Jimena Gonzalez Mardjetko

Professional background

I come from a creative background and, before embarking on the MBA, spent over ten years designing, developing, manufacturing and installing TV sets and store fixtures for a range of clients in both Latin America and the UK. I also owned a small design studio in Argentina where I designed mass-production products such as accessories for Chevrolet.

A taste of Europe

In 2006 I was chosen to represent my university in an international design summit organised by Nokia in Finland. This was my first visit to Europe and I met over 50 students from all over the world. This unforgettable experience opened the world to me.

I later moved to Europe in 2011 and realised that having an undergraduate degree wasn’t enough to achieve the level I wanted to achieve in my career. Having had my own company, I wasn’t satisfied with being just a designer again and I wanted to learn how to professionally manage a company. I also wanted to meet intelligent people from international backgrounds and have a “stamp” on my CV that would open the right doors for me.

I chose Imperial College for three main reasons:

  1. I wanted to study in London. I love London because everyone can feel at home; there are so many different nationalities that it doesn’t really matter where are you from. I enjoy going for a run along the river in the summer and also trying many different places for dinner (there is an endless amount of restaurants/bars/etc.!)
  2. Given my engineering background, I wanted to be part of a university that is famous for its focus on sciences. I would have been very lost in a finance-oriented university.
  3. Because I had my own design company, the fact that Imperial promotes innovation and entrepreneurship immediately caught my eye.

New experiences with new friends

Everything has been amazing so far: the people I’ve met, the new knowledge I’ve acquired, the prizes we’ve won… My MBA cohort are a really awesome bunch of people. We are all very different but get along really well and I think the respect we have for each other plays a key part. There is a really good mix of nationalities and work experiences.

Earlier in the year we travelled to China for our Global Experience Week. We learned about the Chinese culture and the ways to do business but also had a lot of fun and got to know each other better. I loved having the opportunity to connect with my classmates at a friend level.

Generally, the professors are super intelligent, engaged and interesting. There were elements of the MBA that I thought I wouldn’t like (finance, for example) that I ended up enjoying a lot. Franklin Allen taught on the Corporate Finance and Investment & Risk Management modules. He is extremely knowledgeable and a great teacher. He understands that we won’t know everything and explains and answers questions clearly. In his very particular way, he is also very funny.

External speakers also come in to the Business School to deliver presentations as part of modules or as one-off occasions. Two external presentations that stood out to me were the lectures with Femke Van de Veer and a presentation from AlixPartners, a global firm of senior business and consulting professionals.

Gender equality

Another amazing figure at the Business School is Diane Morgan, Associate Dean of Programmes. She plays a key part in improving the role of women in business schools and sets a great example for the business world. She is an amazing woman – ambitious and experienced, yet friendly – and it’s always a pleasure and inspiration to speak to her. She works a lot towards having gender equality in the class to be able to have it also in the “real-world” in the future. My MBA class is quite unique in that there is almost perfect gender equality. You don’t find that in many schools.
There are numerous opportunities for women at the Business School, including women-only events. I believe that to have a truly complete society we need to work shoulder to shoulder with men. We can’t have a fair world that sees men and women as “equivalent” by discussing issues among women only (I use equivalent and not equal because I believe we are different in a valuable sense and we should make use of those differences). That said, these meetings are very valuable for girls that come from more old-fashioned societies than myself. They give them a safe space to ask questions and speak up and network with other women that are succeeding in the business world.

Cross programme networks

We are trying to set up a mentorship club for Masters’ students. Diane came up with the idea and gathered a group of students from different MSc programmes and MBAs to make it happen. I think we all noticed that we were not contributing to each other’s successes as much as we could… as men can do more naturally.

The idea of the mentorship club is for more experienced members to help the younger ones by answering their questions, giving career advice and sharing life experiences too; the more we help each other the higher we can get, quicker. It’s still in its infancy and there is a lot of work to do but it is a huge step in the right direction.

I am also part of the Consulting club at the Business School. We organise case practice and employer events, which are great because you’re surrounded by people trying to get to the same place as you or coming from the industry where you want to work and you can ask questions and learn a lot in a short period of time. You also feel “in the loop” because people share info on recruitment events, tips for interviews, etc.

We also take the time to organise social events with each other. I put together a one-hour boot camp routine in Hyde Park that combined HIIT training and running. I asked my classmates if anyone was keen on joining me for a six-week programme (on Wednesdays at 9am). About 10 people came along, and four or five joined me every time – we even added extra “pro” days. It was great to train together and to see some people improving considerably in such a short period of time.

The Imperial advantage

I started working for the KPMG Data Observatory last week and that’s something you wouldn’t find anywhere else. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I can help. So far I’ve been working on some presentations to welcome the people visiting the observatory where we explain who we are, what we do, etc. It’s interesting because it helps me to understand the potential of the observatory and how it can be used in the business world.

Where next?

I’ve concentrated on enhancing my financial and other hard skills. I got a lot of case practice and some insightful conversations with my career coach. After I joined I decided to focus 100% on changing careers and move into consulting. I recently got an offer to start working in an international consulting firm in July.

My key takeaway from the programme so far?

Trust your team. Trust yourself.

Nationality: Argentinian, Hungarian

Undergraduate education: Masters in Industrial Design, University of Buenos Aires

Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Design Development Manager, Inca Creative

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