BSc International Business & Entrepreneurship, University of Essex
Associate Consultant, Capgemini Invent
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
My experience before coming to Imperial was quite varied, ranging from retail, to construction, to part-time university work, to most recently working as a head-hunter in London. I was very unsure of what I wanted to do prior to joining the programme, which is what led to my short stints in different sectors, but it also helped me realise what I enjoyed and what I didn’t.
Why did you decide to study an MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management at Imperial College Business School?
While working in recruitment, although it was great fun, I realised this was not what I wanted to do in the long term. This inspired me to have a long and hard think about what career I really wanted to pursue and what actions I would need to take to make that happen. I concluded that I wanted to work within a field that I was passionate about, which in my case is the sport of golf (yes, it is a sport). Having written a business plan for a golf equipment company for my undergraduate dissertation, I decided this was something I wanted to take further. This led me to search for a postgraduate programme in London, in hope of finding one that would suit and nurture my entrepreneurial aspirations. Once I found the MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management programme at Imperial I knew it was the one, so I applied! I can honestly say this was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy the most?
The programme is excellent in many ways, but if I was to narrow it down to one aspect it would have to be the workshops, facilities and resources available to students with entrepreneurial aspirations. If you’re really motivated to start a business during your time here, it is 100% possible. Not only can you speak to experts for free, but you can also take advantage of countless competitions (featuring monetary prizes), and the Imperial Enterprise Lab (almost like an on-campus incubator for coaching and workshops) that help you refine your idea and business model to potentially raise funds.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
My favourite module was Venture Capital and Growth Finance. This subject was highly stimulating, as it taught us basic financial concepts that are very relevant for anyone wishing to start a business. The programme gave us a firm grasp of the importance of funding for new ventures and answered unanswered questions - such as when you need cash to fund your business, how much do you need? and how do you raise it?
What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?
The most rewarding part of the programme must be the people I have met and the networks I’ve gained. Our class is super friendly and tight knit, which has made the year much more enjoyable. Everyone has similar aspirations and interests, which leads to many interesting discussions – I feel like I have learned almost as much from my classmates as I have from the programme itself, which is a major plus. I am sure I will be in contact with my classmates for years to come and hope for the chance to work with them again.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
The most challenging part for me was time management around the exam periods. Unlike undergraduate degrees, you are not given nearly as much time to prepare for exams, which makes managing your time essential to performing well.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
I would describe the people in my class as very bright, motivated, and friendly – there is a great atmosphere in the class that promotes healthy debates and acceptance. Everyone is always happy to help others and there are plenty of student-arranged social events.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
Dr Miguel Meuleman from the Venture Capital and Growth Finance module was my favourite professor. He is not only extremely knowledgeable about the subject of VC and startup finance, but also has professional experience within the field as an investor himself, which adds a lot of credibility to his lectures. He is also talented at conveying technical subject matter in a way that is easy to digest by students, which I think comes as a result of his passion for teaching.
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?
My greatest opportunity was attending a global business case competition hosted by the University of Cambridge. We formed a team of four students from the Business School and managed to win the two-day competition against top universities from all over Europe, including the University of Cambridge, ETH Zürich, the University of Glasgow and more. With no expectations of winning prior to the contest, our victory marked one of the main highlights of my year at Imperial.
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?
I am a member of various societies, but my attendance is somewhat intermittent for many of them, mainly due to school work or other priorities. Aside from being a Student Ambassador, I’m very involved in the golf society and I try my best to attend various workshops and talks in subjects I find interesting. There is no shortage of extra-curricular activities at Imperial, which is great if you want to meet like-minded people.
How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?
I think the main benefit from the wider Imperial College London community is the networks you gain, which I am sure will prove useful both personally and professionally. For example, through golf I have met many people from various programmes, whom I would not otherwise have met if it weren’t for that society. Therefore, I think the same applies for the overarching Imperial community, as well as the smaller sub-communities, as it allows you to meet with all sorts of interesting people to expand your network for the future.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
My future career goal is to work in the golf industry in the United States (due to the large amount of golf firms having a very small presence outside the US). But given the difficulty of obtaining work visa’s in the US as a fresh graduate, I have opted to bide my time by entering consulting in London, which will hopefully provide me with the experience needed to work in the strategic or operational side of a leading golf equipment manufacturer. If I ever get to this stage, my next dream would be to launch my own company within the field, with the aim of expanding golf as a sport, by making it more accessible to people who want to give it a go. Therefore, I feel my time at Imperial has helped me realise my desire to start my own company, whilst at the same time, putting me in a much better position to secure a job upon graduation.
Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?
Yes, after many hours of case interview practice, I secured a position at Capgemini Invent as an Associate Consultant, so I will be starting in September 2019 as a Management Consultant with a focus on operations transformation.
How did the services from the careers team help in your professional development/securing employment?
The Careers service is a super useful resource when searching for a job, as they help students with CV’s and Cover Letter’s and provide practical workshops to strengthen industry-specific interviews, such as case interviews for consulting. I found these one-on-one sessions to be very helpful, as they put you in an interview scenario and test your ability to solve a case, as well as providing detailed feedback on how you can improve.
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?
Yes, London is one of the best places to build your network and start your career, as you will be working alongside some of the best people around, in one of the largest and most prosperous business centres in the world. However, this also causes competition for jobs to be extremely fierce compared to other cities, which is something you need to be prepared for. Therefore, in order to secure a job upon graduation I would recommend starting your search early and preparing thoroughly for each application and interview to set you apart from the rest of the field.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I live in Stockwell with my girlfriend, as it seemed like an overlooked area with great transport connections to both her work and to Imperial. Rent here is not too expensive, and when you consider the transport links to central London, I think you get more value than in other areas.
When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?
Outside of my studies, I enjoy running, playing golf (and other sports), as well as meeting up with classmates and friends to explore London.
If you had to move to London for the programme, what have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London?
My main advice would be to budget accordingly – rent and living costs are quite high, so I would recommend budgeting a little extra each month for any unforeseen expenses. Other than that, I would try to get involved in as many social events as possible, as it is a great way of exploring the many great places in the city.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
In short, my advice is to apply for the programme if you are someone who wants to learn about how to start a new venture and the risks involved from a management perspective. Although, I believe you learn (the hard way) more from starting your own venture, I also feel that it can be a tremendous amount of risk to bear – especially if you are not certain about the feasibility of your idea. Therefore, if you have an idea you want to explore further, this is the right programme for you.