Sophia Skupien

Programme: MSc Management

Nationality: British

Undergraduate Education: BA Political Science (Magna Cum Laude), Columbia University, MA Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies, Georgetown University.

Job after Imperial College Business School: Graduate Operations Consulting Analyst, Deloitte (London)

MSc Management 2018

About you

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

Before beginning MSc Management at Imperial, I had no work experience in business, but during my prior graduate programme at Georgetown, I completed two internships at the European division of the U.S. Department of State. In the year before starting at Imperial, I also worked as an independent political researcher in Poland through the U.S.’s Fulbright scholarship programme.

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

After working for a bit in the public sector, I wanted to shift to working in an industry that had a faster pace of change. I decided that a career in consulting, with its constant intellectual challenge and ample opportunities for international work, was right for me, and I decided to study an MSc Management to support this career transition. I choose Imperial because its programme has the right mix of strong academic background with the opportunity for practical experience and, of course, its unbeatable location in London.

Did you receive a scholarship?

I received an Imperial Business Scholarship, without which I would not have been able to attend the programme.


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

I most enjoyed the summer modules, which gave us the opportunity to tailor the programme to our specific interests and gain practical experience by pursuing an internship or completing a Consulting Project. I especially liked the Capstone project, which allowed me to apply the frameworks and theories I learned in the marketing and brand management modules to my particular interests, namely, luxury businesses and emerging markets.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

My favourite module was Entrepreneurship with Christian Hampel. Although I don’t plan to start my own venture, I gained practical experience with rigorously assessing a business plan and its underlying hypotheses that I am sure will prove useful in my consulting work.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

Balancing job applications and interviews with coursework, especially in the fall term, was challenging, but the instructors and programme team are understanding about the time pressures during application season and are very accommodating.

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

I attended the international trip to Lisbon, as well as a study abroad programme about business in Central Europe at HHL School of Management in Leipzig and Prague. The study abroad programme was an excellent opportunity to meet other business school students from around the world and visit innovative companies and startup accelerators like Avast and Spinlab. As someone with an academic background in European politics, it was a great way to combine the business knowledge I gained at Imperial with my prior study and think about how I can integrate them both into my future career.


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

The cohort at Imperial is incredibly diverse, not only in terms of nationality, but also in terms of academic background, prior experience, and career ambitions. In our class discussions and group work, people always contributed ideas or mentioned issues I never would have thought of; I really learned a lot from the other students!

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

My favourite lecturer was Dr Christian Hampel, who taught the Entrepreneurship module in the summer. His lectures were always engaging, with well-explained theory and plenty of practical examples. In our coaching sessions, he was genuinely excited about the ideas we proposed and gave very helpful feedback. As a former consultant, he was able to explain how the skills and techniques we learned in the module would be relevant to those of us who weren’t planning to become entrepreneurs.

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

In my prior degree programme, I had almost no group work, so Imperial was definitely a change! As I mentioned earlier, the diversity of the cohort means that everyone has a different perspective to contribute, and I learned a lot of hard and soft skills working with classmates with backgrounds very different from mine. For the students planning to go on to careers in consulting, like me, group work served as excellent practice for working on project teams.


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

Imperial’s outstanding reputation opens a lot of doors with employers inside and outside of the UK. Especially at the beginning of the year, there are employer events almost every day of the week that gave me the opportunity to learn more about consulting firms and how to put together a compelling application. Many of the attendees from the firms were Imperial alumni, and it was great to connect with them about this and hear how they have used what they learned at Imperial in their work.

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

The guest lectures during Dr Elena Dalpiaz’s Strategic Management were an invaluable opportunity to see how leading professionals apply the frameworks we were learning in their daily work. Hearing from a senior partner from McKinsey in Milan on ways to test a company’s strategy and a regional director at Prada on how to create a distinctive company culture really helped me understand how I could use what I was learning in the classroom in my future career.


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

My short-term career goal is to work in consulting to gain exposure to a wide variety of industries early in my career and, since being at Imperial, I have been able to secure an Analyst role at Deloitte in London. I am looking forward to gaining the skills and network to support my long-term goal of a career that enables me to combine consulting with my passion for the regions of Central and Eastern Europe. My role on Deloitte’s graduate scheme as an Operations Consulting Analyst will be working within the Public and Private Sector Operations team to help organisations improve their operating models and achieve their strategic objectives.

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

The Careers team was invaluable in helping me to outline my professional goals and secure a job. As someone unfamiliar with the case interview process, I found the case interview group workshops and one-on-one practice case interviews so helpful in preparing for consulting interviews. I attended two practice interviews with the careers team before my final interview at Deloitte, which were vital in helping me to receive an offer!

London location

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

Studying in London gave me numerous networking opportunities that I would have been unable to attend if I were studying at a university further afield. I participated in a number of events with McKinsey’s Women as Future Leaders programme, which gave me the opportunity to meet with current employees and get a first-hand perspective on working in strategy consulting. I also was able to attend a conference at London School of Economics on the business environment in Poland, which gave me the opportunity to meet a number of potential employers and other students interested in Central Europe; I was even able to attend an evening reception with the Managing Partner of Bain’s Warsaw office!

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

I live in White City, in the Gradpad location near Imperial’s new campus. For someone moving to London from far away, the convenience of booking a room in Gradpad makes it a great option. It’s a short walk away from the White City and Wood Lane tube stops, and there’s a shuttle service that runs to Imperial’s main campus every hour, so it’s easy to get to campus and the rest of London.

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

Outside of my studies, I’m an aspiring literary translator, so I’ve loved having the opportunity to attend readings with authors from around the world. A wonderful thing about London is that there’s something to do or a group to join no matter what you’re interested in. I’ve also had some opportunity to explore the UK since moving to London – I’ve travelled to Edinburgh, York, and Bath, but there are so many places I still want to go!

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

The biggest challenge of moving to London is finding an affordable place to live. I would advise future students to start their search early, look broadly (just make sure there’s a tube station nearby), and try to find some flatmates to look with. A number of people in our cohort connected before the programme began and decided to look for housing together, which worked out really well for them!


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

I attended a number of the online webinars, which were very helpful in learning more about the programme content and how to put together a compelling application. After receiving my acceptance, I also had a chat with a current Student Ambassador. Hearing about his experience first-hand was crucial in helping me to decide whether the programme was right for me.

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

Talk to alumni and current students to get first-hand information about the programme content, advice about the application process, and life in London. Attending the online webinars is also very helpful in deciding whether the programme is for you. If you do decide to apply, apply as early as you can!

Programme: MSc Management

Nationality: British

Undergraduate Education: BA Political Science (Magna Cum Laude), Columbia University, MA Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies, Georgetown University.

Job after Imperial College Business School: Graduate Operations Consulting Analyst, Deloitte (London)