Sofia Skevofylaka’s Interview Profile with Imperial College London – Η Συνέντευξη της Σοφίας Σκευοφύλακα στο Imperial College London
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
Before joining Imperial College Business School, I was elected the President of Dundee University Student Association. I was representing 17,000 students and running a charity worth 6 million pounds. I was in weekly conversations with highly regarded officials of the university while running and making key decisions for students and the current and future student experience.
I was the key leader for the whole organisation and I was leading my own team of DUSA executives who were leading on projects around student welfare, academic representation, societal engagement/fundraising, student societies and much more. We won 4 awards in 2018-2019 for being the best student experience in Scotland.
Before that, I have worked in several positions which included an internship in logistics, leading a team for a centre for entrepreneurship and much more.
Why did you decide to study an MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management at Imperial College Business School?
MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management has a great curriculum. I decided to join this Master’s due to the practicality and unique skills it provides. In my eyes, this Master’s programme would help me with learning skills that would require years otherwise to learn for example, IP, Customer Discovery, Funding opportunities etc.
The main reason I chose this Master’s is the option to have a start up module in the summer. I would be able to work with my business idea while I am studying on the course.
Did you receive a scholarship? If yes, what were the benefits of receiving this?
I have been lucky enough to be offered a £10,000 scholarship from Imperial and this opportunity ensured me the possibility of actually attending this Masters. Due to this scholarship, I was able to stay in the school and at the same time, benefit from private events from employers and big corporations.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy the most?
This Master’s is very practical which is the main reason why I chose it. It uniquely combines theory with real case studies which helps me prepare for my own business deals in the future. Moreover, the lecturers have been fantastic. Their knowledge and willingness to help you are extraordinary. They push our comfort zones constantly which gets you ready for the next big step in your life.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
I have loved most of my modules but one that has stuck with me forever is Organisational Behaviour. Our lecturer Sankalp, has assisted us every second to understand people and how our skills can help us understand our teams, business partners, competitors and how to position ourselves in the best way in several situations to have a good result, even in negotiations.
What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?
There isn’t one specific thing that is the most rewarding. MSc Innovation Entrepreneurship & Management has so many positives that have helped me tremendously. The knowledge offered at all levels, the connections the Business School offers together with how unique the cohort is, makes this experience the most worthy of all.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
As expected, the most challenging aspect of this masters is the coursework and the exams. Even though, they can be manageable with appropriate time management, it is still one of the hardest points.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
The cohort is very social. The uniqueness of the cohort is the common characteristic that most people have around wanting to become entrepreneurs at some point in their lives. This common goal often unites us even though we all have a very diverse background from each other. We constantly learn within the classroom from the different experiences everyone shares.
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?
At Imperial, I was lucky enough to be elected as a Class Chair for the programme. As I have been passionate about student experience, Imperial gave me the greatest opportunity to apply for the position of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council (DSAC) – Chair. I had to go through a formal interview and finally, I was successful. This has been one of the greatest and proudest moments of my life. I have been lucky enough to help other fellow chairs, raise student concerns to the school and most importantly working with Staff and the Dean’s office to continuously improve the student experience at the Business School.
Have you had opportunities to work/socialise with students across programmes within the Business School?
Due to becoming the chair of DSAC I had the opportunity to interact with all the other Chairs from every cohort. We constantly meet and discuss student feedback as well as ideas that we can propose to the School. In addition, this year as DSAC we created and established a few committees like Wellbeing and Environmental Committee. This way, I was able to meet people from different cohorts and work together on ideas around wellbeing and environmental sustainability.
How have you benefited from the Business School’s connection to the Imperial College London community?
The Business School’s connections have benefited me greatly. The connections of Imperial surpass the physical boundaries of London or United Kingdom. When I got accepted into Imperial after a small period, I was lucky to be invited to a Greek Alumni event in Athens where I had the chance to meet Francisco Veloso, Dean of Imperial College Business School, even before starting on the programme. When you enter Imperial, you enter a community all over the world. It is a unique feeling and you understand the connections Imperial has which can benefit you, your whole career.
How have you found the unprecedented switch to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
The transition happened so fast without many problems. The Business School decided to switch our teaching online within a few hours and it was done very successfully. The student experience was different obviously but our lecturers and staff continued to help us as effectively, fast and taking into account our views when making important decisions.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
I want to become an entrepreneur; I have already created my own start up at the same time as starting at Imperial. I have a strong drive for Human Resources, Organisational Behaviour, technology & digitalisation, company processes and helping millennials find their true passions, thus I hope that my start up and new ventures will help me on this.
Since being at Imperial, I have managed to set up my start up and strategically collaborate with various companies which can assist me to make my goals a reality.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I personally had to move to London and I couldn’t have made a better decision than staying in Gradpad, Woodlane. This is the postgraduate accommodation from Imperial at White City. I was surrounded by fellow postgraduates, had access to fun common rooms and people that had the same stress levels and aspirations as me. It was very easy.The staff were very helpful and the place was very safe. I had to take the tube every day to get to University but I was able to use this time productively while discovering London.
When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?
London is a beautiful city with something for everyone. My experience in London even though it has only been 9 months due to COVID-19 I have explored different places of eating out and multiple new cuisines I had never tried before. When I have a break between classes, I usually go to Hyde Park and explore the nature there. Moreover, I often play basketball and dance Zumba at Ethos, the Imperial Gym. Finally, with the MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management cohort we often go out and socialise on Fridays. There are places we go out to dance, sing and just have fun.
Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions? Did you find these a useful part of the recruitment process?
I visited the school before I even applied. I had the opportunity to speak with Student Ambassadors. I highly recommend attending events and speaking to a Student Ambassador as they have seen how the school helps you and understand the reality of what you are signing up for as a student at Imperial College Business School. This helps understanding all aspects Imperial offers like academia, connections, social events and much more.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
Absolutely do it! This programme has been one of the best decisions of my life! This experience is something very hard to explain in words, this is why I would recommend to everyone to take this year, especially if you would like to become an entrepreneur in the future.