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What Does the Future Hold for MBA Candidates?: Imperial College Business School Q&A

What Does the Future Hold for MBA Candidates?: Imperial College Business School Q&A main image

After a difficult year, the MBA job market is finally bouncing back.

But what does the future hold for MBA candidates and business schools?

TopMBA caught up with Lisa Umenyiora, Executive Director of Careers at Imperial College Business School, to find out.

How has the job market changed this year from last year?

We have seen the coronavirus pandemic impact employment internationally in 2020, but it also brought a range of new opportunities including new market trends, new customer behavior, and a change in the world of work. Some recruiters are showing caution in terms of hiring numbers while others are looking at spreading their hiring out more widely across the year to align with business need. We are pleased to see both returning companies and new employers engage with Imperial and our business school students, attending our virtual careers fairs and delivering bespoke presentations. They are keen to maintain a strong talent pipeline and to gain access to the skills and experience that our students graduate with. Meanwhile, we are seeing an increase in the number of students starting their own business. With entrepreneurship and innovation an area of strength at Imperial, we offer a range of support systems for students interested in launching their own company, giving students the opportunity to consider their entrepreneurial journey while gaining support from Imperial’s Enterprise Lab.

What is the recruitment process like at Imperial? Would you say it’s difficult to earn a place on the MBA program?

It’s changed quite a bit these past six months and is now much more focused on digital outreach and support to candidates. That said, we’ve stepped up our event schedule and the content we include in our events and are continuing to support top candidates remotely. We’re strict on base requirements, and particularly with regards to previous studies and academic performance, as well as standardized test scoring like the GMAT and GRE. That said, candidates that make it through the essential requirements phase should have a clear narrative as to why they want to join one of our four MBA programs, and how they plan to make the experience their own by getting involved in student leadership opportunities, as well as other key units at Imperial such as the Imperial Enterprise Lab.

What do you look for in Imperial candidates?

A commitment to performance results, academically and professionally, resilience, and a clear narrative as to where they see themselves heading professionally and how the Imperial MBA will help them attain their objectives. We welcomed students from 107 countries to the business school this September and would certainly like to see added representation from Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and South Asia on our programs. Finally, it’s perhaps no surprise that students that come to Imperial also have an interest in the intersection of STEM and business.

What special resources does Imperial have for business school students when it comes to careers? How do you prepare them for life after graduation?

We have a strong MBA careers offering to support the personal transformation of our MBA students and the development of their leadership and executive skills. We offer personalized expert career support to prepare students for the job market and increase their access to opportunity by both connecting them with top employers and enabling them to harness a global peer and alumni network.

The Personal Leadership Journey (PLJ) is also an integral part of our MBA programs and sits alongside students’ academic learning. Through the PLJ our MBAs enhance and leverage their self-awareness, define their career strategy and how to achieve their goals, and promote their professional development with a focus on leadership skills. We also support students to widen their commercial awareness and grow their network through sector-specific activity, employer-led events, cross-college activities, alumni engagement, and student-led career clubs.  Access to the Imperial network widens student access to opportunities both in terms of experiential learning and access to the jobs market. Finally, students are also allocated a dedicated Careers Consultant who will help them to achieve their full potential, whether that is gaining a new role, returning to a family firm, or setting up a new business.

How successful are Imperial MBA graduates at landing a job after graduation? What is the success rate? And what are some of the notable companies?

Success means different things to different people. Student goals range from a role change to an industry change or location change, or even all three (the triple jump as it’s known), while others are seeking career acceleration. Some students have a very specific job focus so may take longer to find a role that suits, while others are more open to exploring a range of opportunity. Our graduates gain roles in a wide range of sectors, with the majority working in the finance, consulting and technology industries. We see Imperial MBAs go on to work at a variety of companies, from well-known brands such as Amazon, JPMorgan, or AB InBev, to small start-ups that offer exciting opportunities.  We are proud to support our students’ achievements whatever their goals.

Why should students choose to study an MBA at Imperial?      

The Imperial MBA allows students to explore essential business topics and acquire the skills to be an effective and inspiring leader in whatever career they choose, creating an impact in business and society. With digitization transforming the way businesses operate and reshaping the rules of work, technology is redefining industries from healthcare to consulting to finance. Business leaders need to understand the change technology brings and have the agility, skills, and confidence to navigate through this ever-evolving environment. The Imperial MBA prepares students to become the leader who transforms how their business performs in a volatile and uncertain world. We help students to futureproof themselves with the skills, mindset, and ability to do this successfully. 

Recent GMAC figures show that MBA recruitment and salaries might boost again in 2021. How confident are you in the value of the MBA in the current job market? Do you expect to see more positive trends in the upcoming months?

An MBA has long-term value and now is a great time to be joining the Imperial program. We ensure our MBA teaches classes on areas in demand by today’s employers including data analytics, fintech, design thinking, climate change and sustainable business, hi-tech strategy and digital transformation. Meanwhile our MBA helps students to develop resilience, flexibility, strong leadership and networking skills – the essential skills needed to thrive in the current employment market. The MBA gives students the ability to focus on the big picture even when it means dealing with ambiguity, as it provides an umbrella of knowledge about how business works. Skills learnt on our MBA, including leading in a tech-driven world, managing change, comms & tech skills, or an entrepreneurial mindset, continue to be much sought-after and are more relevant than ever in today’s market.

Written by Linda Mohamed

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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