“Irish Chartered Mechanical Engineer with a love of transport systems, ballet, dogs and mashed potato.”
Hometown: Sligo, Ireland
Fun Fact About Yourself: I have appeared on two engineering-based TV shows including one where I spent a week living in the Mexican mountains with four other engineers I’d never met and Ant Middleton of SAS fame.
Undergraduate School and Major: MAI (Masters) in Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering, Trinity College Dublin
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Fleet Engineering Manager, Heathrow Express
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Imperial’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school? Why was it so important to you? The main draw to Imperial College Business School for me was the link to its other faculties of Natural Science, Engineering, and Medicine. I’ve heard the Imperial MBA being referred to as a “STEMBA” which for me sums it up perfectly. Imperial even have a specific programme called “MBA Connect” that links current MBA candidates with students from other faculties through their Enterprise Lab. The idea is that MBA students can act as mentors and catalysts to help get new business ideas and innovations off the ground – a perfect synergy in my eyes and something no other business school offers.
What club or extracurricular activity excites you most at this school? The opportunity to get involved with the Enterprise Lab is definitely what I’m most excited about this year. I was really involved with product design and startups during my undergrad, even winning the Irish James Dyson Design Award back in 2013. After six years in industry, however, I feel like I’ve lost my entrepreneurial flair, and so the opportunity to explore some of my ideas again in a supportive environment is one I can’t wait to take advantage of.
I’m also very interested in female empowerment and have taken on a leadership position in the newly formed Imperial Women MBA network, so I can’t wait to see what comes of that!
What makes London such a great place to earn an MBA? How have you taken advantage of London to further your business education? I was already based in London prior to beginning my MBA and so I originally intended to move away to study. After some consideration, however, I realised that London was where I wanted to stay. The startup scene in London is thriving and home to many of the top names in banking and finance, not to mention its incredible transport system – why would I want to study business anywhere else?!
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Taking on the responsibility of Professional Head of Engineering for Heathrow Express was definitely my biggest accomplishment in my career thus far. Achieving this level of responsibility before the age of 30, and particularly as a woman, was something I never thought I’d be able to accomplish when I first joined the rail industry. I am forever grateful to the incredibly supportive and trusting managers I’ve had along the way for giving me all the opportunities that allowed me to do this.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? While I loved working with trains, my bigger interest lies in transport and logistics in general. Moving people and things from A to B shapes how we live our lives and how we design our cities – and I’ve always found that fascinating. After six years in rail I was worried I was pigeonholing myself too early in my career, so now felt like the right time to take stock.
Pursuing an MBA gives me that pause to step back, evaluate, and look at the bigger picture of what I want to ultimately achieve. Some people might choose to travel the world for a year to figure out the answer to that question. For me, however, I thought I’d double down and build a strong business foundation while figuring out the next steps. While my option is arguably the more expensive one, it’s a choice I couldn’t be happier with – who needs tropical beaches for inspiration when you can have a cohort of over 50 incredible minds alongside world class lecturers to guide you towards your goals?!
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? When I was 15, I attended a summer ballet course at the Royal Academy of Dance in London. During one of our more difficult classes, our ballet teacher stopped the music and goaded us by saying, “Come on girls, you can do this. it’s not like it’s a math class!” It was at that point I knew that I would have preferred to have been in math.
While I often use this anecdote as being the defining moment when I knew I wanted to study engineering, I think realistically it was in fact the moment where I discovered I was able to make my own mind up on what I wanted to do with my future.
How did this prepare me for business school you might ask? In a strange serendipitous turn of events, the accommodation where I stayed while on this ballet course was in fact one of the student residences for Imperial College London. Despite not finding my passion to become a professional ballet dancer on that course, it did ignite my passion to one day study at Imperial, and here I am 15 years on – better late than never!
DON’T MISS: MEET IMPERIAL COLLEGE’S MBA CLASS OF 2021