MEng Chemical Engineering, The University of Edinburgh
Technology Manager, NOV
My journey to Imperial
I graduated with an MEng Chemical Engineering from The University of Edinburgh in 2012. I was recruited onto a graduate programme with NOV — a multinational supplier of equipment and components to the energy industry — and continued to work for them for eight and a half years in several locations (Aberdeen, Houston, New Orleans, and Oslo) delivering major engineering projects for the energy industry for companies across the globe.
I started my career in engineering and project management and was awarded Chartered Engineer status in 2016. More recently I have worked in semi technical/commercial roles, firstly as a Tender Manager from 2015 to 2017 and then as a Technology Manager from 2017 to 2020.In my last role, I secured the first North American sulphate removal project for my employer. This was a region which had been dominated by a competitor and thus it was a great achievement.
From a personal perspective, my proudest achievement was securing a place at Imperial College Business School to study for an MBA. I am state school educated and I believe I am the first pupil from my high school to attend Imperial.
Why I chose to study an MBA
When I first worked in Houston in 2013, I encountered several senior business leaders (including the current CEO of NOV) who had studied for an MBA and conveyed the benefits to me. I wanted to learn the fundamentals of the business and achieve Engineering Chartership. Once I achieved Chartered status in 2016, I started to think about studying for an MBA. I was offered the opportunity early in 2017 to move to Norway and take on a new position, so this delayed my ambition. Then in 2019, I felt the time was right from both a personal and professional perspective to study full time for an MBA to help me with my career objectives.
My favourite parts of the programme
The opportunity to combine business and technology is a unique aspect of the Imperial MBA. I have also been impressed with the passion and dedication of the teaching staff and the opportunities for combining business and technology. Having worked for over eight years, modules such as Organisational Behaviour have helped me frame my experiences and provided a guide for the future.
I enjoyed working and networking with students from Weekend MBA and Global Online MBAprogrammes. Together we organised a golf day, and submitted a team to play in an MBA football tournament against LBS, Cass, Oxford, Cambridge, and Manchester. The elective selection was a driving reason for choosing to study at Imperial over other business schools. Imperial was the only university that offered energy-related modules which is my area of interest. I particularly enjoyed the Energy Business and Climate Change and Business Strategy modules. Both modules comprehensively covered the topics and were delivered by professional teaching staff.
The Careers seminars have been particularly useful as recruitment is so cutthroat and there is a fine line between success and failure. To succeed, a fine attention to detail is required in every step of the process.
I have also enjoyed attending events such as the Imperial Enterprise Lab ‘Pitch and Mix’ where students from across the University can pitch ideas or themselves.
Learning from a unique collection of students and the group consulting project
With such a diverse group of driven and talented people, competencies are often complementary. I have learned much from my network of fellow students by collaborating with them in group projects and getting involved with the Imperial College Energy Society.
The group consulting project provided a good opportunity to put theory from the MBA into practice. The project is challenging because it overlaps semesters at a point in the MBA where people's interests are diverging. To succeed, meticulous planning and cooperation are required to deliver the project on time and in line with the client and university's expectations.
My career after Imperial
Beyond studying at Imperial, I am hoping to use my MBA to continue in energy and engineering and transition to a full commercial role such as a General, Project, or Commercial Manager. The modules that I am studying are preparing me for such a role and in my spare time I have been broadening my understanding of the energy industry, learning about renewable technology and carbon capture via online modules.
Overcoming the challenges of COVID and my move to London
For the first semester, I studied online and lived with my parents in Scotland. I chose to study remotely because there was a great deal of uncertainty regarding the COVID situation, and I needed to help look after my grandpa who was ill. Studying remote also offered an opportunity to save money . The multimodal delivery was generally successful, I would advise those who can afford to move to London to do so, but if prevented by COVID or another reason, studying remotely is still rewarding. I now have a flat in Fulham which is convenient for commuting to Imperial but also has lots to offer in terms of bars, shops, and restaurants.
Lessons from my experiences
Before applying, do the GMAT as soon as possible. Finding time to study and sit the GMAT was a major hurdle for me as my job was so demanding. Getting this out the way early in your career when you have more time will pay dividends later.
Try not to take on too much while studying. I started my own consultancy to support my studies financially, however, a Full-Time MBA is very demanding.