Academic and industry experience before Imperial
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
Before beginning with Imperial College Business School, I have had a few experiences, two of which were the most relevant to my chosen career. I have worked in the Marketing & Communications department of a watch & jewellery company, and then worked as a Junior Data Analyst in a gemstone mining company.
Studying MSc Management
Why did you decide to study an MSc in Management and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
I decided to study a MSc in Management because while working in the aforementioned companies, I noticed that I lacked a few managerial concepts. As I undertook a science bachelor, a masters in Management was a natural transition to a career in the jewellery business. I chose to study at Imperial College Business School because of the content of the MSc Management program. From online resources and my friends’ testimonials, I understood that the programme was very intense and combined both theory with practice. By the end of the academic year, graduates were fully prepared for a career in business and this is what I was looking for.
What makes the MSc Management at Imperial College Business School unique?
The MSc Management at Imperial College Business School is a combination of both theoretical and practical learning. The academic year is divided into two respective blocks, which perfectly complement one another. From September to December, we were introduced to the basics of business, through subjects like Economics, Accounting, Finance, Project Management, Operations Management, Marketing, Human Resources, then we moved on to Strategy and Innovation Management. These were tested on group works and final exams. After that, we had more diverse and at the same time more specific subjects such as our chosen pathways and electives (ranging from Business Analytics to Family Business).
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?
The aspect of the programme I enjoyed the most was the group work we had over the course of the year. In fact, group work is at the basis of any business. Over the course of 12 months, I have worked in eight different teams. This have given me the invaluable understanding of how important human resources and organisational behaviour is in business. Another enjoyable aspect of the programme was that for each group assignment, we had the chance to choose our own topic. This required us to think critically be decisive. This also required us to clearly justify and sell our idea to our team mates, so as to work on our preferred topic.
The most rewarding aspect was getting a positive feedback on reach-out emails, informational interviews and job applications thanks to the Imperial stamp under my signature.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
The most challenging part of the programme was the very beginning. This is when I had to restructure my thinking process and learn to work better in groups. My classmates at Imperial College Business School were distinct from those I got to work with during my bachelors: on a master’s level your teammates not only come from different countries, but also different backgrounds. Imagine working with a politician, linguist, accountant and pharmaceutical engineer on a Marketing project!
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
My favourite module so far was the Entrepreneurship module. This is where we were given the chance to make our own teams and work on our own ideas. In my case, I gathered an unprecedented team and worked on a business idea I am currently developing. My business partner, Carolina Neri, and myself have been presenting this idea to various business competitions and we were thrilled to receive a positive feedback from the internal jury at Imperial College Business School as well.
Which pathway (Digital Business, Financial Services or Strategy and Leadership) have you chosen and why?
I have chosen the Digital Business pathway because digital is happening right now and represents a threat to many traditional businesses, including the jewellery sector. I learnt about the success stories through numerous case studies and acquired the knowledge that will help me in my career.
Did you attend an international trip? If so, which trips did you attend and how have they been beneficial to you?
I attended the HEC trip to Paris, where we had the opportunity to go to the Digital Transformation conference with Christian Dussart. It was beneficial to understand how digital is affecting other countries, in this case France, and how universities adapt their programs and content due to this digital revolution.
I have also been selected for the HEC Summer Exchange program, where I undertook the Luxury Management certificate. This is where I acquired the managerial knowledge specific to my chosen sector.
Moreover, as a Masters student, I participated in two Business Games in St Gallen Business School and HEC Paris once again. This was an experience unlike no other. We worked on business challenges for companies like Bain & Co, Schneider Electric, BDO, Swiss International, SWAROWSKI and many more and got the chance to present our solutions to the Senior Management of these companies. I recommend participating!
