Programme: Weekend MBA
Education: BSc (Hons) Computing, University of East London
Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Vice President, JP Morgan Chase & Co.
From the Royal Bank of Scotland to JP Morgan: my career journey
Since graduating in 2013, I’ve spent my career working within financial institutions. My career started in 2012 when I joined the Royal Bank of Scotland, Markets and Investment Banking Technology internship programme as a Business Analyst in Money Markets. I really enjoyed owning the delivery of an automated application that helped the business understand and plan renewals on close to end-of-life servers across its technology server estate.
I accepted an offer to join the bank via its graduate programme where I worked across finance, investment banking and retail banking businesses over six years. It was a really exciting yet challenging time to join the organisation as the firm was undergoing massive restructuring across its business areas. From a technology lens, this meant that the firm was automating a lot of its processes and scaling its application of technology to improve efficiencies. I worked as a business analyst and front-end software engineer building automated fixed income electronic trading applications for dealer to client and dealer to dealer platforms. I moved into the Digital Banking team at RBS as a technical delivery lead for the mobile banking apps for NatWest, RBS, Ulster and Isle of Man banks, where I leveraged my engineering and leadership skills to optimise the delivery of customer-centric products to over six million mobile banking customers.
I’m now a Vice President at JP Morgan Chase where I continue to work within technology, leading the streamlining and optimisation of software delivery for the bank.
Choosing the Imperial Weekend MBA
Pursuing an MBA has been on the cards for me as far back as when I was studying my undergraduate degree. I studied Computing at university which meant my primary modules were centred around hardware and software engineering with very little business context. As I began my career in finance, my quest to develop my business and leadership acumen became ever so apparent.
I came to know about the Weekend MBA by accident in January 2019. At the time, I was preparing my application for a Full-Time MBA in Europe or the USA when the Imperial Weekend MBA was advertised to me on one of the social media platforms. I immediately knew the Weekend MBA was the right option for me as I could continue to advance my career whilst fulfilling my long-term goal of undergoing an MBA. Imperial College Business School was perfect as the main College is renowned for science and technology and by extension, the Business School for fostering innovative leaders with a flair for entrepreneurship. The icing on the cake was also the fact that I lived and worked in London, with the university being only 90 minutes away from home.
Funding my MBA
My MBA is primarily self -funded. Fortunately, I’m also a recipient of the Imperial Women’s Scholarship Award which was a very welcome surprise as I applied quite late in the process.
Applying my MBA learnings in real-time
Undertaking the Weekend MBA programme whilst navigating a corporate career is akin to constantly receiving training at work that directly and indirectly advances your performance. I’ve taken learnings from the core modules in Strategy, Organisational Behaviour and Innovation, and directly applied them to my responsibilities at work. As the programme touches so many subject areas, I’ve found myself more able to engage in a broader range of discussions, applying my new knowledge to what’s happening at a micro and macro level in the technology space and the world at large.
Juggle work, life and studying
Juggling work, life and the MBA has been the most challenging aspect of the programme. The first block of modules was particularly challenging as I was moving into my current role at the time. Also, I don’t think I was adequately realistic with how time demanding the programme would be – which I think would have helped me plan better. I’ve been able to manage this transition a lot better by keeping on top of readings outside of the weekends when I have classes. This has meant that I’m able to sustain a relatively ‘balanced’ lifestyle with my work and friends. I now have an even greater appreciation for how I spend my time without losing focus on my personal/mental health and wellbeing.
It has been very important for me to realise that I can’t ‘have it all’. Some things will slip, and some days will look endless, but progress is made so long as I don’t give up.
A melting pot of talent
My cohort is a melting pot of talent. Cross industrial professionals ranging from engineers, wealth managers, accountants, sales managers, fashion professionals, marketing experts to startup entrepreneurs assimilate into one community of vibrant leaders looking to make an impact in their worlds. I’ve made some lifelong friends and built an extensive network of people who challenge and inspire me to be better and do better.
Extending my network to span people from multiple industries, backgrounds and beliefs is not something I could have come by without having done the Weekend MBA programme. The real value here is derived by not just an increased number in my network, but by the shared experience and time spent nurturing those relationships into one that continues well beyond the MBA.
Using my MBA today and in the future
The reward of pursuing an MBA is already being realised as I’m visibly more confident and well-rounded as an individual. In the short term, I plan on leveraging my MBA towards advancing myself as a thought and people leader in technology across my organisation.
My longer-term goal is to move back to the African continent, most likely to my home country of Nigeria, with a focus on designing and delivering social impact strategies and products that drive change and tackle challenging problems for people, organisations and governments across Africa.
For these, I will count on the diverse community of thoughts, talents and backgrounds provided by Imperial’s powerful learning environment that has strengthened my leadership, management, business and entrepreneurial skills to realise my full potential and achieve business success.
Advice to prospective students
My advice to anyone thinking about applying to the Weekend MBA is to find your ‘why’. With a career, life and an MBA to juggle, what has really kept me going is my purpose. Also, maximise LinkedIn by connecting with current MBA students and alumni to get a real sense of what the programme entails, their perspective on its value add, how they approached financing, required time commitment, challenges and any other areas of interest. Attending an open day is a great way to interact with the Business School lecturers and team, complementing any other knowledge that you’ve gathered.