Heather Thompson

Why did you choose to study the Weekday Executive MBA and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?

I decided to study the Executive MBA because I was looking for a new challenge, something that would help me with both my personal and career development. I chose to study at Imperial College Business School for several reasons: the flexibility of the course programme – part-time working during the week, which I could fit around my day job; the range of modules and elective subjects on offer; and the opportunity to complete a study tour to South Africa, which provided a great insight into how businesses are created and managed in a developing country. Although the MBA has a business focus, the learning at Imperial is achieved through teamwork and collaboration, so you develop interpersonal skills as well as business knowledge.

What do you miss most from your days at the Business School?

I miss the time spent at Imperial College Business School with my MBA cohort. We were a small group and we bonded well over the two years. Getting to spend time with such a diverse and interesting group of people was a great learning opportunity. We shared experiences from our different business backgrounds, supported each other through difficult work (and sometimes personal life) issues and kept our spirits up during the exams and dissertation periods, when the stress was probably at its highest. By doing the MBA, I have made some good friends. It can be difficult for us to find time to meet up but it is great when we do.

How has the Business School helped develop your career?

Before starting the MBA, I felt that my career options were limited to the corporate services environment that I was working in. Studying for the MBA has widened my knowledge on a range of business areas, and has given me experience of activities that I would not have got through my place of work. Through the learning and skills I have gained, I felt more confident in applying for a new job in a different area of the organisation.

How do you stay connected with others from your Business School alumni network?

From my cohort there are a number of people who I consider to be friends and so I keep in touch with them in the same way that I do my non-MBA friends. For the wider cohort, we keep in touch via LinkedIn, the professional network website, as well as other social network sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. This allows us to see how people are developing their careers following the completion of the MBA, and to get in touch quickly if needed.

Which website would you recommend alumni visit?

I would recommend LinkedIn – I have remained in contact with most of my cohort through this website, as well as a number of the lecturers at the Business School. This is useful if you are taking forward a specific project at work, where the advice and feedback from the subject-matter experts could help you. Even though you are no longer a student at the Business School, people are still willing to help.

Nationality: British

Undergraduate education: French Studies, University of Manchester

Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Team Leader, Training and Accreditation Team, UK Border Agency

Employment after studying at the Business School: Head of Programme Management Office, UKBA Olympic and Paralympic Programme, UK Border Agency

Current position: Benefits Manager at The Home Office