What professional experience did you have before joining Imperial College Business School?
I work for Boeing, as the Corporate Communications Manager for the UK and Central & Eastern Europe, based in the London office, a role I have held for two years. In my role I manage Boeing’s corporate reputation through proactive engagement with customer, partner and influencer stakeholders and media, the UK corporate citizenship (CSR) strategy as well as internal engagement with the company’s UK and European employees. Before joining Boeing I worked for Unilever, in customer marketing within the UK customer development team for personal care brands, then in global brand development for the premium hair category.
Tell us what your greatest academic, professional or personal awards/achievements have been.
Whilst in the Tony&Guy global brand development team I was shortlisted for a Unilever internal marketing award in the category “Customer & Consumer Connectivity” for a project that I led, to create a Toni&Guy Apple iAd as part of the mobile engagement strategy. Academically I am most proud of completing a one year study abroad programme at the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland as part of my course at the University of Exeter and overall graduating with a first class honours Bachelor of Arts degree in History. Furthermore, for five years since graduating I volunteered for the University of Exeter Alumni Relations department as Chair of a committee that organised many successful professional networking and social events for graduates in London.
Why did you decide to study your programme and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
The outstanding academic reputation of Imperial College London as both an undergraduate and graduate institution played a large part in my choice to complete my MBA at Imperial College Business School. Furthermore I was looking for a class schedule that would impact my working schedule as little as possible, and for a London-based MBA that has an emphasis on entrepreneurialism, international business, global leadership and one that attracted students from a wide range of industries and geographies. I was impressed with the programme on offer, the academic staff, the fellow candidates and the school’s culture when I attended the Admissions Day.
What makes the programme you are studying at Imperial College Business School unique?
There is a real sense of camaraderie within the cohort as we closely support each other, on and off campus. I would say the professors and academics are of a high standard and approach the material in a practical, real-world way. The network of inspirational people who attend the programme is invaluable for career progression and lifelong friendships and the variety of additional events on offer, for example the Leadership in Action talks are a fantastic way to learn about the workings of other industries. Furthermore, the career support through the Personal Leadership Journey team is very comprehensive and unique – it is so valuable to have independent, objective advice and coaching from outside your current organisation.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
It is necessary to be disciplined with dedicating enough time to complete pre-work and readings throughout the whole module rather than leaving it all to the end. That requires some sacrifices during the week and weekends during the whole period of the programme. It is really worth attending the weekend classes fully prepared because you quickly realise the time spent with professors is short and needs to be used wisely – for informed discussion, debate and idea generation.
What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?
Almost immediately, through the process of intellectual exploration, I am approaching business issues within my current role with an analytical mind-set, and this has enabled me to be more sensitive to Boeing’s global strategy and leadership decisions from a top-down perspective. The programme has given me the tools to critically evaluate business decisions, think long-term and visualise my place in the future of my organisation, where I can make a difference.
Which seminars, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
The talk by Gaudenzio Bonaldo Gregori from KKR stood out for me because it was an insight into an industry I was not familiar with and I found it fascinating and helpful in my understanding of the impacts of the global financial crisis.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
The 2015 cohort is a diverse group of dedicated and interesting individuals and each time we have a group discussion I learn something new from them. We are all supportive of each other as well as being open-minded and committed to the programme.
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial that you wouldn’t get anywhere else?
It is perhaps too early to tell what impact the programme has had on my career since I am just at the beginning however I would say that so far the programme at Imperial has inspired me to “think big” when it comes to my professional development, to always strive to be the best and aim for high performance in everything that I do. With Imperial being located right in the heart of London, you really get a sense of being in the centre of where the major UK macroeconomic decisions are taking place and through the programme I have built up a valuable network that will stand me in good stead for the future.
How have you benefited from the services provided by the Career and Professional Development Service?
The 360 degree feedback process was a very useful one and I have highlighted it as something that should take place more often within my organisation. At the moment I am at the early stages of the Personal Leadership Journey so a call with a consultant has been arranged but not taken place yet. It is a valuable service and I am sure I will be making full use of it over the next 18 months.
What are your career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
I see myself progressing within Boeing within the communications, brand management or corporate sustainability functions over the next 3-5 years and in the long-term I am working towards leading a marketing and communications function within a global corporate organisation. This programme at Imperial will equip me with the knowledge, skills and processes required for that transition into a senior leadership role.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking about applying to this programme?
My advice to someone thinking about applying to the Weekend Executive MBA at Imperial is that there is no other comparable experience where you feel completely challenged whilst having a real sense of achievement and personal progress. As an investment in your future as a shaper of the global business environment to come, this experience is invaluable and it will give you the confidence to pursue your ambitions with conviction. It is a real commitment but the time passes so quickly and before you know it you’ll be on the next step of your journey. I would also say “be yourself” because Imperial values diversity of experience, background and interests and there is no single blueprint for a Weekend MBA student.