Sainsbury Management Fellows

Interview 1: Jonathon Simister

Jonathon Simister (BAv/BComm, Swinburne University of Technology), London Business School  

Jonathon has spent the past three years working in London for Expedia in Partner Marketing and most recently in Search Engine Marketing, helping to automate and scale Expedia’s marketing in the search engine space in Western Europe. Prior to this, he worked in Australia, first on a leadership development program at Virgin Australia and then at a digital marketing agency focussing on bespoke digital solutions for a variety of clients.

Jonathon is also an aviation enthusiast and has a private pilot’s license, aerobatics rating and was one of the first 100 people to fly the Boeing 787 simulator.

What do you hope to achieve through your MBA experience?
I’m really looking forward to studying some business areas in greater depth to plug some knowledge gaps and learn more about other disciplines. The teaching staff at LBS are fantastic though it’s the fellow students that really make the experience enjoyable and worthwhile.

Alongside the academics, I’m looking to build a solid international network and be involved in as many clubs and extra-curricular activities as time permits. I’m also keenly focussed on internship and full-time recruiting so excited to discover what opportunities await and find ones that fit.

How will you use your MBA to further your career?
At this stage, I’m a career advancer so I’m not looking to make too many drastic shifts in career direction. I’m passionate about the tech industry and think there are some amazing innovations from a wide range of companies that I hope to explore through the clubs and career services on campus.  Five years from now, I hope to be in a leadership position working in a role that sits closely with Product and Engineering Development and the customer, helping to create and monetise sustainable business models.

What are your hopes/expectations of being part of the SMF network after business school?
It’s an honour and privilege to become a Fellow and join a highly distinguished network. From the profiles I’ve read and the Fellows I’ve met so far, everyone seems to have amazing careers and are focussed on even bigger and better things. I’m really excited to get involved with the network and I think having this support system around me will allow me to enhance my own career and also hopefully positively contribute back to others as well.

How do you hope to support SMF after you graduate from business school?
I believe the people are what makes the organisation and I’m really looking forward to future opportunities with SMF to get to know both old and new Fellows. To that end, I’d love to be involved through the mentorship program and the administrative running of the organisation and the events it conducts throughout the year.

When did you start thinking about doing an MBA?
I started thinking about furthering my formal education a few years ago but didn’t take any concrete steps until 2016 when I bought the GMAT book. After a false start in studying for the GMAT, I decided over the Christmas break that I wanted to commit to studying an MBA and spent most of 2017 getting through the GMAT, researching schools, applying and finally interviewing. Going through the process over such a long period allowed me to speak to many people about the merits of the MBA and allowed me to understand why I wanted to study one and what I hoped to get from it.

How was your experience of applying for the scholarship application process?
My experience throughout the whole application process was great and I was really happy with how seamless it was and how easy it was to communicate with SMF. They provided prompt responses to my questions and made it clear what was needed to apply which helped guide my essays.

I was also travelling when the interview was scheduled so I was apprehensive about how that would affect my chances, but the interviewers were incredibly understanding and I’m so grateful for being able to have the chance to present to them and explain how much this means to me.

What did you learn by going through the scholarship application process?
During the MBA application process, I had done some introspection on where I wanted my career to go and the types of roles and industries I’d be interested in pursuing. As the SMF application was about nine months after this, the application questions refreshed this thinking and gave me greater clarity on where I thought I could provide the most value and find the sweet spot between my technology and business background and the additional skills I would pick up throughout the MBA.

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