Bachelor of Engineering, Mechanical; Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration, the University of Auckland
Senior Consultant, Arcadis
As a chartered and trained engineer, my career began in project engineering, working both on-site as well as in more office based roles. This led to a career in programme and project management, where I am accountable for successful project delivery and lead a team of multidisciplinary professionals. I am fortunate to have had experience in both the public and private sectors within various industries, but the most enriching part of my career has been the number of interesting and highly knowledgeable people I’ve had the pleasure of working with along the way, both domestically and internationally.
Why the Executive MBA at Imperial College Business School?
I have always enjoyed the technical engineering aspects of project management, however the people and operational sides of management are the areas that most interested me during the early stages of my career. Understanding how to empower a team through leadership and coaching, and interpreting financial data to support future decision making, are examples of two areas where I wished to develop my skills.
I was aware of the Executive Leadership Journey module, which is highly regarded and specifically embedded within the Executive MBA programme. I was also aware of the School’s strength in digitisation, which combined with the above gave me enough encouragement to take the leap forward.
In terms of funding, my previous employer was supportive towards my desire to undertake an MBA and awarded me partial funding, with the majority of the balance being self-funded.
A unique and rewarding programme
There are two aspects to the Executive MBA programme at Imperial that I feel make it unique. Firstly, the South Kensington campus, which provides a vibrant, convenient and stimulating location in which to study. Second, the combined focus on leadership and digitisation in each of the modules is very current, and encourages students to become leaders in an increasingly technology-driven environment.
The most rewarding part of the programme for me is the energy and passion of the industry -experienced lecturers. This is evident throughout the programme, both in the delivery of their lectures and the constructive, engaging debates with students during each on-campus session.
My main takeaway from the programme so far are the importance of adequate preparation using online resources prior to the on-campus sessions. The Executive MBA programme adopts a blended learning approach, so I am able to review and digest much of the programme material online to develop my understanding, before applying the principles and maximising my learning during on-campus sessions.
In addition, the blended learning tactics used in many of the modules makes the learning experience highly engaging and relatable. My favourite module so far has been the Managing Negotiations elective. The blended use of case studies, mainstream shows and real-world interviews enabled me to apply the theoretical content to real-world scenarios, while the use of different mediums to deliver the information directly enhanced the learning experience.
As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, in-class lectures were moved to remote study. As an individual who enjoys and learns better in a live face-to-face environment, I found the online studying challenging. However, as Imperial College Business School is a leader in deploying remote learning technology, the experience was actually much better than expected.
Applying my learnings to my role
As with any studying, the learnings in the classroom are only the beginning of your experience. As a team lead in my job, I’ve had the opportunity to apply the leadership and organisational behaviour concepts taught in the programme during regular interactions with my team.
Learning from my cohort
The Executive MBA cohort is an experienced group of industry-diverse professionals with interesting and challenging career stories. These learnings and experiences are often shared at both pre-arranged and ad-hoc get togethers in which we have the opportunity to network and build connections.
My career has predominantly been centred around group work, either in a lead role or as a contributor. I therefore found the elements of group project work within the programme very comfortable. Although there were several interesting conversations had, we were always able to find solutions to the most critical challenges faced in these scenarios.
The international residency tour that forms part of the Executive MBA was a great opportunity to engage with another reputable university through on-campus lectures with industry experts. It was also a chance to immerse ourselves in another culture and better appreciate the challenges faced in an international business environment.
The Executive Leadership Journey and my ongoing career journey
The Executive Leadership Journey is a useful module that is specifically tailored to the Executive MBA programme. The learnings, concepts, coaching and guest lectures enabled me to gain an understanding of various principles designed to help develop my leadership skills.
Upon leaving the Executive MBA, I plan to continue applying and developing my learnings within my current role, while also seeking opportunities to move into senior management positions or consider a new venture.
London is one of the world’s largest financial hubs with an ever-expanding entrepreneurial environment. This made it an obvious choice when looking for a thriving atmosphere in which to study my Executive MBA.
The diversity and multicultural nature of the city is reflected in everything about London – from food, entertainment and art through to the unique designs and flavours of local communities such as Brick Lane, Portobello Market and Borough Market.
Advice for Executive MBA applicants
The Executive MBA is a significant investment - mentally, emotionally, financially, and in terms of time. My personal approach when thinking of applying was to create a pros and cons list, assigning a weighting to each item. If the overall delta of these considerations is within an acceptable value, the next step is to apply.
There is no wrong or right approach to making such a big decision however, and I would encourage you to reach out to current or past Executive MBA alumni from Imperial College Business School. They can help you understand what it is like to undertake the programme and provide some insight into how they managed to balance their work, study and personal lives. I’d also recommend attending one of the numerous information sessions or tasters on offer to give you an even better understanding of the programme and help you make a final decision.