Suhani Gandhi MSc Strategic Marketing (online, part-time)

Programme: MSc Strategic Marketing (online, part-time)

Nationality: British

University and subject studied for undergraduate degree: Law LLB, University of Birmingham

About you

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

Prior to starting the programme, I had just completed a policy internship at the Ministry of Justice. During my undergraduate degree, I had been actively involved in the performing arts. After graduating, I decided to pursue acting full-time. I have acted in over 35 commercials, four feature films, two television series and a short film that was longlisted for the Oscars. After achieving the milestones I had set out for myself as an actress, I decided to challenge myself further. I started my own business, Holiday Hindi, which is the first Hindi learning platform that uses creative teaching methods.  

Why did you decide to study MSc Strategic Marketing (online, part-time) at Imperial College Business School?

The MSc Strategic Marketing programme was an ideal way for me to transition from the different paths I had pursued previously (law and acting) to business-oriented roles. Due to the uncertainty around COVID-19, I was searching for a top marketing and business Master’s with strong digital infrastructure in place to deliver quality education online. I also wanted flexibility while I study to be able to continue the acting projects I had committed to and to run my business. This is why the two year online, part-time programme felt tailor-made for me, and even after researching programmes all over the world, I couldn’t find a better fit.

Did you receive a scholarship?

Yes, I did. The scholarship demonstrated to me that my unconventional career path and varied experiences were valued by Imperial College Business School. It gave me the confidence to push myself out of my comfort zone and take the plunge to transition career paths.


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

I was pleasantly surprised to see how effectively Imperial’s educational technology team (the Edtech Lab) have developed the online programme. It truly feels that the in-person interactions are being simulated online. Every session provides innovative ways to contribute – this could be in the form of presenting, sharing a personal story or opinion, participating in polls or carrying out exercises. Peer-based learning is extremely important to me, and I’ve really enjoyed and benefited from interacting with my peers and understanding their perspectives.  

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

The digital marketing module led by Daniel Rowles has been particularly insightful and useful for me. Having already set-up my online business, Holiday Hindi, I was excited to get a deeper understanding of the tools and frameworks that I could use to improve my website and digital marketing strategy. The module is practical, relevant and up-to-date, and has even helped me generate more leads for my business.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

The most rewarding part of the programme is that it has allowed me to simultaneously achieve my vocational and educational goals. A part-time, online programme means that one has to be extremely disciplined, manage time efficiently, communicate effectively with syndicate group members, and be passionate and motivated about the field of study. I spent the first term in Portugal filming for a series. During my days off from the filming schedule, I would stay in my hotel room and study. Strangely enough, it never felt like a chore. I found the programme content stimulating and exciting, and sometimes I’d even end up discussing the case studies with the film crew members. Upon my return from Portugal, I was able to launch my business. The flexibility of the part-time, online Master’s has allowed me to pursue all of my goals, which feels extremely fulfilling.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

The programme places a strong weighting on data analytics and quantitative reasoning as a foundation for marketing. Having come from a creative background, one of my objectives is to develop strong data analytics and quantitative skills during the MSc. Right from the offset, the programme has emphasised the importance of these skills through the Maths, Data Analysis and Accounting primer modules. This has been both challenging and rewarding for me, and now I’m looking forward to starting the Marketing Analytics module where I hope to learn some coding.

Have you found the programme learnings to be directly applicable to your role?

What I’ve found most exciting about the programme is that the topics, theories and frameworks are applied to real world, practical scenarios. Many of the exercises involve thinking of solutions for the current company we work for or a target company that we wish to work for. Through these exercises, I’ve found ways to audit the processes of my own company and also learn more about the projects and companies that my peers have worked for.      

How have you found studying on The Hub?

The Hub is intuitive and easy to use. I enjoy seeing my progress on the modules as it motivates me to stay on top of the workload. It’s also fun to be able to see who’s online, making it feel like a community rather than an isolated way of learning. 


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

Since it’s an online programme, I was worried that the cohort would be too large, and it wouldn’t be possible to get to know everyone. However, I found that the cohort size is perfect (over 50 students), and I hope that over the two years I’ll get to build a personal connection with each person. One of the exciting aspects of the online programme is that the cohort is international. This has allowed me to understand different cultures and perspectives. Most of the cohort are currently working, so they all bring their own set of expertise and experiences. 

