Benjamin Driffort, MSc International Management 2020-21, student at Imperial College Business School

Programme: MSc International Management

Nationality: French

Education: LLB Law and English, Faculté Libre de Droit et d’Economie-Gestion. Master of Management Studies, Duke University

About you

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

I worked for a year in the fashion and cosmetics industry before starting the programme. More precisely, I was a Brand Manager for a French-Italian startup called Veronica Marucci Chapeaux, and a Commercial & International Trade Marketing Assistant for AMOREPACIFIC, a big Korean corporation. Furthermore, I was an Admissions Ambassador and an Alumni Interviewer for my alma mater, Duke University. Finally, I did a couple of summer internships in labour and corporate law offices during my undergraduate studies.

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

I already had strong academic foundations in business, but I still wanted to broaden my knowledge and horizons. It appeared that the MSc International Management at Imperial College Business School was the perfect fit for me, as it is an advanced, customisable but still general management programme, which is unique in the Master’s in Management landscape. I was attracted by the curriculum, layout and global aspects of the programme, but also by the fact that, overall, there is a strong focus on strategy, technology, finance and innovation. Further, the prospect of being part of the broader Imperial College London was very appealing.

Did you receive a scholarship?

I was fortunate to be awarded the Imperial Business Scholarship, which covers a significant part of my tuition. I am beyond grateful for this award, as scholarships are only awarded to a small number of students. My advice to future scholarship applicants is to take the time to reflect on all their achievements, as the greatest ones are not necessarily the most obvious. Moreover, I would apply to most of the scholarships you are eligible for at Imperial College Business School to increase your visibility. Remember that a merit-based scholarship often raises the attention of employers and can be a great asset during job interviews!


What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy the most?

I really enjoy the duality of the programme in terms of teaching, as theory and practice are perfectly balanced. While acquiring advanced theoretical frameworks in class, we have to apply them on real-life consulting projects and deliverables for international corporations, such as Procter & Gamble. I also like the fact that we are able to choose from a wide range of electives, able to go study abroad, and that everyone knows each other as the cohort is relatively small.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

I really enjoyed the first phase of the Leadership in Action module taught by Dr Sankalp Chaturvedi, which is unique to the programme. We had a very insightful field trip involving horses, which allowed me to learn about leadership and management from my classmates in a very unusual way. Overall, the module allows students to reflect on what kind of managers they are, as well as what kind of managers they want and don’t want to become. I also really enjoyed the examples given in class which made the module lively and accessible.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

The most rewarding part of the programme so far has been the LatAm project week. Each team is assigned a consulting project to advise a real firm in Latin America. My teammates and I had the chance to work with Willka T’ika, a luxury wellness resort in the Sacred Valley of Peru. We felt very close to the client who made himself available and we are very proud of the work we produced. We hope to visit the resort when the situation gets better as the owner has welcomed us to!

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

The most challenging part of the programme has been the whole month of February as we have a lot of work going on between Leadership in Action Phase II, Innovation and Technology Strategy and Advanced Corporate Finance. It required a lot of patience, hard work, team-spirit and organisational skills but getting through it was ultimately rewarding.

How have you found the multi-mode teaching delivery?

I found that the multi-mode teaching delivery was well handled. In fact, we had two to three days of face-to-face classes a week, and we could take the rest of the classes from home or from campus in a working space which was a good alternative to stay focused and engaged.


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

I am honestly impressed every day by my classmates, and I must say the cohort is very homogeneous in terms of skills, but very diverse in terms of personalities and backgrounds. There are always opportunities to learn inside and outside of the classroom. I would say that the overall level is very high since most students come from very prestigious academic and professional institutions, in addition to speaking several languages and being very open-minded and multicultural.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

I really enjoyed the way Dr Christiane Bode taught us Competitive and Corporate Strategy. She made the concepts very clear and the lectures were always lively and fun. She was passionate about her subject and demonstrated effectively that the module’s frameworks were applicable in various real-life business situations. I also really enjoyed the Organisational Behaviour module taught by Dr Mark Kennedy.


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

There have been many opportunities since I joined Imperial, but I would say that one of the most galvanising experiences has been to work on a group project for Procter & Gamble within the framework of the Innovation and Technology Strategy module. In the end, we had to find two innovative products in a given sector and present them in front of Procter & Gamble representatives, which was challenging and valuable.

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

I am a Student Ambassador which is a really rewarding position. Working with the team is always pleasant and applicants come with very interesting questions. I am glad that I can help!

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

I had many opportunities to work and network with other students across programmes during career workshops, management electives, and online events organised by clubs. Other than that, I am often on campus, which is a good way to meet different people while respecting social distancing, and finally, I got to socialise in a more casual way before lockdown when 568 (the student union bar) was open.

How have you benefited from the Business School’s connection to the Imperial College London community?

There are many opportunities to connect to the broader Imperial College London community. All College clubs (some very fun, such as the Harry Potter Society), and the majority of career events are opened to Business School students, and some of my classmates took the opportunity to be mentors for undergraduate students across the College.


What are your future career goals?

In the near future, I would like to work as an area or key-account manager for a distribution agency promoting French luxury niche brands (preferably high perfumery) in the United Kingdom and beyond.

How did the services from Careers help you in your professional development?

Careers helped me tailor my CV & cover letters in accordance with the expectations of the market and the corporate world in the UK, which made a real difference as I was not aware of everything. It was also beneficial to receive feedback from multiple people as there is an impressive number of careers consultants available at the Business School. Eventually, I learned a great deal about the expectations of specific companies/sectors, which helped me reflect on what was and was not for me.

London Location

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

I live in private accommodation in South Kensington, a five-minute walk from the College. I chose to live there so I would not have to take public transport to go to class during the pandemic, and also because it is a lovely and enjoyable neighbourhood to live in and study. South Kensington is very central: everything is just a tube ride away, Hyde Park is next door, and the museums, shops and restaurants are great!

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

Before lockdown, I spent most of my time hanging out with my MSc International Management friends as we really enjoy exploring London and everything it has to offer. Because of the COVID restrictions, I like to explore the city on my own and I spend my spare time reading, watching television, playing Among Us with my cohort and waiting for everything to go back to normal.

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

Moving to London was easier than I thought as there is plethora of real estate agencies which don’t charge fees. Thus, you can visit multiples flats very easily and once you have made your choice, the paperwork is not heavy. However, my advice would be to make sure to visit before making a decision. Typically, students would come a week or two before the programme starts and find housing within this time frame—searching too far upstream is not necessary. Also, I would recommend living close to campus as rent tends to be similar in Central London.


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

I did not attend any webinars before applying but I attended online events for admitted students, which I found very helpful and informative.

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

My advice for applicants to MSc International Management is to think that their differences are their most valuable strengths. The application standards are very high, and differentiating yourself in a mass of excellent applicants through your history and ambitions will really increase your chances of getting an interview, and eventually getting in. Think about your professional and personal goals and how the programme can help you reach them. It will help you confirm that this programme is a good match, and emphasising it in your essays will certainly help you stand out.

Interested in applying for a scholarship to this programme?

Programme: MSc International Management

Nationality: French

Education: LLB Law and English, Faculté Libre de Droit et d’Economie-Gestion. Master of Management Studies, Duke University