Mandy Liu

Mandy Liu

Academic and industry experience before Imperial

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

Internships with:

  • Ogilvy & Mather (Strategy, Marketing and Public Relations Intern)
  • Uber (Operational and Marketing Intern)
  • Husband Retail Consulting (Consultant Intern)

Studying MSc Strategic Marketing

Why did you decide to study an MSc in Strategic Marketing and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?

It is a very practical programme. I learnt marketing theories during my Bachelors and so I wanted my MSc to provide me hands-on marketing experiences.

Living in London and meeting people across the globe who have had many years of work experiences was also something that was extremely attractive to me. During my previous years of study, I was probably the only one who had worked with Ogilvy & Mather, however, I have met so many people who had work with the same creative agencies as me, so we were able to talk about our experiences and our passions for marketing.

What makes the MSc Strategic Marketing at Imperial College Business School unique?

In comparison to a lot of my friends who are also studying a Master’s in London, I would say that MSc Strategic Marketing gave me a lot of freedom to be creative, as if you are actually working with a company. Working in groups for different projects allowed me to meet and talk to different people. These projects enable you to bond with your programme mates and I already know that there are people that I have met and made friends with that will be friends for life. All of this would never have happened without the challenging projects and tasks we worked on together.

What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?

I especially enjoy the consulting project in the summer term. This project gives you a real experience of what it would be like to be a consultant to someone. They may be much older and much more experienced than you are, however, you learn to be more confident as all of the other modules you have previously learnt during the year equips you all of the essential skills and knowledge that you may need to tackle a real life challenging problem.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

Group work is fun but at the same time you need to learn to work with different people in different projects. I really learnt to adapt to different personalities and learn to identify people’s strengths and my own weaknesses. Some of the group mates you have may be much older than you and are more experienced. Group work not only allows you to learn from other people but also allows you to learn and discover things that you have never learnt about yourself.

Guest speakers

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

We’ve had many guest lectures during the year and all of them have been insightful and teach you something new about something that you have never heard of before. For example, we’ve had a guest speaker from Swatch present at our Strategic Project Management modules and they spoke about how they had managed the brand overtime and how they have achieved enormous success.

The faculty

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

Truthfully speaking, I have enjoyed speaking to all of the professors this year. I have never met professors like the ones at Imperial. They are not only extremely helpful in terms of the academics but also genuinely care about your personal achievements in life. They are all willing to talk about your career goals and share some of their most valuable experiences and advice. I have had many detailed conversations with professor Omar, Andreas, Rajesh and Marialena. Honestly, one of the most valuable things I’ve had at Imperial, is to have the opportunity to learn so much from them.

Another thing that made me absolutely love this programme is that it is much less hierarchical in comparison to other universities. You are able to go and speak to either the programme managers or the lecturers any time of the day. You will not have to wait for a number of days until they reply because they really value you as a student.

Your cohort

Imperial places a large emphasis on group work, what did you like the most about working in this type of environment?

As I have previously mentioned, group work enables you to learn not just from the people around you but also the most valuable part to this is that you have the chance to learn about yourself.

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

It’s hard to describe with a single word because I have never met so many different personalities within a single programme. This is a very diverse programme, everybody is hardworking and fun at the same time. You should never worry about which team you are allocated to because they are all extremely smart and dedicated to producing quality work. One of the best things during this programme is you get to watch presentations from every team, and you really learn that there are so many things you are yet to explore and learn from your programme mates.

Extracurricular activities

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

I am the Vice President for Marketing & Digital Society. We organise events and invite speakers to come to the Business School to tell us more about their jobs. For example, we had organised the event ‘Staying Ahead Through Technology & Customer Focus’ and invited Jonathan Vaux who is the Executive Director of Innovation Partnership Visa Europe. Some of the interesting things he talked about include:

  • A lot of the conversation is around technology. But I urge you to think about behaviours.
  • Visa is now focusing on projects that use design thinking and agile methodologies to deliver rapid improvements.
  • Innovation is a bit like putting on weight. You spend 20 years not really knowing its happening and then your wife is giving you a Fitbit for Christmas.

Opportunities from studying at Imperial

What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial that you wouldn’t get anywhere else?

The engaging conversations that I’ve had with the professors and I really learnt so much from their experiences. You would never understand how important it is to meet a good teacher until you really meet one.

How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?

There are so many societies that you could join, for example I joined Yoga and met lots of people who are studying subjects that are completely different from me, such as Neuroscience.

Career goals and jobs

How have you benefited from the services provided by Careers?

Careers was extremely helpful during the hectic interview period. I was able to speak to alumnus who work at the companies that I am interested in because Imperial has one of the largest networks in the world. I was able to gain insight and understand more about the company culture and how well suited I would be if I joined the company in the future.

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

Meeting people from different backgrounds and ages was one thing that had taught me to look at life differently. With people who are much older and have experienced that are much more diverse that you have ever experienced, it really enables you to look outside your comfort zone and think about things that you have never even imagined.

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.

Definitely! London is one of the most exciting cities in the world. It is full of energy, colours and opportunities to meet people and your future self. There is a famous quote by Samuel Johnson: ‘when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford’.

Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?

I live near the Business School as it is easier for project meetings.

What can a weekend in London look like for an MSc student?

Attending different talks, workshops, music concerts, and eating different types of cuisine with friends in the same programme and outside the programme.

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?

If you come from a small town like me, where you know everybody and always bump into your friends on the street, be prepared to feel the ‘loneliness’. London is exciting but sometimes it can feel a little too big. I overcame this very quickly because having more time to myself allowed me to truly reflect my past as well as the future I’m facing.

Advice for future students

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

Start preparing early because this programme is very competitive as you will be working with the brightest people. Really think about the four career questions. It may be a little difficult at first but it helped me tremendously to understand what I wanted and the kind of person I want to become.

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

I had attended an on-campus information session and it was very useful because I had the opportunity to imagine my life at Imperial by visiting the lecture rooms as well as talking to the current teachers and students. I’m also still in contact with some of the other students that attended.

MSc Strategic Marketing 2016-17

Nationality: Chinese

Pre-MSc Strategic Marketing: BA (Hons) Marketing, Durham University