Asma Anoohi, MSc Economics & Strategy for Business 2021-22, student at Imperial College Business School

Programme: MSc Economics & Strategy for Business

Nationality: Emirati

Education: BSBA Management Information Systems, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Arizona

About you

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

I interned and worked full-time at Goldman Sachs prior to starting at Imperial. As an intern, I worked in the Change Management team in Global Markets Securities Operations. There, my team and I focused on solving data-related problems for the firm’s biggest projects. As a full-time analyst, I worked in the Engineering division with a similar scope of solving data-related problems and building new tools for Securities teams in Global Markets. Between those two roles, I also worked at my undergraduate university’s entrepreneurship centre, leading a sophomore programme that taught design thinking and tasked students with solving problems entrepreneurially.

Why did you decide to study an MSc Economics & Strategy for Business at Imperial College Business School?

There were a few reasons that contributed to why I decided to pursue MSc Economics & Strategy for Business at Imperial. Two of the main reasons were the School itself, and the takeaways from the programme. I found that Imperial College London and the Business School within it specifically bridged three of my main interests: business, entrepreneurship and technology. Its focus on these topics seemed to have created an opportunity to learn both in and outside of the classroom. Also, my aligned interests encouraged me to apply as I’d be able to grow in each of these areas while at Imperial, whether it was through formal coursework or extracurricular activities. Noting the second reason, I chose to study the programme due to its focus on practical application. I was interested in utilising my background in data and shifting scope to solve external and economics related problems. The programme modules are a good mix of data, economics, and strategy to help me make that transition.

Did you receive a scholarship?

I was fortunate to receive the Imperial Excellence Scholarship, which was truly an honour! Besides a contribution to tuition, I think the scholarship was an added motivator and boost of encouragement to work hard and excel at Imperial. My advice to future scholarship applicants would be to showcase your true self and reflect on experiences that make you stand out; especially ones that highlight a commitment to service and giving back.

Programme

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

It’s difficult to choose but I would say the modules I have enjoyed most so far are Corporate Strategy and Corporate Finance. I really enjoyed Dr Dmitry Sharapov’s Corporate Strategy module. It allowed us to build our critical thinking skills while applying class concepts to real business cases. It was also one of the modules with a heavier discussion element which I enjoyed as you got to hear from different students and share thoughts on a particular problem or solution. I also really enjoyed Dr Iva Koci’s Corporate Finance module as the topics we covered were really interesting, particularly portfolio management and understanding how financial markets and products work. The module was really engaging and enabled us to apply our learning through additional tutorial sessions and Excel exercises.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

I think the learning aspect has definitely been rewarding for me. After working for a year, it has been nice to have some time to focus on learning and building knowledge in new areas. I didn’t have an economics background coming into the programme so I was really looking forward to the academic content itself. I think another big part of why the programme has been great is being able to engage with the cohort and meet new people. There’s a really good mix of people from a variety of backgrounds so getting to know everyone has been enriching itself!

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

For me, adjusting to a new school system was quite challenging. I’ve previously studied American-based curriculums so adjusting to new styles of teaching, learning, and assessments was difficult at first. However, through support from the School, the programme staff and peers I was able to adapt to the new system relatively quickly!

People

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

I would probably describe my cohort as youthful and diverse. We have not only students from different nationalities but also a variety of academic and personal backgrounds as well. It’s been really fun to engage with everyone, find common interests, and learn about my peers’ unique backgrounds!

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

Similar to my favourite modules, I’d say I really enjoyed Dr Sharapov and Dr Koci’s style of teaching and engagement with the module. Both really pushed us to think about the 'why' behind many of our concepts by prompting the class with questions and fostering discussions. I believe this created a good atmosphere for learning and thinking critically about what we were being taught to really solidify our understanding.

Opportunities

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

There have been numerous opportunities to develop skills and knowledge both inside and outside of the classroom. Some notable ones were career-related workshops that brought in alumni or professionals from a particular industry to share their experience and insight on a field, and also work through some exercises to prepare for interviews. One example of this is the consulting workshops where we worked through a case to learn more about the case interview process.

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

I’ve joined the Consulting club, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship club, and the Social Impact and Responsible Business club, all of which are at the Business School. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of these clubs as they all focus on different areas of interest and provide unique opportunities. For instance, the Consulting Club connects you with other students to practice for case interviews. The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Club brings in guest speakers and hosts webinars to learn more about different startup opportunities and founders in London. And the Social Impact and Responsible Business club hosted company visits which were really helpful in learning more about companies and networking with professionals in the London area.

Have you had opportunities to work/socialise with students across programmes within the Business School?

In addition to clubs, there have been many other opportunities like coffee chats where you get paired with another student and set up time to meet. Even during our induction and our visit to the Science Museum, we were able to meet with students from different programmes as well which was great!

Career

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

I’m looking for a career or job opportunity where I can bridge data analysis with economics and I feel like the combination of modules and career resources have enabled me to build my capability to pursue those jobs. Having access to additional resources like DataCamp, WallStreetPrep, CaseCoach and many more, allows me to continue to learn outside of the classroom and prepare for the jobs I’m interested in. I’m also looking at opportunities both in London and back home in the UAE, and through Imperial’s alumni network, I’m able to connect with a variety of professionals in both areas and learn more about their experiences.

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

The Careers team offer so many resources starting from the summer prior to joining Imperial. The Careers primer that students complete before starting the first term gives students a head start in the job search. Not only are there resources for finding different roles and companies, but there are so many events held throughout the term that allows you to connect and network with professionals in your field of interest. Careers also helps with interview practice and can host mock interviews.

London Location

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

Definitely! I’ve been in several situations where I coincidentally meet people with similar backgrounds or have worked at the same companies or cities that I have, which I think exemplifies London very well. Opportunities like this are great conversation starters and connecting over a shared experience is really great for building new relationships. Connecting with alumni (whether its Imperial or a previous university) is another way to network, and London being a big city definitely makes it easier to find people to connect with.

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

I’ve really enjoyed exploring London. There are so many places to see and things to try that I’ve tried to experience something new each time. Some of the things I’ve enjoyed doing include walking around the city, finding new cafes or restaurants, watching musicals, and taking art classes.

If you had to move to London for the programme, where did you decide to live?

I’m lucky to have moved relatively close to campus. I definitely recommend starting the search process early and learning about the different areas to know which will fit best with your lifestyle and interests. I reached out to people I knew who have lived in London to find out the safest areas in the city, and how the system works when you’re looking to rent. Planning ahead will hopefully help in making the moving process a lot easier!

Tips

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

Yes, I attended multiple online webinars to learn about the application process, the programme and the student experience. I would definitely recommend these to prospective students as they shared a lot of valuable insights and shed light on the more nuanced aspects of the student experience at Imperial. These really helped solidify my interest in the programme and Imperial in general. I believe this enabled me to tailor my application more specifically to highlight the most important and relevant aspects.

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

Focus on the fit first. I think understanding your academic and career goals as well as personal values and interests are really important in shaping your application and will also shape your experience at Imperial. Make sure your goals and values align with the School’s as this is really important because it will affect the types of modules you take and your academic learning experience, but also the types of extracurricular and career opportunities available to you. Another piece of advice would be to attend the prospective student events and information sessions to learn more and have an opportunity to ask questions to both the programme team and students. I reached out to current students through the Unibuddy system as well to ask more detailed questions about the student experience which really helped, so I’d also recommend doing the same.

Programme: MSc Economics & Strategy for Business

Nationality: Emirati

Education: BSBA Management Information Systems, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Arizona

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