BA Economics, Princeton University
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
My pre-Imperial interests were split between climate policy and finance. I interned at an energy trading company in New York City (DV Trading), a wealth management firm in Mumbai (Anand Rathi Financial Services), and at a climate modelling institute in Princeton (the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). I also served in several leadership roles in the Princeton Student Climate Initiative, which involved organising an environmental conference across the state of New Jersey, and writing and presenting a white paper for our proposed carbon fee and dividend policy at the World Bank's first international conference on carbon pricing in New Delhi.
Why did you decide to study MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management at Imperial College Business School?
I am still trying to figure out whether to pursue a traditional career path or start my own venture. I figured that the MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management would be an excellent opportunity to experiment with entrepreneurship, and to meet like-minded people of diverse backgrounds. I also thought it would be an exceptional place to meet future business leaders from across the world, and build a wide-ranging international network. So far, I have not been disappointed.
Did you receive a scholarship?
I received an Imperial Business Scholarship, which I was extremely grateful for. It substantially reduced the cost of the programme, and meant that I have to do less part-time work to cover the costs, giving me more time to focus on my studies.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy the most?
The other students are definitely the biggest draw. Everyone has their own areas of expertise, ranging from an engineer who designed satellites that were launched into space, to a TEDx organiser who works as an independent diversity and leadership consultant, to an auditor turned startup founder. You will learn a lot just from meeting and talking with the people in your cohort, and with the amazing alumni. I’d also like to give a special mention to the newly created buddy programme for connecting me with an exceptional mentor.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
I really enjoyed the ‘Design Thinking for Innovation’ module. As someone with a more quantitative and analytical background, I tended to discount qualitative information. Practicing user insight interviews through the group project was an eye-opening experience that helped me realise the importance of learning from prospective and current customers, and how experiential information can be just as important as quantitative figures (and sometimes even more so).
What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?
The ‘Personal Innovation Development’ module, despite being a relatively small part of the programme overall, forced me to self-assess my skills, and ponder on what I wanted to develop. The experience of regularly questioning and brainstorming startup ideas and societal problems that I designed in my personal development plan was extremely eye-opening, and led to a few prospective startup projects.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
Although our professors do their best, staying focussed for online lectures is always an uphill battle.
How have you found the multi-mode teaching delivery?
Overall I've been quite pleased – my undergraduate university had shifted everything to remote learning, so I was just thrilled to be able to attend some sessions in-person. The online lectures are just about as well prepared as they can be given the circumstances, and although I had to attend the first month entirely online, this didn’t set me at any major disadvantage. It would be nice if we had more in-person class time, but given the circumstances I can't complain.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
Exceptionally outgoing, friendly, and open. Due to visa issues, I arrived in London one month late, and was worried that I would be left out. Nothing could be further from the truth, and after a few months I can confidently say that I have made at least half a dozen strong friends. Because everyone comes from a different background – both in terms of industry and nationality – it's always fascinating to talk with my classmates.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
All of our lecturers were excellent, and I could easily laud any one of them. That being said, I've got to give a special shout out to Jeremy Fernando, our accounting teacher – his passion and clarity made the subject interesting and approachable, despite my having no experience in the subject. He was extremely willing to meet with me and with other students one-on-one to offer advice before the exam, and about further topics in accounting in general. As an added bonus, he also happens to be a stellar DJ!
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?
The Enterprise Lab's Pitch N' Mix was an excellent experience. Not only did it give me the opportunity to give my first minute-long pitch (I have substantial public speaking experience, but nothing this condensed), it also enabled me to meet two people to work on my idea with me.
Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
Our Strategic Management professor Dr Yuri Mishina invited three venture capitalists to give a talk about the industry and tips for entrepreneurs applying for funding, which was extremely insightful. The Enterprise Lab Pitch N' Mix was extremely helpful as well. Meeting alumni of the programme through the buddy programme was also really enlightening and inspiring.
Have you had opportunities to work/socialise with students across programmes within the Business School?
Not as much as I would like, but this is because I prioritised meeting people within the programme. I plan to change my focus next semester, and I still have had opportunities to meet several people from different Business School programmes.
Did you get involved in any initiatives hosted by the Imperial Enterprise Lab?
Yes, I took part in three idea surgeries, and presented a freelancing platform idea I had at the Pitch N' Mix event, where I met two other students who joined me in further exploring the idea.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
The MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management programme has given me the space to experiment with several entrepreneurial ideas, while simultaneously learning more about the corporate world, so I feel well set up for either path. My current plan is to continue with my part-time tutoring as I pursue several startup ideas; I plan to dedicate more time to whichever ones take off, and if not, I'll most likely pursue a more traditional finance career path.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I am renting a flat in Stockwell, in the south of London. I chose to live there primarily because of the lower rent (Kensington can be quite pricey), and the fact that it isn’t too far away from the Imperial campus.
When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy tutoring half a dozen high school students in subjects ranging from SAT/ACT prep, to economics and math. I also have had fun using Python to analyse historic stock prices to see if I can improve my investing strategies. And of course, I love meeting my fellow students to play cards, go on walks around the city, and brainstorm crazy startup ideas.
What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?
Getting a bike was the best decision I made. In almost every scenario, cycling is faster than either taking an Uber or even the train, and it's a great way to discover the city while simultaneously getting good exercise and saving money. Rent is expensive, but you can find good deals if you look carefully. London is an amazing city that you will never get bored of.
Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions?
I attended several online information sessions once I was accepted to the programme, which were extremely useful. I would highly recommend getting as much information as possible about the programme before applying.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
Reach out to former and current students on the programme to hear about their experiences. I talked with two former students once I learned I was accepted to the programme, and their insider information about their experience at Imperial convinced me to accept the offer. Doing so will help you learn whether the programme is a good fit for you, and you'll meet some incredible people at the same time. Everyone I have spoken to so far has been very approachable, and will be happy to get to know you.