MAP student at Imperial College Business School, London

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Summer School on Strategy and Business Consulting at Imperial College Business School, London. Image: private

Dreams come true through an extraordinary summer school experience

On Wednesday 18 May 2022, I opened my email inbox to find a letter from Imperial College Business School. An application for a scholarship to attend the three-week summer school on Strategy and Business Consulting was successful! A sense of happiness filled me up. Attending this summer school was a goal I had set more than a year ago. Yet, happiness slowly gave way to confusion and hesitation.

I had just started working on my thesis some weeks ago. The topic was complex and challenging, and I was not sure if I can afford to spend three weeks in London attending the summer school. To make matters more confusing, the scholarship covered only half of the programme fees, which meant that I had to find means to cover for the rest of the fees and for my stay.  Luckily, my hesitation was quickly put to rest. I contacted the MAP office to inquire if they would be able to financially support my attendance. The MAP office informed me that the MAP programme could also support me with an educational grant. My thesis supervisor also provided me with his encouragement, and a couple of months later, I was in London.

Since this was my first time in London, I was thrilled to be seeing many new sights and places. Everything in central London gave away a sense of history. I was also excited to meet my new colleagues who had also arrived in London to start the summer school. A couple of days later, the opening ceremony for the summer school took place. I met the program team and many other new colleagues. I was surrounded by colleagues from every corner of the world.

The first week of the course was an introduction to the topic of business strategy. In an uncertain changing world, how do businesses take decisions that ensure their success? When do companies enter and exit markets, and how can they identify their strengths and use them to their advantage? These were all questions we discussed during classes.  Our discussions were lively and sometimes heated, and our lecturers were passionate and very knowledgeable. It felt refreshing to be learning new topics different from the technical topics I had been studying.

The second week was more focused on business consultancy skills. We had guest speakers who worked for leading consulting firms and had the chance to talk to them. We had workshops on design thinking, preparing slides and giving presentations to clients, and evaluating different business options. I was particularly interested in how consultants adjust their communication styles to deal with different clients. The second week was also when we were assigned into teams and had to work on a particular business case to present in the final week.

MAP student Omar Zeair in London. Image: private

Needless to say, it was challenging to work on the business case in that short amount of time. Our team was also diverse with colleagues from different backgrounds, and we had to learn how to effectively work together to deliver an excellent case. In the end, we did it and delivered a presentation that gained the praise of our judges.

Besides the classes, a memorable part of my experience is also a boat trip organised by the summer school. Cruising across the Thames, we had the chance to see different sights of London while socializing. Historical sightseeing trips with my new friends were also interesting and exciting.

Reflecting on my experience, I am glad that I took the decision to attend the summer school. My experience was truly exceptional and hopefully a step toward my long-term goal of pursuing an MBA from a world-class business school. This experience would not have been possible without the support of the MAP programme. The fact that MAP supported my participation in a business course is a true testimony to its interdisciplinary nature. My decision to join MAP years ago is also a decision I am grateful to have taken.

By MAP student Omar Zeair (matriculation group 2019)