Embarking on a graduate program is daunting to say the least, let alone moving across the Atlantic to attend one of the best universities in the world. It wasn’t so much a sense of fear that loomed over my head during the weeks leading up to the start of the program. Rather, it was a mixture excitement, anxiousness, and general intrigue that gave me butterflies in my stomach. Imperial is known as a world-class educational institute and there were, undeniably, certain assumptions I could not shake. For one, could I, a political history student with no business background thrive in the Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Management course? Would other students judge my lack of business know-how? And most importantly will I be able to best represent the university itself?
Well, having passed one of the most exciting, if not more inspiring semesters of my academic career I can now answer these questions. Firstly, the program is what you make of it. It will be challenging for students to suddenly pick up subjects such as accounting or business economics without studying it previously. However, I have found that my supportive cohort was one of the most vital aspects of my survival last term. This support system comprising of my peers and the program team really ensured that I could always feel free to ask questions and be kept in the loop. Everyone was so encouraging, and used their strengths to help one another. Further, courses like Accounting can be somewhat of boring (Sorry! I’m being honest here!) – but our Professor did his best to keep the class engaged and to present material in a fun and comprehensive way. This was essential for someone, such as myself, who had never taken an accounting course before.
Moreover, working in teams was an important element of our course. Having almost always worked independently throughout my academic career, I found myself working on team projects and co-authoring research papers. It was a strange yet fulfilling experience as the success of the entire team relied on everyone. There was definitely a sense of comradery and the desire to not let each other down. Working in teams also meant that I could get honest, constructive criticism and feedback whenever I needed. It was never personal, as all team members felt invested in improving each other and making sure the quality of our work was the best.
Having said, I definitely felt comfortable last semester despite a lack of business background. I found that I truly learnt new things academics wise and skills wise. Both of which I am sure will be useful to me moving forwards throughout my graduate career and beyond. Therefore, even as a student with an undergraduate degree based in the humanities, I felt that I was doing my best the entire time and that everything I learnt was valuable. My cohort has also been amazing in terms of helping each other out – we have coined the term “IEM Squad” for ourselves and it is fair to say everyone has become fast friends.
Writing this blog now, a term later, as a student ambassador I believe that one of the charms of the Imperial College Business School is how it is comprised of students from all demographics and all educational backgrounds. Everyone has something valuable or insightful to offer – thus contributing to the overall color and appeal of the school. Having learnt so much last semester, I am optimistic for the second term ahead and all the new experiences that will surely come my way.