BA Business Management & Economics, Rollins College
Vice President of Operations, Sagea Technologies
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
During my undergraduate career, I worked in my freshman year (Summer 2014) as an Assistant to the Nursing Informatics Department at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida. I then joined Tiffany & Co. as a Seasonal Sales Associate for the next two years until graduation (Spring 2017).
In my senior year, I joined a team of developers and business strategists to found a blockchain start-up called Sagea. Sagea is the world’s first open, decentralised autonomous society, empowering people everywhere to connect, invest, and grow their local resources together.
Why did you decide to study MSc International Health Management at Imperial College Business School?
I always tell the story of my parents encouraging me my entire life to follow in my dad’s footsteps and become a doctor, until one day I turned around and told him I wanted to be his boss. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Imperial’s MSc International Health Management programme was the perfect opportunity to begin my career and take the next step to make that possible.
I choose Imperial specifically for a few reasons: its reputation, its network, and most importantly, its emphasis on intelligent business. Traditional approaches to business management are quickly becoming outdated, and I was excited for the opportunity to join the next generation of leaders in preparing for the direction our world is headed. I’m happy to say that Imperial delivered far beyond my expectations.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?
The most rewarding aspect of the programme was our Consulting Project during the summer term. I joined about a dozen students from our programme chosen to work with GE Healthcare to create an adaptable blueprint for a symptomatic post-cancer care centre in the United States. It was an incredible opportunity to take all of the lessons we learned throughout the year about global business strategy, strategic marketing, entrepreneurship and financing and put it into practice.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
Health Informatics was my favourite module because it offered a perfect blend of innovative thinking, practical business solutions, and outstanding teaching. Dr. Melek is one of the most intelligent, supportive professors I have had the pleasure of learning from, and future students should take every opportunity to engage with him both inside and outside of lectures.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
The most challenging part of the programme has to have been group work, but only because it requires you to work closely with individuals from different professional and educational backgrounds, cultures, and age groups. It was the part of the programme where I learned the most about how to interact, engage, and collaborate with individuals from all around the world. This is arguably the most important quality a business professional can have when moving forward with their career so, while it can be challenging at times, it’s important to learn from the people around you.
Did you attend an international trip? How was it beneficial to you?
I was one of six students from the Business School invited by the UAE Prime Minister’s Office to represent Imperial College Business School in the Global Universities Challenge at the World Government Summit in Dubai.
The Summit provides a platform for students from top universities, government officials, and industry and world leaders to interact and engage in meaningful dialogue about the future of global governments. The event itself is visionary and incredible in its own regard for the social impact it facilitates but, from a business student perspective, here are three reasons why you should apply to attend if given the opportunity:
- Guest speakers
Here are a few of the many incredible speakers at this year’s Summit:
- Jim Kim, President of the World Bank
- Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- Alexander Stubb, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank and Former Prime Minister of Finland
- Deepak Chopra, Political Scientist and Author
- Ariana Huffington, Co-Founder of the Huffington Post
- Robert De Niro, Actor
This year’s summit explored vital future topics including artificial intelligence, space colonisation, youth and happiness, climate change and the Global Policy Platform.
- Networking opportunities
There is an incredible buffet of global cuisines outside each session over which attendees and speakers can chat. Imagine standing in line for ‘WGS’-themed macaroons and Robert De Niro asks you to hand him a napkin. That happened, but out of all the times I’ve said, “you talkin’ to me?” in his voice, I forgot to do it then. I gave the man his napkin. The point is: network, network, network. You never know who could be standing right behind you.
- Public speaking
It’s not often that you’re surrounded by people of the calibre you are at the Summit. If you’re lucky enough to attend, talk to everyone. Each and every person I spoke to had an incredible story and, in my case, I was fresh out of college and nervous to come across as underwhelming to people who had spent their entire lives making an impact in their respective industries. I forced myself to get rid of the ‘impostor syndrome’ I was feeling after the first day and found the confidence in my own experiences and ability to speak to everyone. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice your public speaking in class, but take this opportunity to take your public speaking to the next level.
