Sufjan Doula

Sufjan Doula

Academic and industry experience before Imperial

Work experience/internship(s): In the second year of university I began working as a paralegal for an international law firm in Prague. Later, I followed my passion for the automotive industry and successfully completed two internships at Škoda in the logistics planning and purchasing departments. In my last year, before coming to Imperial, I worked in the quality management department at Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart, Germany.

Greatest academic, professional or personal awards/achievements: 
I am proud that I succeeded in studying at two top, but also very different, universities simultaneously and completed a Bachelor Degree in Robotics & Cybernetics and a Master’s Degree in Law. Not only was I active in the academic sector but I also volunteered at the International Student Club at my previous university, completed internships and still had time for my hobbies – sports and languages.

 

Studying MSc Management

Why did you decide to study your programme and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
I was deciding between a Master’s degree in Industrial Design and a Master’s degree in Management and thought that with a Master’s degree in Management, I could not only influence the look of products but, more importantly, the whole aim of an industry. The fact that at Imperial College I could stay in touch with the engineering mind-set but also gain valuable, first-class knowledge about management and business administration disciplines made it a first choice!

What makes the MSc Management at Imperial College Business School unique?
In my opinion it is the perfect mixture of several aspects. Firstly, students get a highly qualitative education in a large scope of business disciplines, from accounting, over finance to global operations or marketing. Secondly, a very important asset of the programme, is its international environment. I became friends with students from over 40 countries and the emphasis that is put on group work taught me how to adapt to different situations and to communicate with people from different cultures and backgrounds, which will be even more crucial in the future. Finally, having been part of the Student Staff Committee, students really have the chance to improve the programme with their inputs and the programme management was not only very keen on listening to our suggestions, but also helped us with their realisation.

What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy?
Although sometimes tough (and I am sure my colleagues can confirm), I mostly enjoyed that we were able to apply straight the knowledge we learned practically in teams. I also enjoyed the fact that we had the opportunity to get a more detailed knowledge in sectors we were inclined towards; I completed the Financial Services pathway, which was very rewarding.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
The most challenging, but also rewarding part of the programme was working in teams on very different tasks. You not only get a chance to apply the knowledge practically, but also to learn to manage a team, to motivate the members and achieve your goals.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

This year we have the opportunity to study abroad at top business schools in the world. I am still very looking forward to my study abroad at HEC in Paris. Coming back to Imperial, besides the world-class knowledge, I believe the programme really shapes you as a person and gives you the right skills and qualities to become a future leader. And of course, all the great friends I have met at Imperial and will certainly stay in touch with.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
Personally, I enjoyed the more quantitative and exact modules such as Accounting and Corporate Reporting Analysis, Finance and Business Economics. I really enjoyed the Accounting module with Marco, who not only taught me how to determine various accounting ratios, but who focused more on teaching us the art of accounting and being able to interpret and read the real corporate world. Concerning the less quantitative modules, I cannot forget to mention Strategic Management with Ian. Ian was a very experienced and knowledgeable professor, who made the lectures very enjoyable but more importantly he really passed “the message” onto the students.

What pathway (Digital Business, Financial Services or Strategy and Leadership) have you chosen and why?
I chose the Financial Services pathway because I really became passionate about the finance related modules, hence it was a logical choice. The pathway consisted of two modules – Risk Management in Financial and Commercial Institutions and M&A and although I would have preferred a slightly more quantitative approach, it was very interesting and I gained a lot of invaluable knowledge.

 

Guest speakers

Which seminars, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
I am very proud that as a Careers Representative I facilitated the creation of a long-term cooperation between the Business School and Mr. Jan Mühlfeit, the former Chairman of Microsoft Europe. For me, personally, his lectures and coaching sessions at the Business School were very motivational and helped us students to “conquer” studying and job hunting a little bit better. Besides that, the lecture programme ‘Future by Imperial’ organised by the Business School included very interesting lectures, focusing on current topics such as systemic risk and climate change. Lastly, at Imperial College there is always an interesting lecture or event taking place; I could mention hundreds but probably one of the most outstanding was an event organised by my friend from the Italian Society on the ‘Future of Robotics’ held by prof. Maria Chiara Carrozza. In her lecture not only did she focus on the technical side but also on the philosophical and societal aspects of future robotics. There’s just always something happening!

How would you sum up the Business School faculty?
Imperial means intelligent business! It is not only a cluster of words; it is a philosophy that can be felt with every step at Imperial.

 

The faculty

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
Both of the professors for Accounting, Marco and Jeremy were amazing. Marco was an “accounting artist” who in my opinion passed on the message of accounting as an art very effectively and Jeremy’s musical intermezzos were just unforgettable! Ian, our professor for Strategic Management, was very experienced and the course content was highly practical and also very enjoyable.

