Programme: Weekend MBA
Nationality: UK, British
Undergraduate education: BA Economics, Kingston University
Current position: Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Worldpay
I completed my undergraduate degree in Economics at Kingston University. I became heavily involved in the entrepreneur society at university, and that lead me to social entrepreneurship. I built up a community interest company called Enthuse Youth, and ran that straight out of university. It focused on creating innovative careers for young people aged 14-19, building up their ability to identify innovation and entrepreneurship and then connecting them with some of the biggest brands in the world.
I then got headhunted to set up something called Spirit of London Awards as a co-founder, which I then ran for three years. It was all about celebrating young people across London (and eventually the UK) who were achieving great things in their industry. I then went to one of the world’s leading innovation and brand consultancies, Wolff Olins, where I worked for 18 months, where we created one of the UKs first MOOCs, called the Secret Power of Brand.
After this I landed a role at Microsoft, bringing my knowledge of how to run a global campaigns into Microsoft’s top brand partnerships such as Real Madrid, Adidas, Lotus F1, and the Special Olympics in the US. After Microsoft, I joined Viacom in a more senior position within their in-house creative and ad sales agency, which involved putting together brand strategies that would leverage all the brands and IP that they own.
Choosing the Weekend MBA and Imperial College Business School
I chose to study an MBA as I didn’t want to just be seen as a marketer. Marketing is one element of business that excites me, but in terms of how we drive businesses for social and commercial impact. I’m all about building brands that matter, and how we do that is through looking at the entire strategy of how a business operates and plotting the best path by leveraging data, analysis and qualitative and quantities insights. The MBA gives me the platform to understand and learn new tools and concepts, and opens my eyes up to what other people are learning and are exposed to, and the way that they are thinking.
I chose Imperial College Business School because of Imperial’s focus on innovation, as well as the rigour around academia. I wanted to have a strong brand behind me as AI moves forward in the future, and with Imperial’s growing focus on sustainability and social impact, which is a trend that’s only going to continue to rise, this made it a very attractive proposition.
Best and most challenging parts of the programme
One of the most rewarding parts of the programme is the inspiring lecturers. It’s not just the education – they know that we have been in work for a number of years – it’s about how they bring concepts to life, and that has really excited me in areas that I didn’t think I’d be excited about, like precision analytics. That’s been amazing. Obviously the cohort too: the cohort is one of the most valuable pieces of the Weekend MBA pie!
My favourite module so far has been Organisational Behaviour, which brings out the passion for wanting to share knowledge and learning in the class. I am very interested in how organisations work and function, and some of the approaches that they take. Having been through two restructures in my career, studying change management was very interesting!
I think the most challenging part of the programme for me is the quantitative side of the degree, even though I studied Economics as an undergraduate. I have had to put budgets together before, but I now have to really dig in to using statistics, sharpening up my maths and my ability to crunch data and draw insights from that. But there are other people in my cohort where that’s their strength, so you work with them and you do as much learning form them as from your lectures.
My cohort at Imperial is diverse in pretty much every way possible, from nationality to geography. We have people flying in from places such as Japan, the UAE and Thailand for our monthly on-campus lectures. The gender balance is always something that universities are trying to address, but there’s a strong focus on female leadership at Imperial which I think is very important.
One of my strengths is collaborating with other people and working in teams, but the real test is when you’re actually doing work with your cohort. Learning people’s working styles was a slight learning curve for us all, but now I feel like we have found a good balance. It is a challenge, but it’s good that at every opportunity we are being challenged on how we work with people who are not from our sector and have a different view point and approach to things.
Career and professional development
My careers advisor has done so many different things, it is unbelievable. She was just really helpful in helping me to focus on the types of impact I wanted to create, tighten up a few bits on my career story, and then connecting me to people and giving me ideas and support in how I could approach them. That’s been super useful.
The MBA will come in handy in a strategy role which straddles the commercial and social impact space. I will be able to draw on the skills I have learnt on the course, from data analytics through to understanding the position of a company through its accounting practices and financial performance. I have been able to learn more about change management, so I think the MBA prepares me for working in a variety of industries in a leadership capacity. It will also enable me to work abroad which is something that I have been looking to do.
I think the greatest opportunity is the opportunity to broaden my network. Being able to go on this experience and lay down deep roots with my cohort has been an amazing opportunity.
Also, having exposure to world-class speakers is unbelievable. That’s a huge opportunity. For example, Patsy Robertson from the Ramphal Institute, who was on a women’s panel within organisational behaviour module. She had done a lot of work with Commonwealth, she had met Ghandi and other world leaders, which was really inspiring.
Advice for prospective students
You only get out what you put in. There are more opportunities and more learnings than you can actually comprehend. But it’s all about your ability to put in that time and prioritise it, which will mean that you get your return on investment from the networking, meeting new people to unlock new career opportunities, the training, and the new experiences which develop you further as an individual. But you have to put in the time, and have the support of your friends and family in doing so.