Before I came to Imperial I was travelling around Asia Pacific managing the marketing activities of a Biotechnology company called Alltech. I was very fortunate to be in that position and to work with some incredible marketers across 13 countries. One week I would be in the Philippines giving a workshop on branding eggs to a layer association, then in Thailand talking DHA-branded milk with one of the largest food producers, then on to India for an internal meeting where I would inevitably get called on stage to dance (Bollywood style). I learned that as long as I believe in the company and the people, I can achieve a lot, even in the most unfamiliar situations.
Invest in yourself
I sold my condo in Thailand before moving here to fund the MBA. Crazy or not I had the idea to invest in myself rather than a property. Doing an MBA isn’t necessarily a pre-requisite for me to progress in my career but the chance to take a year out to learn, to make new friends, to build a network and assess what I want to do with the rest of my life – that is invaluable.
Why Imperial? The reputation, the short course duration of a year and the scholarship (however, it was my first choice, scholarship or not). The core units and elective options really suited me and the Business School’s vision resonated with me – to benefit business and improve society through the power of innovative thinking. I believe the Business School is placed in the right ecosystem to achieve this. The people, the world-class faculty and the fact that we are sitting within one of the most prestigious universities in the world makes the Imperial MBA unique.
A supportive community
I was actually quite anxious about the social circumstances of the MBA as opposed to the academic side. Being thrown into a small cohort of 55 for an intense year together, I pondered the dynamics within a group of “Type As”.
What I actually found when I got to Imperial was a fun cohort with a great energy and sense of humour. It makes such a difference to be a part of a group of people who are not competitive, rather supportive of one another and wishing the best for each other.
The Global Experience Week in the MBA not only provided me with a great learning experience but also a rare opportunity to travel with 55 friends! I’ve also been lucky to enjoy trips to Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Barcelona, Marbella, Ibiza and Vietnam with them as well as welcoming people to Thailand!
I’m lucky to have been involved in very good teams, from my syndicate group (we work together throughout the core modules), to our various MBA challenges (360 and Innovation), to smaller elective groups. Frustrations do arise but keeping in mind that this isn’t real life and it’s all a learning experience helps!
The Business School faculty are also intelligent, friendly, helpful and supportive. Looking back, the MBA has taught me to worry less and to be more free/myself with people. It sounds a little clichéd but this really is what it taught me. That and the fact that I can survive finance and accounting units with a little help from my friends.
Being part of the Imperial College London community has significantly grown my network! To say I study at Imperial holds a lot of value – people have positive associations with the name. This is already coming in handy for my current internship at Blippar, a visual browser with image recognition and augmented reality capabilities which unlock digital content from everyday objects. I am interested in Tech for Good – technology that has positive social and environmental impact.
I’ve tried to make the most of the opportunities at Imperial College Business School. As the Business School continues to develop, the school is very open to new ideas and supporting them. I had the chance to run new events, present to new students and give feedback on the course. I feel that my voice was heard in this programme.
I mentored an MSc student as part of a Women in Business Club mentor initiative and completed KPMG’s Data Sparks Project – focusing on insights and decision making powered by the customer experience.
I was also the MBA President of Imperial’s Marketing and Digital society. The Business School career club events are a great chance to hear from outside speakers. Together with the rest of the Marketing and Digital society team I organised four on campus events based on society member feedback on topics of interest:
1) Start-Up Marketing
2) Big Data – What does it mean for you?
3) Luxury brands in the Digital Age with Moet Hennessy
4) Mad Men in the Digital Age: The Evolution of the Ad Agency.
These events are an amazing opportunity to meet high level people and add value to people’s student experience.
My favourite module so far was definitely Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility with Craig Smith. It’s really eye-opening as to the why and the how of sustainability in business. The module was inspirational in providing a strong business case for CSR and sustainability being the way forward for all businesses.
My advice for prospective MBA students?
Studying an MBA is a big investment and you need to think carefully about whether it will definitely help you to progress in your career and weigh up the opportunity cost for you. If you are secure financially and can afford to take a year out, do it. It is such a good investment of your time. Learn, explore your options and if you haven’t found it, take steps to get that dream job or start that business.