Dipika Gujral MSc International Health Management 2020-21
Programme:
MSc International Health Management
Nationality:
Indian
Education:

BSc Molecular Biology, UCL

About you

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

During my penultimate undergraduate year at UCL, I secured a summer internship at an FMCG startup based in London. I was introduced to numerous business functions, including sales and marketing, while also gaining the unique opportunity to explore an industry different to my undergraduate field of life sciences. I engaged with current and prospective clients and often collaborated with the Product Development team to generate innovative concepts, exploring both the emerging market and synergies across areas of nutrition. My internship encapsulated the methods of consumer-tailored health solutions implemented by such startups and solidified my interest in entering commercial healthcare management.

Why did you decide to study MSc International Health Management at Imperial College Business School?

Being exposed to a variety of cultures throughout my academic and personal life has allowed me to reflect on healthcare communities on a global scale. I was looking for a programme where a variety of leading health systems are taken into consideration and where I’d get to explore how ideas are distributed across borders. My BSc Molecular Biology degree outlined the latest health trends, but I quickly learned science requires commercial resources and expertise to succeed. In order to advance my commercial acumen and keen to remain in the vibrant capital, I explored highly-ranked business schools based in London. Imperial was at the top of my list due to its prestigious track record in research on the interface between business and health, especially its emphasis on digital innovation. I was drawn to the opportunity of being surrounded by diverse and driven individuals, while also learning from respected experts in the field of healthcare. I was excited by the myriad of career prospects that MSc International Health Management could introduce me to so early on in my professional career, particularly due to the exceptional ties Imperial holds with innovative and leading companies across the globe.

Programme

What aspects of the programme do you enjoy the most?

I really love the diversity in modules taught throughout the programme. While many health management degrees focus on simply offloading information to students, Imperial allows us to practically apply the knowledge we’ve accumulated throughout the year towards real-life issues and activities. The learning arc has been amazing, as we’ve had the opportunity to build on our commercial knowledge specific to the health sector. By following this structure, we are able to identify key pain and opportunity points in this growing market, thus allowing us to procure innovative business solutions in the summer term modules.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

I particularly enjoyed Health Economics, where I learned about microeconomic issues in healthcare as well as the complexity of the market. I have not previously studied such a module, so I was curious to dive into how canonical markets functioned and understand the reasons for market failures. I believe that this is vital knowledge for anyone who wants to enter the healthcare market and understand how it operates, especially in a post-COVID era. The lectures were delivered very clearly and our lecturers, Professor Carol Propper and Dr Elena Pizzo, ensured that we understood key concepts. We had the exciting opportunity to independently carry out an economic evaluation, which is another example of how the module promotes real-life applications of our learnings. The economic evaluation has provided me with an array of employable skills, such as teamwork, analytical abilities and generating comprehensive reports. The module also motivated me to independently explore the macroeconomic issues that healthcare faces, such as national expenditure and income rates.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

The wealth of knowledge provided by the programme promotes critical and independent thinking. Due to the module and coursework structures, we are encouraged to think outside the box and procure innovative solutions to key healthcare issues faced in the world. The emphasis of the programme is really on developing your thoughts and ideas collectively as a group. The collaborative efforts allow for effective brainstorming and encourage you to push your ideas further than you previously imagined. I appreciate the feedback I’ve gotten from lecturers and my fellow peers, as that has shaped the manner in which I approach problems. Having been exposed to the myriad of expertise from my surroundings, I have developed a well-rounded and diverse thought process, exploring ideas from multiple lenses.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

Due to my background in science, the challenge was adopting a commercial mindset instead of a strictly scientific one. I entered the Master’s having just completed my Bachelor’s and therefore had little time to gain commercial experience. Transitioning into thinking strategically was at times challenging. Science is very precise and requires evidence-based solutions, whereas commercial strategy requires a certain level of creativity which I had to quickly learn. Nevertheless, working closely with a cohort which has such diverse experiences helped me alleviate this challenge. The groupwork allows us to exchange expertise when necessary, so we are all developing a new set of skills from this programme. In addition, the programme is structured in a manner such that all students develop commercial acumen prior to delving into health-specific subjects. Thus, everyone is brought up to speed on relevant knowledge.

