Chukwuka Akpenyi, Global MBA 2018
Chukwuka Akpenyi, Global MBA 2018

Your time at Imperial College Business School

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

I was looking for an MBA programme that offered the right balance in quality, global recognition, affordability, and study flexibility. It was also imperative that the programme included an emphasis on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Design with a strong focus on sustainability. Additionally, I desired the knowledge and accompanying degree from an institution ranked among the top 20 globally.

The Imperial College Global MBA was a perfect match for me as it allowed me to retain my job while studying. During my programme, I travelled frequently, visiting about 10 countries on work related trips with an average of 1 international flight every 2 weeks. This very busy schedule was fully accommodated by the programme without diluting the engagement or learning quality.

What was the most important learning point you took with you from the Business School?

My key takeaway from the programme is that personal leadership with a growth mindset is the cornerstone to successful entrepreneurial journeys. My engagements with the admirable team of lecturers and administrative staff across the core modules, electives, and project was enriching, awakening and inspiring. From typical questions about why startups fail, to the dissection of the heterogeneities of preferences around the Brexit vote, my cohort gained from business management and leadership pedagogy while directly applying these to global practical scenarios.

How did you find the online nature of the programme – how easy was it to bond with your cohort?

I was very well connected to my group and the class in general. Participation and engagement are core to my learning style. I strongly believe that knowledge acquisition, retention and application are most effective through practice and demonstration. I keep an open and willing mind and if I can learn from anyone, I will.

With this mindset, I had a fantastic experience with my cohort. Mindset matters!

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering studying the same programme as you?

The most significant discussions leading up to my MBA school selection were about institution/MBA ranking, mode of study and cost. While these took me quite some time to ponder over, the value of applying coursework content delivered with insights to my everyday challenges both on my job and personal startup turned out to be the most significant issues to focus on.

Engage with the programme, give it all you’ve got and take away as much as you can from the great minds you will engage with. Find a problem to solve and use that as a platform to amplify the knowledge you will gain.

Tell us about your current job

How were you hoping the programme would help your career trajectory?

With 13 years of experience in the Oil and Gas industry, I was hungry for change. Besides my personal desire for something new, the energy industry is very cyclical, and I believe that a key to staying engaged in such an industry is sustained personal development.

My hope was that the MBA would take me away from core drilling engineering and into line management or business development as well as empower me to build a startup.

How do you plan to use the skills and knowledge you gained during the programme going forward?

Right after the MBA, I was selected to be part of the Schlumberger digital transformation global team. In my new role as the DrillPlan (Cloud-based, well construction planning) Business Development Manager for the Dallas, Texas buying region, I am at the CE (client engagement) end of the DEVOPS pipeline. My current team is essentially an intra-organizational startup tasked with building and deploying sustainable break-through digital collaboration solutions for the oil and gas industry, and yes, my skills, knowledge and network from the MBA programme are of immense value.

What do you enjoy most about your current work and what are the main challenges that you face?

My current business team is a startup tasked with solving a global industry challenge. Startups have a significantly different business model from operational businesses, and everyone is in a learning mode. The biggest challenge is in organizational culture and change management. The natural people/business preference is to fully quantify expected value and understand all implications before making significant changes. In a dynamic and transforming business environment however, staying static in a bid to fully understand things presents business continuity risks. Being able to appreciate the attendant inertia from an empathetic standpoint and developing solutions that helps customers safely traverse the scary streets of technology, process and behaviour change is a very interesting challenge to wake up to.

Alumni community

In what way is remaining connected to your alumni network important to you?

It offers me the chance to learn from multiple fields across multiple cultures and challenge scenarios. It is like a Matrix multiplication of life instances. While it is practically impossible for me to experience all the fields of study and work that I am interested in, and equally impossible to experience all the cultures I admire to any exhaustive extent, I can connect to dependable sources through the alumni community.

Global MBA 2018
Undergraduate education :

BEng Mechanical Engineering, University of Benin

Job prior to studying at the Business School :

Drilling Engineering Leader, Schlumberger

Job after studying at the Business School :

Digital Transformation Technology Business Development Manager, Schlumberger

Next steps