Lydia Hicks EMBA Alumni
Programme:
Executive MBA 2015-2017
Nationality:
British
Employment prior to studying at the Business School:

Marketing and Propositions Director (Interim), BT (London)

Employment after studying at the Business School and current position:

VP External Innovation, Strategic Partnerships, BT (San Francisco) Oct 2017- August 2020, Strategic Partnerships Manager, Mobile & Connectivity, EMEA, Facebook (London) August 2020 - present

University and subject studied for undergraduate degree:

BA (Hons) Management and Business Administration, University of Reading

Executive MBA 2015-2017

Why did you choose to study your programme and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?  

Since early on in my career I had always wanted to do an MBA, but was waiting until I felt I had enough work experience behind me to get the most value from it. 10 years into my career in marketing and propositions, I felt I was at an inflection point and needed to broaden my business knowledge as my role required more of a strategic view of the business I was working in.

The entrepreneurial nature and technological excellence of Imperial lead me to the Executive MBA programme at the Business School. The international elements and focus on innovation were certainly aspects that appealed to me beyond the core modules. More logistical considerations also aided my decision - such as the programme format and location. The ability to work full time while studying and the brilliant location in the heart of London helped me continue in my demanding career yet also make it to classes. 

When I was ultimately making my decision, the brilliant on-campus information session experience compelled me to do my Executive MBA at Imperial due to the wonderfully diverse set of people I met. This experience gave me a taste of the culture of the School and made me feel as though it was the right fit for me.

What was the most useful/important takeaway you gained during your time at the business school?

How to become a strategic thinker, taking all viewpoints into account and structuring your thoughts on a given problem. Taking in perspectives of my peers on the programme who came from a multitude of backgrounds and industries ultimately made both my outlook and thinking far broader than they were previously. 

What was the most surprising thing about the programme?

You go into the programme thinking about what you will learn academically and ultimately the qualification, but you walk away with so much more than that. I learned so much from the professor’s business experiences, from our diverse cohort and the ideas that were inspired by us working together. These are elements you can never replace with reading a book.

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering studying the same programme as you?

If you think it’s the right time for you career wise, and you know you really want to do it for yourself (not because someone has told you it’s a good idea), then don’t hesitate. It will be a balancing act and a lot of work for a couple of years, but you will never regret the experience and will walk away with friends you’ll cherish for years to come.

How has your programme contributed to your career success?

Day-to-day it has enhanced the thinking of my inputs at work, giving me a broader, more strategic business appreciation of the challenges and opportunities of customers and the business alike. The additional knowledge gained has given me confidence to be more sure of my opinions and ask the pertinent questions.

In terms of my subsequent roles, I’ve found the MBA to be a key element in the positions I have obtained, particularly those where an MBA was listed as a preferred qualification. My first role after graduation took me to San Francisco working closely with tech companies of all sizes, an experience which has subsequently lead to my current role at Facebook based in London. The MBA programme in general helped with this, but in particular the Innovation, Entrepreneurial and Design module which certainly helped me get the role in San Francisco – as did the global nature of the cohort. I had very little experience of VC/entrepreneurship before this and it helped give me an end to end appreciation of different business inflection points and challenges as well as working in an international environment.

How do you plan to use the skills and knowledge you gained during the programme within your career going forward?

I have referred to what I have learned in a number of ways in my roles since graduating, and it consistently helps me apply a critical eye to problems I am faced with. Having the grounding from the MBA in so many elements of business has really helped me see things with a well-rounded view and ask the pertinent questions to get to decisions and make an impact. And of course, the alumni are an invaluable pool to bounce ideas off throughout the journey.

In what way is remaining connected to your alumni network important to you?

It is critical. I love the catch ups with my cohort.  They are a brilliant group of people who continue to challenge and support me. Many of them have even become lifelong friends. Continued time spent with my cohort has also shaped my thinking about career decisions, that without them, I may have not considered.

Have you volunteered at the Business School since you graduated? 

I was living in San Francisco so opportunities have been limited to volunteer. I did attend a San Francisco International MBA open evening where I spoke to prospective students about my experience at Imperial. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Treat others as you want to be treated.

Which book or website would you recommend to others interested in your programme or industry?

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink.  I wish this book had been published prior to embarking on the MBA, it would have certainly helped to optimise time which rapidly becomes a scarce resource.

Programme:
Executive MBA 2015-2017
Nationality:
British
Employment prior to studying at the Business School:

Marketing and Propositions Director (Interim), BT (London)

Employment after studying at the Business School and current position:

VP External Innovation, Strategic Partnerships, BT (San Francisco) Oct 2017- August 2020, Strategic Partnerships Manager, Mobile & Connectivity, EMEA, Facebook (London) August 2020 - present

University and subject studied for undergraduate degree:

BA (Hons) Management and Business Administration, University of Reading