Pinelopi Chamalelli
Programme:
MSc Business Analytics (on campus, full-time)
Nationality:
Greek
Undergraduate education:

Department of Management Science and Technology, Athens University of Economics and Business

Job after Imperial College Business School:

Accenture, Analytics Graduate Scheme

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 attending Imperial College Business School, I interned at EY in Advisory Services, working in the Big Data and Analytics sub-service line. This was a valuable experience for me because it helped me realise what working in Analytics would be like and confirmed my choice of this particular Master’s.

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

During my undergrad, I chose Operations Research and Business Analytics as my major and through programmes such as Business Analytics and Personalisation Technologies, Algorithms and Data Structures, Database Management Systems, Decision Making and Mathematical Programming, I was intrigued by the potential that business analytics has. Particularly, I chose Imperial College Business School for pursuing this degree, not only because of Imperial’s outstanding global reputation but also because of this programme’s structure. The combination of the core modules where we are taught methods for data analysis and the opportunity to gain expertise in data acquisition, processing and visualisation, with elective modules where we learn how analytics are applied in specific industries of our interest, together with the Capstone Business Analytics Project or the Work Placement where we are exposed to leading firms and industry practitioners, constitutes an ideal programme structure for me.

Programme

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

For me, the most rewarding part of the programme has been the people I had the chance to meet, to cooperate with, to exchange ideas and build lasting relationships with. Regarding academics, the fact we belong to the Imperial family and are members of the wider Imperial community is rewarding by itself. Imperial exposes us to unique opportunities we had never imagined, brings us together with our dream companies and helps us succeed and achieve our goals. It is a tough and demanding programme but gives you a lot of satisfaction.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

The most challenging part of the programme for me was time management. Especially in the beginning of the programme we had to handle a bunch of coursework, studying for exams and at the same time we had to devote a big part of our time to search for companies, applying to them and preparing for interviews. In many cases we didn’t have enough time for everything, and prioritisation was needed. However, I would say that learning how to handle situations like this, plan and manage our time efficiently, is an extremely important and valuable soft skill which will be needed in our future work life.

People

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

One of the reasons that made this year at Imperial so unique is the people I met and had the chance to work with as a team. Our cohort is extremely diverse, not only in terms of age and nationality, but also in terms of background and work experiences. The variety in backgrounds allowed us to combine our strengths and weaknesses, to bring different mindsets together and to learn a lot every single day. People in the cohort are eager to learn, willing to cooperate, determined to achieve the best and very hard-working. Besides that, they are so friendly and helpful. I never felt any kind of competition between us. Whenever someone needed any guidance on tasks, there were always people there to help. I personally was positively surprised when I came here and realised, I belong to a cohort that shares these kinds of values.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

My favourite professor throughout the year was Professor Wolfram Wiesemann. He has been teaching two modules, Machine Learning and Optimisation, and Decision Models. He is very knowledgeable about the topics; inspiring, engaging and encouraging students to be interactive and ask questions in class. His material is very clear and easy to understand He also gives incentives to students that are interested in a particular module. For example, he gave us some challenges with more advanced optional exercises and awarded the successful answers with a prize. In a nutshell, people like him, and he is a big reason to study this programme.

Opportunities

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

At Imperial, we had many unique and wonderful opportunities throughout the year. If I had to pick one of those, it would be when we applied and were selected to participate in an event organised by a leading global management consulting firm. The event was a presentation for Analytics in Strategy Consulting and our participation in a case study. Overall, it was a great opportunity to learn more about how advanced Analytics are applied into consulting projects, to have a discussion with the Analytics team about a career at the intersection of Data Science and Strategy Consulting and, of course, to visit their amazing offices in London. After the event we had the opportunity to apply for open positions in the Analytics team.

Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?

Imperial College Business School is very active in terms of the events and workshops that are organised, there is always something happening! In many of our modules we had guest lecturers - most of the time they are Imperial alumni, that have created their own startup, or other professionals who work in major firms and use analytics in their everyday job. Through these lectures we clearly understood how our own future working life could be and realised how important the acquired skills and the knowledge from the programme is. Also, career workshops were extremely useful, and they were a great guide for the recruitment process. In these workshops we learned how to write an effective cover letter and CV, how to prepare for an interview, how to behave in an assessment centre, and even how to approach people in networking events.  Through many career events and Career fairs we had the opportunity to get in touch with leading companies from various industries and meet them personally. This gave us the chance to understand the culture of the companies and have some interesting conversations with employees that shared their experiences with us. This is valuable knowledge that cannot be acquired simply by reading a company’s website.

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?

Throughout the year at Imperial, I have become a member of the FMCG, Luxury Goods and Retail Club. This club combines three different industries where analytics can be applied, the reason I decided to become a member was firstly because of the very interesting events this club organised, and secondly because in the beginning of the year I didn’t really know what interested and excited me the most, so I decided to explore as many things as possible. Besides that, it was a great opportunity to network with people outside the programme, to meet interesting people from the Business School with similar interests and to make some new friends. Another club I was involved with was What The Tech?! (WTT), where I was a volunteer at the Edwards Wood Community Centre. The aim is to help and support elderly members of the local community, who bring along any device or online activity. In other words, what we did was use our IT, interpersonal and communication skills to help older people acquire digital skills.

Do you hold a student leadership position?

I am currently a student Ambassador for the MSc Business Analytics programme. I love being able to communicate with prospective students and help them by responding to any enquiries they may have. By taking part in student panels at information sessions and webinars, I can share my own experiences, both from my past and from the programme itself. Being a student ambassador, I also have the opportunity to attend exclusive events and network with others in the Business School, who are outside of my programme.

