Design Engineer, McLaren Racing
I began my career as a graduate designer in motor sports with the Renault Formula One team. I then moved to Force India and eventually ended up at McLaren for three years before beginning the Global Online MBA. At McLaren, I work on mechanical design, designing composite and metallic components which aid in improving car performance. It is incredibly fast-paced and full of interesting challenges and problems to be solved.
Professionally I am a strong believer in working hard to generate opportunities and to prove yourself in the work place. Early on in my career I saw a real need to not let my personal development plateau and so an MBA was a good answer to generating future opportunities. Since leaving university I have worked in a very niche industry so I wanted to branch out to see and understand more in other subjects different from engineering.
Skills for the real-world
I had always been interested in understanding the mechanics behind business decisions and what drives the direction leaders take, and an MBA gave me an umbrella look at everything. It opened me up to areas like finance and accounting which I’d had little experience in. The entrepreneurial and design modules of the Global Online MBA programme was a big reason for me choosing Imperial. It was a great learning experience and allowed me to work on a few ventures with other students. Imperial also fitted with my technology background so I knew it would work well with where I wanted to go.
The MBA teaches you skills and knowledge that are applicable to real-world experiences and I wanted to be able to use and observe them straight away. This made the Global Online MBA perfect as I could continue working while studying. Ultimately this pushed me to develop opportunities and projects with my employer that would use my new-found skills.
The price and reputation were also big factors for me. The Global Online MBA is priced in a market where you feel you’re getting value for money. The reputation of Imperial is exceptional and having a lifetime link to the College was important for me. I also wanted a programme that was in London so I could visit the College occasionally, get involved in clubs, and meet other students and lecturers when I wanted to.
Due to my background in mechanical design, choosing a business school that had links to a well-regarded technology school was also a big factor for me.
The modules we studied could often be immediately applied to real-world situations I was seeing at work. The organisational behaviour module was particularly interesting with the human element as it opened my eyes up to different problems I could identify and observe in the workplace. I started to consider that if I were in the same position as my leaders, how would I implement decisions and change for the better?
Living in a global world
Studying online is a very different experience to being part of a face-to-face programme or even the workplace. Working with your cohort online has been a great learning experience and together we have found new ways to communicate and work effectively across time zones and continents. As business becomes more global this is probably going to become normal in a work environment so it’s been a great challenge and learning experience. When working on group projects you find yourself working in very diverse groups, an example of this is when I was working on one project with students from Ecuador, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Hong Kong. This was a great experience that made the world feel so much smaller, particularly when using technologies to bridge the distance and time gaps.
The Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Design project was one example of working in a group online. We were tasked with finding an idea that was a possible innovation. We brainstormed around a problem and then developed a solution/idea according to the strategies we were learning and explored how we could turn it into a viable opportunity for the company.
At times it was tricky to manage study without any face-to-face contact. There’s a lot of information you need to find but once you start using The Hub it becomes quite an intuitive process. The Hub is Imperial College Business School’s purpose-built virtual learning platform. It’s a great platform and has everything you need in the one place. Finding time to study while working can be hard, but I try to do around an hour or two a day and spend Saturday and Sunday studying at a library in London.
I wouldn’t change my decision to do an online MBA as working while studying was very important to me. I wanted to remain employed and have the opportunity to think about and apply what I was learning in a real-world setting.
Being based in London meant I was still able to get involved in some of the clubs on offer at Imperial. I was on the Deans Student Advisory Council where we looked at global interaction and community work. I was also part of the Entrepreneurial Club and Consultancy Club. It can be hard with work commitments to get involved so you need to prioritise what you think will be of value to you. Overall this involvement really added to my experience so I would recommend that people get involved where they can.
The Careers team help you develop a road plan, asking you a wide range of questions which helped me discover the reasons behind choices I’d made in the past and to help bring clarity to your future. They are very knowledgeable across industries, some that you might not know a lot about but might be right for you. You definitely only get out what you put in so I would suggest taking the time to make a real effort for yourself.
Make the most of your experience
You really need to make sure you leverage the opportunity and make the most of your experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, the lecturers are the gateway to your future and help you discover answers. Keep pushing people for replies and build up your profile and knowledge. If you can, back-up everything you learn at Imperial with relevant real-word experiences.