It has now been three months since I first walked into the Imperial Business school’s door; now it feels like it’s been at least a year. They say that this feeling of having spent more time than you actually did is a good sign meaning that you’ve packed your time rather effectively. Well, as of November 2017 I can say that it’s been probably the most intense and definitely very interesting time for me.
Being a Chevening scholar, I am excited to be a part of a vibrant community uniting 1,700 young leaders from 140 countries, who made it all the way though to study in the UK among 65,000 applicants globally. Chevening is a UK Government’s programme aimed at promoting young leadership around the world by providing an opportunity to study in UK Universities. There are around 20 Cheveners at Imperial, all having versatile backgrounds and pursuing different study areas.
When we had our first meeting this October, I was flabbergasted by how diverse this small community is and what amazing stories people had behind them. But what we really had in common and what could really be felt being among these talented young people, who got themselves far away from homes and familiar cultural settings, was the exciting feeling of embarking on something great and completely inspirational.
Imperial College London, formerly part of the University of London, is the alma mater of such outstanding names in chemistry, biology, medicine, engineering history as Sir Alexander Fleming, who in 1928, working as Professor of Bacteriology at St. Mary’s Hospital, accidentally discovered penicillin; father of science fiction, English writer Herbert Wells (The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, etc.); Rajiv Ratna Gandhi, the 6th Prime Minister of India, and many othereminent scientists and social activists: chemist Dame Mary Archer, journalist Anjana Ahuja, microbiologist, researcher, and ethicist Dame Rosalind Hurley.
But apart from its strong science background and a long history of preparing brilliant scientists of the past and the present, Imperial has one of the highest-ranking Business Schools in Europe and the world. The Business School is a relatively small building aside of the huge South Kensington campus, but it plays an important part in the University mission to bring innovation, talent and investment together. Being enrolled into the Masters in Management programme ranking 14th in the world, 2nd in the UK (excluding multi-campus schools), I would like to provide an insider outlook from a Chevening scholar’s perspective.
The programme itself is very diverse in terms of both academic studies and learning practices. A lot of attention is given to group work: either an economics essay on the global oil market or an insightful story illustrating an introvert’s organisational behavior, you are expected to do it in teams, which is both challenging and lots of fun, as the teams are mixed academically and culturally. Studies are aimed at developing your leadership and group work skills – these are vital for almost all career paths, be it scientific research in a laboratory or development of corporate client solutions in investment banking.
In addition to training transferrable skills, Imperial puts a lot of emphasis on innovation and state-of-the-art technology: it has one of the best libraries in the country providing an access to a variety of academic resources and databases, e.g. Bloomberg; all the lectures and study materials are available online, so that you can learn distantly, learning is paperless, the teaching techniques promote self-studying and aim to spike one’s intellectual curiosity. The marking system is, by the way, quite different from what I personally was used to: in order to score high, a student needs to do more than is formally required from them, they should be ready to go the extra mile in their academic endeavour.
Apart from in-class tasks, Imperial has TONS of extra-curricular activities to explore: there are dozens of clubs, societies, events and campaigns across a variety of fields – sports, careers, lifestyles, volunteering, etc. To name a few, I did pumpkin carvings for Halloween with Sustainability & Social Impact club, practiced case studies with the Imperial Women in Business society, met a NASA astronaut at the guest lecture for Imperial ‘Space’ society, took part in Speed-networking event with the Entrepreneurship club, extracted strawberry DNA using washing liquid with the help of the Imperial Chemical Society at the Fresher’s Day in September, experienced local vegetarian cuisine with the Animal Protection & Education Society (Apes), went for an intellectual clash against LSE in a mocking of a popular Russian game ‘What? Where? When?’ with the Russian speaking society, and did many other things. Imperial supports local farmers by hosting fresh organic food markets on Tuesdays at campus, thus contributing to sustainability and social impact, which, I believe, is one the core values both for a Chevening Scholar and Imperial resident. The college’s area is smoke-free, there is a gym in 20 meters at discount price for students, so you can always stay fit and energetic.
To cut a long story short, there are lots of things to do and try here. Imperial promotes innovation, leadership and sustainability. For me, as a Chevening scholar, these values are of particular importance. By becoming an Imperial student and Chevening Scholar, I have embarked on one of the most exciting journeys of my life. Not only do I have an opportunity study at some of the world’s best educational institution, I also have an opportunity to experience everything Britain has to offer, from art to culture, food, nature, and more!