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

Throughout this year at Imperial, I made sure I was an active member of the Imperial community. I had the chance to meet students outside the Business School and build lifelong relationships. I also had the opportunity to participate in various events organised by other departments of Imperial, a unique experience that gave us the chance to further develop ourselves. Additionally, by being a part of the Imperial College Business School community, all students have the chance to take part in extracurricular activities, where you can either explore your interests or further develop the existing ones.

Career

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

My initial goal before coming to Imperial was to pursue a career in a multinational company. It wasn’t completely clear to me which field or industry would be better for me to launch my career. The only work experience I had was at a consulting firm (and only for three months). The Career service at Imperial gave me clear guidance and helped me realise what I enjoy the most. Also, through career events I had the opportunity to meet many different companies and understand the culture of the company and the way they work. This was extremely valuable for me since it helped me target specific companies I was interested in and focus on what they are looking for in potential employees. Now, I will be starting my career at a leading global consulting firm, specialising in Analytics. My goal is to gain work experience at as many industries as possible and later to specialise in a specific field of my interest.

Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?

I have secured two job offers - one is for the Analytics Summer Internship at Expedia Group. This internship contains tasks such as partnering with the entire organisation, from different groups and teams in the business (Sales, Finance, Product, Customer Operations), supporting the leadership team and external partners to provide insights, understand business problems, identify key challenges and providing solutions. provide

After the summer internship I will be joining the Analytics Graduate Programme of Accenture, a leading global consulting firm, in London. As an Analyst there, I will be working as part of the Digital Analytics practice, gaining understanding of how data and statistical and quantitative analysis, combined with exploratory and predictive models and fact-based management, delivers data-driven business insights. This programme has two paths - the first involves delivering complex analytics solutions for clients, working on big data and becoming familiar with complex databases. The second focuses on producing analytics for internet marketing campaigns. gives me the opportunity to move across industries, helping me to grow from being an Analyst to a Consultant.

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

The Career Service at the Business School not only met but exceeded my expectations. I was given help every step of the way during the application process. Apart from the career workshops and the career events they organised throughout the year, we had the opportunity to book one-on-one appointments for personalised career guidance. In the beginning I had the chance to book a career planning meeting to identify possible career paths and industries that might have interested me. After identifying and targeting specific companies, the career consultants at the Business School help you by checking your CV, cover letter and even your LinkedIn. After getting invited to an assessment centre or a final round interview, they helped us prepare with mock interviews and mock assessment centres, something which is valuable especially for students like me with no previous work experience and especially in the UK. Due to the complete guidance throughout the recruitment process I managed to secure both an internship and a full-time job after my Master’s.

London Location

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

One of the many reasons I applied to Imperial was because of its location in the financial capital, London. Studying in a central location is crucial for career opportunities and networking. A lot of companies are in London, which makes it easier to attend career events and workshops. Also, there are a lot of opportunities for us that take place in companies’ offices in London. Many companies throughout the year invited us to attend events, presentations and hackathons in their offices, an opportunity we wouldn’t have had otherwise. Apart from our visit to the offices of the leading global consulting firm I described above, we had another chance to take part in a stratathon, which was organised by OC&C. It was a networking event with the company employees and then a two-hour coding competition, followed by a presentation. The three winning teams had the chance to be invited directly to the final stage interviews with OC&C.

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

I live in a private student accommodation in Hammersmith. It takes me about 30 minutes to get to campus. The reason I chose to live in a student accommodation is the security and the convenience it provides us. Also, we pay fixed rent that includes all our bills.

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

London is an amazing city with plenty of opportunities. I feel that it’s extremely hard for someone to get tired of London. In my leisure time I usually exercise, go to huge parks around London with friends, I cycle, I visit museums and I love going to the theatre (especially musicals).

What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London?

Before moving to London, I was more than excited to start my new life here. The opportunities here are endless and the connections you can make are valuable, perfect for young professionals. What I love about living In London is you get to meet people from all over the world, who speak different languages, and have different cultures from your own. It’s an amazing city that captures the interest of millions of people around the world.

On the other hand, to live here you need good time management and budget planning, since it’s quite expensive. Before moving to London, you should also be aware of the accommodation options - it’s always preferable to visit a flat or an apartment before committing to live there. Remember, the most important part of moving here is to get the most out of it, since studying, living or working in London is an invaluable experience that lasts a lifetime.

Tips

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

Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend any on-campus information sessions and webinars when I was applying to the programme. However, by taking part in such events as a student ambassador, I recognise how useful they could have been to me. Prospective students have the chance to get answers to every question they have, they can get in touch with students currently pursuing the programme, ask about the everyday life in school, and thus they can be more prepared for this academic year. Besides that, it’s extremely useful throughout the application process, since they hear tips of what kind of skills are necessary for being accepted into the programme. My personal advice is that every student that is interested in the programme should attend these events, not only for making sure that it is the right programme for them, but because it’s always better to talk with people and learn from their personal experiences, rather than reading information on brochures.

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

My personal advice to someone who is interested in the programme would be to make sure you have the right skills needed to apply. Coding skills or the ability to learn a new programming language, or a new software package is crucial for this specific programme. In particular, the three main programming languages we use are Python, R, and SQL, since these are widely used in the industry. Good knowledge of linear algebra and statistics also help a lot, particularly for understanding various methods and techniques. Before applying, applicants should make sure that they can learn, if they don’t already have coding skills and have a good business understanding. At the end of the day, what we must do is derive insight from data so that we can make better decisions. Hence, a good business understanding is crucial for a successful data scientist. Overall, it’s a great programme and a very rewarding choice that is worth it!

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

Department of Management Science and Technology, Athens University of Economics and Business

Job after Imperial College Business School:

Accenture, Analytics Graduate Scheme