Charmaine Sarpong-Boateng

Programme: Weekend MBA

Nationality: UK, British

Undergraduate education: Bachelor of Accounting and Finance, University of Kent

Current position: Commercial Finance Manager, Channel 4

Weekend MBA 2018-19

Professional Background

Before the MBA I was working at an International broadcasting company as a Management Accountant where I successfully obtained my Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification. A few of my responsibilities included producing the revenue, cost and cash schedules, liaising with departmental heads and working closely with the Finance Director.

I currently work at Channel 4 as a Commercial Finance Manager. My new role incorporates both strategy and finance; focusing on growing the digital side of the business, preparing the yearly forecast and budgets and business partnering with the senior heads to help implement changes across the business.

Choosing a Weekend MBA at Imperial

The reason why I chose to study an MBA at Imperial was because I wanted to develop my business skills alongside widening my professional network. As a Chartered Accountant I was mindful not to limit myself just to the finance side of business, but instead to set myself a new challenge of acquiring the necessary skills that would make me more marketable in the workplace.

Imperial has a fantastic reputation and is well known for its research and entrepreneurship programme. The Weekend MBA programme suits me perfectly as I’m able to gain the theoretical side of the MBA alongside my practical work experience, something I wouldn’t have been able to do if I applied elsewhere.

Funding my MBA

I’m currently funding the majority of my MBA fee. I decided not to apply for any scholarships as I had applied for the programme within the last block and felt that I had left it too late. However to my surprise, Imperial were able to offer me a scholarship as they were impressed with my entry application. I would advise all prospective students to ensure that they apply for any scholarships, no matter how late you apply because you never know what outcome you’ll receive.

Favourite module so far

My favourite module so far is Marketing Management. Throughout my school life I was largely exposed to finance type modules, so gaining an insight into the world of marketing excites me greatly. The delivery of the module and the content is exceptional. The Programme Director, Andreas Eisingerich, is extremely enthusiastic and passionate about marketing and it makes learning the module even more enjoyable.

Guest speakers

After our Friday lectures a guest speaker, usually an Entrepreneur or Senior Executive, gives a talk to the cohort. I thoroughly enjoy the talks as they tend to be inspirational and informative. We were fortunate enough to be joined by a panel of four women during our Organisation Behaviour class, who spoke about their experiences and the different challenges they faced as women within big organisations. It was a great experience and I was lucky enough to have spoken to all four women at the end of the talk and thanked them for taking the time out to speak to us. I always find it encouraging hearing about different experiences and building upon all advice provided.

Juggling the work life balance

The work life balance dilemma is a tricky one. Time management is truly key. The trick is to use your time effectively, set realistic goals and to plan well in advance. Noting down the free time you have to study and to focus during those set periods. Something that has helped me along the way is keeping a checklist and not deviating from my study plan as this makes me more accountable. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not able to complete everything you set out to achieve during a particular week, simply adjust the plan and pick up from where you started. Small baby steps go a long way.

Working in groups

My syndicate group are great! We work extremely well with each other and communicate quite regularly. We split our readings amongst ourselves and send each other notes well in advance of our classes. One of my group members doesn’t live in the UK so we always take this into consideration and Skype him often.

The faculty

The materials we have received as well as the help from the faculty and support staff has been exceptional. Our Weekend MBA Programme Manager, Nazila Noorkhan, is always on hand to provide support and has made the journey on this MBA programme a much better experience. The team are very efficient and are always there to answer any queries we have or any problems that need to be resolved very quickly. They are highly efficient, friendly and extremely helpful.

The Imperial factor

I have benefited from being part of a wider Imperial community more than I would have imagined. I’ve seen the benefits on LinkedIn; from speaking to alumni to prospective students contacting me asking for advice. There are so many great opportunities to get involved with at Imperial, the list is endless.

Personal Leadership Journey

The Personal Leadership Journey (PLJ) is a module I thoroughly enjoy. After each session I often find myself asking questions such as what do I want to do post-MBA and whether to actualise my plans now or wait till the end of the programme. I found the module particularly helpful during the induction week because it provided clarity in regards to my current working situation.

My initial plan was to stay in my previous job and then pursue a new adventure once successfully completing the MBA. The PLJ module emphasised the need to act now, not to wait and if a great opportunity is presented then you should grab it with both hands.

Career goals

I aim to further develop my professional career by taking on more leadership positions in team projects and attending leadership conferences to help widen my professional network. I plan to use my experience and the knowledge obtained on the MBA to reach a senior executive level within the commercial industry.

Advice for prospective students

If you’re contemplating on whether to study an MBA and you’re still in a state of confusion, my advice to you would be to 100% go for it. Don’t doubt yourself, apply and see what happens. I applied within the last block, received an interview a week or two afterwards and confirmation the week after. If it’s on your mind, apply and do not delay. The benefits you receive from completing an MBA are second to none, personally and professionally.

Programme: Weekend MBA

Nationality: UK, British

Undergraduate education: Bachelor of Accounting and Finance, University of Kent

Current position: Commercial Finance Manager, Channel 4