“With my STEM background, Imperial was the obvious choice. The links the Business School has to the other Imperial departments of Engineering, Natural Sciences and Healthcare is something you can only really get with an MBA from Imperial.”
What is your background prior to studying an MBA?
Prior to beginning my MBA journey at Imperial, I’d spent the previous six years working in the UK rail industry. After completing a Master’s in Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering back home in Ireland, I moved to London in 2014 to join the Transport for London (TfL) Mechanical Engineering graduate programme.
When I joined TfL I hadn’t realised how train focused my job would be, but I soon fell in love with the railway. It’s really inspiring to work on something so tangible and to feel like you’re making people’s lives easier by keeping them moving safely and efficiently across London. After three and a half years at TfL, I took a new job with Heathrow Express, a private express rail operator between London and Heathrow Airport. While working for Heathrow Express I obtained my professional engineering chartership with the Institute of Mechanical Engineers; something I’m particularly proud of as it means being recognised as meeting a certain standard of engineering competence by my peers. It also helped me be promoted to the responsibility of Professional Head of Engineering at Heathrow Express – a position that had never previously been held by someone so young.
Why did you decide to study an MBA at Imperial?
An MBA had always been in the back of my mind. I love being an engineer, but I’ve always known my strengths lay more in the realms of management engineering. For me an MBA wasn’t essential, I could have gotten the business experience and knowledge through work, but I wanted to take a year out to fully focus on learning again. With my STEM background, Imperial was the obvious choice. The links the Business School has to the other Imperial departments of Engineering, Natural Sciences and Healthcare is something you can only really get with an MBA from Imperial.
How did you fund your MBA?
I am very lucky, however, that I received a scholarship from the Forté Foundation. As a Forté Fellow, I am part of an incredible organisation that supports women in business and, most importantly for me, funded a large portion of my MBA fees which has made this year possible.
What was your favourite module?
Ethics was the highlight of my first semester. It’s something so applicable to every job and indeed to everyday life. It’s the subject that’s made me think the most about the decisions I make and what my morals are. Professor Celia Moore, who teaches this module, is also an incredible educator and learning from her was a privilege. She makes you think as an ethical leader without forcing her opinions on you.
One of the great aspects of the Imperial MBA is the variety of electives on offer ranging from M&A to pricing strategy, to entrepreneurial finance and even the future of cities. After completing my core modules with only the full-time MBA cohort, it was also great to learn alongside students from the other MBA and MSc programmes. One of my favourite electives was 'managing negotiations' with Michael Yeomans. I'd done a negotiations course whilst in my previous job, but I think it's something you can always improve upon and learn new tricks and approaches. This elective was really interactive with great input from the whole class to make it an encouraging learning environment. I've already utilised what I learned in this class in my daily life.
"This elective was really interactive with great input from the whole class to make it an encouraging learning environment. I've already utilised what I learned in this class in my daily life."
How would you describe your cohort?
My classmates are hands down the best part of the MBA programme. One of the reasons I wanted to do the MBA was for networking opportunities, and it has not disappointed. When the pandemic hit, I considered whether I should do an online MBA, but nothing can compare to the organic conversations you have in class around the topics being learned – that’s what brings the subjects to life. The work ethic, drive and support from my cohort honestly make me remember why I chose to pursue an MBA in the midst of a global pandemic. Every one of them has something different to bring to the conversation and I respect and am in awe of every one of them.
How did the services from Careers help in your professional development/securing employment?
My Imperial Career Consultant really helped me in the first months of my MBA to hone into what it is I want to do, and I’ve been lucky enough to already have a job offer for a well renowned MBA graduate programme. I never thought I’d have a job offer this early, but it means I can now focus on other things like entrepreneurial ventures for the rest of the year and take a lot of pressure off. I can honestly say that without my Careers Consultant, Rachel Tonner, I wouldn’t have gotten my job offer. She prepped me so well for my interview and made sure I was ready for anything they could have asked me.
"I can honestly say that without my Careers Consultant, Rachel Tonner, I wouldn’t have gotten my job offer. She prepped me so well for my interview and made sure I was ready for anything they could have asked me."
Do you have any advice for prospective students?
If you’re thinking about applying to do an MBA, the advice I would give is to talk to as many people as possible about it. Reach out to those doing an MBA or those who’ve done them. Don’t feel bad about asking for advice – people who’ve done an MBA love to talk about it! I hassled so many people at my previous job who I knew had done an MBA and their advice was invaluable. It also helped to say out loud that I wanted to do an MBA. When you tell people your goals, you’re more likely to hold yourself accountable to them, and you’ll be astonished at the support you’ll receive.
Meet the Global Online MBA class of 2023-25
We’re pleased to welcome the Global Online MBA 2023-25 cohort to Imperial College Business School. With 91 students starting in September 2023, the online, part-time programme means that students can join our community from anywhere in the world.
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Chris Homles, Full-Time MBA, 2023 alum shares his experience studying at Imperial College Business School, and why this programme was worth it for him.
Discover our Full-Time MBA
With the one-year MBA at Imperial College London, a global top-10 university, you will join an ecosystem built on technology and innovation, at the forefront of the world's greatest challenges.
How to apply
Discover our rolling admissions process for the Full-Time MBA including entry requirements, how to apply, and key dates and deadlines.