Bachelor of Commerce Double Major, PR and Management, Curtin University Perth
Before beginning the Full-Time MBA I worked in sponsorship marketing in Europe. This included an independent specialised sponsorship agency that offered consultancy, activation and PR. I later worked in Munich, Germany with Allianz on it’s Formula 1, football and golf sponsorships. I’ve also had the opportunity of working with a number of sports organisations across the world with a strong focus on utilising communications to drive sales.
After eight years in marketing I began to feel a desire to start my own business and the MBA became the catalyst for change. Imperial’s reputation in innovation and entrepreneurship made it the obvious choice for me. I found the exposure to people who have innovative thinking in developing new business opportunities unique to Imperial and a huge plus for me as I was so interested in entrepreneurship.
The beautiful thing about an MBA at Imperial College Business School is that it gave me the opportunity and flexibility to delve deep into areas and problems that I was interested in and to test different solutions to problems. For me this included looking into the debt students take on which can often lead to them accepting a full-time job in order to start repayments, but which may ultimately stifle creativity within their career. A fellow Full-Time MBA student and I looked at how we could help students in these positions and ultimately ended up with a new Entrepreneurship Scholarship being offered from Imperial. It was a really proud moment for me but also an indicator of how committed Imperial are to furthering innovation and entrepreneurship within the School.
There are a lot of different options emerging from doing the Full-Time MBA, I’m not sure which project will be successful at this stage but the beautiful thing about an MBA is having the time and space to be creative and try different things.
Growth and learning
Within the MBA programme I was exposed to a number of different areas that I felt I didn’t previously have much experience in. Coming from a marketing and communications background I felt I had more qualitative experience rather than quantitative. From the programme and projects I worked on I now feel I have great knowledge in finance, accounting, data and analytics. I never would have been comfortable working on tasks like these or been able to create financial models before my MBA.
The Corporate Finance module was easily the most challenging part of the programme for me, however it was also the most rewarding. With hard work, amazing lecturers and the support from friends I managed to achieve a good result from hard work.
I also learnt how to manage my time and effectively use the resources available within the faculty. You have the opportunity to run your ideas and solutions to problems past subject matter experts but it’s important to be prepared and direct when meeting with them. You do have opportunities to run non-course work by them but they have a finite amount of time so you need to be ready to clearly articulate your ideas.
Change in perspective
The MBA programme gave me the chance to take my time developing ideas and concepts. Often in the marketing and communications and service industry there can be an expectation to do things quickly. I’ve learnt that taking a step back and giving ideas the chance to develop and grow can be key to unlocking solutions and new ideas. The programme has allowed me to do this.
Working with people from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences means you’re always being exposed to new ideas and opinions. There’s a wonderful, eclectic mix of people. For me this has been more than just a business lesson but a life lesson in not letting bias cloud your judgement. I’ve learnt a lot from getting to know my class mates on a deeper, more personal level. You create friendships, discover mentors and open-up business opportunities all at the same time.
Support to grow
The faculty at Imperial College Business School have been hugely supportive of me and my projects. I’ve worked with both the academic faculty and the professional staff who have all been extremely helpful in gaining traction and pushing my initiative through the right channels. With their support I was able to set up a student lead mentoring program called MBA Connect, which links Full-Time students who are passionate about entrepreneurship to the wider College and its start-up projects. MBA Connect currently has 35 students and approximately 30 start-up businesses from Imperial College London. We’re now providing valuable business knowledge and insight to Imperial born start-ups and the MBA students have the opportunity to receive mentoring and gain an understanding of what it’s like to launch a young start-up.
The School has great lecturers but the addition of industry guest speakers adds another layer of expertise to the theory. I found it really inspiring to learn from founders of innovative businesses. It’s very exciting to be able to engage with passionate people in an academic sense. I focused my time around entrepreneurial events and speakers as this was where I want to further my learning but there are industry guests from all areas. You need to direct energy towards the area that will help you achieve your goals.
The Global Experience Week in Berlin was an incredible opportunity. It focused on the start-up ecosystem which was really interesting, and having never been to Berlin it was a chance to discover a new city. Berlin is a very creative melting pot of different cultures and is very artistic. After an intensive academic period it’s a great opportunity to bond with the group and have fun learning in a new city.
The Vietnam trip was also fantastic and gave us the chance to learn about the different cultures between the North and South and how that affects business opportunities. The food and beer were also amazing!
Being part of Imperial College London
Don’t underestimate the power of being part of the Imperial brand. I found it really beneficial to get involved with initiatives and made the most of every opportunity. With a great alumni network I will definitely make an effort to stay connected so that I’m always open to opportunities to attend events or open days.
Once you decide that an MBA is right for you it’s important to find a programme and school that fits with your goals and excites you every day. Imperial matched my career goals and has been very supportive in a number of ways.
Professional and personal development
As I’m not looking to transition into a traditional full-time job my path has been focused on entrepreneurial opportunities. My careers consultant has been great and the School are very aware that not all students are looking for traditional career services. They are continuing to adapt and be more integrative with the start-up ecosystems and entrepreneur communities within London.
The Personal Leadership Journey has been great in helping me learn where my strengths and weaknesses lie, understanding team dynamics and how different people learn and work. I’m a big believer in the power of emotional intelligence and using it to build teams and great working environments. The School is doing a good job developing this side of the career services and I found it very interesting.
I love the vibe of London, however, London comes with its challenges like all cities, but living here is somewhat of a rite of passage and you’ll come out the other side having learnt a lot. I have become a better person from living here and know more about myself.
I made an effort to play golf and squash in my spare time and I found it was very beneficial to keep up some sort of fitness while studying. The School has great facilities so I’d recommend using them.
Take the time to get to know people
Take the time to get to know everybody as you will discover amazing people and learn amazing new things about people and cultures. Building good relationships is time well spent, and remember that there’s no need to be too competitive, you’re all taking the journey together.