Maria Wasner, MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management 2019-20, student at Imperial College Business School

Programme: MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management

Nationality: German

Education: BSc Culinary Arts Management, University of West London

About you

Why did you decide to study an MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management at Imperial College Business School?

While studying for my undergraduate degree, I started my own company. As I did not have any business experience at that time, I was curious to learn more about how to build a successful and sustainable company. MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management has offered me the opportunity to delve into the business world and gain theoretical knowledge in an entrepreneurial environment by learning from renowned academics. Next to its unique educational experience, the programme also offered me access to a very special network of students with similar mindsets. 


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

Being able to work in different and diverse groups, with students from various backgrounds and experiences. Throughout the programme, we have developed a strong community and established a culture of collaboration and support.

Which have been your favourite modules so far and why?

There are three modules that I have enjoyed most so far. First of all, Dr Miguel Meuleman’s Venture Capital and Growth Finance class. He gave us useful insights into the key challenges of fundraising, valuation, understanding deal structuring and term sheets. Secondly, I also enjoyed the Design Thinking for Innovation module taught by Dr Ileana Stigliani, it was a very creative class with a hands on approach. She provided us with useful tools and techniques, giving us the opportunity to face problems and find solutions from different angles. Finally, I enjoyed the Technology and Innovation Management class by Professor Paola Criscuolo. In this class, we discussed a variety of case studies and learned about technological innovation and capturing and delivering value.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

The opportunity to create and develop different projects from scratch and present those in front of the cohort, thereby receiving feedback from the fellow students and professors. It still amazes me how a group of people can come up with such unique and creative concepts in a short period of time. Following that, another rewarding part of the programme is the people I have met and the network I have gained during my time at the Business School.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme? 

Time management! All our assignments, presentations, group work, and other College events must be coordinated while maintaining a life outside of studying. Also, we have different groups for different projects, so it is sometimes challenging to keep on top of things and plan meetings accordingly.


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

A big family full of open-minded, fun, curious, diverse and international people!

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

All the professors are unique and have a different approach to teaching. One of my favourite lecturers is Dr Miguel Meuleman because he is passionate about what he teaches. Even though his lectures can be quite intense, he always tries to keep them interactive and interesting by providing real life examples or case studies.


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

Meeting, connecting and networking with enthusiastic people.

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

We have had a range of guest lectures with speakers from a variety of industries. These were great additions to the usual lectures. Two guest lectures, that I especially remember were by investors and entrepreneurs, Greg Marsh and Andy Shannon, who shared their personal insight about venture capital and fundraising for early stage businesses.

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

I am one of the Social Chairs for our cohort, which means I organise all the fun events for our class. We have had a few get togethers including an event with students from the previous year of the programme. Students immediately made friends between the old and new MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management cohort, and it has proved very successful. Business partnerships have also been established between these cohorts.

We had a Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s Party and other hangouts, which have always been great fun. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has stopped us from hanging out together (physically!). Nevertheless, we have online catch ups and quiz nights regularly, which allow us to keep in touch. I am also a Student Ambassador which has been a great opportunity for me to speak to prospective students and represent the Business School at events and information sessions.

How have you found the unprecedented switch to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

The way the College has managed to seamlessly transfer everyone to remote learning has been great. Everything works very smoothly. The programme team have been continuously communicating and updating us whenever there has been confusion around exams or other group assignments. However, I do miss seeing people and the physical interaction of the programme.


How did Imperial College Business School Careers help in your professional development/securing employment?

The Careers team is very helpful, they provide guidance for application processes including help for CVs, interviews and assessments. There is also a great variety of careers workshops offered, where you can attend those according to your needs. Right now, I am in touch with the alumni network, which is trying to connect me with alumni from companies I’d like to work with.


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

I am sharing an apartment with a friend of mine in Westminster/Victoria. It is super central and therefore convenient for me to get around the city. I love my walk to university every morning, I pass Buckingham Palace, St. James’ Park and Hyde Park.

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

Spending time with friends, having dinner together or going out and discovering London´s nightlife. I also enjoy going for a run in Hyde Park or just strolling around the city. London has an amazing cultural offering with all its museums, theatres, musicals, galleries or other exhibitions, which I love to explore. There is always something going on in the city, it never gets boring!

What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?

The city can be overwhelming in the first few days, people are always in a rush and you will need to get used to the fact that everything is quite expensive. My advice would be to stay open-minded, get to know friends and explore the city together. Sooner or later you will fall in love with London and the endless opportunities that the city offers, the restaurants, coffee shops, pubs, bars, galleries, museums and parks.  


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?

As a Student Ambassador, I attended on-campus information sessions and I highly recommend those. They give you the opportunity to get to know the programme team, get familiar with the programme content while also getting to know other students. This would also be helpful for the decision-making and application process.

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

Get in touch with current or previous MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management students through the chat function on the Imperial College Business School website. It is helpful to gain insight and find out more details about the programme. Don't hesitate to ask whatever questions you may have about the programme, everyone is super helpful and friendly!

Programme: MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management

Nationality: German

Education: BSc Culinary Arts Management, University of West London