Attending the World Government Summit was the most inspirational and influential experience of my life, bar none, so I cannot stress enough how much I encourage future students to apply and prepare for this opportunity.
Find out more information about the World Government Summit’s 2018 Global Universities Challenge here.
How do you describe your cohort at Imperial?
Friends for life.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
Baggy, our Programme Director, was our best friend. There’s that saying: “Some people light up a room when they walk in, and others when they walk out.” Baggy would walk in and the whole class would be beaming. Anything we needed, we knew we could always go to her for guidance.
Also, as mentioned above, Dr. Melek is one of the most intelligent and supportive professors I have had the pleasure of learning from.
Imperial places a large emphasis on group work; what did you like the most about working in this type of environment?
We were randomly sorted into groups during the Autumn and Spring terms and allowed to choose our own groups for the Summer term. I remember being frustrated not being able to work with the people I wanted to work with – my friends and other students I had met during the first few months that I thought I’d work well with – but reflecting now, it was indirectly the greatest lesson I could come away with. “This is how the real world works.” It was the most cliché response to my frustration, but it turned out to be absolutely right.
The people I never dreamed of working well together with are the same people who camped out in the library with me to finish an assignment. The people I never imagined I’d be friends with are the same people I now consider life-long friends.
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?
Student leadership is the greatest opportunity for incoming students in all the ways you’d expect and more. Every opportunity I was afforded after the first month of being at Imperial came not just out of my involvement in, but engagement with student leadership.
One of the best memories I have from being a part of student leadership activities was going out to dinner with the Dean, Associate Deans, and the Deans’ Student Advisory Council. When I was applying to Imperial, I never imagined I’d have the chance to work so closely with, nonetheless get to know more personally, the higher-ups at the university. I especially never thought they would be so friendly, engaging and willing to listen. Students have so much power at the Business School. Our voice truly matters, and the greatest opportunity for any incoming student is to make their voice heard.
Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
I organised an ‘Open Forum’ and ‘Feedback Workshop’ at the end of the year. It was open to the entire business school and helped the Deans’ Student Advisory Council better understand what students loved, what they would have loved to see done differently, and most importantly suggestions or tweaks to the student experience that could have made their academic, social, career, and societal engagement experience this year better. We transformed the feedback from this session into detailed initiatives to better equip next year’s student leaders with the tools necessary to initiate meaningful change across the Business School. Our goal was to close the feedback loop – asking what students wanted and what we could do to make it happen.
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial? Do you hold a student leadership position?
I was elected the Chair of my MSc International Health Management programme at the beginning of the year by my cohort of 70 students and joined both the Staff-Student Committee and the Deans’ Student Advisory Council. The Council is made up of the Chairs of each of the 16 programmes throughout the Business School, our Associate Deans, Edgar Meyer and Leila Guerra, and our Student Experience Manager, Julia McShane.
The Deans’ Student Advisory Council is the highest level of leadership in the Business School and is dedicated to embodying “intelligent business” by building on the pillars of servant-leadership — service of our students, faculty and staff, service of our reputation locally, regionally and globally, and service of our commitment to sustaining, improving and adapting to change.
Under Mobeen Iqbal’s leadership, we reformatted how the Council was structured this year to introduce Deputy Chairs of Academics, Careers, Socials and Societal Engagement. Each Deputy Chair was responsible for their respective role across the Business School. I was chosen to serve as the Deputy Chair of Academics, leading the academic leaders of each programme to indicate areas for improvement and organising long-term initiatives to further solidify Imperial’s position as a globally ranked academic institution.
After a few months, I took over for Mobeen as Chair of the Council. He continued to serve as our Advisor and as my mentor, offering his experiences for guidance and his advice on current and future initiatives. My vision as Chair has been to serve as the liaison between this year’s leaders and the next – to empower students to take control of their experience at Imperial and to create a clean cycle of communication between student leadership. One major initiative launched under my leadership has been the ‘Handover Process,’ establishing clear guidelines for student leaders to communicate best practice from one year to the next and creating a legacy of servant-leadership within the Business School.