How have you found the multi-mode teaching delivery?

Imperial must be commended for their efforts to ensure all students obtain the highest level of education possible during these trying times. The College balanced the health of students as well as the university experience through efficient management of multi-mode delivery. Although this is not quite comparable to face-to-face lectures, multi-mode learning has been structured to encourage the social and collaborative aspects to thrive as much as possible. By allowing students to attend on-campus lectures, we have been given the ‘university experience’ as best as can be achieved and I appreciate the in-person teaching with appropriate safety measures in place. When attending lectures online, I never feel disconnected from the class and the professors ensure all students contribute to class discussions equally, regardless of where they are located. Not only do our professors promote online office hours, but they also make themselves available after online lectures, allowing students to feel comfortable reaching out for help when required.

People

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

The MSc International Health Management cohort is truly one of the most diverse and social. With a range of nationalities, we all have unique experiences which makes for exciting conversations during socials. A key attribute of our class is that everyone is willing to share their knowledge, as well as learn from others. We are an incredibly driven and outgoing group, ready to exchange career or study tips. Having such a cohort is a blessing during a pandemic when social isolation has become a key issue. Our Student-Staff Committee leaders ensure that socials take place online or in-person when allowed and we’re eager to explore new places in London.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

It’s difficult to choose! Jeremy Fernando did an amazing job making accounting as interactive and exciting as possible. His passion for the subject translated to the students during his lectures and he is truly a multi-talented lecturer! Another lecturer I truly enjoyed learning from is Dr HeeJung Jung, who leads Entrepreneurship and the Business Plan Competition. Dr Jung’s lectures are a great space for providing ideas and having stimulating discussions on the intricacies of setting up a venture. Her lectures are always interactive, and her questions will always push you to think outside of the box.

Opportunities

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

Being in a student leadership position has revealed an entire network of Business School students whom I might not have met otherwise. As a Student Ambassador, I represent Imperial College Business School on a global scale. I’ve had the unique opportunity of working alongside like-minded individuals at the School and participating in College-wide training events. Not only do I have the ability to contribute marketing material to the Business School, I am also directly available to answer student queries through UniBuddy. As a student leader, I am able to impart my knowledge on a range of topics such as programme content, life as an international student or application tips. It’s been a privilege to be invited to speak on behalf of the Business School at a number of information sessions, where I could provide my perspective on the programme and College experiences. The sessions have been invaluable in allowing me to network with prospective students and guide students who are in the same boat I was a year ago.

I’d highly recommend applying for a student leadership role as it is a rewarding experience where you can make an impact in shaping a prospective student’s future, helping to ensure that their application process is a smooth and enjoyable process.

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

I attended a number of networking events organised by the fantastic Imperial College Business School Careers or Healthcare Career Club. These events enabled me to gain first-hand knowledge from industry experts, while also allowing me to interact with them on a one-to-one basis. The discussions and insights from various companies helped expand my knowledge on industry trends which proved particularly useful for coursework and interview questions. By attending such events, I have had the opportunity to connect with speakers through LinkedIn and solidify my career network.

Have you had opportunities to work/socialise with students across programmes within the Business School?

The Business School organised a large virtual event, ‘Turn The Tables’ during the winter term. During this exclusive event, we had the amazing opportunity to socialise with various students and members of faculty, over dinner and drinks. We were encouraged to prepare dinner and dress up for the occasion, while Zoom breakout rooms provided us with rotating tables. The entire event was an exciting experience and it was great to meet students from across the School so early on in the year. I was lucky enough to be one of the students virtually seated at the Dean’s table, which was truly a privilege.

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

The extensive research and professional community at Imperial allows for collaborative efforts with the wider College. As a result, specialisations are never siloed and interdisciplinary learning is encouraged. Our programme often integrates with the Public Health Master’s and is frequented by various professionals and scientists. The learnings from the programme are often complemented by STEM research taking place at Imperial, especially when it comes to digital innovation and venture initiatives. It’s been a massive advantage learning about healthcare at a university which contributes world-class research, especially during the pandemic.

