BA Sociology minoring in Business, University of California San Diego
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
I’ve held several internship positions as well as a teaching position during my undergraduate career. I worked within the strategic planning team of a digital marketing agency in Malaysia, brainstorming with the team to curate campaign proposals and then presenting them to clients. I also worked as a management consulting intern where I worked within the Change Management team in acclimatising users to the newly upgraded trade management system. Throughout this time, I not only learned a lot about the industry I worked in, I also had the opportunity of speaking to many C-suite level stakeholders and participate in scenario planning meetings. Lastly, I worked for two years as a teaching assistant for a business course. In this position, I mentored a diverse group of students as well as networked with other professors within the business school.
Why did you decide to study MSc International Management at Imperial College Business School?
I’ve always known that I wanted to enter the business realm in my career. Having pursued a degree in sociology in my undergraduate studies, I decided to pursue a Master’s in International Management to enhance my knowledge within the business context so that I’m able to enter the workforce with rich knowledge and exposure in the business world, paired with the skills I picked up from sociology.
Did you receive a scholarship?
Yes, I received the Brilliant Minds Scholarship. This helped me in the financial aspect of furthering my studies and especially because I was moving to London for this Master’s, it helped reduce the financial constraints of moving to a new country.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy the most?
I especially enjoy the diversity of our cohort. I’ve met people from different parts of the world who have themselves lived outside of their own home countries. In some sense, I think that we are all people with desires to live abroad and learn from international experiences, and our differences were what really bonded us.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
My favourite module was Competitive and Corporate Strategy taught by Dr Christiane Bode. A huge reason for that being my favourite module is because of how engaging Dr Bode was throughout the module. A second reason the module was so memorable is that it addressed the impact businesses can have on its environment beyond just making profits – a topic that I’ve developed a lot of interest for.
What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?
The most rewarding part of the program would have to be the international trip we took to Brazil/India*. Coming to the tail end of our programme, I think that was definitely a highlight for me and an opportunity I wouldn’t have gotten in another programme at the Business School.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
I think that the most challenging part of the programme was how much grades depended on group work. Just with any group work and working within teams, people have different priorities and working styles. It was definitely challenging to have to navigate through so much uncertainty as I worked with different people in different groups while ensuring that we do the best we can to attain good results. This group work foreshadows the types of obstacles one would face as they venture into the real world of business.
How was the Leadership in Action module and international trip* to Bangalore/São Paolo beneficial to you?
The Leadership in Action module and the international trip was beneficial in the aspect that both activities are curated to build global leaders. As we head into globalisation and our society becomes even more interconnected, it is important for students to recognise that different problems arise across different geographies. I think that the exposure that the international trip gives students is a unique opportunity. For me personally, has empowered me to do more and think beyond my own circle and perspective.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
We had a small and diverse cohort. At first, our differences definitely hindered us from becoming close, but after interacting with one another, I think we all became comfortable with one another and learned to become curious about people different from us. That was what was special about our cohort and what brought us closer together.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
I don’t think I have one particular favourite professor, but Tommaso Valetti, Christiane Bode, and Nelson Phillips are amongst my list of top lecturers! They each offered a good balance between their own real work experience and theories from the textbook. I think presenting a theory and then backing it up with examples is an excellent teaching method and was what drew me to these faculty members. Further, they all trusted us as graduate students, were super approachable and genuinely cared about student success.
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?
The opportunity of travelling to Sao Paolo, Brazil and conducting a consulting project for a local company there was definitely one of the highlights of my time at Imperial. If not for the programme, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity of travelling to Brazil, working there, and experiencing the culture of the city.
Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
I particularly loved the guest speaker we had during our Competitive and Corporate Strategy class. We had a consultant come in from Mind Gym, which is a consulting company focused on using behavioural science in their consulting strategies. I was blown away by this speaker because of my own personal interests and it was very reassuring to know that there are companies out there who are focusing on similar interests to me.
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?
I joined a couple of student organisations such as the Consulting Club and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club. These clubs have provided a lot of resources for students to take advantage of, whether it is for networking or for building new skills.
Have you had opportunities to work/socialise with students across programmes within the Business School?
I’ve met a couple of friends from different programmes through various networking events as well as school functions, such as the Natural History Museum welcome party.
How have you found the unprecedented switch to remote delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely brought upon an unprecedented change for everybody. With that, everyone has done what they think is best to adapt to the situation. At the same time, it’s natural for it to feel like there is more that could have been done. For example, Imperial has done a fair job in moving all classes to remote delivery. However, an aspect that I wish was addressed more during the transition was the mental health of students during this transition. At the same time, because it is everyone’s first time dealing with a pandemic of this scale, no one can be faulted for not addressing every need that seems dire. If anything, this pandemic has really showcased the need for creating human-centred solutions, because at the end of the day, humans are the ones impacted by these solutions.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
At Imperial I’ve been exposed to different industries and career paths. Having been interested in the people aspect of businesses, I’ve definitely become more interested in curating business strategies that are more sustainable, not just in terms of maintaining a bottom line, but also in terms of creating a business model that benefits the stakeholders of the business such as the environment, the supply chain, and consumers. I’ve been privileged with a good and reputable education. I’ve only become more empowered to use this education and knowledge for the betterment of our society and I aim to do so using businesses as a conduit to that goal.
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?
I think that London and its infrastructure provides ease of access to different companies around the city. In that sense, students get a wider exposure to the industries that they are interested in. For example, I had the opportunity to visit the Salesforce office at Liverpool Street and the Capgemini office at Holborn for networking sessions. I know that these opportunities would not have as easily been possible if I hadn’t attended a school in London.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I live close to Regent’s Park. I chose the location based on what was available at my budget as well as how close it was located to a tube station or bus stop. It was, also a five-minute walk from the park, which was definitely a plus for me!
When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?
When I’m not studying, I like to be meeting up with friends and exploring different coffee places. I like to also visit farmer’s markets or visit bookstores whenever I have some time on the weekends.
If you had to move to London for the programme, what have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London?
I think that moving to London is an opportunity that people should seize if and when presented to them. The city offers a rich diversity of people as well as activities. I don’t think that there has really been a time where I’ve run out of things I could be doing. But of course, there are always downsides to everything. For me, I didn’t realise how the buzzing city would affect my mental state. I think it’s so easy to get into the flow of doing everything at such a fast pace, just like the rest of the city, people may get carried away with trying to do too much at a time. My advice for someone moving into the city for the first time is to have a list of things to do or places to visit, gather friends that may be interested in exploring the city too, and space these activities out throughout the weekends or your days off. And remember not to try to do everything at once!
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
I think that all students should really think about what they are trying to gain out of the programme as well as what it has to offer. MSc International Management is geared toward people who not only want a career in business, but also well suited for those who are passionate about becoming a global leader, working in different working conditions and environments. Secondarily, it’s important to consider what a place like London can give you outside of school. As mentioned, living in London is an opportunity that people should definitely try if they’re able to. I am grateful for the opportunity to live in London and it’s an experience that I’ll remember for a long time.
*Previous classes travelled to Brazil and India with the Leadership in Action module. The future locations students will travel to on the module are not confirmed.