Academic and industry experience before Imperial
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
- Commencing my work placement at PwC Kuala Lumpur in July 2017 (Tech Consulting)
- Internships at two law firms in Malaysia (Wong & Partners – member firm of Baker & McKenzie and Chua Associates)
- Business Development internship at Brunsfield International Group
Studying MSc Management
Why did you decide to study an MSc in Management and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
I wanted to explore my options out the realm of law. Whether or not I practice law in the future, I believe an MSc in Management has equipped me with a more holistic understanding of business. This knowledge and experience would prove invaluable when considering my future clients’ needs and interests.
I had heard about Imperial College Business School’s impeccable reputation from seniors. After speaking to the admissions staff and student ambassadors on open days, I knew there was only one place for me. I made a single postgraduate application to Imperial College Business School, and the rest was history.
What makes the MSc Management at Imperial College Business School unique?
I think it is the fact that Imperial College Business School is by far more hands-on and practical than any other business school in London. In addition, I think the Business School does a great job of attracting a very diverse set of people. My current cohort is made up of multiple nationalities, with all kinds of backgrounds and more importantly, extremely interesting experiences to share.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?
The breadth of subjects – I finally had the opportunity to learn about subjects I was interested in (Economics), along with subjects I didn’t know I would grow to like (Accounting and Finance). I feel I comprehend businesses and real-world issues better now with the help of the case-study-like approach of Strategic Management.
Alongside this, is the great quality of teachers. There was Haresh Sapra, who made accounting fun and Ian McKenzie, who had a wealth of knowledge to share. I also thoroughly enjoyed my coaching sessions with HeeJung Jung for Entrepreneurship – she provided a good balance between constructive criticisms and encouraging feedback.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
Working in groups with poor dynamics or where personalities clash. I’ve had my fair share of groups where I was motivated to perform my best, whereas some groups pushed me in other ways to exercise my patience and tolerance. I think these experiences have helped prepare me for the working world e.g. where we often will not get to work with people we want to.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
I really enjoyed Strategic Management and the Strategy and Leadership pathway; firstly, the lecturers in both modules were superb and inspiring. I believe it is actually these sorts of subjects that are most difficult to teach. I enjoyed exploring what it truly meant to be a leader and how best to approach certain situations. At the end of the day, I know it comes down to individual judgment, however I found it useful to learn about different perspectives.
Which pathway (Digital Business, Financial Services or Strategy and Leadership) have you chosen and why?
I chose Strategy and Leadership because I know I want to lead in the future – be it through my family business or starting my own business. I also thoroughly enjoyed the Strategic Management module earlier in the semester and was interested in deepening my knowledge of it.
Which seminars, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
I found the guest lecturers brought in by the module leaders most useful. I still remember my strategy and leadership pathway lecturers brought in a guest speaker who worked as an organiser for wine tours – it was really interesting to hear about her start-up journey, from a high-paying consultant to a self-employed wine enthusiast recognising a potential opportunity. It inspired me to take the leap and follow my passions in the future, instead of succumbing to the usual straight path of consulting or banking.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
I had many favourite lecturers: Ian, Haresh, Jeremy, HeeJung, Anne ter Wal, etc. They are my favourite because they truly cared about both the subject they were lecturing as well as their students. They put it so much effort in their classes and go the extra mile to answer any of our burning questions.
Imperial places a large emphasis on group work, what did you like the most about working in this type of environment?
Working with people you don’t usually work with – forging friendships out of this type of environment triumphs the times I had to work with difficult people. It is very tempting to stick to your friendship groups and work with like-minded people, but if there’s anything Imperial has taught me, it’s to be bold and strategic enough to go out of your comfort zone and work with people who actually complement your skills.
Coming from a law background where most of the three years was spent on individual work, group work at Imperial was a breath of fresh air. My experience has also reaffirmed the notion that working in groups is always more effective than tackling it alone.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
Ambitious, interesting and diverse.
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?
I got involved as a Student Ambassador for Imperial College Business School – I participated in regular webinars and took part in the annual ‘Mighty Student Ambassador Calling Campaign’ to offer advice to prospective offer-holders.
Opportunities from studying at Imperial
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial that you wouldn’t get anywhere else?
A course mate of mine approached me in March to join an external competition hosted by her undergraduate university (Youth Innovation Competition on Global Governance). We formed a team of three and submitted a report on our recommendations for the One Belt, One Road initiative on behalf of Imperial College Business School; our team was chosen and we will be attending the final round in Astana, Kazakhstan this July 2017.
Participating in this competition felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it would not have been possible if not for the people I met at Imperial. In addition, I feel like the Business School also gave me an added boost of confidence to join such competitions.
How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?
The wider Imperial College London community has benefitted me most in terms of its alumni network. This was especially useful during job application season – the ICL community enabled me to approach professionals working in the field I was interested in and gain invaluable insight.
Career goals and jobs
How have you benefited from the services provided by the Career and Professional Development Service?
I benefitted most through their routine CV and Cover Letter checks as well as general advice in terms of how to plan for my career.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
A short-term future career goal of mine is to gain some experience in the consulting sector. With the help of the careers team, I was able to secure a consulting internship at PwC Malaysia this summer, which I hope would open more opportunities in the future.
In the far future, a goal of mine is to start a business of my own. The Entrepreneurship module gave me a first-hand experience in executing an idea. When the time comes, I believe having access to Imperial’s unparalleled web of network connections would prove integral in my business’s success. Most significantly, getting into and experiencing Imperial College Business School has done wonders for my confidence in my own abilities.
Life as a student in London
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities? Please share any positive experiences you have had.
Definitely. Most companies have their headquarters in London, therefore I find many send their representatives to our networking events more frequently in comparison to my undergraduate university. In addition, finding out about networking events on short notice was never a problem because studying in a central location like London made attendance easy.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I live near Gloucester Road; it is within walking distance of Imperial – my top priority when looking for a place to stay.
What can a weekend in London look like for an MSc student?
Going for a yoga class in the morning, having a picnic at Primrose Hill for lunch, followed by a beer in Covent Garden. London has so much to offer for all types of interests – be it through musicals, the museums or festivals. Whilst I was in Manchester, I would travel out of the city every break. Since moving to London, I have not felt the urge to leave as there is always something to get up to on the weekends.
If you had to move to London for the programme, what have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?
Benefits include experiencing such a vibrant capital; the endless options at your feet and the people you meet along the way. On the other hand, the most notable challenge is the high cost of living. My advice would be to have a strict budget for different categories (food, entertainment, travel expenses, etc.) and stick to it. I like to be stricter with my budget during the week so I can splurge on the weekends.
Advice for future students
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
Think about how the MSc Management programme aligns with your future career goals. I focused a lot on the questions surrounding my motivation for pursuing the programme in my personal statement. As much as you’re looking to benefit from the course, the Business School also wants to put together a cohort that fits well together.
Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online or on campus information sessions? Did you find these a useful part of the recruitment process? Would you recommend that prospective students attend these events?
I attended the on-campus information sessions and found it extremely useful to speak to student ambassadors and the admissions team to gain some first-hand insight into the programme. There was only so much I could learn about the programme from the website; speaking to real people with real experiences definitely reaffirmed my decision that a postgraduate degree at Imperial College Business School was right for me.