Siera Torontow Weekend MBA
Programme:
Weekend MBA
Nationality:
Canadian
Education:

Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), MacEwan University

Job prior to Imperial College Business School:

International Commercial Product Manager, Elsevier

Current Job:

Head of Sector (Healthcare and Consumer), Alva

Weekend MBA 2019-20

My professional journey

I have had the privilege of working across many geographies, cultures and teams over the course of my career so far. After graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Canada, I have worked at the intersection of healthcare and technology. Following my first corporate sales role at Johnson & Johnson, I relocated to Australia for warmer weather and new challenges. After several years of being an internationally recognised sales leader for Elsevier, I had the opportunity to relocate to the UK. I then transitioned into the areas of product management and commercial strategy so that I could apply my skills to new disciplines and begin leading teams. My professional journey has taken me on a path from pharmaceuticals, to health technology, to tech – an industry which I intend to stay in long term.

After completing my core modules and electives on the Weekend MBA, I accepted a role with Alva, as their Head of Sector for Healthcare and Consumer. My responsibilities include managing a team of analysts and consultants while providing data-driven reputation insights for the world’s leading organisations

Why Imperial’s Weekend MBA

I spent several years working in sales and marketing, and although I had training through work, I wanted to formalise my knowledge with an MBA from a reputable higher education institution. Many senior managers in my organisation hold MBA’s and often applied frameworks they learned during business school, so I felt that it was the appropriate time in my career to gain deeper insights and develop my skills to be able to grow into those senior positions.

When searching for a programme I only considered those that would allow me to continue working full-time while studying. I was also searching for a university that had strong ties to medicine, entrepreneurship, and technology. With these considerations in mind, the Imperial Weekend MBA was the obvious choice for me.

I was also honoured to receive the £10,000 Imperial Women’s Scholarship which helped me partially fund the programme, with the remainder being self-funded.

Programme highlights

I honestly find it hard to pick just a single favourite module from the wide variety available on the programme, so to name just a few:

Digital Business with Cathy Mulligan - the content in this module was both fun and creative. It showcased how to leverage technology in today’s world, and how to lead with confidence. The guest speakers were brilliant executives from leading organisations (including Verizon, Lloyds, and the United Nations).

Business Problem Solving with Angela Lee - Practical, straightforward and incredibly valuable. I spent the entirety of this module wishing I had learned these frameworks years ago!

Managing negotiations with Celia Moore - The approach to ethical, value-based negotiation covered in this module is something we desperately need in this world! Even during the pandemic and with remote learning, this class was both interactive and engaging.  

Networking through clubs and societies

I am currently the president of the Healthcare Club, which has provided an incredible opportunity to network with a diverse range of brilliant students. Hosting monthly events and collaborations also gave us a platform to connect with students from all parts of the university; including the Business School and at the College the engineering and medical programmes. The Imperial brand has allowed us to attract world-class speakers to volunteer their time to visit campus and share their knowledge with club members. 

I highly recommend getting involved in a club or society to continue growing your network and make a lasting impact. Pre-COVID the Club hosted a monthly series of ‘day in the life’ events where we had industry professionals come to speak about their career journey and network with students. This proved to be a very authentic forum where students were able to get valuable face time with executives from several FTSE 100 companies.

We also collaborated with other clubs such as the Africa Business Club and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Club to create online events during the pandemic which were a huge success. The clubs allow you to frequently connect with others in your industry sector, while also giving an opportunity to meet students from other programmes outside your cohort.

Advice for prospective students

Although the 21 months goes by very quickly, it is more of a marathon than a sprint. If you are looking for immediate return on investment, I certainly found I was able to apply my learnings from very early on in the programme. Add to this the network that you build through your cohort, the Career Clubs and wider Imperial College, and you have something truly incredible. You will be in a constant state of dichotomy; the MBA programme is stressful while rewarding and exhausting while energising. It has been an exceptional experience for me so far, and if you do apply, I would encourage you to make the most out of it!

Programme:
Weekend MBA
Nationality:
Canadian
Education:

Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), MacEwan University

Job prior to Imperial College Business School:

International Commercial Product Manager, Elsevier

Current Job:

Head of Sector (Healthcare and Consumer), Alva