Meet The Imperial MBA Class Of 2019

Lucie Branczik

Imperial College Business School

Hometown: London, UK

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve worked on over 30 museum projects worldwide and over the last decade I have aimed to go to at least one new country a year. So far, I have managed to visit 40 countries. That is only 20% of the world. I’ve still got a way to go.

Undergraduate School and Major: The Courtauld Institute of Art – History of Art

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Event Communications, Project Lead

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: One of the accomplishments I am most proud of in my career is being part of the creative team that conceived the Meet Vincent Van Gogh experience, which in 2017 won the THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement – Immersive Touring Museum Exhibit. This is a travelling exhibition, touring Asia, that takes visitors on an interactive and imaginative journey through the life and art of Van Gogh.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why?  The quality that best describes my MBA cohort is ‘ambitious’. All 74 of my classmates are hard-working and enthused about what the present and future holds in store for them. While everyone comes from different backgrounds, such as healthcare, engineering, finance, and design, they are motivated in bettering themselves and making a difference to the world and people around them.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Given my background in humanities, the MBA at Imperial – with its focus on science and technology – was an exciting challenge. I felt it would enable me to focus on my quant skills, leadership, innovation and collaborative working, complementing the skills I had developed at Event.

Having grown up in London, I had long been aware of Imperial’s reputation for scientific research and practical application. However, having visited the campus to meet the faculty and attend the open days, Imperial really stood out as a place where change actually happens. As I walked into the foyer of the main entrance, breaking news of new innovations and discoveries filled a large LED screen, showcasing the pace and reality of the changes being made. As I listened to Professor George Yip give his sample class, the case studies were varied, relevant, and contemporary. As I spoke with last year’s Full-Time MBA students, I was excited about how much each person felt the Imperial programme had already changed their outlook. I wanted to be part of that community; it struck me as down-to-earth, hard-working and enthusiastic. While each person seemed ambitious, the atmosphere was collegiate rather than competitive. This atmosphere was attractive not least because this is how I work best.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am most looking forward to our cohort’s Global Experience Week in Zambia in April 2019. It is an opportunity for us to explore the business environment and how it is changing within an international context. We will be able to meet local people from local companies who are trying to make positive changes. I am excited about getting some new perspectives and new experiences within a culture I know very little about.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Working for Event, Europe’s leading exhibition design agency, has given me the experience to work on national and regional museums and galleries, brand centres, and visitor attractions across the world. I have had the opportunity to both lead and collaborate on projects and gain experience in prospecting, content development, audience engagement, design and media development, project planning, and delivery. While each project and client was different, I came to realise that they were united by the challenges they face: lack of funding, advocacy and capacity to deliver; creativity stifled by practicalities and logistics; and a poor understanding of how to communicate their vision and story to their audiences. The more time I spent in museums and galleries, the more I was convinced that the solutions to these problems needed to be sought outside the sector. I wanted to step outside of Arts and Culture and gain more experience in different fields, so I could return to the sector with a new viewpoint.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? For me, the investment decision was not based on money but around time. Rarely in your home and work life do you have the opportunity to reflect on your experiences, strengths and aspirations. This was certainly the case for me. I felt like I was going from project-to-project, without lifting my head above the parapet. The MBA gives you time and space to reflect, while challenging you daily to work alone, in groups, or to make decisions quickly. I felt I needed this time in my mid-30s to contemplate what was important to me, consider my next move in advancing my career, and consider how I would take on a leadership role in a company that makes a real difference to people’s lives.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I considered a number of MBA programmes including Warwick, Judge Business School, Cass Business School, Hult International Business School, and Imperial College Business School. In the end, I applied to Hult and Imperial.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Initially, I was looking at executive and global programmes so I could continue working. However, I decided that I needed to focus my attention completely for the next year rather than trying to juggle family, work and school. This narrowed my choices to London. My family is based in London and my kids are at school here. Given the commitment required for the programme, I knew I needed something close to home.

I was interested in Hult’s global programme because it was less well-established, had a varied visiting faculty, and it offered an opportunity to do a placement at one of their campuses abroad. However, Imperial was the right fit for me as they are at the forefront of innovation and I wanted to be part of that movement.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My defining moment was definitely having my two children. Becoming a mother taught me to be patient and take people as they come. I learned that it is how you react to circumstances that is important, not just how people around you behave. Parenthood is a steep learning curve as there is no manual. You have to work hard day-in-and-day-out to make sure you are doing a good job as the children will sure tell you if you are not. Every day, my children teach me new things. They are curious, teach me to question everything, and not take anything for granted. This is a good thing to apply to everything in your life and it has been a guiding principle of mine.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I’m still finding my feet in answering what I plan to do straight after I graduate, and that is one of the great things about the programme. It gives you time to soak up different people’s experiences, get to know other sectors, and think about what your priorities are.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Having spent two months here now, I have a handle on what my strengths and core skills are and the areas where I need to develop. I want to do something meaningful, in a team-oriented environment for a dynamic company. I am particularly interested in place-making, social engagement and urban renewal, having watched places like Moscow, Belfast and parts of London transform into dynamic, creative, and socially-engaged spaces.

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