Career

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

My year at Imperial has really helped shape my career goals — I am eager to remain in the healthcare industry and leverage the communication and analytical skills I have obtained for consulting or sales. I aim to work for a company which lies at the interface of commercial and evidence-based solutions and where innovation is an integral value. Having gained extensive knowledge on digital innovations and the ever-growing role of AI in healthcare throughout the year, I am incredibly keen to apply my learnings to a fast-paced, agile environment. The programme has helped materialise my long-term vision of entering a field where technology is emphasised as a means of transformation, as well as introduce me to the skills necessary to establish my own healthcare venture in the future.

How did the services from Careers help in your professional development/securing employment?

I attended small group activities to refine my interview skills. The career consultants were incredibly helpful in providing frameworks to follow when answering challenging interview questions, while also proactively engaging in practical activities with students. By participating in such activities on a smaller scale, I felt more comfortable to ask questions and learn from my peers. Not only were the consultants open to providing as much material as possible, but also encouraged us to prepare from interviews with them. Having practiced my interview skills in a safe environment, I secured part-time employment at a biotechnology startup.

London Location

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

Being in a global hub for business and innovation, I have benefited from connecting with numerous individuals who are pushing the boundaries in terms of healthcare, which will be invaluable as one moves forward, whether that is in an academic or professional career. Although the pandemic has allowed networking to transcend borders, being established in London still provides me with the opportunity to meet students from all walks of life.

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

I currently reside in Paddington, which is around 20 minutes from the Business School’s South Kensington campus. It’s a great location, as I have Hyde Park on my doorstep, as well as many exciting restaurants near the canal. I also have the opportunity to walk through the park to get to the College, which is a unique perk for central London. It’s a very well-connected area in the sense that most major tube lines operate from the station and there are direct routes to the South Kensington and White City campuses. In addition, being close to a train station allows for quick getaways from the bustling city. You’re only one train ride away from cities like Cardiff or Bath. The station also has a direct train to Heathrow airport, which proved especially convenient as an international student.

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

Living in such an eclectic city, I’m always taking advantage of the variety of cultural and artistic events taking place. I enjoy visiting art galleries and installations, of which London has plenty, due to being a cultural hub. In my free time I’m also eager to get outside and go for walks – there’s always a hidden gem, historic site or park I haven’t been to before! Carving out times for any form of exercising has proved necessary, especially given the many Zoom lectures.

If you had to move to London for the programme, what have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London?

London is an incredibly exciting city to live in as a student, given the multicultural and diverse environment it provides. I’ve had the pleasure of residing in London three years prior to my Master’s and therefore am very familiar with what London has to offer. Throughout these years, I’ve been exposed to multiple cultural experiences, all while never encountering language barriers. London is also an amazing location for securing employment post-graduation, due to it being the financial and now upcoming healthcare hub of the world. While it is filled with the fantastic opportunities, there are also some ‘big city’ challenges that you do need to be prepared for, such as isolation — you need to be proactive with building a social and professional network to ensure that you can really make the most of the cultural and professional experiences that London has to offer.

Tips

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

I attended an on-campus information session, after which I was confident I’d apply to MSc International Health Management. The session provided me with first-hand insights from alumni, while also offering me networking opportunities with the professors, most of whom teach me today. Moreover, I gained a sense of the extensive facilities the Business School had to offer, including state-of-the-art lecture suites and technologically advanced software.

The pandemic may have temporarily suspended on-campus visits, however I highly encourage students to attend information sessions, albeit virtually. They can provide you with answers to questions you might not have had, as well as help shape your opinion on the programme.

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

I would recommend applying to MSc International Health Management if you are sure you have a passion for healthcare and are open to exploring and learning. The programme is built for the curious and those who wish to think outside the box. Even though you may not enter the programme with every skill, you must be open-minded and willing to grow as an individual. I recommend you translate that growth mindset into your personal statement. Lastly, don’t shy away from applying if you don’t have extensive professional experience or vice versa — the programme is designed to allow individuals with all backgrounds to find their footing.

Interested in applying for a scholarship to this programme?

Programme:
MSc International Health Management
Nationality:
Indian
Education:

BSc Molecular Biology, UCL