Prior to my MBA at Imperial College Business School, I was a Management Consultant at a global consulting firm based in Jakarta. I had three years of work experience working in a range of projects from business process improvements to system implementation.
Choosing an MBA at Imperial
I decided to do an MBA for career advancement. I knew that I want to continue my career in consulting and the MBA seemed like a good opportunity for me to refresh my knowledge in business as well as to build a global network and learn from my cohort’s experience. I wanted to do a one-year programme and be in a small cohort because I wanted to get to know my classmates really well. I chose Imperial because it’s based in London. Also, Imperial College being a university focused on technology suits my background because I have connections in the tech space.
One of my key takeaways from the programme is continuous learning. I learned so much from my cohort during the year long programme, and their experience means that there is so much more information and knowledge out there that I need to keep myself up to speed on. I felt from the MBA that I got a glimpse of what’s out there and it’s up to me to pursue that further knowledge.
MBA highlight: Group Consulting Project
I really liked the Group Consulting Project. I worked with three other people in my cohort who were not in my syndicate group. All of three had very different work experience and took on a problem in a new industry; it was good for us to learn from each other. For three months we did a project in the telecommunication industry where we engaged with a client based in London and solved a business problem of theirs. I felt that it was a good opportunity for us to apply some of our academic learnings to solve real client business issues.
Working in my syndicate group
In my syndicate group I had classmates with entirely different work experience to me, including someone with more than 12 years’ work experience and someone working in entrepreneurship. I felt that their diverse background helped us to put a lot of different ideas into our coursework. In terms of working together, since we were provided with the opportunity at the beginning of the programme to discuss what we want to achieve in the year and how we best work together and so on, we set our expectations clearly. We were all disciplined in following that and it helped us foster a good relationship moving forward. We didn’t have any big issues throughout the year and we were all able to help each other in academic areas that some may have more excellence in. I feel like we worked quite well together.
In terms of personal development, the MBA was an opportunity for me to gain knowledge including leadership skills, project management, team management and people management in general. I felt it was a good opportunity for me to grasp as much of the programme experience as possible. I only had three years of work experience which is a little lower than the class average. Learning from people’s experiences prepared me for my career post-MBA.
In the beginning of the MBA I had a bit of trouble putting myself in others people’s shoes – what perspective they assume to be able to voice their opinions. I had classmates from the military and oil trading functions, for example, who might not have the same point of view as I have in approaching problems. I felt that being open-minded to their view was a bit challenging at first, but it’s also what I’ve learned during my MBA; to be open-minded to other people’s perspective and take in as much knowledge as I can get.
Making my career goals a reality with the Career service
I came to the MBA knowing that I wanted to get back into consulting. I was involved in the management side of consulting before and I wanted to move into strategy. I had a tonne of help from the Careers service throughout the year, not only from my Career Consultant but also the Consultant assigned to help all MBA students. Also, the Careers Chair Representative from my cohort, Tatiana Arventi, was very supportive in terms of giving out exercises and helping me brainstorm ideas on how to achieve my career goals. I think that was the help I needed. I’ve been able and fortunate to take on the consulting role I dreamed of at the beginning of my MBA, working as an Associate at PwC Strategy& in Indonesia. It’s still early in my first year out but I’m hoping to utilise my MBA learnings in furthering my career path.
Looking beyond the MBA
Imperial being a global brand name is a good way for me to connect with people. I know the Business School itself has a wide range of programmes, so if I need some specialist knowledge I can always reach out to the network I’ve built with the other MSc students I met during my time at Imperial. The alumni network will be a good place to start if I need to find a connection in certain area of expertise. Imperial College as a university has an even wider range of people with different kinds of expertise.
Life in London
I lived in Bayswater, north of Hyde Park. It was five tube stops to South Kensington or about a 20 minute walk to the Business School. I chose the area specifically because of its proximity to campus as well as the convenience of the neighbourhood. I was very tempted by the idea of commuting through Hyde Park every day. The close proximity meant that I could be involved in as much activities at Imperial as possible without being too far from home.
In terms of living conveniences, public transport is very reliable, food is good everywhere and people seem to be very friendly and passionate about the things that they do. The cultural aspect of being in London is very interesting, you get to see lots of places of attraction with history behind it – whatever you want entertainment wise is available in London. Moving to London meant that I needed to set-up my living and there was a lot of administration, I did encounter some challenges in starting up everything. However, overall, I think the benefits trump the challenges.
Advice to prospective students
Think hard about what you want to achieve out of the MBA. Make sure that the actions you are taking are all geared towards that goal. Before joining the programme, I had a senior profile review with a member of the recruitment team. That one-on-one session helped me to understand what the programme offers and how I would fit in with the typical cohort at Imperial.