Polina Kovaleva
MSc Economics & Strategy for Business 2018

About you

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

Prior to starting my Master’s, I applied myself in a number of different sectors in order to decide where I wanted to pursue my future career. I have previously worked at Gazprom in their M&A division as well as trying something completely different and spending my summer in 2015 at CSM at their Marketing team. My last internship was with Glencore where I was a part of the risk management division as well as helping on Distillates trading desk.

Why did you decide to study an MSc Economics & Strategy for Business at Imperial College Business School after completing your undergraduate studies?

For me personally the MSc Economics & Strategy for Business covered a variety of subjects that I haven’t previously studied but I was fascinated with. I believe the structure of the programme was highly beneficial for students that come from a variety of different educational backgrounds. All of the modules are very up to date and relevant to any industry one decides to go in to. Many programmes in other universities in London only concentrate on one specific field of studies however Economics & Strategy for Business has a great combination of economics, finance and strategy modules that together create a very unique programme.


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

Every module we have studied this year has covered a lot of theoretical concepts, however every lecturer made sure to apply this theory to real life problems as well as use an extensive volume of real examples. This was an incredible change from my undergraduate degree. I think this method of teaching is a lot more rewarding as you can see and understand first-hand how the material we are being taught can be used in order to solve problems and tasks you are going to face in a work place.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

Having studied economics as my core subject at undergraduate level I was highly familiar with Macroeconomics however what surprised me was how Professor David Shepherd managed to introduce Macroeconomics in a different light. His lectures were always interesting and relevant, and his knowledge on the subject is remarkable. Every topic was presented with great passion and every lecture we learned something new. For me personally it was interesting to learn aspects of macroeconomics that I have come across before in a completely different depth.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

When making a decision to undertake a Master’s within Imperial College Business School, one understands the volume of work that you will be expected to complete. While managing the workload might be one of the biggest challenges when you start, as the programme progresses you learn to time manage as well as develop a next level of work ethic that will become highly useful when you step in to your full-time job.


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

My undergraduate degree didn’t have much emphasis on group work so at the beginning I was rather inexperienced with it. Imperial College Business School on the other hand believes that group work is very important, therefore you are required to undertake a group project on every module you study on the Economics & Strategy for Business  programme. The faculty spends a large amount of time sorting out all the pupils in to fair teams. This experience was great as you get to learn a lot about your cohort. It brings the whole cohort closer together. This structure allows you to spread your work load more efficiently as well as focus on your strengths while learning closely from other students in your team. All the students come from different backgrounds and locations, through team work you learn a lot about cultural awareness and how different people approach work based on their background. I believe this is one of the most useful skills you acquire from team work as when you go on to work in large organisations you will need to deal with diverse employees which at times can be challenging.


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

During my time at Imperial I was a Student Ambassador. This role was highly rewarding throughout the year. It was a great opportunity to meet other Student Ambassadors from all the programmes across The Business School as well as being able to voice your opinion and any suggestions you had about your programme. Being in this position you really feel like you can make a difference to the programme experience for current and future students. I particularly enjoyed the prospective student events, where you were able to chat to different people interested in continuing their academic career at Imperial. Being able to help people understand which course was in particular fitting for them as well as with any application problems that they might have encountered while processing their application makes this position worthwhile.

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

Being a part of the Imperial community exposes you to a large network of great minded individuals which leads to forming great relations with friends and possible future colleagues. Being surrounded by bright minds stimulates you to work harder as well as acquiring knowledge from your immediate cohorts. Upon graduating from Imperial, you benefit from Imperial’s alumni and their exposure to different industries which is highly valuable for any individual.


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

Even before you step foot at Imperial, you begin your work with Careers. From the day you are accepted, Imperial College Business School Careers are there to guide you through the application process as well as help you tailor and amend your CV and cover letters to the highest possible standard. There are a number of people within Careers who will help you with preparation for interviews, most of whom have personally experienced going through the same process in the past. I found their help to be one of the highlights of my time at Imperial and I strongly believe that Imperial delivers the highest standard of service among London Universities.


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

When completing your application, I would strongly recommend you to answer all the questions honestly and write about your true interest and careers goals. Of course you should expect this programme to be challenging but by the end it will feel great to accomplish something of such a high difficulty as well as acquire a lot of new knowledge and meet some amazing people along the way.

MSc Economics & Strategy for Business
Undergraduate Education:

BSc Economics with Politics (1st Class with Honours), Loughborough University

Job after Imperial College Business School:

Risk Manager on Gasoline Desk, Glencore