Mark Fischel

Programme: MSc Management

Undergraduate education: BA Classics, University of Oxford

Job after Imperial College Business School: Business Consultant, Applied Predictive Technologies (APT)

MSc Management 2019

About you

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

Before starting at Imperial, I was the secretary of the Oxford Union (a world-famous debating society) for six months, where I got to meet and host truly inspiring individuals like Elton John, Stephen Hawking and Morgan Freeman. In my penultimate year at Oxford I did a summer internship at Deloitte, in the Investment Management and Private Equity department, ultimately coming to the decision that this kind of area was not exactly the right fit for me. In short, I came to Imperial with a variety of experiences, but without a clear professional direction.

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

I decided to study MSc Management because of my relatively unusual academic background from a business perspective, having studied Classics i.e. Latin and Ancient Greek. I thought that it would be useful to take a general and wide-ranging business programme to help facilitate my transition to the corporate world. I also thought that it would enable me to learn more about what area of business I might find the most interesting and rewarding. I chose to study at Imperial specifically because of its high position in rankings, the impeccable international reputation of the brand and because I wanted to move to London.


What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy?

My favourite aspect of the programme has been the wide scope of the modules - from quantitative modules like Finance and Economics, to more qualitative courses like Organisational Behaviour and Strategy, as well as more practical and hands-on subjects, like Entrepreneurship and the Global Immersion. The combination of these diverse subjects means that one can develop a well-rounded knowledge base and improve their skills, both in the areas that they already excel, but also in areas that may have previously been weaknesses.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

My favourite module was the summer elective, Sustainability and Competitive Advantage: Rethinking Value Creation. There were several excellent elements to this programme, such as the calibre of external speakers and the interactivity of the various teaching sessions (we had a live hypothetical negotiation session, as well as an interactive game that modelled the idiosyncrasies of ‘systems thinking’). Above all, it was a real privilege to be able to share the module with students from some of the MBA programmes. These students had a lot of interesting insights to share (based on their significant work experience), and I hope that they will also be useful contacts to have in the future. Despite their greater experience, the lecturer, Paolo Taticchi, ensured that students from every programme were able to contribute, participate and maximise their learning.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

I found that the most rewarding part of the programme was that all of the modules were carefully thought out to complement one another. When I was sitting my Strategic Management exam at the start of the summer term, I realised that I was utilising examples on companies that were lifted from two other modules within the programme. It was rewarding to feel that the different courses were interlinked rather than being siloed and distinct.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

The most challenging period in the programme was in the first couple of months - trying to juggle the academic demands with the intensity of milk-round job applications. For a few weeks in October, I had at least one interview every day. Of course, at the same time you are also trying to make new friends with everyone that you have met in the programme, and sometimes it felt like there was not enough time in the day to do everything!

Ddid you attend an international elective?

The Global Immersion trip to New York was a brilliant learning experience. We visited companies from the public and private sector, from massive global conglomerates to small local startups, in tech, advertising and banking. There were always good opportunities to ask questions and to network. We also spent our spare time sampling some of the local cuisine and culture. In my opinion, New York is one of the best cities in the world, and I relished the opportunity to visit the city for the first time, it was great to be exposed to the challenges and opportunities of the city from a business perspective.


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

My cohort at Imperial has without a doubt been one of the best elements of participating in the programme. I have made some strong friendships that I am sure will continue for many years. Beyond the close personal friendships that I have made, I enjoyed meeting and connecting with individuals from a variety of academic and cultural backgrounds; it really helped me to assess and challenge my own views and perspectives on the world of business and commerce.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

For me, the Strategic Management lecturer, Professor James Eteen, was one of the best. He relied heavily on the case learning method, ensuring that all students had done significant reading beforehand, which stimulated a lively and active debate. Overall, the calibre of all the lecturers that I had was very high and I am sure that this is the case throughout all the different departments of the Business School.


