Sotiris Kopatsaris

Sotiris Kopatsaris

Studying MSc Management

What was the most important thing you took with you from the Business School? 

Imperial made me realise the importance of entrepreneurship and the responsibility that the private sector bears to tackle global challenges and make already existing solutions accessible everywhere. Change is a very tangible concept and it can be implemented anywhere, in any organisation, business or country, provided that there are individuals who push through with enthusiasm and passion. The most important learning point was that ultimately we are fully in charge and directly responsible for the state of the world around us and that through business we should not only achieve merely profit, but also a lasting positive impact.

How do you view your experience of studying at Imperial since you left?

I think it’s a very beautiful thing to look back at my time at Imperial with a different eye as I progress in life. In a way, by experiencing more of how the world around us works, I find myself constantly referring back to key principles I learned during my time there. It has certainly left me with the impression that this was my most creative and impactful learning experience yet. Jam-packed with cool projects, pitches, exciting trips and most importantly incredibly talented people, everywhere. As a student at the Business School, I literally felt like I grew up suddenly in less than a year. Through this very intensive experience, my thoughts crystallised and I could finally see what my next steps would be.

How has the programme changed you?

It’s honestly been the most positively transformative experience of my life this far. I think that every student at the Business School is privileged to consider their career and life plans, in such and dynamic and creative environment. And naturally this wonderful vibe rubs off on you and you start questioning your original plans and setting new goals. I changed my mind radically over what I wanted to do, and from pursuing a career in engineering project management and/or business consulting, I felt confident enough to take over the challenge of running my family’s business and also create my own start-up! This year changed my confidence and perspective and also made me part of an entirely new network of amazing people.

Can you recall a favourite memory from your time on the programme?

The most amazing time was when I had the honour to represent Imperial as Head Delegate at the World Government Summit in Dubai, with an amazing team of classmates across a range of programmes. We had to spend a week imagining what the future governments should be like and present our vision to a panel of HH Sheikh Mohammed’s advisors and other leading politicians and technologists, competing at the same time against other leading universities. Prior to this challenge, we’ve had the opportunity to see Elon Musk, Christine Lagarde, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Maktoum and other visionary speakers on stage, so we were already very inspired and full of ideas.

Tell us about your current job

How has your programme contributed to your career success?

 The programme boosted my confidence and enabled me to see the family business from a totally different perspective, that of personal and collective responsibility.

When I decided to go back to my family’s business, a boutique hotel in Santorini, which had seen several management contracts through the years, with mediocre outcomes, I decided to take responsibility for the lack of true leadership and innovation in the company. I created a comprehensive plan of action to rejuvenate the business, with the main focus being our offering and the secondary focus our luxury positioning.

The whole hotel changed: from 2 room categories, we suddenly had 8 and the upgrades on the property were so big, that enabled us to create hype in the travel media and also won us our first awards. I then put all my focus and energy behind crafting a seductive brand that would stand out from a myriad other hotels out there. We created an award-winning website, a cinematic brand video, installed the most cutting-edge PMS software and pursued collaborations with very important agencies and consortia in luxury travel, who having seen our upgrades and willingness to push the boundaries, were suddenly very keen to work with us.

I think none of this would have been possible without the support of my family but also the incredible concept of personal responsibility and accountability that I discovered at the Business School.

What did you take away from your learning experience that has been most applicable to your current role?

Resilience. At Imperial, students lead a very busy life in a very dynamic environment, packed with endless lectures, a lot of coursework and of course many career workshops and volunteering work. This enables us to become very resilient individuals who can adapt easily to a changing pace. Another key element of our learning experience is communication and working effectively with other people, who we may not necessarily get along with; Imperial was the first environment that made us work always in teams, so that we perfect our leadership and communication skills.

How do you plan to use the skills and knowledge you gained during the programme within your career going forward?

Real life is scary, especially when you are trying to launch a business. There is no actual plan or guidance and I guess a lot of intuition goes into making the decisions… I don’t think anyone can ever be prepared enough to launch their own venture. When it finally happened to me with Loveworthy, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a significant amount of challenges and difficulties. I intend to use however, so much of the knowledge I gained in the Global Operations & Projects Module, as well as in the Entrepreneurship module to push forward and enable our company to expand sustainably. The main skill at this point would be communication and teamwork, as we are working intensively to get the word out to potential customers about what we do at Loveworthy. 

What do you enjoy most about your current work and what are the main challenges that you face?

I enjoy the variety. This job never gets boring! It is however a very demanding job that does take a toll on my personal life and I can clearly say that if I didn’t love it so much, it would have been impossible to continue in this role.

The most exciting thing in my current role is working with people and companies from all around the world on a daily basis. Even as a small business we hold contracts and depend on suppliers from so many different places, while also welcoming a very diverse range of guests. I also have to work with the press and big companies on trips and product launches/photoshoots. Recently, I was delighted to work with Givenchy, who selected Carpe Diem as the backdrop of their influencer trip for their global launch of their new lipstick.

What is your proudest achievement in the job so far?

The proudest achievement was when we won the World’s Best Honeymoon Hideaway award at the World Boutique Hotel Awards in 2017. It came as a significant recognition of the bold changes we’ve made at the hotel. In 2018 we were also nominated as World’s Best Relaxation Retreat.

Alumni community

In what way is remaining connected to your alumni network important to you?

I think Imperial College Business School is much bigger than its physical size. There are so many talented people who have contributed as students and academics to the School and have now put forward their own plans to change the world around them. I am really inspired to be surrounded by these super talented people; it gives me strength to continue fighting, but also it fills me up with immense optimism for the future. The alumni network is a change agent in many communities and countries, such as Greece, and it provides incredible opportunities to make change happen throughout the globe. It is always important to keep the spirit and ethos of our time at Imperial alive, and I believe staying connected to the network does just that.

What value do you get out of your connections with the Business School and your fellow alumni?

Whether you want to hear some advice about your start-up or to discuss an idea, there is just no shortage of people to do that with in the alumni network. My fellow alumni are filled with the same passion and we share the same values about responsibility and positive impact. I am therefore currently in discussions with several fellow alumni to set up a forum in Greece to engage young leaders in a creative conversation about urban sustainability, and I think that this is the best possible use of the network. The collective clout that we hold, can bring about a lot of positive change and we have to keep advocating for that.

Have you volunteered at the Business School since you graduated? If so, why do you feel it’s important to volunteer your time and experience?

It is so important to visit the School and engage with the current students while also catching up with the whole programme team and professors. It fills me with happiness and gives me a boost! Volunteering is the best way to continue working closely on so many cool things and to actually be a continuous ‘student’ of the School. I will be soon leading a workshop on hospitality analytics and luxury management in partnership with the Luxury Goods & FMCG Career Club.

MSc Management 2017

Nationality: Greek

Undergraduate education: MEng Mechanical Engineering with German, The University of Sheffield

Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Assistant Engineer at Foster+Partners

Job after studying at Imperial College Business School: Institutional Sales

Current position: Managing Director at Carpe Diem Santorini (family business), Director of Strategy, Co-Founder, Loveworthy and currently in the process of setting up a second start-up