Jacqueline Burks
Jacqueline Burks is an MSc Management class of 2018 student. After graduating from Imperial College Business School, Jacqueline accepted a role as Management Consulting Analyst, Accenture.

About you

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

Before joining Imperial, I worked for two years in New York City in Market Research/Behavioural Economics and then one year freelancing out of Frankfurt, Germany. While I really enjoyed what I did while in research, I knew I wanted to change careers in order to get into the more strategic side of business through management. I didn’t have enough work experience to feel ready for an MBA, so the MSc Management programme was the perfect opportunity to pivot my early-stage career.

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

Because I worked for a few years before applying for my Master’s, I knew that I wanted to be able to leave the programme with not just theory but also with skills that are directly applicable to my future career. The main advantage for me is that the Imperial’s MSc Management combines theoretical and practical knowledge in an environment that values technology and entrepreneurship. With this is mind, there are the three unique selling points that made me decide to attend Imperial:

  • Theory put into practice: The programme combines theoretical and practical knowledge in an environment that values technology and entrepreneurship.  The programme has taught me not just academic theory but also skills that are directly applicable to my future career. In fact, in my job interviews I was able to directly apply some of the frameworks and knowledge learned in the programme and I know I will continue to apply this knowledge throughout my career.
  • Diverse professors, classmates, and friends
  • Incredible opportunities, experiences, and support beyond the classroom

Programme

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

Incredible opportunities, experiences, and support beyond the classroom. Imperial brings together not just academics with great global opportunities for my career, but the opportunities outside of the classroom are as diverse as the people. Whether you want to develop your own start up in the Imperial Enterprise Lab, learn to code, play a sport, or attend guest lectures/career events from top companies, there is something for you at Imperial. This is so rewarding because it means that I’ve been exposed to people from across the entire university and have the opportunity to continually explore new topics.

Did you attend an international trip? How was it beneficial to you?

I attended both the Dubai International Study Tour (Global Immersion) and the Lisbon international trip. Both were great opportunities to get a first-hand look at the business environments of other cultures and locations. For example, in Lisbon we visited a craft brewery startup called Muse, which was founded by an ex-McKinsey consultant who gave us an inside look at how he went about creating his company and finding an ideal market in Lisbon for his new brand.

The opportunity to attend the International Study Tour in Dubai was an unforgettable experience for me. My cohort and I spent one week in Dubai learning first-hand about the business culture of the Middle East, which for me personally was an area of the world which I previously did not have the opportunity to explore. We met with influential business leaders and government agencies and were able to pull back the curtain to understand how Dubai has been able to grow into the international metropolis it is today. Centered on the theme of ‘Future City Development’, the trip helped me to understand how technology and city development will be fully intertwined in the future as innovations in smart city technology and sustainability continue to advance. Plus, being able to ride in a fully autonomous vehicle in Masdar City, one of the world’s most sustainable smart cities, was a pretty cool experience.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

One of the greatest challenges to the programme was the group work. For some students, this is the first time they will have been exposed to such intensive group work within an international cohort. While highly rewarding, the group work required time and patience as each teammate learned to develop their own management styles. However, it was also a great opportunity for me and my teammates to practice different leadership styles and team-working conditions in an inclusive and open environment before re-joining the workplace after the Master’s.

People

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

My favourite part of my programme is the people I’ve met. On top of being incredibly bright, my classmates and professors all come from such diverse backgrounds and I love constantly being exposed to new things. I look around me and I know that my current classmates will also go on to be future business leaders in their own right.

I am excited because although many of us, myself included, are staying in London after the programme, I will also have friends all over the world in places such as Sydney, Dubai, and Hong Kong. Overall, MSc Management presented a unique opportunity to expose myself to students from all over the world and increase my understanding of global business issues from different perspectives. Because of the way the Master’s is structured, I was also able to get to know most of my class on a personal level, allowing me to expand my professional networks as well.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

The quality professors in the Business School are a critical part of why I loved my time at Imperial. One professor in particular, Jeffrey Pittaway, my Innovation Management professor, did a fantastic job of teaching the material in an engaging and relevant way. He was able to bring in his real-life experience working for Microsoft as well as his experience collaborating with start-ups and VCs to the classroom so that we could see how theory plays out in real life. In addition, Jeffrey as well as my other professors are not only highly knowledgeable in their fields but also open and approachable. A huge bonus was that I could speak to my professors after class about their subject in depth or just hang around to talk about topics we found interesting.

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

What I loved about group work at Imperial is that it directly mirrors what working in today’s international business environment looks like. My first team consisted of six people from six different countries across four continents; it was an incredible opportunity to learn how to work directly with people from all different backgrounds and cultures, and in turn create work that we could never have accomplished alone.