How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?
Students across all programmes share a desire to interact, engage and collaborate with the wider Imperial College London community. My experience with student leadership has not only expanded my network across different specialties and disciplines, but has also enabled me to transform the student experience at our university – to become an agent of change.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
I’ve established various short-term and long-term goals to secure my dream career of becoming CEO of a healthcare network by the age of 30.
Our world is on the brink of a technological revolution which will transform the way we work, interact, and connect with people all around the world – each advancement takes us one step closer to becoming a global village, and together trigger the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution. Healthcare as an industry has historically been slow to adopt these advancements, but the lessons I’ve learned from Health Informatics have convinced me of healthcare’s potential for exponential technological growth to increase patient outcomes and quality of life, and to meet the relevant sustainable development goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations. Specifically, data security and mass adoption of artificial intelligence will alter the paradigm of healthcare delivery, integration and innovation.
To prepare myself for this transformation, I have become involved in pioneering a blockchain based start-up which will revolutionise the way people interact, transact and engage with their communities. My involvement with this project has provided me with the skillset, knowledge and capabilities necessary to bring healthcare organisations a fresh perspective on best practices for patient-centred design thinking.
Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?
I serve as the Vice President of Operations for Sagea Technologies, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organisation and researching new technologies and alternative methods of efficiency. I have collaborated with business developers and strategists to develop a launch plan for the Orlando, Florida area and am currently working with my team on designing a strategy to achieve critical mass and global roll out by 2020.
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?
There’s no better place to establish your network and begin your career than London. My exposure to life in the city that never sleeps has been nothing short of extraordinary, and Imperial’s location in the heart of it all has made my experience unforgettable. The Business School’s reputation and relationships with top employers make it the perfect place for students seeking a competitive edge.
The Business School is incredibly selective, and its small class sizes enable students not only to collaborate closely with one another but also to engage in meaningful dialogue with guest speakers – in my case, with pioneers in the healthcare industry.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I lived in a student accommodation right outside of central London: The Nido Collection in West Hampstead. I choose to live there because it is conveniently located near local grocery stores and shopping centres, restaurants and cafes, and most importantly a two-minute walk from the underground and overground stations, and Thameslink. Wherever you choose to live, my biggest advice is to live as close as possible to transportation services. Beware of black cabs: if they notice you’re not from around here, there’s a big chance they’re going to take you on the scenic route. I learned that the hard way.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time in London? Have you had opportunities to travel?
Most of my spare time in London was spent with friends I made on the programme. During winter holidays, I explored Spain, Ireland and the Netherlands. If you visit Ireland, you can’t miss the Cliffs of Moher. Remember that beautiful scene in Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince when Dumbledore told Harry to obey his every command right before they teleported to the Horcrux Cave? That scene was shot at the Cliffs of Moher.
What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?
London is an expensive city to live in. The best way to save money is to focus on the little things you can do to avoid unnecessary spending.
Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions?
Before applying, read all the information about the programme, the Business School and opportunities to apply for student leadership came directly from the university’s website. I was home in Orlando when applying, so I wasn’t able to attend any on-campus information sessions, but I’d definitely recommend prospective students explore the campus. For international students, I know that online webinars worked great in answering any questions prospective students had before applying to the Business School.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
The best advice I can give to incoming students is to shape your own experience at the Business School. If you have a question, ask. If you have an idea, bring it to life. Don’t rely on the university’s reputation to land you your dream job or to connect you with the perfect network. The Imperial brand will always be there, but set yourself apart. Focus on your personal brand. Always ask yourself what you can do to gain a competitive edge over your peers, and create a series of short-term goals that you can look back at when the year finishes. It’ll be over before you know it, so make sure you have an amazing story to tell.