Paola Petrova
MSc Business Analytics (on campus, full-time)
Undergraduate education:

BSc Mathematics with Finance and Economics, City University of London

MSc Business Analytics (on campus, full-time) 2019

About you

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

Before joining Imperial, I was working for a gambling company, first as an intern and then as a full-time Business Analyst. My tasks were diverse - in the beginning of my time with EGT Interactive, I was helping the compliance team gather needed documentation in three countries. When I moved into my role as a business analyst, my job involved client profiling and game experience customisation. My BSc is in Mathematics and for me, it was natural to work for a company whose business is to the utilise the concept of probability.

Why did you decide to study an MSc Business Analytics at Imperial College Business School? 

Imperial College Business School is a hub of innovation and teaching excellence. It’s a place where, for the first time in the world, a holographic university lecture was held. The focus on technology of Imperial is omnipresent. This made it the perfect place to pursue my interest in working with data.


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

Working with data takes time and a lot of patience, but when you arrive at an insight and your approach pays off, the feeling is beyond rewarding. Furthermore, the emphasis on group work at Imperial is very motivating. More than half of the modules I have had so far have had a group work component. Being surrounded by individuals who strive to complete work at high standard and with over 20 different backgrounds, you realise you have a lot to learn!

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

My favourite module so far is Advanced Machine Learning. I come from a mathematics background where the focus was on the abstract side of the field, rather than on its applications. It is interesting to see how concepts from linear algebra hide behind the secret formulas of successful companies, such as Google, and are the building blocks of Machine Learning and the way we infer information.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

The programme taught me to always keep the aim of your project in sight. You must be focused, reasonable and efficient in the way you approach your work. In the industry, nobody has time to detour from the project.  

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?  

In two words - time management!


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial? 

My cohort came into the programme with a lot of work experience or directly from university, as well as from several different ethnic, academic and industry backgrounds. I found that our cohort was more than happy to help each other with coursework – they really have a passion for data.


What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?

I am thankful to be involved in programmes such as Data Spark. To work with a client and to have a mentor is invaluable and it is the best preparation/transition before securing a job. I am very thankful to the excellent Careers service team for their advice (ranging from CV and cover letter reviews to how to negotiate your salary) has been invaluable. 

Do you hold a student leadership position?

I am a student ambassador. Before I applied to Imperial, I wanted to meet the students and experience the atmosphere at the university. The help of the student ambassadors was invaluable since they shared their personal take on the MSc Business Analytics programme. It was the last push that convinced me to submit my application.

How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?

I’ve personally benefited from the reputation that Imperial has as a business school. Imperial is a well-known and respected institution and when companies are looking through your CV it’s something that they value.


What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial? 

I would like to work as a Data Analyst. Currently I am in the process of applying for roles and I have found that potential employers are interested in the projects that I’ve been undertaking during my time on the programme.

Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme? 

I am currently in the interviewing process, but so far, I have been approached by recruiters and offered a role at a startup company.

How did the services from Careers help you secure employment/in your professional development?

Careers have helped me with CV and cover letter checks, a salary negotiation class, interviewing skills and how to do research on a job I’m interested in. The help you get from Careers is really personalised. I remember during one of my sessions the advisor kindly listed companies he thought I might like and that suited my personality. I found this was very helpful in kickstarting my job search.

London Location

Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?

Personally, I find being in London highly motivating. The city has many faces – you can go to traditional Mayfair and then to the top of a city high skyscraper for some motivation. Networking opportunities are endless and so are the opportunities where you can clear your head and take a breath. There is a career fair almost every day that you can attend. South Kensington, where Imperial College Business School is located, is a cultural hub – plus, the Natural History and Science museums are just down the street!

Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there? 

I live in Bayswater. It is at a convenient distance from the Business School. Bayswater is a vibrant area, populated by numerous private gardens and lined by charming Victorian stucco terraces. The biggest advantage - you can walk through Hyde Park to get to Imperial. It’s the best walk ever!

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

I like running in Hyde Park, or taking my little French bulldog for a walk there. I enjoy the silence and art displayed in spaces like the Royal Academy of Arts. Occasionally, I’ll be taking pictures around the streets of London.

If you had to move to London for the programme, what have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London?

Ask for help if you need it! The Imperial staff, alumni and students are especially helpful and welcoming.


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

I attended an on campus information session. It was important for me to talk to current students at the time and hear their take on the programme. Attending the session allowed me to experience the atmosphere in the university and meet some of the programme directors. After the information session I knew Imperial was the right university for me. I highly recommend attending either a webinar or an on campus session to experience Imperial and ask all your questions you may have about the programme.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme? 

Just apply! You never know where the programme could lead you.

MSc Business Analytics (on campus, full-time)
Undergraduate education:

BSc Mathematics with Finance and Economics, City University of London