BSc Business Management, King’s College London
Mainly internships in the banking and finance area
Productivity Analyst, The Kraft Heinz Company
Antonio chose this programme as he was interested in the diversity of subjects and wanted to pursue learning which was more pratical based than his BSc. He chose Imperial after speaking to previous students, who talked about the impact that studying at Imperial had on their careers, as well as employers and what they thought of the university.
Your time at Imperial College Business School
Why did you choose to study your programme and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
For me what attracted me most to the programme was the diversity of subjects. While my BSc most subjects were very theory-related, I did enjoy the practicality associated with subjects such as Corporate Finance, Strategy Implementation and a Business Simulation. Further to this, the opportunity to do a real consulting project for a real company was something that I had not found in another universities. The reason for Imperial specifically was not only related to the feedback that I had from previous students, who told me about the impact that studying at Imperial had on their careers; but also talking with employers who conveyed the idea that Imperial was extremely sought after when hiring for graduate programmes and other positions.
What was the most learning point you took with you from the Business School?
One of the most important things I took with me was to learn to better manage my time and prioritise tasks. When you are at a university like Imperial, where academically a lot is required from you and, professionally, you have a number of opportunities to talk to employers and attend conferences, you really need to be able to sort out your priorities. Of course, living in a city like London you will also want to take advantage of that, and you will meet a lot of people while studying here with who you will want to spend time. Understanding your priorities and managing your time well in a very intense and time-consuming environment will be crucial if you want to make the most out of your experience at Imperial.
What advice would you give to a prospective student considering studying the same programme as you?
Be open-minded. I remember coming into my BSc fully believing that I wanted to go into banking, and coming into my MSc certain that I wanted to do consulting. I now work in an FMCG company, which I can certainly say was not something I considered walking into either of my degrees. Being open-minded will allow you to explore all the opportunities available, and, you never know, you might be surprised and find something that initially you had not considered, but in the end becomes something which you thoroughly enjoy.
What was the most surprising thing about the programme?
I was really surprised by the consulting project. At first I was quite unsure of what it entailed, I thought this was something that was given to us and then we approached it from a more theoretical point of view. I was extremely surprised, however, to find out that the project was incredibly practical - we had to go out into the field and interview people, and the company itself took a huge interest. This was something they were actually working on, and not something that was to be a theoretical exercise. In the end, it was an amazing experience, and quite rewarding to be able to approach the problem from a practical point of view and to see the interest the company had on the project.
Tell us about your current job
How was your career transformed following your programme?
As I mentioned, one of the things that really helped me throughout the programme, and which was accentuated during my time at Imperial, was the need to be open minded. This helped me not only then, but also while I made my transition to work. In a company, any company, one will have to be open-minded and be willing to explore options and roles that one has not considered before. In my case, this applied not only to being open-minded about the company and industry I chose (FMCG which was something I did not contemplate before coming to Imperial), but also in terms of being flexible when it comes to roles and opportunities. The programme at the Business School taught me that this flexibility and open-mind mentality is important, because it can open doors and reveal opportunities that you had not considered before.
How do you plan to use the skills and knowledge you gained during the programme within your career going forward?
I truly believe that my learning from the programme will have a positive impact during my career, not just in terms of subjects which have inspired new interests; but, most importantly, throughout the whole experience of being in London and studying in one of the most prestigious universities in the world, one does really understand what it is like to be “under pressure”, in the sense that it allows you to 'practice' for what work life will look like after you graduate. During graduation I had a number of priorities at the same time, and I had to find a very good balance between sports, social, work, and academic life. This prioritisation will not change after graduation, so having this 'training' before starting to work was incredibly helpful.
What do you enjoy most about your current work and what are the main challenges that you face?
In my current role I am part of the Logistics department, which is something I never thought I would be doing, but that is one of the things about Kraft Heinz – there is no need for a specific set of skills or background to be in a certain role. The fact that now I am constantly learning new things and trying to understand how the business works from a supply chain perspective is extremely rewarding, albeit it can be a bit stressful at times when there is an overload of information – something which my time at Imperial also helped me 'train' for. In addition, the people around me are extremely capable and were incredible in making sure that I could adapt to a new environment, new language, new culture, new everything. This, moving from the UK to Italy after 5 years, has also proved a challenge, but I am thoroughly enjoying this new environment, and the Kraft Heinz culture is proving to be extremely supportive. This is yet another piece of advice I got while at Imperial – make sure that the company you decide to work for is the right company in cultural terms, regardless of industry or role. This way, I honestly believe, chances of success and happiness with what you do will be much higher.
What is your proudest achievement in the job so far?
At Kraft Heinz one of the things we did here in Italy was called “Filiera Italiana”. This was a day where the whole company split into groups and went into a number of retailers across Italy to promote our new campaign of a 100% Italian supply-chain, something which was extremely hard to achieve and a great achievement for the company as a whole. However, for me, it was extremely rewarding to spend this day on the field (something one does not get to do often enough), talk to retailers and make sure that our products were displayed nicely and that the campaign materials were spread across the store. Leaving the store and ending the day with a feeling that one has convinced one customer to switch from a rival product to ours, was truly a proud achievement for me in my first months at the company.
In what way is remaining connected to your alumni network important to you?
I believe that being a part of the alumni network is a great opportunity to keep in contact with people who have gone into similar paths than your own - providing a great opportunity to ask for advice and to understand their career path and what has helped them. For those that have gone into different career paths, it is a great opportunity to understand industries that you are less familiar with, but also, if you wanted to change industries, talk to them and understand how their industry works. Overall, I think it is a great way to network, and to ask for help and advice when needed, but also to help and give advice to students that have graduated and could possibly benefit from your experience and advice.