Sarah Park
MSc Management of Information Systems & Digital Innovation (2020 - 2021)

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, and the course you are studying.

My name is Sarah Park, and I am currently studying MSc Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation. Before coming to Warwick Business School (WBS), I studied BSc Economics at University College London (UCL).

During my undergraduate studies, towards the final year, I became interested in technology, particularly in the role of technology in creating large, positive impacts for businesses and our lives. The decision to change my career path from economic research to technology consulting led me to take a gap year in which I worked at one of the big 4 firms, developing digital transformation strategies for the client organisations. This experience reinforced my desire to pursue a career in technology consulting, which led me to apply for the MSc Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation course at WBS. 

What first attracted you to WBS, why did you choose to study here?

I was very keen on the career support and quality of education in my choice of universities. The fact that WBS is one of the most renowned business schools across Europe first attracted me; the alumni community seemed to be very well established, which was another important factor for me. Moreover, I was very specific on the learning outcomes of the master’s course. I wanted to develop a hybrid set of business acumen and technical skills, and the course content of MSc Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation was exactly what I was looking for. It focuses on the cross-section of technology and business, which is highly demanded these days.

What would you say are the key things that sets WBS apart?

The incredibly supportive WBS community really sets WBS apart from other schools. From the very beginning, not only the programme team, lecturers, and university staff have been supportive but also the current students and alumni are extremely caring and helpful. I’ve managed to expand my professional network within and beyond the WBS alumni community by actively engaging and connecting with inspiring professionals and leaders.

Moreover, the CareersPlus team at WBS is unique in the sense that they are extremely competent and dedicated in training and supporting students to perform the best in their job applications and future careers. I have been very impressed by the quality of resources that are made available to WBS students and the careers events that are attended by high-profile companies.

What is the best thing about your course so far?

The best thing about my course is having the excellent mix of theoretical and practical content across the course. There are modules that are more theoretical (e.g. knowledge, work, and innovation) but are definitely crucial to formulate the understanding of contemporary business environments. The course also offers more practical modules (e.g. Information Systems Consultancy, Enterprise Information Systems) that prepare students well for their future careers.

My course has a relatively small cohort compared to other courses, which means that we have close relationships with each other. We also share very similar passions and interests as the course is shaped for students who are passionate about technology. Having the opportunity to learn, engage, and discuss with people who share the same passion as you are is one of the best things about this course.

What is your favourite module? What do you cover on this module?

One of my favourite modules is Digital Business Strategy in which we learn about the role of digital technologies in this digital era. In particular, the module covers the ways by which platform companies such as Airbnb, Uber, and Netflix are leveraging digital technologies to create and capture values. One of the key takeaways from this module was how digital business strategy differs from the traditional IT strategy; the former is the organisational strategy that leverages digital resources to create differential business values, whereas the latter recognises digital technology as subordinate to business strategy. My approach to and perspective of the firms and their business strategies have been entirely reshaped after taking this module.

What has inspired you most throughout your studies at WBS?

The most inspiring aspect of studying at WBS was our community’s commitment and effort to address the underrepresentation of women in the technology sector. As part of the ‘Cybersecurity in Business’ module, several MSc Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation students were given the opportunity to participate in ‘Talking Tech: Girls and Women in ICT series’*. Dr. Isabel Fischer, the module leader and Associate Professor of Information Systems and Management, provided us this invaluable opportunity to connect with inspiring female leaders and interview them to explore their work in and passion for technology.

I interviewed a female leader, an MSc Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation alumnus who is working as a technology consulting manager at one of the top consulting firms. In the interview, we talked about the motivation to get into the tech sector, the rewarding experience and challenges of working in the technology consulting field, and hoping to inspire girls and young women to envisage studies and careers in the technology field. Being able to take part in such an important initiative whilst studying was one of the best and inspiring experiences I have had at WBS.

* The Talking Tech initiative is run by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Liaison Office at the United Nations (UN), UN ICC and the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.

What sort of support have you received so far from the CareersPlus team? How has that helped you?

I’ve been extremely well supported by the CareersPlus team throughout my job applications: from having access to useful resources and to attending one-to-one career coaching and interview preparation sessions. Of all the invaluable resources made exclusively for the WBS students, I found the one-to-one session with a careers coach the most helpful. I’ve done a few CV and Cover Letter checks tailored to each job application, and multiple mock interviews with my career coach. The opportunity to practice and the advice were extremely useful not only in improving the interview skills but also in boosting my confidence.

The CareersPlus team regularly organises careers events that are attended by high-profile and reputable companies. At the virtual careers fair event that was held in October, I was able to talk to the recruiters of the companies that I had applied to, getting useful insights and application tips from them. Also, we had a number of careers events that were exclusive for MSc Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation students, organised by our course director, programme team, and the CareersPlus team. It was such a great opportunity to connect with alumni who had studied the same course, learn about their work, and get advice on the next steps upon the completion of the course. 

What do you aim to do once you graduate?

With the support from the CareersPlus team, I managed to secure three graduate scheme offers from my dream companies. Of the three offers, I have chosen the role that aligns with my passion for technology and long-term career goals. Upon graduation, I will be starting my new job as a consulting analyst at a technology consulting firm in London, helping client organisations to address their most significant business issues.

In fact, the reason why I chose my course was that I had always aspired to become a technology consultant, and my course seemed to be a perfect course to develop a hybrid skillset of business acumen and technical skills. I believe that the MSc Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation course prepares students very well to be competent technology consultants. The course focuses on the cross-section of technology and business whilst the modules have a very good mix of practical and theoretical contents. I have learned digital technology theories (e.g., knowledge transfer, innovation process, digital platforms, crowdsourcing), business cases (e.g., Uber, Amazon, TopCoder), and programming (Python, R, Tableau), which helped me to keep up with the business and technology trends as well as to gain the knowledge and skills that are desirable for consulting.

What are your tips for getting the most out of an MSc for those starting in September?

Be proactive and engage with your classmates, lecturers, and the wider WBS community as much as possible. From my experience, I learned in so many aspects (e.g., developing my critical thinking skills, learning how to communicate with people from different cultures) just by engaging and interacting with people in this diverse community at WBS. Although one may think that academic achievement is a top priority for a master’s student, I believe developing critical thinking ability by interacting and learning from different cultures is equally important.

Another tip to get the most out of studying a master’s course at WBS is to leverage the careers-related resources and events in your job applications. The CareersPlus team provides immensely useful resources and organises careers and networking events throughout the year. Make use of what is already made available for you to strengthen your applications: expand your network, build your commercial awareness, and practice interviews.

What top tips would you give to prospective MSc students who are deciding if WBS is the right place for them?

WBS being one of the most renowned and reputable business schools in the world, you will be able to learn from world-class researchers whilst building fulfilling relationships with the brilliant and smart people in the WBS community. Despite the pandemic, WBS has been extremely resilient and maintained the quality of education through its outstanding virtual teaching system. This shows Warwick University’s management capabilities as a business school in creating the best environment for the students.

Moreover, the location of WBS being just an hour away from London, it gives students the convenience to travel around and explore the capital city. Some of the prospective students have shown their concerns over the school not being in London, however, I’d like to assure you that the location of your university does not give you any disadvantages (or advantages) in your job applications. In fact, at the careers fair organised by WBS, a wide range of high-profile companies attend to recruit or promote their roles and organisations. My advice to prospective students is to seize all these opportunities that WBS has to offer!