David MacDonald

Full-Time MBA
Undergraduate education
University of Edinburgh, Masters in Chemical Engineering
Current role
Process Engineer, Harbour Energy
Year of graduation
David Macdonald at Imperial College Business School
David MacDonald, Full-Time MBA
“As a Sainsbury Management Fellow, I was attracted to attend somewhere that is an ecosystem of energy innovation. The leading research at the Grantham Institute and Energy Futures Lab is something we can benefit from while studying an MBA at Imperial College Business School.”

How does Imperial’s diverse cohort enhance the value of your business education?

I had worked solely in the UK in a single industry for my career up to this point so coming to such a global institution has been amazing! In our class of 54 students there are 21 nationalities represented so I am getting a much better global perspective from my cohort when we debate some of the world’s largest challenges. Whether I am listening to a tax specialist from Singapore, a marketing expert from USA or a musician from India you can guarantee you will be learning something new.

The other benefit is that we enjoy sharing and learning from each other’s cultures. So far, we have enjoyed celebrating Diwali and Thanksgiving as a group, and I am looking forward to hosting a Scottish Burns night in January to share some highlights from my culture with my cohort.

Why did you choose to study at Imperial College Business School?

The association with a world class STEM institution like Imperial College London really attracted me to Imperial College Business School. As a Sainsbury Management Fellow, I was attracted to attend somewhere that is an ecosystem of energy innovation. The leading research at the Grantham Institute and Energy Futures Lab is something we can benefit from while studying an MBA at the Business School. There are some innovative companies like Ceres Power, who developed fuel cells, and H2GO power, focussing on hydrogen generation and storage, who have come through Imperial’s research and accelerator programmes. They are leading examples of the impact that Imperial can have on big global problems.

How does the MBA programme help you stay up to date with evolving industry trends, themes and challenges in the real world?

Imperial College Business School is living up to its reputation as a leader in innovation and technology. Already we have taken part in the Imperial Innovation Challenge, a one-week learning laboratory providing us with the opportunity to work with Imperial College London scientists to apply innovative thinking to generate business solutions to complex international issues.

How are you planning to use your MBA for your future career?

My post-graduation aspirations are to work as an Energy Transition Lead within an energy company. I aim to address the significant challenges that the UK is confronting in ensuring a reliable, safe, and clean energy supply over the next three decades.

My plan is to leverage the expertise gained from Imperial Business School, coupled with my industry experience, to spearhead this transformative change.

The prospect of leading initiatives in the midst of the dynamic and evolving energy landscape is both a challenge and an exciting opportunity. I believe that my generation, along with those to come, will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of sustainable energy. By merging the knowledge and skills acquired from my academic pursuits and professional background, I am eager to contribute to the success of this monumental transition.

What advice would you give to someone who’s considering applying for this programme?

If you are unsure about applying reach out to current students for a chat. We are all approachable and would be happy to chat.

Also, make sure you do your research, understand how you can add value to Imperial and why it is an institution that can complement your skills. Read up about all the scholarship opportunities to see if you qualify and spend time building a strong case.

Look at the opportunities that Imperial has outside of the business school as you may be lucky enough to meet your future co-founder at one of the accelerator events.

For prospective students, don’t be scared to come to the MBA with some ideas! Before coming to the course look at the Imperial Enterprise Lab and competitions like Venture Catalyst Challenge, and WE innovate. These could be a way to launch your idea and build an amazing team to help you achieve your innovation goals.

What has been your best memory as an MBA so far?

My best memory so far has been competing in the Imperial Innovation Challenge. In this weeklong competition we got to work with a talented design student from the Royal College of Art. Formed into a team of five we worked on developing a business plan for a piece of Deep Tech not currently on the market. We had to conceive an alternative application for this technology that the researchers had not yet tested.

My team were lucky enough to work with a company called MakeSense who are developing a navigation tool for blind people. I was attracted to this project as I grew up with a blind uncle, Evan, who loves to try new tech and was excited when I told him what we were working on.

We developed a new use for their product to help people with dementia gain their autonomy back, by assisting them find objects in their house or find their way home following a brain fog event. This idea was put into a pitch that we presented to a Dragons’ Den style panel before a tough Q&A. We were really honoured to be chosen as the winning team out of 14 and I loved working an amazing team on such an impressive bit of technology.

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