Kristie Chiew

Kristie Chiew

Academic and industry experience before Imperial

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

I was a sub-editor (working on editing and layout design) at a local publishing house in Singapore. I later joined the National Heart Centre Singapore’s (a national specialist centre for cardiovascular health) corporate development department.

Studying MSc International Health Management

Why did you decide to study an MSc in International Health Management and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?

I am passionate and committed to positively contribute to the healthcare scene. I believe that exceptional medical care is everyone’s right and basic necessity of society. As an international student who has travelled extensively, I have seen, first-hand, the need for change in the healthcare standards in Thailand, Malaysia and China. Even in Singapore, there are still improvements to be made. Hospitals are overflowing and struggling to cope with modern burdens such as chronic illnesses stemming from lifestyle choices.

Imperial College Business School’s International Health Management Programme combines the theory-heavy content like, economics, management and organistional behaviour, with an application into the healthcare industry. Our professors are well-read, respected and relevant, both in their knowledge and research. This relevance is particularly important when guiding us through an industry as fast-paced as healthcare.

What makes the MSc International Health Management at Imperial College Business School unique?

The fact that the MSc International Health Management is a business degree, applicable in a health context, gives the programme a unique insight into healthcare management. This management perspective is particularly important, as very often, we can miss details in the very fine line between a healthcare worker and a healthcare manager. We are constantly reminded to think like managers or consultants — from the get go, and are thrown into the deep end. This programme is one that values critical thinking and independent learning, which is more similar to the industry than a research-based programme that perhaps places a greater onus on rote learning.

What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?

Aside from the insightful programme content, I found the diverse nature of the programme the most rewarding. My peers come from across the globe, and we are a very international cohort (representing over 30 nations!). This allows the horizons of our discussions (in and out of the classroom) to be broadened by our pooled experience.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

Definitely the group work element! Imperial is a top university, and everyone who comes into the programme is largely high-achieving — And as with any bunch of high-achieving, driven, bright students, opinions can fly high and sometimes tempers can flare. Still, working together has taught us all how to collaborate and be patient! I can’t speak for the rest of my class, but I’ve definitely mellowed out a whole lot over this year, and also learnt to trust my colleagues.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

Health informatics and Health economics, no doubt. To me, they were the most challenging of all the modules and having no experience with informatics and economics, I found them the most insightful and fulfilling. Health Economics in particular required us to complete an economic evaluation, comparing procedures from scratch, and the satisfaction you get upon completing that evaluation is just unbelievable!

Guest speakers

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

We’ve had several career events during the year, where current industry players come in to talk to us about future options upon graduation — I came to Imperial with a job lined up at home, but I know that several of my coursemates found those lectures particularly insightful.

The faculty

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

Yes – HeeJung, our entrepreneurship lecturer is my definite favourite! She’s very bright and extremely funny. She has always been very open and honest with us about her experiences and sharing from her mistakes and successes. We had to do a business plan for our final project with her, and she was very, very supportive during the process. It was also fantastic that she never sugar-coated her words — we appreciated her honesty and valued her opinion highly.

Your cohort

Imperial places a large emphasis on group work, what did you like the most about working in this type of environment?

If you get a good group, it can be a great learning experience and you make life-long friends. If you get a bad group…. It is still a learning experience, you just learn different things (like staying optimistic and learning to tell yourself that there is light at the end of the tunnel).

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

It’s interesting to be working with such a diverse group. Our cohort is not too big, and while there are small groups of closer friends, most of us are also very close to the entire class. We have a giant group chat that gets hilariously hectic. All in all, the classmates you have will really make or break your experience; I’m extremely lucky to have been in such an excellent, fun-loving cohort.

Extracurricular activities

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

I’m a student ambassador for my cohort, and that’s given me opportunities to interact with incoming students and applicants. I’d say surviving the Imperial experience makes me qualified to talk about it right? I am also a student blogger for Imperial.

Life as a student in London

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

I live in a private student accommodation studio in Hammersmith (Pure Student Living). I actually chose this place over Gradpad due to it’s proximity to the tube station. I also love the Hammersmith area, with it’s shops, bars and cute cafes. Hammersmith is also really close to the river, and I love being really close that little bit of nature. However, I wouldn’t recommend living here very highly (aside from building issues) — living in a studio alone can be very isolating. If possible, link up and get to know your future classmates. Getting a shared apartment with good living areas can definitely be less claustrophobic and make your experience more social.

What can a weekend in London look like for an MSc student?

You’ll never be bored in London! The city is vibrant and filled with things to do. What I love most about this city is the fact that it’s very affordable to get out of the city for a day or for a weekend. Most of my weekends are spent eating out, going out to the country for day trips, hanging about London’s many museums, or catching last minute ticket deals to see musicals.

If you had to move to London for the programme, what have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?

Definitely start thinking about accommodation early, and don’t try and pack your whole life to London. Come with necessities and buy what you need here.

Advice for future students

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

Thinking of applying? Stop thinking and just apply now! In your application, focus on your personal statement, as this gives your future lecturer a glimpse of you as a person and what drives your motivations. Also, don’t worry so much about not being able to handle the content once you’re given an offer. The programme isn’t designed to fail you, and lecturers and professors are all here to help you through any potential difficulties.

MSc International Health Management 2016-17

Nationality: Singaporean

Pre-MSc International Health Management: History and Political Science at University of Western Australia

Job secured after programme: Corporate Development at National Heart Centre Singapore

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