Master’s in Mechanical Engineering with Management, University of Manchester
Technical Operations Manager, GSK
My career journey
I always knew I wanted to build experience in a technical discipline before moving into the broader business world. My career started in the nuclear sector, working in various engineering roles across a complex nuclear site for six years. This gave me the required experience to become a Chartered Engineer. I then moved to the pharmaceutical sector, working on site operations, projects and engineering activities for GSK within their R&D portfolio. With my solid grounding in engineering, I was keen to broaden my skillset and so applied for the Executive MBA at Imperial College Business School.
Choosing the Imperial Executive MBA
From a young age I was motivated to complete an MBA after building a career in engineering. I focused my early qualifications on the path to study this, complemented first with economics and then management during my undergraduate degree. After gaining sufficient industry experience in the engineering sector, I was keen to broaden my business knowledge. I concluded that the Executive MBA provides a broad set of business management tools, case studies, professional networks, and expertise to progress my career.
Imperial was an easy choice for me. With its world class engineering faculties and history of innovation, I was immediately drawn to their business school. I particularly liked the core and elective module setup, syndicate group working, and international trips offered. Working full-time, I also thought the work/life balance offered by the EMBA was the most balanced approach of all the business schools in London.
Funding the programme
I was fortunate enough to be fully funded by my employer. I used my professional development plan as the vehicle to achieve this and demonstrated how the programme aligned to both my personal development and the company’s corporate objectives.
A talented cohort
My cohort is motivated, talented and above all, great to work with. We have a diverse range of backgrounds, from finance and banking to healthcare and media production, which certainly adds an extra element to the lectures and class debates!
I have really enjoyed working alongside them - the discussion, debates, and engagement with such highly qualified, skilled people is truly brilliant. We are fortunate enough to have a small cohort and I think this is one of the major advantages of the Executive MBA as you can actively participate during lectures and really get to know one another throughout the programme.
The programme content
I can’t quite believe that we only started the programme in February 2020. The amount of information and work that we’ve studied, debated, and produced is impressive and I certainly didn’t imagine we would have covered so much material in such a short period.
I thoroughly enjoyed Marketing Management with Dr Gokhan Yildirim. It’s a topic I hadn’t previously studied and knew very little about, so I was rather surprised at how much I gained from it. With all of us being consumers, the module content was highly relatable. I particularly enjoyed the wide range of case studies, lectures on marketing in a digital world and fundamental concepts such as ‘marketing myopia’ and ‘market orientation’.
Enjoying the experience
I thought studying again so long after I initially attended university would be difficult, particularly whilst working full-time. However, the Executive MBA has shown me that I am able to digest vast amounts of new information across a broad range of topics that I haven’t studied before. I have really enjoyed the learning experience, far more than my undergraduate degree, which is something I wasn’t sure on at the start of the programme.
The biggest challenges
I don’t think any one aspect on its own has been overly challenging, but balancing the different deadlines and the content of the diverse range of modules can be time consuming. Having an engineering background certainly helps me with the mathematical subjects, though it’s all manageable. Having not written essays for over 10 years, it took me some time to get back into putting pen to paper, but many people were in the same position. I think the biggest challenge is the sheer volume of work. With individual and group assignments, pre-work, and presentations it can get a little overwhelming, but with your syndicate group at your side and careful planning it’s all perfectly achievable.
Applying my learnings
I have found all of the modules relevant and helpful to my role. Whether it’s Accounting and Corporate Reporting Analysis providing the theory to manage my cost centres more efficiently, or Organisational Behaviour helping me build teams, understand culture, heuristics, and cognitive biases. I think the modules are successful in challenging the way you look at business, people, and organisations.
The London location
I am located near London, so Imperial’s Executive MBA was an obvious choice for me. Having a full-time job, I wanted to minimise the commute to lectures so my focus was on London based business schools. My favourite things about London are the buzz, the networks and the people.
Advice to prospective students
My advice to future students is to be committed. While it is wonderfully rewarding, the Executive MBA is a very intense experience. Be honest with yourself and put the time into the pre-work for each campus session. I would also recommend you get buy-in from your friends, family, and employer, as it does place a strain on these relationships at times! But don’t fear, it’s worth the effort and once you embark on the programme you will never look back.