Matthew Harris, MSc Strategic Marketing 2020-21
Programme:
MSc Strategic Marketing
Nationality:
British
University and subject studied for undergraduate degree:

BA Digital Culture, King’s College London.

About you

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

Applying as a fresh graduate from my BA programme, I had little to no relevant real-world experience in marketing when I decided to pursue MSc Strategic Marketing at Imperial. The only noteworthy experience was an internship at Oliver Kinross that I completed during the summer of 2019.

As a first-time marketer, I was thrown into the deep end and immediately tasked with negotiating partnership contracts whilst solely managing the company’s entire social media presence. Working alongside a fantastic team, I was frequently confronted with new responsibilities and was required to adapt to the various obstacles that came with them. Ultimately, the experience left me feeling challenged but hungry for what my future marketing career has in store for me. 

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

As a leading pioneer for business studies across the world, very few schools come close to the mark set by Imperial College Business School. I sought to take on a challenging degree that would enhance my understanding of how contemporary businesses elevate their message to compete with the myriad of digital white noise present in today’s cacophonic multi-media culture. A prestigious institution with world-renowned faculty and alumni, Imperial felt like a good fit for me. Situated in the heart of London, I can think of no better place for someone like myself to study how brands, businesses and marketing endeavours influence the individualised perception we have of ourselves as well as those that surround us.

Did you receive a scholarship?

As a fortunate recipient of a scholarship for academic excellence, I feel that this award has greatly benefited me by lowering the financial burden incurred on me this academic year so that I may continue to focus on my studies, despite the turbulence induced by a global pandemic.

My advice to future scholarship applicants can be summed up in a short but simple phrase: go for it! I too felt nervous and doubted my prospects of securing a scholarship given the already competitive application process at such a prestigious institution, but I guarantee that with the right amount of confidence, hard work and luck, you will be amazed at how far it can take you. So, if you are on the fence on whether you should apply for a scholarship, trust me, apply!

Programme

What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy the most?

While I have yet to fully experience the campus at Imperial due to nationwide pandemic restrictions, I feel I have still managed to make the most of my Imperial experience. Group work within our syndicate groups has given me the opportunity to study alongside and regularly converse with a diverse group of individuals who also share a passion for marketing. From group assignments to pub quizzes, I treasure the unique and memorable interactions I have shared with my cohort throughout this brief but eventful academic term. 

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

A module that I began with low expectations that quickly became my favourite module of the term was Consumer Behaviour. This module reinterpreted marketing concepts through a more psychological-based lens. Other noteworthy mentions include the marketing simulation practice I undertook in the Data Analytics module and interviewing students about their use of Tinder in Market Research! 

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

The most rewarding aspect of the programme for me has been studying concepts and case studies that are relevant to the marketing practices happening every day in industry. It makes me feel prepared to take on the contemporary marketing environment and confident that my efforts will amount to furthering awareness for the causes and beliefs that I support.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

COVID-19. An unimaginative answer, but one that could not be shrugged off given the monumental impact it has had on my academic experience. Being faced with an ever-changing pandemic response tier system and adapting to a learning environment delivered through Zoom has been anything but smooth. I cannot wait for when I can participate in a class discussion that is not disrupted by connectivity issues, error messages or some other unforeseen technical difficulty.  

How have you found the multi-mode teaching delivery?

It has not been the smoothest of transitions. I have learnt from experience that there is no task more stressful than encountering technical difficulties whilst within an exam setting; however, it is at this point that I must extend my sincerest applause to the Imperial IT team. They have been nothing short of fantastic in addressing all the technical hiccups that naturally arise from delivering a virtual learning experience. Overall, I would say that while there is room for improvement, I am pleasantly surprised by how successful the Imperial staff have been in their execution of multi-modal teaching.

People

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

If I were to encapsulate my cohort in just a few words, I would use curious, passionate, and bold. Conversations held during lectures feel inclusive to take part in and regularly invite discussion on the latest market trends. Everyone is eager to share their opinions and experiences with one another.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

As I mentioned previously, one of my favourite modules so far has been the Consumer Behaviour module. Taught by the always animated Professor Andreas Eisingerich, the excitement and passion he brought to each lecture made it hard to not share the same level of enthusiasm he expressed for storytelling-oriented marketing.

Opportunities

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

Since coming to Imperial, I have been fortunate enough to attend multiple talks and workshops held by industry leaders in my preferred field of employment. Events organised by many of Imperial’s businesses societies have given me insight into a broad range of topics. From envisioning the future of e-sports viewership to discussing the significance of sustainable work practices that combat climate change, these short presentations have had a big impact on the trajectory of my career path. 

Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?

Guest lectures delivered by industry professionals are always insightful because they give you a first-hand look into what is going on beyond the classroom. I remember talks held by corporations such as Microsoft, Amazon, and King to be particularly interesting. Moreover, the diversity of Imperial’s assortment of clubs and societies means that there is always an interesting event or workshop on the horizon. 

Career

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

Upon arriving at Imperial, my future career goals have become more focussed. As someone who is a passionate marketer and avid storyteller, my time at Imperial has allowed to me focus on networking with likeminded individuals to help me realise what a career in marketing would feel like. So far, I would hope that my experience during the various classes offered throughout my degree would help to narrow down what aspect of marketing I am most interested in when I embark upon my career path.

How did the services from Careers help in your professional development/securing employment?

The Careers team have been very helpful in looking over my professional materials and offering me advice in what needs to be improved. The number of resources available to students is astounding and can be quite daunting to approach at first, but the guidance offered by Careers is invaluable and should not be overlooked. 

London location

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

When studying marketing, living in a big city is a must. Marketing is as much capturing the now as it is securing sales. As such, London as a metropolitan backdrop to accompany a Master’s in marketing has been essential for providing me with beneficial networking and career opportunities. My experience living and studying in the city has been overwhelmingly positive and I would highly recommend it to anyone seeking to deepen their relationship with the sights and scenes that contribute towards London’s unique ambience.

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

A big passion of mine is watching and producing short films. As an avid moviegoer, I enjoy logging and reviewing films on the platform Letterboxd. Notable inspirations of mine include Hot Fuzz, Birdman, Chunking Express and Goodfellas. I have also directed and taken on the role of screenwriter for my own film productions, which I successfully submitted and received awards from various international film festivals.

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

My biggest piece of advice would be to not be afraid to challenge your own established beliefs and comfort zones. London is a vibrant city that has a lot to offer. Sometimes, it feels like too much to offer. Looking up what is scheduled to take place in London and trying to accommodate for all your interests can be stress-inducing. Similarly, those with not-so established interests can become stressed from feeling like they are missing out. I recommend getting out there and taking advantage of what the city has to offer. Not just the safe options but the less popular ones too! Niche events that showcase London’s talented community always make for a memorable outing. You only get as much as you put into your London experience, so make sure it counts!

Tips

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

Ensure you are well equipped to contribute your ideas in a group setting and prepared to compromise with team members. With a large focus on team-based assignments, this programme tests your ability to adapt to the strengths and weaknesses of your fellow teammates. While some might feel this is unfair and fails to consider individual merit, I find the programme’s emphasis on teamwork to be representative of the group dynamic present in real-world corporations and feel it is an essential element that has helped define my Imperial experience. 

Interested in applying for a scholarship to this programme?

Programme:
MSc Strategic Marketing
Nationality:
British
University and subject studied for undergraduate degree:

BA Digital Culture, King’s College London.