Katharina Kern

Katharina Kern

About you

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

I did not have any full-time positions before joining Imperial, but went straight from my undergraduate to my Master’s here. I did however do internships and part-time work at BDO in London, in a PR agency, Ketchum Publico GmbH, in Austria, and a company organising conferences for tax lawyers, Seminar Oberlaa GmbH, also in Austria.

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

After studying quite a broad degree at my undergraduate level, I wanted to do a Master’s that was more focused on Economics, while still applicableto business contexts. For me, Economics & Strategy for Business at Imperial College Business School offered unique programme content that perfectly fit what I wanted to do for my Master’s. I also loved joining a leading research university with lots of opportunities to connect to students from very different programmes. In addition, the good reputation and the central London location were a bonus of joining Imperial.

Programme

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

One of the most rewarding aspects of the programme is meeting all the other amazing students at Imperial. It is such an international programme, and everyone has incredible experiences to talk about, so I feel like you learn a lot by talking to other students. In addition, the focus on group work in the programme really pushes you to get to know so many different cultures and working styles and dive deep into the programme content.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

I really enjoyed the Corporate Strategy module because it offered a new view of strategy for me and I generally enjoyed the module design, which was very interactive. Apart from that, I also enjoyed Business Economics a lot, as Dr. Pedro Rosa Dias is an amazing lecturer and very entertaining too.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

While also being one of the most rewarding aspects of the programme, the amount of group work could sometimes be a challenge. It is challenging to coordinate many people working on a project and agree on decisions, but it also really taught us all a lot and ended up being very rewarding. Coming from a business background, I also found some of the Economics modules challenging, but then there is the whole community of students in the programme, where you can always find someone if you need help.

People

How do you describe your cohort at Imperial?

My cohort at Imperial is an extremely international and very diverse group of people. Students come from all over the world and everyone has different backgrounds and experience before coming here. The students at Imperial are all very motivated and driven, and it is an amazing group of people to spend time with.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

That is very difficult to say because we had a lot of interesting and very good professors, but the one I really enjoyed listening to in lectures was Prof. Jonathan Haskel, who was the module leader for “Economics and Strategy for Innovation”. He is a very knowledgeable professor and not only lectured about innovation but offered a very broad and complete understanding and overview of economic relationships and connections.

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

I think when you are working in a group of very diverse and motivated people, you can really learn from their experiences and different understanding of some things. Everyone presents their individual understanding and solutions of some problems and in combination you can really produce good outcomes and learn a lot from each other. Also, the most important aspect, it mostly is a lot of fun to tackle problems and tasks as a team.

Opportunities

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

I have mentioned it before, but the best part of being at Imperial is the wide range of people you can meet. The cohort of students is super interesting and amazing, but it is not also the current students, but also alumni and professors that you can meet and have interesting conversations with. Also, all the students, alumni and lecturers are very helpful, so if you ever need anything or want to find out more about a particular topic, there is always someone ready to help.

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

For me, an important part of developing new skills was the support offered  by Imperial College Business School Careers. In addition to that, we had many guest lecturers talking about a range of topics and bringing a range of up-to-date insights to lectures.

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

I was a student ambassador for the Business School, where I got to meet so many interesting people, both alumni and potential new students. In addition, I was part of the Imperial College Cross Country and Athletics Club, where I not only met amazing people from different departments at Imperial, but also made good friends and had a lot of fun training and competing for Imperial. I was also part of the Imperial College Pole Dance and Aerial Society, which was a lot of fun and also offered me opportunities to perform at the Dance Imperial Festival, which I never even dreamed about.

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

Yes, definitely. Imperial has a lot of very smart and interesting people, studying a wide range of programmes. By being located at the same campus as everyone else, you get to meet very interesting people and can also make connections for potential start-ups in the future.

Career

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

I have always been interested in the FMCG sector and being at Imperial helped me to develop the skills necessary to succeed in securing a job and also enabled me to meet many contacts and alumni that could give me tips on how to pursue my goals. This resulted in me accepting a role on the graduate scheme at Kraft Heinz.

Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme (please give details of roles you have accepted, what you will be doing)?

I have received a job offer to join the European Trainee Programme at Kraft Heinz in London. I will be getting training and will join different departments before I get my permanent role.

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

Careers helped me to optimally prepare for the interviews and the whole recruitment process. I did not only attend workshops to learn the basics, but I also could get individual one-to-one appointments to work on my CV, cover letter, and prepare me for interviews and assessment centres. I think being prepared in that way really helped me to feel confident in my skills, which in the end enabled me to secure the job in the graduate scheme.

London location

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

I think it is very beneficial to be in London because you have access to all the companies and all careers and networking events taking place. It is very easy to attend as many events with potential employers as you want and employers also love to come to campus because it is not far away from their offices. You can meet people for networking easily as you are in the economic centre of the UK.

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

I live in the Earls Court area because it is in walking distance from Imperial and it is also a very nice area to live in. There is enough happening so you do not get bored (which probably never happens in London anyway) but it is still not overflowing with tourists or too many people, so for me it offers the perfect balance.

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

There is so much to do in London! Whatever you fancy doing – London probably has it. I personally love doing sports, which I do with the clubs at Imperial, but also by myself in my free time. The museums in London are also amazing and all free, so even if you just have a little bit of spare time, you can always enjoy them. Apart from that, I also enjoy exploring London, as there is always something going on, like a food festival, and always new things to discover. I also had the opportunity to travel with friends over the weekend and during holidays and explored other parts of the UK and other countries 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?

There are so many benefits of moving to London. I mentioned the benefits for your career – you can meet many interesting people, and also the most interesting jobs are here – but there are also personal benefits. London is a very active city, and there is always something new going on, so it is super exciting to be here and enjoy everything the city has to offer. One challenge of moving here is definitely finding a suitable place to live, as the renting market is very fast and confusing if you are not from London. I lived with a friend from the programme at Imperial, and I definitely recommend living with other people from the programme you are studying.

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?

I personally only attended a webinar after I was already accepted, but I think it is a very good opportunity for prospective students to find out more about the programme and its  content, and can really help you decide if it is the right programme for you and what you need to do to come here. As I am not from the UK, I couldn’t attend any on-campus sessions, but again if you have the opportunity to do so, I would highly recommend it.

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

I would say, don’t be afraid to try it! It can be intimidating to see all the amazing people and the long recruitment process, but just be confident in yourself and try it, it is an opportunity you don’t want to miss!

Katharina-Kern

MSc Economics & Strategy for Business 2017- 18

Nationality: Austrian

Undergraduate Education: BSc International Business Administration, Vienna University of Economics and Business

Job after Imperial College Business School: Kraft Heinz, European Trainee Programme,

Connect via LinkedIn