Manuel Pereira Coutinho
What work experience/internships (if any) did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
Before starting the Master’s at Imperial, I did a couple of internships during my undergrad, from which I emphasise a summer internship at an Investment bank in Sao Paulo (Brazil) as a wealth management intern. I then worked for two and a half years in London at a Japanese tech company called Ricoh, having come in through the graduate programme and then being promoted to the Strategic and Corporate Accounts team.
Why did you decide to study MSc Management at Imperial College Business School?
The main reason was to enable a career change. I worked at Ricoh straight after undergrad as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Although I was more exposed to the sales side of the firm, I had some contact with client consulting, which is where the thought of moving into management and tech consulting started to take form.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?
I really enjoyed the guest speakers we had during our lectures. We had industry professional from a variety of companies and sectors. It really allowed us to hear first-hand what their experiences and how the theory we learn in class is applied to real life business scenarios.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
My favourite modules were the Leadership and Corporate Strategy electives, the biggest reason was the professors. Both Sankalp and Yuri were extremely passionate and highly knowledgeable about their respective fields, both contributing on a regular basis to research on the topics. They made sure the lectures were tailored to our expectations and included real life examples and cases studies for class participation, to such an extent that I used discussion about what we debated in class with friends on the weekends.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
The Autumn term (September – December) was stressful because we had to juggle a fast paced academic schedule with intense back-to-back job applications, tests, interviews and assessment centres, which in the end actually made me more prepared to tackle the real life working dynamic of consulting.
Did you attend an international trip? How was it beneficial to you?
I attended the international trip to Prague. It was super beneficial not only as it provided an insight into how the business landscape of another country works (and would otherwise be out of reach if it wasn’t for the Imperial brand), but also provided the opportunity to interact and get to know people from our programme who I hadn’t previously had the chance of getting to know. All this in an informal setting where we could really just have fun.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
Our cohort was incredible. We had people from so many countries and backgrounds with thought provoking opinions and perspectives. They were super friendly and open, and it was amazing how so many friendships were formed during a year whilst everyone was juggling coursework, exams, job applications and socials. Really a great group of people.
Imperial places a large emphasis on group work; what did you like the most about working in this type of environment?
The diversity of my team members was the biggest asset. I worked with several different groups and every time had exposure to people from completely diverse countries and academic/professional backgrounds. This not only gave me insights into a variety of opinions and perspectives but also helped me to work with people from different cultures and with opposing personality traits which is crucial for today’s working professional. The group work helped me realise my strengths and highlighted areas for improvement.
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?
The opportunity to be part of the Imperial brand and network really boosted my employability and allowed me to pursue the career change into consulting that I desired. It gave the confidence and the skills to go after top ranking jobs with assurance that if I really want it, I can get it.
Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
As a student who will start working in consulting from September, the Consulting Skills workshops was the most relevant and useful to reaching my goals. The guest speaker had over 20 years’ experience in the industry and gave us inside tips and information on how consulting actually works. It really gave me confidence to go into my first day on the job and not feel completely lost.
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial? Do you hold a student leadership position?
I am a Student Ambassador for MSc Management. It was a really great opportunity to develop my communication skills and confidence through regular interaction, presentations and live webinars with prospective students. Being an Ambassador is also a great opportunity to meet more people around the business school and help develop the Imperial brand.
How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?
One of the assets that benefited me the most has been the alumni network. With such high quality candidates each year, you are sure to find someone working or having worked at top tier firms and institutions around the world. For my interview with Wavestone, I reached out to an Imperial alumnus on LinkedIn and asked if we could meet for a quick coffee. He was more than happy to give up his time and help in preparing me for the interviews, which was invaluable and gave me a competitive edge over other candidates.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
For the next five years, I’m to become an experienced consultant and specialise in the field of tech consulting. From there my next goals will surely become more accessible given the hands-on experience, leadership mentality and confidence Imperial has provided as well as the network of alumni I now find myself a part of.
Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?
I received a job offer from Wavestone back in December 2017 (three months after the start of the programme) to become a Management Consulting Analyst starting in September 2018.
How did the services from Imperial College Business School Careers help in your professional development/securing employment?
They were really helpful! I used them in every step of my application process from drafting my CV, to cover letter writing, online interview preparation and finally face to face interviews and assessment centre prep. It helped the careers staff were tailored to my career path and had previous experience in the consulting industry, so they really knew what was needed to get me ready.
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?
London is 100% a great city to live, study and work, and the fact that Imperial is so well situated in the heart of London only adds to its value. It allowed me to attend interviews and employer events around London as well as meet big name companies on campus and participate in guest speaker sessions and recruitment events. In addition, the vast number of people working in London only makes your network grow stronger.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I lived in Victoria – I have been living in London for six years and this area is a great price vs location. It happens to be 12 minute cycle to Imperial and has easy access to all areas of London.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time in London? Have you had opportunities to travel?
There are many opportunities for weekend trips both around the UK and in Europe! I had the opportunity to travel with friends from the programme to Germany and Portugal.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
Do it! Make sure to bring something new and thought provoking opinions.