Which seminars, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
I found the Careers & Professional Development seminars the most useful. Just as a glance: the academic year started with the evaluation of our characters, strengths, weaknesses and an introduction to personal branding and how to sell oneself.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
My favourite professor was Anne Ter Wal, our lecturer for the Innovation Management module. In fact, innovation and digital go hand-in-hand and these two subjects captivate me a lot. Not only did I enjoy Anne’s lectures, which were a combination of theory and insightful business cases, but also the group assignment, which required us to, first, developed a theoretical invention in an emerging technology area, and then consult on how to successfully launch it.
Imperial places a large emphasis on group work, what did you like the most about working in this type of environment?
As I mentioned earlier, as much as it may seem redundant – group work is key in the business world. We worked in eight distinct groups over the course of 12 months. We were allocated to groups half the time, which meant that we had to adapt to different personalities, learn to work in synergy regardless of the circumstances and finally learn to form efficient groups when we were given the chance to do so.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
My cohort was international and academically varied (in terms of academic backgrounds).
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?
I have been involved in a few non-academic societies at Imperial (Imperial College Lawn Tennis Club) as a member, and was the co-President of a Career Club.
In fact, my friends and I co-founded the Luxury Goods & Retail Career Club as part of Imperial College Business School in October 2016, and held four successful events on various topics (“Building a Career in the Luxury and Retail sectors”, “Digitalisation of Retail”, “Women in Creative Industries”, and finally “Building Sustainable Supply Chains” with a focus on jewellery).
Opportunities from studying at Imperial
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial that you wouldn’t get anywhere else?
Creating the Club, defining its goals, launching and promoting it was an invaluable experience, which is why I am infinitely grateful for this opportunity I had at Imperial, and perhaps wouldn’t get anywhere else.
After going through a strict procedure and having to compel with some internal regulations, we were officially live in October and this was possible thanks to the support of the Career & Professional Development Service at Imperial College Business School.
How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?
I have attended a gathering of women of Imperial at the beginning of the year, where I met some Alumni from the College. They shared their experience and gave me some career advice. My friends even got some support in job applications.
Career goals and jobs
How have you benefited from the services provided by the Career and Professional Development Service?
First of all, I have completed the mandatory as well as optional modules on the Hub and attended a few workshops over the course of the year. As my main weakness was in interviews, I practised them a lot at the Career & Professional Development Service.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
My long-term goal is to work on a Management level of a jewellery company. My short-term plan was to work in a few key departments of a jewellery business so as to get an understanding of the whole operations of such a business, ranging from Marketing, PR, Business Development and Operations. At Imperial I learnt about each of the above mentioned spheres, which enables me now to apply for more middle-level positions rather than entry ones.
Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme? (Please give details of roles you have accepted, what you will be doing and how you secured it).
I have received and accepted two roles since commencing the programme. One role was as a part-time Sales & Clients Relations Associate in a fashion tech start-up, that I undertook in parallel with my MSc. The second role is the one I will be undertaking upon completion of the programme.
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.
Studying in London was definitely beneficial to networking and career opportunities. In fact, I got the chance to meet in person some professionals that were happy to meet me in London, and attended events where I made some key connections. Finally, being in London helped us, at the Luxury Goods & Retail Club, in attracting unprecedented speakers from leading luxury and retail companies.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I rented a small studio across the street from the College. I decided to live there because of the convenience. This academic year was by far the most enjoyable, as I saved a lot of time and money on transportation. In fact, a few of my classmates are now interested in taking over the tenancy.
What can a weekend in London look like for an MSc student?
A weekend in London for an MSc student starts with a drink or two at the h-bar, the Imperial College Union. On a Saturday, I personally like walking around the College’s neighbourhood, but also visit some key London attractions from time to time. On a Sunday, my day has to start with a brunch.
Advice for future students
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
Make the most of the programme!
Did you attend any online or on campus information sessions before applying for the programme?
Before applying, I lived near the Imperial College for a year and got the chance to visit it a few times. I believe attending events and visiting the university before applying can be helpful. Moreover, it helps understanding the spirit of the College, who is the typical Imperial student and if you fit in!