Can you highlight the positives of working in syndicate groups on the programme?

As part of the Strategic Market Management module led by Dr Omar Merlo, my group decided to create a video launching a new product (an alcohol-free wine) as a Dragon’s Den/ Shark’s Tank style pitch. This was a really fun group project that enabled us to bond, think creatively and even build our entrepreneurship skills. I would look forward to our weekly calls where we discussed our ideas, delegated tasks and checked in on each other. Each member of the syndicate group had their own set of strengths, so we delegated the tasks accordingly. This allowed each member to make a unique contribution and enabled us to learn from each other. Each term, we are allocated to one syndicate group to work on all the group projects with. This has allowed me to form a deeper bond with the syndicate group.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

I particularly enjoyed Professor Andreas Eisingerich’s style of teaching. His energy and enthusiasm is contagious, and I appreciated how he pushed us to pick an essay topic that we’re most passionate about.


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

It’s been incredibly exciting to have access to the Imperial Enterprise Lab. I’ve attended the Pitch ‘n’ Mix event, received mentoring through the Ideas Surgery, and applied for the Venture Catalyst Challenge. Being a part of an ambitious and talented entrepreneurial community and network has helped me meet like-minded people and fine-tune my business sense and ideas. This support and network is one that I will value for many years to come.

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

I thoroughly enjoyed the Imperial Women in Business ‘Be Your Own Boss- Building a Business at university’ event. I also found the ‘Networking Masterclass’ from the Student Experience team to be particularly useful- it even helped build specific skills such as ‘Mastering the art of Global Business Dining’!

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

This year, I’ve joined the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Club. Since I’m enrolled on a two-year programme, I plan to explore the various opportunities available in the first year before getting involved with a leadership position in the second year.

Have you had opportunities to work/socialise with students across programmes within the Business School?

Due to COVID-19, in person interactions have been limited. However, with the breakout rooms feature on Zoom, many of the online events have allowed me to speak with students from across the Business School. I’ve gotten used to meeting students online, and in a way, it’s extremely positive as I’m able to interact with students from all over the world. This has truly made the world feel smaller and more connected.

How have you benefited from the Business School’s connection to the Imperial College London community?

It feels like one unit and community, especially when I go onto campus. Also, the fact that Imperial College London is at the frontier of technology and data science pushes me to look at problems from a scientific lens and reach out to fellow Imperial College London students to discuss ideas and hear their perspective.


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

I’m working on scaling my business during the two-year programme. In the future, I see myself in a marketing leadership role in a large media or tech company.

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

The Careers department has been really helpful in providing all-round support from CV critiquing, to mock interviews, to tailored careers advice. Sessions are readily available, and a personalised plan can be built with a careers consultant over time, which provides consistency and a sense of familiarity throughout the job search process.

London Location

Do you think studying at a London-based institution is beneficial for career opportunities?

Absolutely- Imperial College Business School has strong ties with many of my target companies. This really helps with networking, which, in turn, can open doors.

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

The pandemic has limited my options, but I enjoy cycling around London to find the best takeaway coffee spots. I also deliver online mentoring and coaching sessions, which is something I am really passionate about.


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

I found the profile review service extremely helpful. After submitting my CV, I was able to speak with a member of the recruitment team for feedback and received advice on the aspects of my profile that I should highlight for the application. Don’t be hesitant to ask questions – this really helped me with my application process. It was easy to get in touch with a member from the recruitment team- even during the summer holidays!

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

If, like me, you have always wanted to start a Master’s but haven’t been able to take a year out, I recommend applying for the MSc Strategic Marketing (online, part-time). You will get the same quality of education along with all the benefits that come with being an Imperial College student.

The programme is designed to be engaging and practical – in fact, I had never imagined I would enjoy studying as much as I have! During the application process, analyse your unique experiences and skillset, and be sure to highlight them. Your story and journey is what will make your application stand out! Finally, be clear on your career goals and what you want to get out of the programme. This will help you make the most of all the diverse opportunities that Imperial College has to offer.

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Programme: MSc Strategic Marketing (online, part-time)

Nationality: British

University and subject studied for undergraduate degree: Law LLB, University of Birmingham