Lujing Shen, MSc Business Analytics 2020-21, student at Imperial College Business School

Programme: MSc Business Analytics (online, part-time)

Nationality: Chinese

Education: Joint Bachelor’s Degree programme majoring in Financial Economics, Columbia University and City University of Hong Kong

Job after Imperial: Corporate Audit Services Associate, ING

About you

What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?

Before starting the programme, I had over three years of experience in internal audit, providing assurance on the internal control environment of an organisation from various perspectives (regulations, policy and procedures, processes, etc.).

Why did you decide to study MSc Business Analytics (part-time delivery, online) at Imperial College Business School?

People usually won’t associate the profession of internal audit with data analytics. However, from my own experience, I see tremendous potential and increasing demand for analytical skills in this profession. My main motivation to apply for the MSc Business Analytics (part-time delivery, online)  programme was to invest in my own toolkit and become a well-rounded prospect with both audit experience and technical skills to incorporate data analytics into my profession.

There were two factors that made me decide on Imperial College Business School among other similar programmes. Firstly, Imperial’s programme has a strong global ranking and solid history, which assured me that the online learning experience would be well-structured and beneficial for me achieving my goals. Secondly, the programme not only focuses on equipping students with technical skills, but also on using these skills to tackle real challenges in various industries (such as energy, healthcare and finance). This unique approach demonstrated to me how Imperial differentiates itself by preparing its students for the real world.


What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy the most?

The support we’ve received from the programme team and teaching faculty has exceeded my expectation. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure about how to navigate through the programme and how much support I would receive given the online format and time difference. But as the programme has progressed, the programme team have provided an abundance of useful information and documentation, either via The Hub platform or virtual sessions, and have always been available via email for any questions or concerns.

During each module, the teaching team have also leveraged different platforms to provide as much support as possible. There were chat channels, office hours, Q&A sessions and email communication to name but a few. In the Maths and Statistics Foundations module, our cohort voiced the need for more examples and explanations for the Linear Algebra section. Shortly after that, the teaching team added extra live class sessions to go over additional examples and answer our questions. I genuinely believe that both the programme team and the teaching team work extremely hard to help students grow and succeed on this programme.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

Many students on the programme also manage a full-time job while completing their studies. As such, time management is crucial but also challenging, especially when it comes to balancing the demands of day-to-day life and work. I have on occasion found myself struggling to keep up with the weekly schedule of study.

One tip to help with time management is to fully utilise the self-paced nature of this programme. Even though there are weekly schedules for each module, I can arrange accordingly to study more during a slow week and get a head start on next week’s material. In this way, when a busy week comes, I have a cushion to more easily balance the assignments with my full-time job.


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

Our cohort is very diverse in terms of nationalities, background and professional experience. Such diversity brings in different perspectives and expertise when it comes to live class discussions and group projects.

It is also an incredibly supportive and engaging cohort. Ever since the beginning, we’ve had an ongoing chat group on Microsoft Teams to share useful information and answer each other’s questions, which is really helpful when learning remotely.

Studying online

What have been the benefits and challenges of studying part-time and online?

The biggest benefit of studying part-time and online is definitely the flexibility, which allows students like myself, who are full-time employees and live outside of the UK to have the opportunity to study the programme when they otherwise might not. Such flexibility also allows me to balance work, life, and study much better as I can decide when and where to complete the weekly material.

One of the main challenges I’ve experienced so far is to stay on top of the study schedules (e.g. weekly exercises, live classes, assignment deadlines, etc.) in addition to other demands from my full-time job and life in general. Some weeks may feel overwhelming due to multiple live classes and assignment deadlines. One approach to tackle this challenge, which I found very helpful, is to mark all the key dates and deadlines on my calendar as soon as the module starts. In this way, I can always anticipate the workload in upcoming weeks and allocate my time accordingly to avoid any last minute “surprises”.

How do you find using the programme’s purpose built learning platform, The Hub?

I really enjoyed using The Hub. It’s user friendly and easy to navigate. The feature that I enjoy the most is how it presents the weekly study material. It breaks down the material into much smaller sections so that I can easily see my progress and stop after one section if needed. The platform also incorporates various media and formats to present the material. There are texts, videos, polls, questions and interactive exercises, all of which keep the content interesting and engaging while helping me to remain focused.

When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?

Since the pandemic started, I’ve been mostly constrained to my small apartment in New York. During a time when I can only look upon the outside from indoors, I developed an interest in growing houseplants. It’s fascinating and rewarding to nurture plants to grow and mature, and it’s a great way to bring nature indoors. I now have almost 60 houseplants in my apartment and 2 of them are actually blooming now in the middle of January (how magical!).

Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions?

During my initial research of programme options and the actual application process, I heavily utilised the information and resources I found on Imperial’s website. I also attended two webinars about student experiences and the application process. In particular, I found the webinar where current students shared their experiences very informative as it gave me a clear idea of what to expect from the programme, such as weekly study hours and how you could interact with other students and professors. For me, such information was quite important in helping me determine whether or not the programme would suit my interests and personal schedule.

Find out more about this programme

Programme: MSc Business Analytics (online, part-time)

Nationality: Chinese

Education: Joint Bachelor’s Degree programme majoring in Financial Economics, Columbia University and City University of Hong Kong

Job after Imperial: Corporate Audit Services Associate, ING