Thanos Sofias

Thanos Sofias

About you

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

I had an internship at Maxim Integrated, an engineering firm responsible for designing electronic circuits, as a Design & Manufacturing Intern. I also worked on a research related project, as an extension of my dissertation at the University of Edinburgh.

Why did you decide to study an MSc Climate Change, Management & Finance at Imperial College Business School?

Throughout my undergraduate studies I had been exposed to renewable energy and sustainability, but I was also really keen in enhancing my understanding of how businesses operate and what drives long-term growth. The MSc Climate Change, Management & Finance proved to be a great intersection between sustainability and fundamental business concepts. Imperial College Business School is a highly reputable and international business school with intelligent thinking at its core, making it a unique learning environment.

Programme

What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?

The way MSc Climate Change, Management & Finance is structured allows for a lot of interaction with industry experts, providing us with cutting-edge ideas and business practices. The lecturers are true experts in their field and always accessible for questions and feedback. Furthermore, most of the programme work is group-based, giving us the opportunity to see different approaches and ways of thinking which is invaluable for the working environment. The most rewarding aspect of the MSc is the diversity of modules and subjects taught, as it gives you the opportunity to narrow down the fields you are interested in while maintaining round knowledge.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

My favourite module has been Sustainable Marketing and Sustainable Strategic Management. The lecturer’s deep industry knowledge and resourcefulness proved to be key in enhancing my understanding of business strategy and marketing in a sustainability context. The combination of slides and case studies helped apply concepts taught in class to real businesses which further solidified both my interest and understanding of the sector.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

Communication can be tricky sometimes as people come from different backgrounds both academically and culturally. Therefore, willingness to listen and learn from others is important to ensure you get the most out of the international environment provided.

People

How do you describe your cohort at imperial?

A diverse group of people with varying interests and attitudes. However, due to the unique nature and small size of the MSc, we all felt united. In my opinion, all academic backgrounds (social sciences, natural sciences and technical) are well represented and people bring their experiences from all over the world.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

My favourite lecturers were Colin Love and Dr. Paolo Taticchi. Their personalities and experience are perfectly coupled with the content they teach. They both convey information in a direct manner making the lectures easy to follow, engaging and fun.

Imperial places a large emphasis on group work; what did you like the most about working in this type of environment?

Group-work allowed us to explore new ways of engaging with people and learning from others. It might seem hard in the beginning, or even impossible to achieve, but it is a highly rewarding experience and invaluable for the working environment. I had the opportunity to understand myself and what role I am more likely to follow in a group setting. I also learnt how to both delegate and be given tasks. Lastly, I enhanced my communication skills and enriched my personality.

Opportunities

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

Through the Student Ambassador Scheme, I had the opportunity to meet great people and interact with them almost on a weekly basis. I got to know the different Master’s Imperial offers, widen my network and reach out to key contacts within the Business School and the main College.

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

Employers’ events are crucial when it comes to widening your professional network and understanding the sector you are interested in. Consultations with Careers  have been incredibly useful in preparing or perfecting job applications. An event that stood out to me was “Consulting in Focus”, which was an all-day event broken down into guest lectures, case study workshops and a networking lunch.

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial? Do you hold a student leadership position?

I have been actively involved with Imperial Consulting Group, both as an Associate and as an Engagement Manager. I’m also part of the Student Energy Summit committee due to take place in London in 2019. Furthermore, I am involved with an Imperial-funded start-up teaching kids how to code. Lastly, I am a Student Ambassador.

How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community, including Imperial’s Grantham Institute?

Imperial has a very strong and active alumni network which is useful when it comes to reaching out to people in the industry. The Grantham Institute organises annual lectures with high-profile speakers such as Al Gore and it’s great to be part of that. The Grantham Institute also has knowledgeable scientists willing to help out with our understanding of the material.

Career

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

I am aspiring to be involved with brand and product management in a sustainability context. I’m also very keen in starting my own venture. Imperial provides a great environment for exploring different options and entrepreneurial ventures. The diversity of people involved means that you can bounce ideas off each other and get valuable feedback which shapes your career progression. The people at Imperial are very motivated and they inspire you to be the best version of yourself. The lecturers are true specialists in their field with deep industry knowledge which makes them highly trusted advisors.

Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?

I have received a full-time offer from Amazon as a Brand Specialist. I will be representing Amazon to one of their major brands, overlooking their business and making sure they realise the targets set. I will, also, be involved with marketing and strategic management of the product portfolio.

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

Careers goes above and beyond in ensuring that students get their desired position. From CV and Cover Letter consultations to one-to-one interviews and mock assessment centres, they provide all the tools necessary to become the best version of yourself. They are well connected with the industry and have invaluable insights from recruiters.

London location

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

I believe studying and staying at a central location is a great opportunity to get involved with more. Company offices, events, workshops and conferences are held in central London and Imperial is at the heart of it. Furthermore, getting to interviews and assessment centres is only a few tube stops away. I have had the opportunity to attend company visits with a highlight being an office tour of the new Bloomberg HQ during which we were also given a brief Bloomberg Terminal workshop.

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

I live at King’s Cross because it is central enough and provides great transport links.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time in London? Have you had opportunities to travel?

As a full-time MSc student, you don’t get many opportunities to travel, nonetheless I’ve visited my family abroad a few times. I’m keen in learning more about the city, its history and culture, hence I am visiting museums and taking long walks when time allows. I have recently started exploring street photography as well.

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?

London is a significant financial commitment as well as a big time commitment. However, I believe it has been worth it so far, as it pays off with the range of opportunities and cultural diversity it has. London has different characters, based on the area you are visiting making it really fun and always interesting. If I have to offer advice it would be to carefully plan your commute and travel arrangements as London traffic gets really heavy. If someone is scared by big cities, I would advise to visit London first for a couple of days and see which elements are suited for his/her personality and which are not.

Tips

Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars 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?

Unfortunately, I was not based in London, therefore I couldn’t attend any on-campus events. Having taken part in the majority of them this year, I would advise a prospective student to try and make at least one of them, as they give a great taste of what Imperial and the programme feels like. I attended an online webinar, which was really helpful in clearing out some questions.

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

Sustainability is a very broad subject. Don’t feel obliged to solve everything by yourself and within a year. During the MSc you are building a mindset which you can use throughout your professional career to make decisions which are sustainability-oriented. Have an open mindset and be yourself.

Thanos Sofias

MSc Climate Change, Management & Finance 2017- 18

Nationality: Greek

Undergraduate Education: BEng Electronics & Electrical Engineering, University of Edinburgh

Job after Imperial College Business School: Brand Specialist, Amazon

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