 

Your cohort

Imperial places a large emphasis on group work, what inspires you the most about working in this type of environment?
It is the fact that we learned to adapt to different situations and communicate with people from different academic backgrounds, religions and cultures. This was not always easy, but certainly worthwhile. In the globalisation era, these skills will be of an advantage for our careers and future lives. Besides that, I formed invaluable  worldwide friendships through the teamwork. Travelling will be much easier now.

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
For me this was one of the most important assets at the Business School. We are all very diverse individually but a great team! We spend a lot of time outside school together and organise events, which can sometimes be crazy!

 

Extracurricular activities

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?
I was part of the Student Staff Committee as a Careers Representative and was also part of the Imperial Erasmus Society Committee as an Events Officer. I also joined the Volleyball Club, the Czechoslovak and Arabic Society and the Car Design Club.

 

Opportunities from studying at Imperial

What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial that you wouldn’t get anywhere else?
Being exposed to a very bright-minded, diverse and highly intellectual environment.

How have you benefited from the services provided by the Career and Professional Development Service?
Absolutely! The Careers Services are very helpful, especially in the beginning. Whether you need to improve your CV, cover letter, take part in a Mock Assessment Centre or Mock Case Interview, the team is always prepared to help you. I personally took part in almost all the programmes offered by the Careers Service. Over the first term top companies attended the Business School and we gained valuable insights into the consulting, finance and other industries.

How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?
Absolutely! I have met many great people outside the business school, became part of impressive societies and attended the evening language classes, interesting lectures, Blyth Music centre, the Imperial Farmer’s Market every Tuesday and much more.

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.
Coming from continental Europe, I have to admit that being exposed to such a competitive environment as London really helps you thrive. I got insights into industries and companies I have not known much about before and rethought my short-term career aspirations.

 

Career goals and jobs

What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
Imperial really broadened my horizons. Before actually coming to Imperial I only considered a career in the automotive industry. Now I am much more open to a large variety of opportunities in the finance, consulting or law, in addition to the automotive industry. I believe that by starting in the financial or consulting industry I would gain a lot of valuable skills that I might later apply in the automotive industry. My ultimate career goal is to become a CEO of a multinational automotive company.

Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?
I am currently in various recruiting processes with companies ranging from consulting (BCG), banking (Rothschild, MorganStanley, Nomura) and automotive (Skoda, BMW, Porsche, VW) industries.

Where do you see yourself upon completing the programme?
During the course, I became very interested in the world of finance and hence I would like to gain some experience in the financial and / or consulting industry. Later I would like to drive the future of the automotive industry and become a CEO of a multinational car company.

 

Life as a student in London

Whereabouts do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I finally chose to live in shared accommodation in Battersea, due to the proximity to my friends and the university, as well as its neighbourhood (Battersea Park) and lower cost.

What can a weekend in London look like for an MSc student?
Each weekend can be very different and can include pub crawls; parties; Greek nights a Elysée’s; Indian, Greek or Chinese dinners; and movie nights. Other weekends are dedicated fully to studying, nights included.

In your opinion, tell us about the most exciting, undiscovered place in London.
A place called Saravanaa Bhavan, a very nice South Indian restaurant with perfect cuisine!
Elysée restaurant, where we all become a Big Greek Family!
And Duck&Waffle with a sunset over London!

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?
London is a place that never sleeps – there is always something interesting happening. Don’t limit yourself only to Imperial; attend other interesting events organised by societies from LSE, LBS and other top institutions!

 

Advice for future students

What advice would you give someone who was thinking about applying for the course?
I believe the MSc Management at Imperial is an excellent way how to round off your education and boost your career. It provides you with a highly qualitative knowledge about a large variety of business disciplines and makes you apply this knowledge practically. Whether you studied engineering, science, economics or literature, you will certainly be able to connect your previous studies and experience with the business side here at Imperial. If you however incline more towards a very specific business discipline, like finance or marketing, you might be better off choosing a more specialised programme.

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 think the online information sessions, which I attended, were a good way how to get a first touch with Imperial, its culture and environment. I attended the very first information session about the programme, later a taster lecture in innovation management and then an online session with the Careers Services. The Careers online session gave me a first insight of what to expect from their services when actually coming to Imperial.

Share with us a handy hint or trick which makes campus life that much easier! 
Using the normal door instead of the revolving one when going out of the City & Guilds building will save you at least six seconds per entrance / exit  on average. If you are at least a little bit interested in finance and want to gain more insight, profit from the TEC course in finance that the Imperial Finance Society offers!

MSc Management 2015-16

Nationality: Czech and Tunisian

Institute and subject studied for Undergraduate degree: 
• BEng Robotics & Cybernetics, Czech Technical University, Czech Republic
• JD Law, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
• Exchange Studies, International Relations University of Adelaide, Australia

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