Hussam Qutob, MSc Strategic Marketing 2019-20, student at Imperial College Business School
Programme:
MSc Strategic Marketing
Nationality:
Palestinian
Undergraduate education:

BS Business Management (Marketing), Brigham Young University

About you

What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?

I have always valued hands-on experience by working with startups or well-established companies. That is why I decided to use every summer during my undergraduate studies to practice my skills and further build on them by interning with six companies across marketing, advertising, and business development. I also have two years of experience working full-time as a Brand Manager, and Trade and Product Marketing Manager.

My first two internships where with a local advertising agency in Palestine and Ogilvy & Mather in Jordan, working with multiple departments including social media, public relations, and account management. My remaining internships were with American startups in Utah, where I managed a team of five students working on business development strategies along with launch campaigns to help the businesses reach their full potential.

Upon graduation, I started working with Nu Skin Enterprises, a $2 billion company selling and developing personal care products, and supplements. I worked as a brand manager working on the $300 million portfolios of seven brands while co-assisting on the $1 billion portfolios of premium products. My main task was to create ongoing strategies that ensured the success of the brands I worked on. Finally, my last experience was working as a Trade & Product Marketing Manager at UniPal General Trading Company, the leading FMCG distributor in Palestine.

Why did you decide to study MSc Strategic Marketing at Imperial College Business School?

My initial goal was to get a Master’s in Business Administration, but as I worked in marketing, I realised that this is the path that I want to continue working in, so I figured that a Master’s programme is a better fit for me. As I started researching programmes, I was impressed with Imperial College Business School given its high ranking worldwide, world-class faculty, and modules offered that are crafted for my future goals in product marketing, branding, and entrepreneurship.

Programme

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

I particularly enjoyed Consumer Behaviour, as it was a module that allowed for creativity and also tied psychology to the business field. It is very important to know how to deal with customers and craft successful marketing campaigns based on proven theories, which in my opinion this module was able to deliver thoroughly. Having worked in the industry, it even gave me the opportunity to assess my previous work and provoked my thinking to how I can tackle multiple scenarios in the future.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

The programme consisted of a lot of group assignments where students got the chance to work and collaborate with their classmates from all walks of life and develop deep personal connections. Cultural differences and different work styles weren’t easy to overcome, especially since we had a limited time for each assignment. However, it was very rewarding for me personally to craft my working style and communication according to the group I was working with to deliver the best results, knowing that this is something I will have to do in any business I am part of. Moreover, it added an edge to our learning experience as we were able to share our experiences with one another to grasp the material better.

People

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

I would consider my cohort to be the biggest blessing of my time at Imperial College Business School. There’s nothing I enjoy more than diversity and deep connections with people from varying backgrounds. Imperial does a really great job in its selection criteria ensuring that the cohort has students with varying yet complementary backgrounds to add value to the classroom. I was also so lucky to build lifelong relationships with people I respect and appreciate, making my time in London unforgettable.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

I am very grateful to have learned from esteemed professors with inestimable knowledge and understanding of marketing from previous research and work experience. It is hard to pick a favourite, but Dr Omar Merlo, James Eteen, and Professor Andreas Eisingerich were three faculty members that added a lot of value to my future career goals. I particularly enjoyed their modules, delivery methods, and ability to make class an engaging experience.

Opportunities

What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?

I particularly enjoyed the company visits that were planned by the university. These insightful events gave us an inside look on multiple businesses including Facebook and LVMH and how they perform business. Such opportunities not only help you in gathering information when applying to specific jobs within these companies, but also offer a chance to have more personal conversations with industry professionals.

I also appreciated the Enterprise Lab, which helps aspiring entrepreneurs with ideas gain the necessary help and connections in their initial stages.

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial? 

Having had previous experience working with premium products and products within the FMCG industry, I knew I wanted to be part of the FMCG, Luxury Goods & Retail Careers Club. I was chosen as a Vice President of this club, which was a pleasurable responsibility to work with a talented team and bring our knowledge to serve students’ needs that have an interest in working in these industries. The club arranged engaging events that connected club members to industry professionals, who shared their experience highlighting specific challenges, trends, and day-day life working in their jobs.

How did you find the unprecedented shift to remote teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Well, one thing I can say is that this experience is simply unique. Part of me is saddened, of course, to have my Master’s shift online, especially being away from London, my friends, and faculty. Yet, I feel that this shift taught me a lot on perseverance and commitment as we had to be on Zoom calls for long hours, despite differences in time zones. These challenges did not affect our outcome, or passion for marketing and the assignments we worked on. Finally, the safety and health of everyone is priority so this change was inevitable and essential.

Career

What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?

I have a huge passion for product marketing and brand management, so I am planning on gaining an in-depth experience in this field upon graduating. I believe my passion along with my skills of analytical and creative thinking that have been solidified through this Master’s will help me excel in this field and help grow the companies I work. I also aspire to have my own business in the future, focusing on the personal-care industry and technology.

London location

Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?

This was one of the reasons I was especially excited for when I chose Imperial. That is because London is a central hub in the business world where many companies are located. This gives students multiple opportunities for networking, access to company visits, and potential job opportunities.

When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?

Being a food enthusiast, I always enjoy trying new places to eat around London with friends and walking around. Also, despite London’s bipolar weather, there are always fun things to do individually and in groups.

What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?

Having the chance to live abroad from my undergraduate studies and work and moving to a different country wasn’t a new experience for me. However, it was hard for me to get used to the fast life in London and its unique style of living, but I got used to it quickly and it easily became one of my favourite places to live given its smooth lifestyle and diverse culture.

My advice to those moving to London is to use their time wisely personally, academically, and professionally. This all comes with effective time management as all students should make sure to meet new people, make friends and build memories, especially out of London, since travelling is very convenient. Any Master’s programme can get intense at times, so it is important to manage stress and know that the reward will always be worth it. Finally, since London is a central location that connects many business corporations, students should take every chance to network and use all opportunities provided by the university or local events happening.

Tips

Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions?

I made sure to attend the webinars offered by Imperial that explained the objectives of the programme and further highlighted the selection criteria. The reason for me was wanting to make sure the programme is a good fit and adds to my previous experience. I would recommend all future students to do their research, and these webinars are an essential step of this process.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?

In my personal opinion, I believe developing an interest to marketing prior to the programme is essential. This can be done through internships or full-time jobs to make sure that this is the field you are aiming to continue working in. That way, class material becomes more insightful and easily relatable to previous personal business scenarios.

Programme:
MSc Strategic Marketing
Nationality:
Palestinian
Undergraduate education:

BS Business Management (Marketing), Brigham Young University