What happened concretely during the first part / three months in the programme?
The first part of the MSc International Management programme was busy. I was mentally prepared before joining, however, the amount of work still exceeded my expectations. The workload for me was divided into two parts: academics and job searching.
Teaching in the winter term was delivered via multi-mode due to the ongoing pandemic. As part of this, the cohort is divided into different study bubbles and only one bubble can attend class on campus at a time. The other bubble then attend online, connecting via Zoom or Barco. Even though Imperial has extremely well-equipped classrooms to ensure real-time remote delivery, the engagement level can be very different between online and offline attendance.
We had two sets of five-week core modules to strengthen the basics and bring the class to the same the knowledge level. The lectures and self-study/teamwork elements are divided very evenly. What differs the most from my undergraduate studies is the focus on teamwork in syndicate teams of six. The biggest challenge I have encountered is this adjustment from an individual mindset into a team mindset.
Academics alone would have left me plenty of time to partake in extracurricular activities and learn new things, but Imperial also motivates its students to start preparing for job-hunting. I am interested in the consulting industry, which had application deadlines in October and November. Therefore, I spent half of my time preparing for the applications and interview process for these roles.
Furthermore, every Tuesday of the first term was a Careers day, where students can participate in a list of career workshops and events. These range from CV and cover letter surgeries to more general tips and advice in the job-hunting process. There are also a lot of industry-specific workshops and employer presentations.
Have your expectations been met?
Overall, my expectations have been met during the first three months, but the workload definitely exceeded my expectations. The content taught during the first term builds on your previous business experience, so my challenges weren’t related to academics. The main challenge for me came in working together as a team.
I believe Imperial has done an amazing job in shaping the teamwork skills and resilience of its students. In order to produce future leaders in the business world, the Business School puts a strong focus on preparing students for the professional environment. Coming from an Italian university, I find practical experience in a team environment really helpful and relevant for my professional development. The focus on case studies and putting knowledge into practice is another aspect that I appreciated from the programme.
What surprised you?
The dedication that Imperial College Business School puts into job searching has been a positive surprise. I think it is very important to start early and prepare for the world of work. In this regard, the Careers teams’ professionality and availability exceeded my expectations, and I have attended multiple workshops and events organised by them, most of which were highly insightful and useful for my job-hunting process.
The services offered are very thorough in every stage of the application process, starting from CV and cover letter feedback to mock interviews. My favourite element was the unlimited 1:1 appointments with career consultants, and the weekly industry-specific drop-in sessions, where I could seek personalised advice and ask specific questions.
The other thing that surprised me is my classmates, they are amazing. We are a very international cohort with super diversified cultures. We all have a common business-related bachelor, but everyone is special and brings their unique contribution to the class. I have met so many brilliant and hardworking people that surprised and motivated me to push myself further.
Nevertheless, outside of the classroom, we are very social people. While respecting the COVID-19 restrictions that got stricter during the first three months in the UK, we organised social events very frequently starting from day one. It is very important to have a good work-life balance, and joining a master’s in a foreign country, your class is like your new family. Spending time with your family outside of work hours is of utmost importance!
What was “not optimal”…?
This year the study experience has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Delivering the teaching has been one of the biggest challenges for the Business School. The online teaching environment is not only about hardware and software support, but many other aspects that have to be considered.
Taking everything into account, I believe the Business School did the best job they could adapting to this unprecedented situation, but there were some sub-optimal areas, such as hiccups in the technology and difficulty presenting some subjects in a hybrid physical/virtual environment where in-person attendance feels more vital.
Find out more about MSc International Management at Imperial College Business School here.