Juan Camilo Vargas Zambrano
MSc International Health Management 2015
Programme studied: MSc International Health Management
Undergraduate degree: Doctor of Medicine, Universidad de Los Andes
Employment prior to studying at the Business School: Research Assistant, Laboratorio Ciencias Basicas Medicas
Employment after studying at the Business School: Future Leader Programme Associate R&D Vaccine, GSK.
Why did you choose to study your programme and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
Before joining Imperial College Business School I studied medicine and epidemiology and I realised I wanted to complement my health sciences studies with a management degree as I was looking to be able not only to understand science, but also have a business perspective. This with the aim of making a career change. I decided to study at the Business School for many reasons. At the time the most important was the prestige of Imperial College throughout the world, which was also related to the quality of education. Other factors I took into account were the employability of alumni of the programme, the companies and sectors for which they were working and also the duration of the programme.
What advice would you give to a prospective student considering studying the same programme as you?
I would recommend them to think beyond the programme and take in the bigger picture. It is going to take a year or more depending where they decide to do it. Hence, the environment around the university and extra activities on offer are very important. For most of the students this programme is used as a platform for either changing career prospect or gaining more knowledge on management in a healthcare environment. In any case it is not the programme itself that will do the trick but also being in a city as London where opportunities are endless and having different clubs in Imperial that allow you to develop soft and even hard skills needed for the job. Also, I would recommend considering the city where the programme is held, as there is a life after classes and in my opinion living in London made it a hugely positive experience.
How did you find living in London?
I loved living in London! It is an incredible city with many activities to do. For me it was wonderful being able to have the option to see most of my favourite music bands live, also the option to go to different sporting events for all tastes such as premier league, Wimbledon and so on. Although people complain about the weather it was not that bad!
What was the Business School community like?
The Business School community was privileged to have its own building at Imperial which allowed students from all programmes to be at the same place which helped meeting new people, although most of the time I spent it with my classmates. Nonetheless, everyone in the Business School was very friendly and helpful all the times.
What was a typical day the Business School like?
During term the days were divided in three areas: lectures, group work and individual time, not necessarily in that order. Usually I had 2 or 4 hours of lectures per day, and before or after that I usually had meetings with my syndicate group as a large part of the work during the term is related to group work. Finally there were a lot of events, almost daily offered by the Business School or other Imperial-related organisations to attend in the evenings
What do you enjoy most about your work and what are the main challenges that you face?
What currently I enjoy the most about my work is the possibility to have an overview across the different parts of a pharmaceutical company which will allow me to have a bigger picture of it. This is also related to the fact that I have met people from all departments that probably being in a specific department would not allow me. The main challenge that I face is due to the nature of the job, every 6 months I change and I have to start in a new area, sometimes with no previous experience which forces me to learn fast in order to keep up.
In what way is remaining connected to your alumni network important to you?
It is important to keep in contact with the alumni network, first I made good friends in the programme but also as I have learnt in order to be able to grow both professionally and personally it is important to have a good network which I did at Imperial. This is very important for job opportunities as good vacancies might never be posted and be missed due to the fact of not knowing the right people.
Have you taken advantage of any of the lifelong learning opportunities offered to you as an alumni benefit? Why is it important to you to continue your learning journey?
So far the only lifelong learning opportunities that I have taken are webinars offered to alumni almost on weekly basis. I found them very useful as they tackle work-related topics that I confront on a daily basis and that I was unaware of until I began working in a big company. I consider this very important in my journey as they help me to be updated on what’s going on around me and also to continue fostering curiosity.