Zaki Kamardin

Programme: Full Time MBA

Undergraduate education: BS Electric Power Engineering and MEng Electric Power Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Project Technical Executive – Downstream Business, PETRONAS

Full-Time MBA student

Work experience/internship(s): I have seven years of international working experience in the energy sector, primarily in power, renewable energy and downstream oil and gas businesses.

Greatest academic, professional or personal awards/achievements: I was awarded a full scholarship to study at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. When I was there, I received several awards (namely Rensselaer Dean Scholar, Rensselaer Dean’s List) and be elected to be part of Electrical Engineering Honour Society (Eta Kappa Nu). During my time at Imperial MBA, my group won the first place in Imperial Innovation Challenge. In my professional career, I have received Pegasus Award with PJM Interconnection in recognition of my excellence service and contribution.


Why did you decide to study your programme and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?

Having equipped myself with technical and engineering knowledge for many years, I believe it’s time for me to explore more on business world and hence Imperial College is an obvious choice. Imperial College carries a prestigious name in Engineering, Technology and Innovation, which I can easily associate myself with.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

In my opinion, the core module is the most challenging part of the programme. It is an intensive module covering many general topics of business such as strategy, marketing, finance and management. We are expected to work around the clock to solve many business case studies, similar to a real business setting.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

After completing the core module, we have the global experience week where we spent one week in China to gain understanding of international business in an emerging market scene. We had the opportunity to learn more about the social and cultural norms of doing business in Asia and at the same time recognise the global importance of the emerging market. Apart from that we went sightseeing and had an enjoyable time. Hence, Global Experience week is a really rewarding transition after months of hard work during the core modules.


Which seminars, events or guest lectures at the school that have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?

I really enjoy the 360-business challenge where I got an opportunity to apply MBA learning from the class. During the 360-challenge, we were asked to set up a business on college ground and compete each other to raise the highest sales/profit. This was when I learned to step out of my comfort zone and worked in a highly competitive environment. From this 5-day challenge, I gain a better self-awareness on my strength and weakness and at the same time, learn to work effectively in a team.

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

It is quite a small cohort of 65 people. And during core modules, we see the same people every day in the class.  This makes us form a close bond, and we perform as a team where we always help each other when completing assignments and studying for exams.

There is also a diverse cultures and ethnicities in the cohort. Therefore it is nice to make friends from people from all over the world, coming from different industries and professional background. It was very interesting to hear opinions and perspectives of people and at the same time learn from them.

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?

I was involved in the Consulting Club and ICL Energy Society.


What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial that you wouldn’t get anywhere else?

For me, it is the opportunity to work with other Imperial College people outside business school. During the Innovation Entrepreneurship & Design project, we have an opportunity to work with Imperial College Engineering faculties and Royal College of Art (RCA) where we explored the many great engineering innovations. This is something you can’t find in any other business school!

We also have the access to a great Imperial alumni network where there is always opportunity to connect with them.

How have you benefited from the services provided by the Career and Professional Development Service?

Yes, Career development service been very helpful since day one and always available for assistance and career guidance. From their weekly bulletin, I have learned many job opportunities that are available for MBA students. They are also very active organising career events such as company’s presentation, networking events and career workshops, which I find very useful.

We also receive personal career guidance from a dedicated career consultant. The career consultant has helped me a lot since beginning – she helped me setting a clear career goal, assisted me with CV writing, coached me for the interviews and provided advices on useful negotiation tips!

What are your career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?

My career goals post MBA is to be part of a Leadership programme, which I believe, can offer a fast-track route to a top management position. Through its strong alumni network and prestigious brand, Imperial provides me access to this opportunity.


Whereabouts do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?

I live in Aldgate. I chose to live here as it is close to where my wife is working.  It is located in Zone 1 and very close to tube station – I can easily commute to Imperial every day and go to the city during weekends.  It is also within walking distance to London Financial District and the vibrant Shoreditch.

As an international student, what have been the benefits been in moving to London?

As an international student, some of the benefits are to be able to share different views of people from a variety of backgrounds. It is nice to see how people’s way of thinking here can be quite contrasting to my own, which makes me see things from another perspective. Getting to know people from different countries and making new friends was also a valuable experience. It is also a golden opportunity when big companies in major countries are involved in the programme to give briefings, which gives you a change to do some networking. This is an experience I might not get in my home country.


What advice would you give someone who was thinking about applying to this course?

Paying a visit to Imperial is definitely useful. This when you can get an opportunity to connect with the current students and get a first-hand view on the MBA program.  You can also discuss with the faculty members and career consultant to ensure your expectation of the programme is aligned.

Programme: Full Time MBA

Undergraduate education: BS Electric Power Engineering and MEng Electric Power Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Project Technical Executive – Downstream Business, PETRONAS