Samir Ballouz

Samir Ballouz

Studying at Imperial College Business School

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

As a nurse by profession, I recognised that my background lacks in management, marketing and finance foundations. A Master of Science in International Health Management not only developed these foundations, but also propelled me to the next phase of my career. I recently transitioned from bedside care to the position of Trauma Coordinator at the American University Beirut, in which I acquired management skills by experience in a large organisation. This move made me realise that in order to truly foster growth and advancement, I will need further my formal education in the subject. My long term goal is to become a leader and pioneer in the healthcare industry and to do so i’ll need to strengthen my management skills in a manner that relates directly to the unique characteristics of healthcare that set it apart from different industries.

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

I believe that the structured formal healthcare management education I’ll be able to acquire at Imperial College Business School will not only broaden my perspective, but also give me necessary tools to leverage my current experience as a nurse and programme coordinator. Though an MBA might give me a structured way to learn how to build organisational values, and design organisational hierarchies, there is a definite added value having a curriculum enriched with a focus on innovations and trends in healthcare. The Imperial College’s strong ties with industry leaders in healthcare advisory would also be a great advantage when seeking employment post-graduation.

What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy?

The most enjoyable aspect of the programme would be the hands on approach that lecturers employed when going through modules.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

Time management of not just myself but others as well. The syndicate group structure of work exposed me to different work styles and approaches and pushed me to balance both flexibility and firmness and being able to discern when to act upon two sides of that coin.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

Recognition from peers and professors on strong efforts and a job well done.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

The Entrepreneurship module pushed me and my peers to get out of our comfort zones and made me truly appreciate the challenges and excitement that come with starting your own business. The module gave me a platform to simulate how salient my ideas and creativity can really be in a real world scenario and judged upon realistic achievable goals and merits.

Guest speakers

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

There were several panels and guest lectures across the year from different speakers. The most interesting ones that I decided to engage with were talks held by the Centre for Mathematics of Precision Healthcare as well as panels held by tech experts in Block Chain Technology and how it can impact other sectors.

The faculty

How would you sum up the Business School faculty?

Open, friendly and available. The door always felt open for guidance and they are genuinely interested and invested in my path.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

Very difficult to answer as each professor brought a different work ethic and discipline towards their respective topics.

Your cohort

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

Coming from previous industry work, I found it very beneficial for anyone interested in developing their team building skills and capabilities.

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

I’ll be missing everyone. I felt I was truly fortunate that even at a well-sized cohort of 70 people, I can say that I knew everyone and we were all fortunate to have each other for company for the past year.

Extracurricular activities

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

I was part of the Imperial Table-top Gaming society and attended events held by other societies such as the Film Society and the Shooting Club.

Opportunities from studying at Imperial

What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial that you wouldn’t get anywhere else?

In a nutshell, the people. The modules were fantastic, but being at Imperial in this point in time has been amazing for me. It has offered me perspective as well as an appreciation of the state of the industry and my position in it.

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

Simply dropping the Imperial name has opened up doors when it comes to introducing myself or reaching out to older contacts. Within the community itself there are experts in every imaginable field and I now feel I truly have authentic experience that has given me access to future endeavours and projects.

Career goals and jobs

How have you benefited from the services provided by the Career and Professional Development Service?

I have been able to polish my CV and cover letters, simulate assessment centres and done mock interviews to prepare me for upcoming job interviews.

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

I intend to find employment in either a non-governmental organisation or a consultation firm that has specific projects and interests in restructuring and/or overhauling the health care infrastructures in the Middle East, specifically in under-served areas and populations. There are currently a lot of initiatives in my home country working on health development and sustainability and feel I am well positioned to assist on them.

Life as a student in London

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

I live on Fulham Road, and choose the location as it was a laid back quiet area with easy link to the School.

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

Weekends are usually spent doing non-academic activities. After chores and errands are out there’s never a dull moment in London with ongoing festivals and activities year round. My personal go to areas are Peckham and Brixton.

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?

Moving around the city was easy, and there are a wealth of resources available in finding the right accommodation. It helped to plan as much as possible early and giving myself enough time to settle down prior to starting the programme. I would advise arriving at least two weeks earlier and not to get disheartened if booked viewings for apartments were gone. If you can, living within a 20-30 minute walking distance from Imperial makes the commute a lot more pleasant in the morning.

Advice for future students

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

Apply early as Imperial has a quick turnaround time. This will give you ample time to prepare for the upcoming year in case you were moving in.

Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online or on campus information sessions? Did you find these a useful part of the recruitment process? Would you recommend that prospective students attend these events?

I recall taking part in one online session and found it useful in specific questions I had for the programme.

MSc International Health Management 2016-17

Nationality: Lebanese / Filipino

Pre-MSc International Health Management: BSc. Nursing at American University of Beirut

Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Trauma Program Coordinator