Khalid, Advisor, Mobeen Iqbal, and the Deputy Chairs Daniela Fuerst, MSc Finance & Accounting, Hiba Mahmood, MSc Economics & Strategy for Business, Hassan Sheikh, MSc Strategic Marketing, Maya Skinner, MSc Climate Change, Management & Finance and Jonathan (Femi) Williamson-Taylor, Intercalated BSc (Management).

Mobeen Iqbal

Mobeen Iqbal, Doctoral student – Advisor

In my role as Advisor, I oversee the Council’s progress in a non-operational capacity and am available for the Chair to contact at any time for advice. I also, quite cheekily, attend the socials – more so to network with the Council, of course, and not for the free food and beverages…

I’m so proud of all the work the Council has done over the years and I’m delighted to have been a part of it. The biggest accomplishment has got to be the establishment of the What The Tech?! project which is on-going and has received a lot of praise, not only from the Business School and College, but also the White City community. The founding of this project was also recognised formally by the College. With this recognition, we have set an example for what student leaders can achieve at Imperial and I’m very proud of the accomplishments of Councils past and president, and I can’t wait to see what future Councils achieve as well.

Hiba Mahmood

Hiba Mahmood, MSc Economics & Strategy for Business – Deputy Chair of Careers

My role as Deputy Chair of Careers involves coordinating the Careers leaders from all the programmes at the Business School. We have a wonderful team of ambitious and committed individuals using their experience with the student recruitment process to address student concerns. I also work closely with Imperial College Business School Careers to provide feedback on the student career experience.

The best part of being on the Council is the opportunity to engage with other student Chairs in the Business School. It is wonderful to have the platform to raise issues in the presence of Associate Deans and work with other chairs to transform our vision for the school into a reality.

Hassan Sheikh

Hassan Sheikh, MSc Strategic Marketing – Deputy Chair of Societal Engagement

My role as Deputy Chair of Societal Engagement involves looking for volunteering opportunities for students, particularly those at the Business School and being the main point of contact and student leader for our societal outreach programme, What the Tech?! The programme entails teaching elderly citizens digital literacy skills once a week, and we even ran a successful fundraiser during the year!

My favourite part of being on the Council is definitely the people. It allowed me to make friends from across the Business School and allowed me to get involved in other ways too, like being one of the hosts for the Annual Business School Talent Show! Everyone at the Business School was so approachable. Faculty and staff in particular are genuine and always consider feedback and suggestions from the Council.

Maya Skinner

Maya Skinner, MSc Climate Change, Management & Finance – Deputy Chair of Academics

My role as Deputy Chair of Academics is predominantly organising meetings for the academic reps throughout the Business School, to discuss problems and solutions relating to the academic side of the student experience. Meetings also involve brainstorming and implementing new projects to help and enhance the academic experience of current and future students. Deputy Chair of Academics also supports the Chair (Shaayann) in organising many initiatives.

My favourite part of being on the Council is getting to meet and work with a diverse range of motivated students across the Business School to continuously improve the experience of current and future students.

Jonathan Femi Williamson-Taylor

Jonathan (Femi) Williamson-Taylor, Intercalated BSc (Management) – Deputy Chair of Careers Clubs

This year saw a lot of changes in the structure and management of the clubs, and this exposed a variety of opportunities and challenges. In the first half of the year, I worked closely with both Careers and their administrative leads to communicate these changes and ensure committees had all the support they needed. The second half of the year largely involved working with the Business School to revise functions and processes behind the Careers Club clubs in view of the following academic year.

Aside from the occasional social event and free wine, I love being part of the Business School’s decision-making apparatus. As a member of the Council, you have a privileged view of the School and the way it actually runs, as well as the opportunity to make significant contributions to the student experience. It’s a blessing to have been able to meet so many unique but equally motivated students as part of the Council.