BSc Business and Management at Royal Holloway, University of London
Academic and industry experience before Imperial
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
I started at Imperial College right after completing my BSc at Royal Holloway, hence most of my work experience comprises of internships and part-time jobs. In summer 2015 I interned at an international marketing agency, based in Italy (the name is Hangar Design group). I was in charge of conducting competitors benchmark analysis and developed strategies that helped our clients to expand their customer base. Furthermore, throughout my last year at RHUL, I worked as a student ambassador for the university. I was in charge of representing the university during its open days. Prior to this, I worked as a Latin tutor, helping a medical school student for one academic year and guiding him into learning the Latin medical terminology he needed for his studies.
Studying MSc Strategic Marketing
Why did you decide to study MSc Strategic Marketing and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
I choose to study Marketing because having graduated in Business and Management for my BSc, I realised that marketing topic was the one that struck me the most. This is because marketing is the only business function that is outward looking rather than inward looking and therefore allows companies to directly connect with its external stakeholders (and vice versa) playing a key role in the success of any organisation.
I chose to undertake the MSc in strategic marketing at Imperial College for several reasons. First of all because of the ranking of the programme and university, which in this particular discipline, is in one of the top spots in the world. Furthermore, I was attracted by this programme’s focus on applying technologies and analytics to marketing in order to help organisation achieve a competitive advantage in the modern landscape. So while many other strategic marketing courses have a more traditional approach to marketing, the Imperial College programme has an innovative approach to the discipline, which really gives you the tools to overcome the challenges companies encounter in the modern business landscape.
What makes the MSc Strategic Marketing at Imperial College Business School unique?
There are several aspects that make the MSc at Imperial unique. First of all, the modules and the professors are amazing. We have the opportunity to learn from world leading experts from both the academic and practitioner world. Furthermore, I also enjoyed the projects that we have to work on as part of our degree. I particularly like them because they give us real insight on the practice of marketing, and help us to apply the concepts and theories we have learned throughout the programme. Finally, I really liked the people I met during the programme. Throughout the year, I had the opportunity to connect with extraordinary students coming from all over the world, and this is a unique opportunity which significantly contributed to the development of my understanding of different cultures and societies.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
The most challenging part of the programme is probably the amount of work we are expected to do and the tight deadlines we have to do it in. Studying at a world leading university like Imperial College, students are always pushed to perform at their best, and this MSc is no exception. Hence, organisational and time management skills are key to be successful in this programme. Furthermore, I found some of the tools we had to use throughout the programme quite challenging, for example SPSS, a software for statistical analysis.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
I virtually like all the modules I had throughout the MSc and I think they are all very useful, but if I had to pick my favourites I’d say Consumer behaviour and Marketing Decision-Making. I liked the consumer Behaviour modules because it gave me real insight into how people think and interact when making decisions (e.g. when buying products). I believe that the leanings from this module are useful not only for the marketing practice, but also in everyday life, not to mention that it gave me the opportunity to show off a bit to my friends. I also really like the Marketing Decision-Making elective because it brought us very close to the marketing reality since we used a fairly advanced software to simulate real life scenarios and make decisions in the marketplace. I also liked this elective because each team in our class was competing against one another, and this created a climate of healthy competition which really pushed us to perform at our best.
Which seminars, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
One of the most useful seminars we had is the guest lecture held by Tony Anderson as part of our Integrated marketing practice module. Mr Anderson was the first marketing director of Easyjet, and he is the man who laid the foundation for building the Easyjet brand as we know it today. It was really interesting to know how they pioneered low-cost flights in a world where there was no Internet or mobile technologies, and how they managed to disrupt long established businesses like the airline industry. I believe this has really enhanced my understanding of how marketing is key to foster adoption of new services and to build trust towards them.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
I liked all my professors as they were all young, approachable and friendly.
Imperial places a large emphasis on group work, what did you like the most about working in this type of environment?
I must say that at the very beginning it was really challenging to get used to working in groups of people I did not know and with a very different backgrounds from mine. On the other hand, once we got to know each other it became much easier and even fun to work together, and I believe this has helped me develop a key skill which is really valued in the marketplace.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
I met many extraordinary and talented students, and I made some lifetime friends.
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?
I was part of the Imperial volleyball team, with which I won the league this year. It was a great experience and an honour to represent Imperial in the BUCS competition, and I think it also taught me some important lessons on how to perform under pressure and play as part of a team.
Opportunities from studying at Imperial
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial that you wouldn’t get anywhere else?
I believe the greatest opportunity I had at Imperial was getting to know and connect with many brilliant minds which were not only part of my programme or the Business School, but also part of other departments like engineering physics, computer science etc. I could therefore be exposed to cutting edge ideas in many different fields, with potential implications for the future of my career and studies.
How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?
I benefited from several talks and events that have been held on campus. Many companies held events on campus to specifically attract Imperial students. Attending these events has enhanced my understanding of many companies and jobs, thus having a strong impact on my future career choices.
Career goals and jobs
How have you benefited from the services provided by the Career and Professional Development Service?
The Careers service was very useful in helping us enter the job market. They offer a wide range of services, from the basic CV and Cover letter check, to fast tracking us to some interviewers. I personally found them helpful when perfecting my CV and cover letter, and I constantly received emails form them with targeted job offers.
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.
I believe that studying in a central location such as London is extremely beneficial for networking and career opportunities. London is one of the main economic hubs not only in UK, but also in Europe and the world. Many companies in virtually every sector be it finance, consulting, high tech etc. are based in London and hence studying here makes it much easier to interact and connect with them. Many of these companies organise open days where you can visit their office and network with their employees, and therefore, if you study in London you can definitely attend more of these events.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I was lucky enough to find an accommodation very close to Imperial which is not too expensive for London standards. I choose to live close to school, because first of all it makes your life easier since you can more easily go to lectures or the library, and also the area when Imperial is located is truly awesome, for example, being close to Hyde park and Knightsbridge.
What can a weekend in London look like for an MSc student?
London truly is an extraordinary place for students and young people in general. In London there is always something going on and the choice is so vast that it is always possible to find something that matches your tastes or expectations. There are many parks, museums, clubs bars and whatever a student might be looking for to relax during 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?
I would say the main challenge is finding suitable accommodation. London is a very big city, and sometimes it can be hard to find accommodation at an affordable price, especially if you are looking for an accommodation close to campus. For people coming from Italy it can also be hard to find good food, but this is another story…
Advice for future students
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
I would say it would be wise to look at the programme and at a detailed outline. This can really help you understand if this programme is for you and can also help when preparing the material needed for the application (e.g. small essays, video interview etc.). I would also recommend trying to get as much marketing experience as possible (even in the form of summer schools) as this will help your application stand out.