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

One of the greatest opportunities was a visit to Olympic Park in London for the Climate Change module. We got to go behind the scenes and see the inner workings of a biomass energy generator, whilst also having a first-hand insight into how London is attempting to place itself as one of the world’s smartest cities. Similarly, as part of our Operations module, we had a live case study at Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant & Castle - hearing first hand from its very charismatic entrepreneur and founder about how he came up with the business idea.

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

There was one event at the start of the year, entitled Super Saturday: Consulting in Focus, that really helped to crystallise my knowledge of the consulting industry. This was a full day of activities with expert panels, live case study practice, and one-on-one networking. This was particularly helpful given that it was timed just before several interviews that I had coming up; it is always a good idea to come in to these kinds of interviews with some sound bites and handy questions up your sleeve!

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

I was part of the committee for the Business School Consulting Club. I really benefited from organising one of the panels with several junior consultants; trying to get them to share the truth about what working for a consulting firm is really like, beyond the corporate jargon. It was a rewarding experience to work with the other committee members, and to see our hard work delivered into positive experiences for the members of the club.

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

It’s remarkable how many talented and smart individuals there are in the wider Imperial community. I enjoyed spending some time in the Enterprise Lab (Imperial’s Incubator for Startups), hearing about clever new business ideas, and meeting some interesting people. I also benefited from having access to the Imperial Language Centre, taking a 20-week French class, with a two hour lesson each week.


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

I honestly do not know where I see myself in the future, whether that is still in consulting, starting my own business, or even working for a not-for-profit organisation. I do not want to close off any of these exciting avenues, and I truly believe that studying at Imperial has put me in a position where I could do (virtually) anything that I want. I have learned a great deal, met some inspiring people, and enhanced my personal value to employers.

Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?

I received a couple of job offers, eventually deciding to accept a role as a Business Consultant at Applied Predictive Technologies, a cloud-based analytics software company. The company occupies an interesting space between Big Data and Strategy Consulting, meaning that it dominates a fast growing and important field. My ultimate choice was driven by my experiences during the interview process, and a sense that there was a great company culture, which for me is a very important consideration, given how many hours of the day you are expected to spend at work.

I genuinely believe that I would have struggled to secure such a job without the help and support of the Careers service. I had a couple of one-to-one meetings at the start of the year, to ensure that I was on the right track and understood everything that was going to be thrown at me. By the time I got to the stage of having interviews, I also had several mock interviews, practising both market sizing and business cases, meaning that I was very well prepared when I got into the interview room. At all times, the feedback (even when critical) was constructive, and helped me to improve and prepare much more effectively on my own.

London Location

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

London is without doubt one of the best cities in the world to be a business student. You are on the doorstep of so many different companies and industries, as well as in my opinion, having access to the best startup community in Europe. Plus, there is also so much more to London than the business side of things - from a cultural perspective, attractions like the Tate Modern and the West End should never be underestimated.

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

I am based in Battersea, which is just a 15-minute cycle from the Business School in South Kensington. I live there with my sister in a little flat, next door to Battersea Park which is beautiful on sunny weekends.  It’s a great area to go for a gentle stroll or run, or to play tennis on the courts there.

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

I love to play all kinds of sport, whether that is golf, cricket, tennis or something else entirely. Like most people, I always enjoy heading out for a few drinks with friends, or hosting dinner parties, and there is plenty of opportunity for that in London! I also love to travel, and I took advantage of being in New York for the Global Immersion trip, to head to Mexico for a couple of weeks of backpacking.


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

I would certainly try and talk to someone who has studied at the Business School before. It does not matter which programme they studied, but there is nothing more valuable than hearing first-hand about an institution. Also, I would not worry too much about having a detailed long-term career plan, as these things often change.

Programme: MSc Management

Undergraduate education: BA Classics, University of Oxford

Job after Imperial College Business School: Business Consultant, Applied Predictive Technologies (APT)