Janaina Stewart-Richardson
Janaina Stewart-Richardson is a Full-Time MBA class of 2016-17 student. After graduating from Imperial College Business School, Janaina accepted a role as a Sustainability Consultant at Capgemini.

I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and graduated from an American School in Rio. I hold a Bachelor Degree in Economics with a focus on finance studies. After my undergrad I worked for two years with a local bank in Commercial Banking and Structuring of Financial Products and Services. Following this I joined a Wealth Management firm in their Financial Advisory branch as an M&A Analyst for over four years.

Changing Industries

While studying my undergrad my passion was in climate change which is why I wrote my final dissertation on the Carbon Credit Market. After six years in financial markets I decided it was time to go back to my initial passion which meant a change in industry. I decided to study an MBA to help make the transition easier. I was also looking for a change in location, ideally in another country.

Imperial fitted with everything I wanted from an MBA course. Imperial is known for science, engineering, and research in climate change. This attracts the best intellectuals, researches, experts, and professionals in these fields. The College also offers a Masters in Climate Change which I knew would expose me to many opportunities.

Living in London

Living in a vibrant and diverse city like London I thought it would have the best networking opportunities and pioneering events in my area of interest. I was not disappointed. Having the Imperial brand behind me has opened so many doors and I’m so glad to how receptive people have been to an Imperial MBA student looking for new opportunities.

Imperial College Business School is located in the heart of London which enables you to really get a feeling of the city. I am very fortunate to have family in London and am living with them in Kensington which is close to Imperial. Moving in with family has been a huge benefit to be able to save the money that otherwise would go to rent. If this was not the case, a challenge would certainly have been the high cost of living in London which could mean living far from school and having to commute every day. If I wasn’t staying with family, Clapham Junction is an extremely vivid neighbourhood that I would probably have moved into. A hint would be to try to live as close to Imperial as possible and avoid long commutes.

London has so much to offer. Parks, food markets, concerts, museums, art galleries, restaurants, cocktail bars and pubs. Everything you want and like can be found in London. It is so diverse that you will never feel out of place. It really can fit into everyone’s preferences and lifestyles. I am absolutely loving it!

Finding My Confidence

The MBA has given me the confidence to approach people and ask for advice and insights on their areas of expertise which has been extremely valuable. The MBA will give you a strong set of skills and due to the diverse cohort at Imperial, a deep understanding of other cultures. You’ll develop your strengths which will give you the self-assurance needed to be assertive about what you want and to go after your biggest ambitions.

The most rewarding part of the programme has been the friends I made and the different countries I visited. The diversity of the cohort opened my mind to so many aspects of religion, culture, and environments that were unknown to me before starting my MBA. I have a greater awareness of my surroundings and deeper understanding of differences. Everyone has something to add so make sure you get to know each person in your cohort and be present in all social events and trips. The whole experience has been extremely enriching and I feel like I have grown to be a more aware and knowledgeable global citizen.

The key takeaway from the programme so far would be an understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. I know how to leverage my strengths and have had the opportunity to work on my weaknesses. This has given me the confidence and tools to face the changes that I have been wanting in my lifestyle and career path.

The Course

The most challenging part of the programme for me was managing the work load. It’s an intense one year course. It’s important to highlight that it’s not that the content is overly complex but you will have a lot of assignments, reading, and projects to work on which will force you to really pick and choose what is important to you. You’ll need to focus on the areas that will help you get what you want out of your MBA. This is no different to real life and what you will face when you’re back in the job market, so it had been an enriching, but challenging, learning curve.

Given my interest in climate change my favourite modules so far have been Climate Change and Sustainability. I really enjoyed these electives and the professors were exceptional. I was extremely satisfied with all the faculty, they’re all exceedingly on top of their subjects and very accessible and helpful. I would say the faculty is the strongest aspect of the Business School. We had access to top experts in several fields which has been extremely inspiring.

The Global Experience Week and MBAT are not-to-be-missed, and make sure you are aware of all the events, seminars, and guest lectures happening daily at Imperial College. A good hint would be to join the student led clubs in the areas you’re interested in, and they will make sure you don’t miss relevant events. There’s always a lot happening.

Group projects will be challenging but also really fun. Know the people you are working with and learn their strengths and weaknesses. Know how to be a true leader and leverage on their strengths and deal with their weaknesses. Everyone has something to add and it’s your job to get the best out of people and ensure a healthy and fun work environment. I made true friendships from working in groups and it can really get you out of your comfort zone, which if you keep an open mind can help you evolve considerably in leadership and group dynamics.

Imperial Community

I joined different clubs, took part in talks and events focused around the Climate Change Master’s Programme. My final project is in helping Imperial PhDs with their business plan for the final round of fund raising for their start-up. I also joined the Centre of Climate Finance and Investment as an MBA Ambassador. As well as this I joined talks and events led by the Grantham Institute and was involved in the Energy and Sustainability Club. We organized a running club that would meet at the business school before class and go running in Hyde Park, shower in Ethos (Imperial’s gym) and go straight to class. We practiced regularly and participated in a half marathon which was an amazing experience. My advice would be to join a cultural club (nationality, music, dance, arts), a sport/physical activity club, and an industry/career club of interest. The people you meet, the external speakers that come in and activities can really help you out.

This is definitely the greatest opportunity that Imperial gives you, exposure to external speakers and experts in different fields that you can reach out to and meet for coffee that normally you would not have access to. This has been extremely valuable.

Career and Professional Development

My Career Consultant has been really helpful in my application processes, helping with structuring my CV, writing a cover letter, following up with job opportunities, and searching for potential contacts. She has been reaching out to people she knows and is always on top of my case, thinking about new ways to succeed in reaching my personal goals.

As I’m wanting to change industries, I am specializing in sustainability through the diverse avenues offered by Imperial College. This has enhanced my understanding and validated my interest in this area. Along with providing networking opportunities for me, it has allowed me to join the Centre of Climate Finance and Investment as MBA ambassador. It’s a research centre within Imperial that addresses how businesses can stimulate economic growth while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I am searching for job opportunities at the moment and have found people to be extremely open to meeting me, which I believe is greatly due to having the Imperial brand on my CV.

Funding My MBA

I was fortunate enough to get a 50% scholarship from Forté Foundation and I had just enough saved to be able to afford the other 50% plus living costs in London for the year.

Tips

If you can afford an MBA definitely do it! If not, look at scholarships and student loan opportunities, there are several ways you can make this happen and Imperial are very helpful.

Role
Full-Time MBA
Nationality
Brazil
Undergraduate education :

Bachelor of Economics, Ibmec

Job prior to Imperial College Business School :

M&A Senior Analyst, Vinci Partners