BSc Economics, University of Birmingham
Senior Strategist, News UK
Prior to joining the Imperial Full Time MBA programme, I worked in strategy, innovation and marketing. At News UK I worked in strategy development for The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun. I was responsible for thought leadership and delivery of ‘future of news’ projects across brand, technology and customer experience to drive ambitious revenue targets. My achievements included development of the Times Weekly international product and radical innovation trials in retail environments.
Before this I led innovation for the BT brand. It was integrated as one of BT’s five key values, and produced great results through cultural change, the innovation pipeline and marketing and PR value. I also led BT’s major marketing activations for the Olympic Games. During this time, I ran the biggest screen of its kind on the BT Tower and won a host of awards, including several Guinness World Records. This contributed to BT achieving #1 ranked partner status.
Strengthening business knowledge
As a strategist and marketer, I found it increasingly important with seniority to understand every aspect of a business to truly bring value to it and felt an MBA could give me the tools that I required.
Imperial College Business School’s stellar reputation in innovation and entrepreneurship sealed the deal for me. I count myself as an ‘”intrepreneur” and enjoy working in challenging roles where I can really make a difference. By doing my MBA at Imperial, I felt that not only would I gain the general knowledge and tools to be a better senior manager, but develop my entrepreneurial skill set too, enabling me to find that inspiring career path where I can challenge, change and improve businesses in the best and most efficient ways possible.
An inspiring cohort
The people here help make the programme unique. The Imperial MBA cohort is so diverse that you must learn to adapt – to consider other cultures and understand them to effectively work together. The rewards for this are great. It has enhanced my personal development and understanding, opened my eyes to opportunities for international business, and tempted me into an international career. I have learnt as much from my inspiring cohort this year as I have from the course!
The group projects are fantastic. My group for the Imperial Innovation Challenge managed to win, just before we went off to compete in the Venture Capital Investment Competition in Copenhagen. The Imperial Innovation Challenge was a tough, high stress week that threw together a group of people who were not accustomed to working with each other. It provided great insights into culture, adapting to others’ styles, thoughts and influences. Our final concept for this project pulled insights from gender equality issues in Delhi and emerging technology trends in Turkey. The project used an approach that pulled on skills from consulting to marketing and finance; and it challenged extroverts to take a back seat and introverts to take centre stage.
The South Kensington community
I’ve engaged with some great clubs and societies. I’m on the committee of the Entrepreneurship Society and work closely with the Marketing society too. Joining the Business School Career Clubs gives you opportunities to network with other students outside of your cohort. I’ve worked with a lot of really interesting people from the MSc Business Analytics course. You get a really different point of view from their insights as they look at data first and then work out how to use this for the business, whereas MBAs tend to take a more top-level approach.
I’m also part of the Hack Space, which is a fantastic place to meet makers and hackers and regularly attend the SW7 180 events, which are a great resource for anyone enthusiastic about great ideas, science or entrepreneurialism.
There is such a wide gamut of people to meet across, not only the Business School, but Imperial College London as a whole and neighbouring students at the Royal College of Arts. My IE&D project is a furniture design store that finds up and coming design talent (from RCA and Imperial to start) and uses high-tech lean manufacturing (CNC, 3D printing, etc.) to produce it. No warehouse, no stock, and completely unique. I’ve got a great team and we’re really going for it – it’s not just a report for us, we’re going to launch and feel out the market.
In conjunction, I’m applying for incubators with another startup, FitCat, and have just entered InnovateRCA with it. I have high hopes for this as pet tech is booming. A dog tracking collar company was bought by Mars for more than $120m this week, and that doesn’t sell food like this does.
Working with students from the Royal College of Arts has given me insight into areas such as service design that I’ve never encountered in such detail before. They’re an impressive group and surprisingly corporate as well as obviously creative. I would really encourage students to take advantage of the opportunities that being part of the Imperial College community gives them, there are some amazing people to meet.
Discovering new opportunities for the future
Studying the Imperial MBA exposes you to networks, industries and careers that you may not have come across before. A lot of people came into the MBA with a definite view of where they wanted to take their career and are now much more open-minded.
I’ve been a particularly awkward case for the Careers team and my careers coach, Yasmina, has been fantastic. I came to Imperial to learn, to understand more about myself and to find a career path I could consider truly inspirational. Yasmina took the time to understand and to help me properly define my objectives, aspirations and direction. The Personal Leadership Journey offered exclusively to MBA students is of course important, but moreso is the personal connection that you develop with your careers coach, and the support and validation that they can provide. In my case, it’s allowed me to understand more about myself, to be more confident and less compromising in my career and life decisions.
I looked at the MBA opportunity as a way to take stock. To spend some time “unspecialising”: thinking about what I truly enjoy doing, and to find an inspiring cause for the remainder of my career. I’ve not yet landed on a definite route that I want to go into after the MBA, though the great projects I’ve worked on have spiked my interest in start-up opportunities. The tools I’ve gained on the MBA have been incredibly useful across the start-ups I’m already involved with. Above anything else, big ideas inspire me. Whether in venture capital, entrepreneurship or corporate innovation, I want to dedicate the rest of my career to creating, developing and delivering great ideas to market.
I already lived in London before starting my MBA here. My partner and I bought a lovely flat in Canonbury on the other side of town. It’s only a 40 minute commute, and gives me a great balance to make the most of both East and West London cultures.
My favourite thing about London is the food. It has to be the food. You can go to Whitechapel for an incredible Pakistani lamb nihari, Shoreditch for spectacular bowl of pho or Brixton for the best jerk chicken this side of Jamaica. Drop me a line for a recommendation!
My advice for people looking to study an MBA with Imperial?
Consider the full package of the course, in the context of what you want to do next. Keep an open mind. Embrace everything. Say yes and great things happen.