Program Manager, Google
My background is in data and analytics, starting my career at British Gas Centrica and then Virgin Media. I then did a short period in consulting, which was a great experience, before moving to my current position as Program Manager at Google.
Motivations for applying for the Weekend MBA
I applied for the Imperial Weekend MBA programme as I felt my career was at a crossroads. My background is in corporate, but my heart desired something more entrepreneurial. Given Imperial College has a strong entrepreneurial culture and programme structure, I joined the Weekend MBA to help me better understand this landscape and quantify what would be required if I were to make a career change, at the same time widening my skillset. My views on personal development are that you should get as broad and diverse a skill set as possible, which allows you to take advantage of cross-domain synergies.
I was also drawn by Imperial’s strong alignment with technology. I believe the future of business includes strong ties to technology and this for me was where Imperial differentiated over other universities. The positioning between the three cornerstones of technology, entrepreneurship and business is a unique space that Imperial fills well.
Innovation and entrepreneurship on the programme
I took a lot of value from the final lecture in our Innovation & Entrepreneurship module. The lecturer arranged for us to speak to a panel of founders and VC’s, the information they shared about their experiences was invaluable. Within the same module, we also had to interview a founder, with the aim of understanding their journey and learning from their successes and failures. I interviewed the founder of a vertical farming startup, Harvest London, and it was really refreshing hearing about how he started the business. I found that hearing the journey of others makes the execution of a startup become a lot more tangible.
Corporate Finance brought to life
Corporate Finance has been my favourite module, I spent years listening to Bloomberg not understanding what they were talking about. Now it all makes sense. Our lecturers are incredibly knowledgeable, with real-world experience they really bring the topic to life.
They also told me if I said this, I would get extra marks. That was a joke.
Developing knowledge and relationships through group projects
For someone naturally introverted, group projects are a great way to develop a deep connection with fellow students. The group projects require us to answer difficult, real-world problems and after spending a few days with your head in research you really get to know your peers and where they excel.
A strong, diverse cohort
The most rewarding part of the programme has been all the extra opportunities it opens up. As with everything, the more you put in the more you get out and I have found Imperial and its students are incredibly willing to help, get involved and share knowledge.
My cohort is incredibly diverse, across all facets of diversity, which really helps our learning. The modules cover a wide range of subjects, to date we have taken modules like Corporate Finance, Managerial Economics, Strategy and Marketing Management. The diversity of the team means that an area of strength for one student will be a weakness for another and when that happens, we support each other, sharing knowledge to ensure all class members take something away.
The importance of creating a schedule
I think it helps that Google is incredibly supportive when it comes to studying. I find it works best to schedule study time each day in my calendar between 6:00pm-9:30pm to make sure I can get away from work and spend some time on university work. Exam time can get a bit busy so taking a few days off work before an exam to study really helps.
Studying close to home
I live in London so I was looking for somewhere I could get to relatively easily, I wanted to be able to spend as much time at the university, taking full advantage of all the extracurricular activities without needing to worry about travel.
Life outside the programme
Since joining the Weekend MBA programme I have joined the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Club, Africa Business Club, taken part in the Enterprise Lab’s Pitch’n’Mix and Idea Surgery. I am also currently competing in the Innovating Smart Cities Hackathon hosted by Imperial College and Tsinghua University Beijing.
Being a member of a diverse set of clubs has allowed me to meet and network with people with whom I usually wouldn’t cross paths. It has been a great opportunity to meet new people and learn from their experiences. I have found that regardless of your interests there will be something on offer at Imperial to suit.
Key takeaways from the programme so far
1) Anything is possible if you work hard enough
2) Entrepreneurs aren’t superheroes, they are normal people who had a bold goal and the drive to pursue it
Putting the Weekend MBA into action
I joined the Weekend MBA programme to develop a new skill set and network with people I wouldn’t usually cross paths with at work. Post MBA I plan to put these new skills into action.
Applying to Imperial
My recruitment process was slightly different from the norm. As someone with no Bachelor’s degree, I had a few additional steps to take. The application process itself was smooth and the faculty staff were supportive throughout.*
The first step of applying was to make a video covering my motivations for the programme and why I was the right student. This was surprisingly fun and allowed me to express my creativity. Following this I submitted a short paper on how technology was expected to change a particular industry over the coming 10 years, this was a great thought exercise and allowed me to showcase the knowledge I had developed throughout my career.
Finally, I had an interview with one of the faculty staff, an opportunity to ask some questions and get to know better the people who would be leading the programme. Overall, the process took no more than a few weeks and was painless. I may even go as far as saying it was enjoyable.
Advice for future Weekend MBA students
Be prepared to immerse yourself. As with anything, the more you put in, the more you get out. Know what you want to get out of the MBA and commit fully to ensure that it is realised. There are people in the programme looking for a promotion, to start a business or to pivot their career. My experience has been that those who know what they want are the ones who achieve it.
One of the concerns I had before starting the MBA was whether the costs would justify the benefits. I decided to take the leap of faith and so far, Imperial has delivered.
*We welcome candidates with non-traditional qualifications and backgrounds. If you do not meet the academic requirements, please contact us to discuss your eligibility before applying.