Pre-MSc Business Analytics: Intern, Nestle Pakistan, working in the Wyeth Nutrition division in the Marketing Department.
Studying MSc Business Analytics
Why did you decide to study your programme and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
Business Analytics is a growing field and with the boom in data and data processing technology, I feel this is the way forward for businesses. With my interest in marketing, I aimed to acquire skills to analyse customer specific data and on digital marketing. I chose Imperial College Business School because of the extensive programme it offers, which focuses on many applications of business analytics and more specifically it offered an elective in marketing and retail analytics, which is my area of interest.
What makes the MSc Business Analytics at Imperial College Business School unique?
The programme is new and therefore incorporates all the latest academic and practical advances in the field. The course starts off with the basics in statistics and database management and builds on to practical application in healthcare or marketing or finance towards the end. I believe this sets the Imperial College Business School’s programme apart from others.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy?
The programme structure and content is both fast-paced and intensive. I enjoyed the intensive learning experience. I especially enjoyed the guest lectures which focused on the practical applications of analytics in various fields and areas.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
The most challenging part of the programme for me was leaning to program in R and python. I had no previous experience with this before and from the first assignment onwards we were required to program. Learning to program made the first few months of the course a struggle, however with practice and support from the faculty, I was soon comfortable with it.
What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?
Most rewarding part of the programme is definitely gaining a deeper insight into big data and its various applications. Big data has become such a buzzword but in most online resources there is no substantial information on how to use it and how it affects businesses. Studying in this programme has given me the knowledge as to how big data can be used in business to practically solve problems.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
My favourite module is Retail and Marketing Analytics – I have learned so much. First, marketing is my passion and I love anything and everything to do with it. But it is not just that; it is the most intensive module in the course as yet. I have learned about various types of statistical modelling and how to apply those to data to solve marketing problems. We had two projects: one individual and the one group assignment where we used real-world scanner panel data to look at consumer behaviour. It was very exciting to do something that adds value, while gaining practical exposure.
Which seminars, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
The most useful guest lectures were the Contemporary Analytics Practice (CAP) sessions organised by the careers team specifically for our course. The lectures included a range of topics from different industries on the application of analytics in various business situations.
How would you sum up the Business School faculty?
Business School faculty are great. They are always there to help and respond to your question promptly. They are always just an email away to provide any extra information or help that you may need. They really provide a supportive environment for you to learn and make the best out of your time here.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
My favourite professor is Catarina Sismeiro for the Retail and Marketing Analytics module. The classes were very intensive and she supplemented all lectures with in-class exercises, which helped our learning. Moreover, we could always email her with any problems and she replied promptly with a detailed response. She also encouraged us to read more and provided supplementary resources to further help us.
Working with others
Imperial places a large emphasis on group work; what inspires you the most about working in this type of environment?
The best part about working in a group is you learn something new about your group members. In addition to that, working in a group brings in diverse ideas and gives you a different perspective to the problem at hand.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
I love my cohort! We have a small class and everyone knows each other. They are all from diverse backgrounds and I got to learn so much from them, their home countries and their past experiences. I think I will miss this the most when I graduate.
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?
I am part of the Imperial College Business School Marketing and Digital Society as the Communications and Promotions Manager. Clubs and societies provide you a platform to share your interest and meet new people. As part of the society, I love arranging events for the student body and working with society members. It’s a fun experience and you get to be involved in your field of interest. There is always a networking session after the event, allowing you to meet people who share your interest.
Opportunities from studying at Imperial
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial that you wouldn’t get anywhere else?
At Imperial College, you get a lot of support from the programme team as well as the careers service. They help you receive the best learning experience as well as link you with the industry, which helps you develop professionally.
How have you benefited from the services provided by the Career and Professional Development Service?
The Career and Professional Development Service provides consultations regarding your CV and cover letter, in addition to informing students about new openings and job listing. They also help you prepare for interviews and assessment center.
How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?
Business Analytics programme borrows from both computer science and statistics and business. Hence, being part of the larger community has benefited in getting a 360° learning experience. Moreover, I just attended Imperial Festival and it was great to learn from the various fields and interests at Imperial – there is just a lot to learn from everyone here.
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities? Please share any positive experiences you have had.
Definitely. A lot of guest speakers come to Imperial after they finish work. And it would not have been possible if not for the location in London.
Career goals and jobs
Where do you see yourself upon completing the programme?
After completing the programme, I want to work in a consumer and marketing insights department, using data to find consumer behaviour as well as make better marketing decisions.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
Studying at Imperial has streamlined my career goals. In the programme, you study various aspects of data analytics and how each is implemented in the industry. In the process, you find your strengths and interests. You also have ample opportunities to connect and network with industry experts through societies and guest lectures.
Life as a student in London
Whereabouts do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I live near Gloucester station, just a 15-20 minute walk away from the campus. This has been very convenient and helps me avoid rush hour traffic.
What can a weekend in London look like for an MSc student?
There is a lot to do in London for students. There are so many tourist attractions as well as beautiful parks. Everyone can find something to do in London that they love and enjoy!
In your opinion, tell us about the most exciting, undiscovered place in London.
Primrose Hill and Camden Market. Primrose Hill is a beautiful spot to look at the city; it is located in Regents Park and on a nice sunny day you can relax and just marvel at the view. Not far from the Hill is Camden Market where you can see street art as well as find really cheap food from different parts of the world, while experiencing the hustle bustle of a busy market.
If you had to move to London for the programme, what have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?
Moving to London is easy once you have found the right place to live. It might take you a few days to understand the Underground tube transport system, but once you do it is really easy to get to anywhere you want to go in London. Being a Muslim, the greatest challenge for me was finding halal food but there is absolutely nothing to worry about – we have halal food on campus. Moving to London is easy and it is truly an international city and you will adjust very easily here and come to love it!
Advice for future students
What advice would you give someone who was thinking about applying for the course?
Be clear about your career goals in your application. It really supports your application as well as helps you achieve those goals. Once admitted, do the pre-modules; they will help you along the course as these are the basic elements you need to know in order to move forward in the programme.
Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online or on campus information sessions? Did you find these a useful part of the recruitment process? Would you recommend that prospective students attend these events?
Yes, do attend the information sessions. They help you focus your application to Imperial, improves your chances of admission. There are career information sessions as well as information on visas for international students. It makes everything easy and streamlined.
Share with us a handy hint or trick which makes campus life that much easier!
If you want your favourite spot at the library, get there around 9 am!
Get involved in societies and clubs as soon as your course starts, even if it might all seem overwhelming in the first month.