Opportunities

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

Perhaps one of the best parts of the programme is the extracurricular workshops, lectures and events. I’ve attended events such as a panel discussion on women in consulting, a workshop on entrepreneurship led by top Venture Capital firm Seed Camp, a coding workshop, and a lecture on how to develop strategy from a McKinsey Partner. The variety of opportunities presented by Imperial College Business School are incredible, and no matter what you are interested in, I guarantee there will be an event or talk on the subject so that you can learn about all different topics and explore your wider interests.

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

I was delighted to have been selected as a Student Ambassador for the MSc Management programme. This allowed me to give back to the business school that was already giving me so much as well as help prospective students.  I was able to sit on panel discussions as well as give webinars representing the business school.

Career

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

The MSc programme was the perfect opportunity for me to pivot into a new career path; having worked in market research for several years before the MSc, I realised that my true passion was in strategy and management, and as a result I applied to MSc  Management to help me achieve my goals. I knew that in order to switch careers I would need to continue my education with real world context. After the Master’s I wanted to transition into a career that would allow me to expand my theoretical knowledge from the Master’s into actionable experience. Imperial helped me to achieve my career goals by not only giving me the skills and knowledge needed to succeed immediately post-graduation, but also introduced me to management consulting networking opportunities that led to my London job offer.

Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?

I am delighted to have received and accepted an offer from Accenture to join their Consulting Analyst Group in London. As a Management Consulting Analyst, I will have the opportunity to solve critical business issues for my future clients, while gaining exposure across industries and functions as I build my own career. I’m excited to put what I learned at Imperial into actionable deliverables for my future clients.

How did the services from Imperial College Business School Careers help in your professional development/securing employment?

Imperial College Business School Careers was instrumental in helping me land my offer. Before joining the programme, I didn’t know what to expect from the UK application processes. While the application process was a demanding time, the Business School’s Careers team supported me every step of the way from helping me to develop my career strategy to checking CVs and cover letters. They helped to ensure that I was always putting my best foot forward. Finally, having never had the opportunity to attend an assessment centre before, I had the opportunity to participate in a mock assessment centre – with both a group activity and individual interview – that allowed me to get a feel for what to expect and gave me the confidence to ace my interview.

London location

Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?

As an American, studying in London was a critical part of my career goals to expand into international business – and there is no better place than London for getting international experience. London is a melting pot of different cultures and industries, and I know I am constantly being exposed to new opportunities. For example, I attended a Women in Tech event in the fall where I was able to connect with incredible women from across London to hear their experiences working in tech. Furthermore, I was able to take advantage of all that London has to offer by participating in the Consulting Project, where I was able to work first hand with a top management consultancy and explore blockchain as an emerging technology. Being in London meant my team and I had access right on our doorstop to top professionals in tech, banking, and consulting that are shaking up the industry, not just here in London but on a global scale.

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

I live in Notting Hill – although it is still central London, all of the amazing small restaurants and shops, along with the beautiful, colourful architecture, make me feel completely at home. It’s like having the feeling of living in a smaller village, while still enjoying all the benefits of living in a huge city like London.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time in London? Have you had opportunities to travel?

The other great thing about London is that it is very easy to travel. From London you can connect to anywhere in the world, and most of Europe is only a few hours and a cheap flight away. I’ve been able to make weekend trips to visit friends and explore new places around Europe, including the international study trip to Lisbon with my programme.

What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?

Moving to London can seem a bit daunting at first, but it is actually one of the easiest cities to navigate and manage. All of the neighbourhoods have a distinct feel to them, so everyone can find a place where they feel at home in the city. My advice to someone moving here is to take the time when you first arrive to explore different neighbourhoods by foot and really get to know the city so that you can find your own happy place in the city to return to whenever you need a break.

Tips

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

I attended the online webinars before applying to Imperial, and I found it very helpful. It allowed me to hear from current students to get a feel for what the business school culture was like as well as get a better understanding of what the school was looking for in my application.

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

My advice to someone thinking about applying for MSc Management is to spend some time thinking about where you see your career after the Master’s. I’m not saying you have to pick out exactly what your dream company would be but taking the time to understand what you really enjoy doing and the type of career you are looking for is critical. Once you join the programme, the job application process for many UK firms starts almost right off the bat so being prepared is the key to success. The Master’s is a great vehicle to get you to where you want to go, but in the end you are still the one sitting in the driver’s seat. Overall, like most things in life you get out what you put in, and Imperial has endless opportunities for those who are willing to work hard for them.

Role
MSC Management
Nationality
United States
Undergraduate Education :

BA Marketing, University of San Diego

Job after Imperial College Business School :

Management Consulting Analyst, Accenture