Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical), Curtin University
Rotating Equipment Engineer, Royal Dutch Shell
Systems Engineering, Chevron
David has a background in engineering and was keen to broaden his horizons, especially in regards to business and transition into a commercial role. The Global Online MBA suited his requirements in terms of teaching style and he was drawn to Imperial's strong links to STEM.
Your time at Imperial College Business School
Why did you choose to study your programme and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
I had spent a number of years wondering whether or not to study an MBA. I was constantly trying to weigh up the question – would it be worth it? In the end, I realised that that question was irrelevant. Of course it would be. It didn’t matter whether I had a definitive plan of what I wanted to use the degree for, or if indeed the degree would allow me to achieve that plan – but rather, it was about furthering myself, broadening my horizons and formalising my genuine interest in business in the form of a tertiary qualification. I specifically chose Imperial College Business School for a number of reasons. I knew, due to requirements to travel for work, and the fact that I knew I wouldn’t be living in Europe for the duration of the degree, that I needed to do an online programme. Once I had settled on the teaching format, I sought out a business school that had the most recognisable brand. While it may not seem important, perception is everything and having a degree from an institution that is known and well-regarded the world over is a worthwhile currency. Furthermore, having an engineering background, I wanted to attend a university that had strong links to STEM as I believed that the links between the university and the business school, as well as the types of business school students it would attract would better align with my career focus.
What was the most important learning point you took with you from the Business School?
Perspective. In what is an often vague, unquantifiable and holistic measurement, perspective for me was an appreciation and understanding of the broader aspects of the drivers for business, beyond the technical world in which I had been involved. Being a business degree, I went into the programme expecting to learn accounting and finance, but it was units such as Organisational Behaviour, Marketing and Strategy which really opened my eyes to the underlying workings of making a successful organisation.
What advice would you give to a prospective student considering studying the same programme as you?
If, like me, you have been wondering for a while whether or not to do an MBA – whether you could balance the work, life and study commitments and if so, whether you should do it full-time, on weekends, at nights on campus, or online, my advice would be to not hesitate in applying for Imperial's Global Online MBA programme. Though it comes with the commitment that any top quality programme would demand, the online format provides ultimate flexibility to fit in with your work and personal commitments. I started the degree while living in the Netherlands and I finished it after I had moved to Australia – first to the east coast and then to the other side of the country. My son was born 2 months prior to the course commencing, I changed geographical locations, changed companies and moved house 4 times all within the two years of the course. None of this would have been possible without an online programme that is geographically agnostic and allows you work ahead of plan or catch-up with the course content if other commitments get in the way. And best of all, by choosing an online programme, you have the ability to earn your degree from a world class university – whose brand is recognised globally and have a class cohort who are as culturally, professionally and geographically diverse as you can possibly imagine.
Tell us about your current job
How were you hoping the programme would help your career trajectory?
I have wanted to transition into a commercial role for a while. However, since my undergraduate degree was in engineering, I lacked qualifications in business. While not having a business degree does not explicitly mean that I could not transition from a technical to a commercial role, it was difficult. I have already found that having the MBA has opened up doors that otherwise were not available as it has enabled me to have conversations with senior management in the commercial function of my company as well as the backing of a formal business qualification.
How do you plan to use the skills and knowledge you gained during the programme going forward?
I have already made use of the subject matter taught in subjects such as accounting and finance. But it has been the knowledge that I have gained in subjects such as Organisational Behaviour, Marketing and Strategy which has been of most benefit to me to analyse why we as a company do things internally as well as some of the machinations of our broader industry.
What do you enjoy most about your current work and what are the main challenges that you face?
I enjoy the fact that the decisions I make have material impact to the business. When you are involved in discussions and decisions that can have benefits (and costs) in the tens of millions of dollars – it makes you think long and hard about the consequences of your decisions, the information you need to make that decision and the various stakeholders you need to consult and inform. It is often only when you take a conscious moment to reflect on the influence your business studies have had in that process – whether it be a paper you read, or a framework you learnt, that you realise that you are putting into day to day practise that which you have learnt.
In what way is remaining connected to your alumni network important to you?
The alumni network provides a ready community from which you can draw upon for advice and support and for which you can do the same for others. With an alumni network in the thousands, and spanning the globe, I have seen first hand how it can provide a ready made means by which you can reach out to someone in a certain part of the world where you would like to work, or a certain industry or company whom you may wish to work for.