Mariana Capao Filipe
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
Before joining Imperial, I did three internships. First, I did a full-time three-month journalism internship at a local television channel. I later worked part-time as a Digital Marketing Intern, mostly managing a school’s social media and website. Finally, I interned in Marketing and Communications at an NGO, during which I had the opportunity of taking part in the organisation of the Global Pro Bono Summit ‘17.
Why did you decide to study MSc Strategic Marketing at Imperial College Business School?
I chose the MSc in Strategic Marketing at Imperial because it has a range of modules that cover most aspects within the Marketing field, and I did not have the opportunity to consolidate these during my undergraduate degree. Moreover, Imperial holds a global reputation, as well as a campus with an excellent location that fosters networking and physical proximity to great corporations.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?
The fact that two social leaders were elected at the beginning of the year was great. They ensured that throughout the school year we had off-campus events that allowed us to get to know each other better and also have some fun in-between work. I enjoyed getting to know everyone in the programme and built amazing friendships with people from all around the world.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
My favourite module was the Marketing Plan Competition because it was an opportunity to recap what we learnt throughout the academic year and consolidate it into one project. It gave us a chance to reflect upon the modules we had but also to apply frameworks and theories in a realistic Marketing Plan whilst at the same time allowing us to be creative. After a lot of hard work and effort, the group I was a part of won the £500 prize within our stream.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
Throughout the programme you have to continuously work in groups. Whilst this can have its upsides, it can also be challenging as it requires you to be very organised, focused and above all a team player. It is not always easy to ensure that everyone has the same input and at times people will have different methods of working or differing points of view. When you face these challenges, you will have to find mechanisms to work well as a group and, above all, look at it as a learning experience.
How do you describe your cohort at imperial?
One of the aspects I enjoyed the most about this programme are the people you meet. The cohort is very diverse, with people from all over the world and also different academic and professional backgrounds. It was an incredible experience to learn about cultures and customs that I did not know before and to know that I have friends for life from all over the world.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
It is hard to pick a favourite lecturer, but Dr Jan Ross really stood out for his teaching methods and energy. All of his lectures were interrelated and well-structured. Plus, at the beginning of every class he would recap what we had learnt in the previous lecture. He always ensured students were engaged, whether through discussions, in-class exercises or even games!
Imperial places a large emphasis on group work; what did you like the most about working in this type of environment?
The fact that Imperial places so much emphasis on group work prepares you for similar challenges you may face when working in teams professionally. What I liked about working in a group was that you see small ideas become great ones with everyone’s input. You will learn from others, as everyone thinks differently. The fact that Imperial ensures groups are diverse was also great. I had a group with which we would go out for lunch at restaurants of each members’ nationality to share our national cuisine with each other. It was also a way of meeting amazing people that perhaps, if it wasn’t for the allocated groups, I would not have met.
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?
There was an event hosted by the careers team for LVMH where we heard about job opportunities within their group and then had a chance to take part in speedy interviews and share our CV’s. After this short interview, I was invited for the next stages of recruitment and ended-up receiving a job offer. This is only one example of the multiple events held throughout the year by the Careers service to promote job opportunities at large companies like Nike or Kraft Heinz.
Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
I recently attended a workshop in “Leadership and Negotiation”. It was really interesting as we learnt techniques to become better negotiators, but it was also extremely relevant as the second part of the workshop was focused on interview negotiation skills. As I had a job interview the next day, it was great to see what we learn in workshops be of use in a real-life situation.
How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?
Imperial College London was established long before the Business School was founded and has since gained a spot as one of the top universities in the world. Being associated with such a renowned name in the scientific field gives an added reputation and credibility that is strongly valued by anyone who is not as familiar with the Business School.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
My goal is to work in my home country (Portugal) but to have international exposure by travelling and working with overseas markets. Being at Imperial meant that I had added international experience on my CV but also that I went to one of the leading universities worldwide. This was definitely a plus when going through recruitment processes and I am sure it was part of the reason why I landed a role in International Management where I will be working in three different countries.
Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?
I have received two job offers since commencing the programme one in the Luxury industry in the UK and another in Retail based in Portugal. However, I chose to accept the one at Jeronimo Martins, a Portuguese-based international group operating in food distribution and specialised retail stores. I landed the role of International Management Trainee and will be working in Portugal, Poland and Colombia. This two-year programme will consist of a rotation between three main areas: Operations, Logistics and Marketing.
How did the services from Careers help in your professional development/securing employment?
Careers was extremely helpful in guiding me throughout the whole recruitment process. As soon as I joined Imperial, I booked a CV review with one of the consultants that then followed my application processes. Once my CV was ready, I sought help in preparing cover letters that suited the different industries I applied for. From there I booked several interview practice sessions and contacted the consultant via email whenever I had smaller queries. Overall, I believe that Careers was of great help, especially for me as I had never had formal job interviews nor been to an assessment centre before.
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?
Studying in a central location such as London is definitely beneficial for networking. I have found myself networking in the most random occasions. For example, I once took Uber Pool and ended up adding the person with whom I shared the Uber with on LinkedIn, only to later coincidentally land an interview at the company where she worked.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I live very close to Imperial, near Earl’s Court, having the privilege of walking to the Business School in 15 minutes. I chose to live here to be close to university which turned out to be particularly useful on days when I had late nights working or studying on campus. Also, this area is filled with restaurants, cafés as well as supermarkets, and you can easily get to central London and walk to plenty of nice areas like Hyde Park or Notting Hill.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time in London?
During my spare time in London I enjoy getting to know new places. I love going to museums and discovering new restaurants and bars… basically looking for anything new! London is the perfect city for exploring as new exhibitions and events come up constantly, actually making it hard to keep up with! When I had weekends during which I was not as busy with university I went on trips around England. I went to Oxford, then to Cambridge followed by a road-trip with a group of friends from Imperial to Bath, Stonehenge and Brighton.
What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?
The benefits of moving to London start with the fact that you are in an international city where everything is happening, both for leisure and professionally. In London you will be exposed to some of the greatest academics and professionals, but also meet people from all over the world with amazing stories to tell. Some of the challenges may be adapting to such a big city if you have never experienced this before. I personally had a smaller challenge which was the fact that I missed some of the food I used to have back home!
Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions?
I did not attend webinars nor on-campus information sessions as when I applied I was still concluding my Bachelor’s and therefore did not have a lot of free time and could not travel. However, I reached out to a couple of students online who were doing the Master’s and they were extremely helpful in answering any questions that I had.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
My advice if you are thinking of applying to the programme is to talk to someone who has done it before. Reading brochures and looking at the programme structure is not the same as hearing feedback directly from students that can give you an honest opinion and answer any specific questions you may have. If you cannot find anyone to talk to, reach out to the programme team and they will put you in touch with people that can help you, whether they are alumni or current students.