Hi everyone! I am Lucie, a PhD student in Bioengineering (synthetic biology and metabolic engineering specialisation) at Imperial. As this is a new blog, I thought my first post should tell you something about me, my career decisions and reasons for coming here. I would also like to share how my search for PhD courses and applying to Imperial looked like in case you found that useful. I think my way of getting here might be quite typical in the fact it’s atypical. There is no one way or recipe to get to a certain career or a PhD degree and often it’s lots of trial and error.
Why hello there! A big welcome to my writing space and I hope that whoever reading this is coping well with the second lockdown and staying safe!
A little bit about myself
Since I’m new to the student blogger life, I thought it might be best for me to first briefly introduce myself!
So, first things first, hi – my name is Bianca, I am currently an MSc Management student at Imperial College Business School. I previously graduated from the BSc Biochemistry course at Imperial College London, so you can technically say that I’ve just switched buildings when I transitioned from my Bachelor’s to my Master’s.
In the summer before Year 13, my family decided to take me university hopping around the UK. We’d go to different cities, stay at a local hotel, attend an open day, explore for a day or two and then move swiftly on to the next. Sometimes we’d visit 3-4 unis back to back – no stops, just songs blasting from the car speakers and my dog jumping up at every red light. I felt like a traveller (minus the caravan).
Back then I had no clue what I was going to do. I’d always wanted to study medicine, but I just wasn’t sure if I was passionate enough to dedicate 5-6 years of my life to one subject.
Interview season is upon us. Although exciting, it can be really daunting as an applicant as you each medical school interviews differently so you don’t know what to expect. This year, Imperial is using MMIs (Multiple Mini-Interviews) instead of the traditional panel interview. Therefore, I decided to write this blog so people know what to expect and feel more at ease.
“The interview is not intended to be an intimidating experience and staff will try to put candidates at ease while evaluating the following:
Motivation and realistic approach to medicine as a career
Capacity to deal with stressful situations
Evidence of commitment to the values of the NHS constitution
Evidence of working as a leader and a team member
Ability to multitask
Likely contribution to university life
Communication skills and maturity of character”
The above list is directly taken from the Imperial website.
Here’s a timeline of how I finally secured my Second Year Summer Internship at one of my favourite companies.
August – It’s all about the CV
A year in advance I found myself sitting in the waiting area of an empty careers service getting my CV checked. I would throughly recommend using the service over summer before they become extremely busy in October again. The careers service was able to not only identify key experiences I should include in my CV but also suggested some structural ideas. Whilst I know loads of people who LaTeX their CVs (overkill IMO) I think that you can make a perfectly good CV on Word.
One of the hardest parts of being a penultimate year student is juggling applications for internships alongside academic studies. Having just been through this process, I wanted to share my journey and also some top tips on how to survive this time-consuming task successfully! In this first post I will talk about the general process and my top tips!
The general steps in the application process
Online Application – This usually involves providing your personal details, answering some questions about your motivations for this career, listing your previous work experiences. Sometimes you will be asked to provide a CV and cover letter
Online Assessments – Either with your application or sometimes if you make it through the first round, you will be asked to complete some online assessments.
The number one question I hear about studying at Imperial
In short, yes. But of course studying here isn’t easy, but if you’re at Imperial now or are thinking of coming here than you probably already know that and can handle the challenge! (If it was easy then everyone would be able to do it) After speaking to countless perspective students and my friends at other universities, this is often the first question I’m asked about what it’s like to study at Imperial. I have often struggled to answer this question succinctly as it has many different aspects to it. There’s of course the academic side, but the also the concept of work-life balance and having a social life.
Everything that was going through my head when I firmed Imperial
For any perspective students reading this post, you’re probably going through the daunting process of selecting your firm and insurance choices on UCAS. I remember this being quite an important decision and a lot of time and thought went into making it so I thought I would share some of my thoughts on choosing universities.
After being a student caller, speaking to perspective students and answering all the questions over the phone, I started thinking about all of the reasons I myself chose Imperial and I thought it would be useful to share some of them with you.
Growing up I don’t think I was actually aware of the gender gap in STEM. Having gone to an all girls school, I grew up in this idealistic bubble where I thought I could do anything and be anything I wanted. I am glad for this bubble as it didn’t hold me back from trying to be the best at Science, Maths and Computing. However in yr10 this bubble was popped. No it wasn’t popped by some boy saying he was better than me or a teacher telling me girls couldn’t be engineers.
08:30 The alarm goes off and the day begins. Whilst having my breakfast I browse through The Conversation’s latest articles, an independent news publication which I recently discovered. It sources articles from the academic and research community and is written to engage the public. You are encouraged to keep up-to-date with science (and general) news whilst in the Science Communication Unit at Imperial and I find reading earlier in the day works for me.