Nicole Spitalieri

Work experience/internship(s): Over seven years international experience in management consulting, digital marketing and mobility across the Pharmaceutical and CPG industries

Greatest academic, professional or personal awards/achievements: Getting my article published in my previous employer’s annual publication; winning million dollar deals at my last consulting job; getting a trademark approved for the start-up idea I have been working on whilst at Imperial College Business School.

Programme

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

There are four key reasons why I chose to do my MBA at Imperial College Business School:

  • The programme had to be ranked. 
I wanted to be sure I was investing my time and money in a reputable MBA programme, preferably one of the best in the world.
  • The programme had to be in London.
I moved to London for work, but after two years I had a few more reasons to stay a bit longer (a few of those reasons being my amazing fiancé, a penchant for minced pies, and an insatiable ambition to be a part of London’s growing start-up scene).
  • The programme had to be really good in entrepreneurship. I’m an ideas-woman, and I wanted my MBA programme to serve as a springboard for one of many business ideas.
  • The programme had to be less than one year long. As a Principal Business Management consultant at a Global Consulting and Technology company, I was doing really well at work and didn’t want to be out of the workforce for too long. After all, I was hitting my stride!

What makes the programme you are studying at Imperial College Business School unique?

It is a relatively small, intimate class and learning environment. You are with the same ~60 individuals’ day-in and day-out over the course of the year – most of whom come from around the world. I don’t think you can get that in many MBA programmes. Additionally, studying in London is far different than studying in the US. The breadth and depth of personal differences and diversity within the cohort is far different than the make-up of a MBA class in the US, in my opinion.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

Time management. The course is only one year long and has nearly the same amount of content you’ll find in a typical two year MBA programme. While it makes an efficient use of your time, you will need to make trade-offs throughout the year – especially concerning which events you can or cannot participate in – all whilst balancing course commitments.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

There are so many rewarding aspects. The students are amazing; they come from at least 20 different countries so the cultural diversity in the classroom (and a small classroom at that) has a tangible and personal effect on everyone in the class. The Faculty is probably what has surprised me the most. These individuals are truly accomplished, coming from and teaching at the best institutions in the world, and they are interacting with you on a personal level in our relatively small classroom size. Lastly, seeing Imperial College Business School move up the ranks has been very rewarding and validating. ICBS jumped 15 spots up the FT MBA rankings last year. That is a testament to how amazing this course really is. It will continue to grow – that’s what’s really exciting.

People

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

I entered the Althea-Imperial Programme/competition at the start of the MBA programme which aims to help young women develop and launch their start-up ideas that could potentially have a positive impact on the world. As part of the programme, we had so many brilliant, strong female speakers come in. Sarah Wood, co-founder of Unruly, and Edwina Dunn, co-founder of Dunnhumby, came in to speak to us and shared stories of success and strength as successful female entrepreneurs. It was really empowering and motivating. I would also add that the global experiences we have had as a cohort have been life-changing.

We took two global trips this year. The first was to Brussels to visit the European Commission. It was fascinating to sit in the room where delegates across Europe convene to discuss and build Europe’s future. The second trip – and the best – was our Global Experience Week. Our class spent a week in China, which was absolutely brilliant. We travelled to Beijing and Shanghai and visited foreign companies operating within a China context. Personally, the importance of business in China never become so real until I visited China and saw the businesses myself. I can feel the impact each day when I read the news and speak to colleagues and friends about China and its future.

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

Incredibly smart and down-to-earth. These are the individuals who value innovation and intelligent business. These are the individuals that are not fussed by the brand name – but by of the content of the programme and the connections that Imperial as a university can bestow onto them. We are each building the MBA programme of the future and it is really exciting and rewarding to be a part of.

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

I’ve been the Digital President of the Marketing and Digital Society in Imperial College Business School. We aim to help the students in the business school learn more about digital and marketing, and ultimately help them thrive in Digital and Marketing roles once they leave Imperial. I have also been a student ambassador for the MBA programme and have been heavily involved in entrepreneurship and gender-equality initiatives on campus.

Opportunities

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

The chance to really start a start-up. Imperial College is rich with entrepreneurial resources. Additionally, it is right next door to the top design college in the world – the Royal College of Arts (RCA). As part of the Innovation Entrepreneurship & Design project (IE&D) my group is working to help bring an innovative product coming out of the RCA to market. It is extremely powerful how Imperial’s access to STEMM resources allows ‘magic’ to meet ‘logic’ and vice versa in order to make truly entrepreneurial, innovative ideas come to life.

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

Absolutely. I have had loads of soft-skills development over this year and customised, one-to-one support in helping me reach my career endeavours. I have been working to get into either a strategy consultancy or an Internet company. My careers consultant has provided an insurmountable amount of time and resources to help me do that and I am definitely feeling fit for the interviews I have coming up.

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

I wanted to start a business and/or join a strategy consulting firm or Internet company after getting my MBA. I am making great progress on both. I have had access to so many incubator programmes at Imperial, there are so many talented people to speak to and network with here in regards to starting a business. I have had my start-up idea for years before starting my MBA and have made the most progress on it since being at Imperial. I also have an interview at a top-consulting firm coming up – the firm of my dreams! I could not have done it without the help of Imperial.

Location

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

I live around Baker Street Station. I love this part of London because it is right next to Regents Park and is in access to many good stores and restaurants in London. It also doesn’t take long to get to South Kensington from where I live, which was most important to me.

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

As an international student, for me, the benefits outweigh the challenges. I am a completely changed person. The amount that I have learned just by working and studying abroad cannot be taught; it can only be experienced. Even when I go back to my native US – I see everything differently, and for the better! I feel as though my mind has been stretched so much that I feel truly global in my thinking. London welcomes anyone with open arms and once you open yourself up to it, you’re forever changed – for the better.

Tips

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

Do it. Take a chance. I honestly did not know that much about Imperial before I applied. It is a fantastic institution and the business school is climbing up the ranks. STEMM is the future and that, compounded with the brilliant curriculum the Business School has to offer, will make you a force to be reckoned with once you graduate from Imperial.

Nationality: American

Undergraduate education: BSc Organisational Communication, Learning & Design

Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Principal Business Managament Consultant, Infosys Lodestone

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