Erica Hernández Medina
MSc Finance & Accounting

About you

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

Before starting at Imperial, I spent a year as a Global Procurement Trainee in PepsiCo Mexico Foods (PMF) for the Biscuits Business Unit: in charge of wheat flour savings projects (R&D and manufacturing related) and logistics optimisation for the grains procurement team. After that, I spent six months as a Global Procurement Supervisor for the Nutrition BU at PMF and then spent seven months as a Senior Supervisor at the same company.

Why did you decide to study an MSc Finance & Accounting at Imperial College Business School?

Coming from an engineering background and having a professional experience in a big FMCG company, I realised the importance of having financial and accounting knowledge, especially when thinking about an integral professional development and an accelerated career-path. Within the procurement position, one of the roles was to negotiate and guarantee the better prices for the company. So, when dealing with a commodity, knowledge about price fluctuations and hedging instruments was incredibly important to achieve a successful and attractive deal. My intention is to return to a similar position and to combine my engineering profile, supply chain knowledge and the acquired financial and accounting tools to deliver an enhanced performance and ensure an accelerated professional growth.

Programme

What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy the most?

My favourite part of the programme was the content within the modules, they were interesting and relevant for the professional development of the class. I also enjoyed the openness of the lecturers and the access we have to the exceptional Careers service that Imperial offers. On top of this, we get to share the classroom with other programmes within the Business School, which I found really rewarding.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

My favourite module was the Fundamentals of Derivatives, due to my interests in commodities this was the perfect module for understanding the big picture of hedging instruments. The material was enriching, and the lecturer was one of the best I have had throughout my academic development.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

I have found that the most rewarding part of the programme has been the knowledge and the network I have built up at my time at Imperial.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme? 

Settling into student life once again and within a different teaching structure than the one I was used to was a challenge. A fair portion of the programme, if not all, was group work. So, balancing this, along with exams and job applications was an interesting experience. However, every challenge is an excellent learning opportunity, and, in this scenario, it truly helped us to develop our organisational, interpersonal and team work skills.

People

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

When I arrived in London and especially to Imperial, my first thought about the student cohort was that it would be made up mainly by English students. To my surprise, I discovered that my programme was made up of people from all over the world. All of them are incredible, from whom I learned many things. Certainly, in addition to the knowledge I have acquired in the classroom, I have also made great friendships.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

Dr Savitar Sundaresan was my favourite professor, he showed extraordinary teaching abilities, openness to answer questions and the ability to capture students’ interest within his classes.

Opportunities

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

The big picture, I would say, is that I had the opportunity to develop myself from different aspects inside and outside of Imperial classrooms. In addition, it provided me with the experience of studying at one of the best universities in the world.

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

The careers workshops, especially those related to applications and the interview processes, were extremely useful for me. In addition, the career fairs and guest lectures provided an excellent environment to practice our soft skills and gain insight from different industries.

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

I got involved in a few different clubs and societies at the Business School. I was the Social Leader in the SSC for my programme, Events Leader in the Latin American Business Club, took part in Latin dancing classes at Imperial (at the Dancing Club Society) and finally, I won a dancing competition with a friend of mine that took place at Birmingham University.

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

By taking part in extracurricular activities I had the chance to meet amazing people outside the Finance Master's programmes and amplify my network. Plus, contributing to the organisation of social, cultural and job-related events was a fulfilling experience as it was a challenge to balance these activities with the academic part.

Career

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

My plan is to return to a position within the operations department and to combine my engineering profile, supply chain knowledge and the acquired financial and accounting tools to deliver an enhanced performance and ensure an accelerated professional growth in the FMCG industry. Through my work experience, I had the opportunity to work hand-in-hand in different areas within the supply chain, marketing and research and development at national level and LATAM. However, I realised that those who understood how the company's blood flow works (people with financial and accounting positions) had a competitive advantage. By acquiring the appropriate accounting and financial tools at Imperial, I can have a holistic perspective and be able to meaningfully contribute to the development of business plans.

Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?

I had very clear idea that the FMCG sector was the area that I wanted to pursue, so I applied to the Supply Network Operations Internship programme at Procter and Gamble UK and received my offer earlier this year. Within my responsibilities, I will be analysing the Supply Chain end-to-end operations (plan the demand and/or supply into the market, aid to develop supply networks, etc.)

London Location

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

London is characterised for having a fast-growing economy and a competitive environment, traits like this make this city an appealing source of career opportunities. In addition, building up a network is not as challenging as one might think, there are always networking events going on inside and outside of Imperial, making this process much easier.

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

I share a flat in the West Kensington area, I chose the location due to its affordability and proximity to Imperial.

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

Dancing and travelling are two things that I enjoy. I took part in different dancing classes in London and even competed in a dance competition in Birmingham. On the other hand, while I was in the United Kingdom, I had the opportunity to visit several places inside and outside the country, learning from other cultures and meeting incredible people along the way.

What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London?

Coming from Mexico City into London was a satisfying experience. London offers a broad span of academic, cultural and social experiences, plus a multicultural society which you want to be immersed in. The city is known for being rather expensive, but you definitely can find affordable accommodation if you search for it - and you save a lot of money if you prepare your own meals. Another tip regarding accommodation, get in touch with people within your cohort prior to joining Imperial is a nice opportunity to find flatmates. Moreover, it's good to know the benefits and discounts you get for being a student.

Tips

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

I didn’t have the chance to take part in the on-campus information session, instead I heavily relied on social media. It was such a great tool to get some insights and advice from previous students from the Finance Masters' and from the Imperial community in general. Plus, if you want to chat to students who are already studying on the programme, you can do so through the Unibuddy feature on Imperial’s website.

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

What is your background and what skills do you already possess? What tools do you want to acquire? Where do you want to apply that knowledge? These may seem like obvious questions but taking time to think about them will lead you to choose the best programme within the different Finance Master's programmes on offer at Imperial. With an engineering background, I can say that the MSc Finance & Accounting programme was the perfect way to get my foot in the door to the financial and accounting industries.

Role
MSc Finance & Accounting
Nationality
Mexico
Undergraduate education :

BSc Biotechnology Engineering, Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education

Job after Imperial College Business School :

Supply Network Operations Intern, Procter and Gamble