Oscar Buckle Full-Time MBA profile picture

Programme: Full-Time MBA

Nationality: Australian

Education: Bachelor of Environments and Master of Engineering, Civil Engineering, the University of Melbourne

Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Project Engineer - Petroleum, BHP

Full-Time MBA 2019-20

My career pre-MBA

Prior to starting my MBA at Imperial, I spent six years working for a resource company, BHP, in the Oil and Gas team as an engineer. Multinational companies like BHP have an enormous untapped value that can be unlocked by embracing productivity. There is a substantial potential value not just for shareholders, but also for employees.

I was sometimes frustrated by the amount of waste, the poor business processes and lack of innovation that I witnessed. Rather than just being frustrated, these observations inspired me to action. I led a successful paradigm-shifting technical project associated with long-held ways of transportation of personnel offshore. As a result of this achievement, I became the Continuous Improvement Lead, a position from where I was able to tackle systemic cultural issues within my local business unit.

Choosing Imperial’s Full-Time MBA

The role of innovation and productivity is becoming more important for large incumbent companies to stay relevant and profitable in today's fast-changing business environment. I am passionate about helping to solve some of the toughest problems we face, and I believe the next generation of business leaders will be required to embrace technology, innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit. I was drawn to Imperial’s Full-Time MBA programme as I believe it was uniquely positioned to bestow these skills as only an MBA from one of the world's most renowned engineering schools, located in the heart of a booming technology startup scene, could.

Funding my MBA

My MBA was funded through personal savings and the Future Leaders Scholarship which covered 50% of the MBA tuition.

Working in my syndicate group

As an engineer, we are trained and work as part of dynamic groups to solve problems. The MBA is no different, many of our assignments are completed in groups. At the start of the MBA we are assigned syndicate groups, these are groups of six people which we stay with throughout the whole programme. Working with my syndicate group has allowed me to really develop deep, lasting relationships with people that I might not have been close with. As they say, calm seas do not make a great sailor. Not everything has been smooth when working in my teams, however, I feel that these challenges have allowed me to develop my leadership and project management skills more than any specific lecture or workshop could have.

Learning about sustainability

We had a week-long intensive learning lab called the Imperial Innovation Challenge. This week taught the importance of business innovation for solving some of the world’s toughest challenges. We were tasked to come up with a solution to any sustainability problem that involved infrastructure from the perspective of a corporation. We choose vertical farming, which is a novel way of growing local vegetables, reducing many of the negative aspects of farming that we see in our modern world. This subject allowed us to combine many of the lessons and skills we had learnt over the past six months in practical ways and has been my favourite module so far.

Practical workshops

We participated in a workshop run by the Board of Innovation who discussed business model innovation. Business model innovation requires neither new technologies nor the creation of brand new markets. It’s about delivering existing products that are produced by existing technologies to existing markets in a novel way. This workshop really helped in my continued development of business innovation, specifically how to deploy innovation in existing businesses to drive value in a sustainable way.

Learning time management and prioritisation skills

Managing and prioritising tasks is always a challenge at work and in your personal life. My MBA has continued to develop this skill. There have been points in my MBA where the study load, club commitments, networking and social obligations have felt overwhelming. This is the point. In a safe learning environment, where you can make and importantly learn from our mistakes, we are pushed to develop these key skills. I feel that upon the completion of my MBA I will be ready to manage myself successfully in a complex work environment.

Diversity of thought

Meeting, exchanging ideas and becoming great friends with a wonderful, diverse group of fellow MBAs is by far the most rewarding part of the programme. In a word, my cohort is fantastic. We are very fortunate to have one of the world’s most diverse MBA cohorts, my colleagues and friends represent all the corners of the world and come from a wide variety of past careers. Learning with such a tight, diverse team has helped me develop my diversity of thought. This diversity dictates and informs how one solves problems, interacts with others and accomplishes tasks, and is built upon a unique blend of experiences, perspective and culture. Being able to bring novel ideas to problems and empathise with others are critical skills for success. My time at Imperial has really embedded this concept and will form a foundation for my future career.

Life outside of the MBA

I am apart of two clubs, the Energy Careers Club and an MBA rock climbing club which we started this year. The Energy Careers Club has been a great way to network with external industry experts during panel discussions or learn industry-specific skills, such as project finance modelling for a solar power plant. Our rock-climbing club is made up of a few key people that are keen climbers that wanted to hang out, and the rest of the group are different friends that wanted to try it out for the first time. We have arranged several climbing trips and are currently excited for a trip down to South Africa to go climbing over summer.

Connect with the wider Imperial College Community

The programme’s integration with the wider Imperial College is what makes the Imperial Full-Time MBA particularly unique. Not only being taught novel Design Thinking principles by leading thinkers from Imperial’s Dyson School of Engineering Design, but also being able to put these principles into practice through mentorship of current PhD and Master’s students with inventions they are looking to bring to market.

I am also a part of a coaching group called MBA Connect, It connects MBA students with other students and post-doctoral students from the wider College. We, the coaches, get connected with the wider Imperial members that have interesting business ideas or inventions. It has been an invaluable experience being a coach, we are able to bring our real-world business experience and practice many of the skills we learn throughout the program.

Using my MBA in my future career

Not only will I use the skills that I have learnt during my MBA in my future career, but I will also be able to leverage the friendships I have developed with my cohort and the wider Imperial alumni network to help me solve problems I face in the future.

Living in London

I live in King’s Cross, even though it’s a little far away from university, a 30-minute commute, the connectivity of the area is fantastic. It has many of the Underground and Overground railway lines running through it and the Eurostar is right there for quick access to Europe. The area also has many different eating and entertainment options right on our doorstep which has helped fill any of the spare time.

Advice to prospective students

Be clear about what you want to get out of the MBA, it is a large commitment of time, significant lost income, and expense. If an MBA is right for you and your career it can be the most fulfilling and transformative year you could possibly spend.

Programme: Full-Time MBA

Nationality: Australian

Education: Bachelor of Environments and Master of Engineering, Civil Engineering, the University of Melbourne

Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Project Engineer - Petroleum, BHP