Uchenna Ibe Weekend MBA

Programme: Weekend MBA

Nationality: Nigerian

Education: BEng Mechanical Engineering - Nnamdi Azikiwe University, MSc Engineering Management - University of Sunderland, MSc Subsea Engineering - University of Aberdeen

Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Fabrication Project Manager, Offshore Wind Energy

Weekend MBA

My career journey so far

I am a Chartered Engineer skilled in the design, construction and project management of energy projects. I started in the offshore oil and gas industry before later moving to renewable energy. During the past 10 years of my career, I have been in numerous roles at several organisations, each with different levels of responsibility but all centred around project execution. This means the projects I have worked on are predominantly those which have gone through the early phases of development and economic analysis to achieve successful investment decision. This differs from my current role, where I often get involved with projects in the early phases of the cycle, which means exposure to both development and economic analysis activities.

I currently work for Iberdrola where I work in the company’s global offshore business, developing large-scale offshore wind energy projects across the geographies where the company operates. I am a Fabrication Project manager, specifically managing the supply of offshore electrical platforms that form part of the energy transmission infrastructure.

Why Imperial’s Weekend MBA

I always knew I wanted to be a well-rounded energy professional and that means gaining skills across the full spectrum of the energy business. So, having worked in the project execution side of the business for several years, I thought it was time to take a step further and learn about what makes a project bankable, economic analysis, value creation and business case enhancement measures, as well as identifying the best finance options for individual projects. This desire to further educate myself is what prompted the initial idea of an MBA.

Considering my background in engineering as well as Imperial's reputation in STEM programmes, the School's energy and climate change related activities and affiliations, and the structure of the Weekend MBA programme, the choice of where to study was an easy one for me. Looking back at that decision now, I am extremely happy I made the choice to study at Imperial College Business School.

It is difficult enough to embark on an MBA journey while in a full-time job, but an even bigger challenge lies in finding a suitable programme that offers the required flexibility while also providing a top-class MBA experience. This is quite a challenging combination to find, but the Imperial Weekend MBA programme meets all these criteria, and that is one of the things that makes it truly unique.

Highlights and challenges of the programme

There are certainly some unexpected areas that the MBA has enhanced in me, the most important of these being confidence. The MBA has made me believe a lot more in myself and my abilities, and I really like the fact that I can apply the learning straight away in both my professional career and personal life.

One of the most challenging areas (perhaps unsurprisingly) has been time. Balancing my time between the requirements of work, studies, family and friends has been challenging, but with some organisation and planning I have found it to be manageable. One key takeaway I’ve had is that in everything you set out to do, having measurable objectives and tracking progress along the way is often the key to success. Following this roadmap has really helped me to stay on target in the programme.

The London factor

First and foremost, I chose Imperial. It just so happens that Imperial is in London, which I see as a beautiful coincidence. London is one of the biggest and most vibrant cities in the world both in terms of economic activity and other social factors. It’s a strategic place for business education, and as would be expected, Imperial is well connected to key industry sectors in the city. London is a very diverse city, and I’ve found this reflected in everything that happens both at the College and in the wider environment.

Brilliant minds

The entire faculty at Imperial College Business School is amazing. I like that fact that the Business School very much feels like an integral part of the overall Imperial community. I also enjoy the link with Grantham Institute, the support from the Imperial Enterprise Lab, the connection with external industry and alumni communities, and the world class academic and administrative staff.

My cohort can only be described as brilliant minds! I consider myself lucky to belong to such a diverse group of people, from whom I have learned a lot. We have people from different career backgrounds and nationalities, who all freely offer their wealth of knowledge and experience for the benefit of others. Through them, I have learned a lot about other industries which I probably wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

We often work together as group work forms a large part of the programme. I think the idea of working in groups is a brilliant one because it brings different perspectives to every project. I have worked with people from different programmes within the Business School and people from other business schools via an exchange programme. I am also a member of the Energy & Sustainability Club, Finance Career Club and Africa Business Club which all allow me to engage with the wider Business School community.

New opportunities and access to the wider Imperial College London

Though the COVID-19 situation has impacted some of the global elements of the programme (such as the Global Experience Week), I must say that the Business School has been very responsive to the situation, and did quickly come up with an alternative package to make up for this.

In my opinion the greatest opportunity I’ve had while studying at Imperial has been access to the wider Imperial College community and what it is known for. Imperial College is within the top ten universities in the world, and very reputable for what it has done, and continues to do in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Being part of such a prestigious community is something I cherish. 

My career journey on the programme

The career services have also been very useful, especially the Personal Leadership Journey. The Interview a Leader exercise was particularly eventful for me as it was an interesting opportunity to engage with a business leader I admire, and through that engagement, I gained very useful insight that will probably remain with me for the rest of my career.

One way I plan to use the MBA is to advance my career. My long-term career goal has always been to establish myself as a well-rounded professional in the energy sector, and that entails mastering both the technical and commercial sides of the industry. The MBA has equipped me with the business skills required to complement my technical engineering background, and so going forward, I hope to put these skills to use in new business and project development, economic analysis and project finance, across different renewable and low-carbon energy technologies.

Advice for prospective students

For people thinking about applying to the MBA, my tips would be firstly, make up your mind and go for it. It is important to apply on time, and depending on the quality of application, your achievements, academic excellence and other factors, you may even be eligible for a scholarship which you would also need to apply for in advance.

Secondly, to prepare a quality application, I would encourage highlighting your achievements, career aspirations and expectations from the MBA, as well as what you think you will bring to the programme. Make sure your application gives a complete picture of where you are in your career, where you are going and how you think the Imperial Weekend MBA will help you get there.

Finally, to get the most out of the programme, I would advise you define your goals from the very start, have measurable objectives and constantly track your progress. For parents wishing to embark on the MBA journey, it is very doable with proper organisation, planning and time management.

An added piece of practical advice I would give is to reach out to the Business School, past or current students to ask questions about the programme schedule and level of time commitment required. Share this information with your family. That way, they will understand what lies ahead, so if at times during your programme you struggle with time, everyone will understand and hopefully give you the support you need.

Programme: Weekend MBA

Nationality: Nigerian

Education: BEng Mechanical Engineering - Nnamdi Azikiwe University, MSc Engineering Management - University of Sunderland, MSc Subsea Engineering - University of Aberdeen

Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Fabrication Project Manager, Offshore Wind Energy