Digital for Impact Week 6: Virtual Guest Speakers

By Dominic Hughes, Manager, Experiential Learning 

Dominic is a Manager in the Experiential Learning team at LBS. When he isn’t delivering Digital for Impact he works on the LondonLAB and LondonCAP experientials. Dominic is Bilingual (English and Chinese) and is passionate about learning through experience. 

At Experiential Learning, we’re here to create courses with real impact, not just on students, but also on the communities they serve. We’ve taken this to its very literal meaning with our new course Digital for Impact, where MBA, EMBA and Sloan students have been working together on remote group consulting projects for East African clients. 

We’ve used a range of techniques to provide students with a rich set of resources to support their work on the course. One technique, used a lot both in in-person teaching and in virtual teaching, is the input of guest speakers. Students on our course have been fortunate to have had input from some compelling guest speakers.  

In this iteration of Digital for Impact, students have had three guest speaker sessions so far. The first was with Nick Hughes, founder of M-PESA and M-KOPA, both at the forefront of digital innovation with impact in East Africa. The second session was with Eloho (Omame) Gihan-Mbelu, Managing Director of Endeavor Nigeria, a not-for-profit stimulating global entrepreneurial activity by providing mentorship to innovative founders based in emerging markets. Our third guest speaker session was with Jessica Spungin, Adjunct Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at London Business School, ex-Partner at McKinsey and a committed practitioner of Experiential Learning. 

What is the common thread that unites all these guest speakers which makes their presence impactful? 

  1. Relevance to course. All three of our guest speakers provided inputs which complemented the students’ work on their consulting projects focused on digital innovation and its impact. Eloho’s session allowed her to share her experience of working in Nigeria, Nick’s session gave students an insight into digital innovation in the region, and Jessica’s session focused on core consulting skills. 
  2. Focused topic. As mentioned before, all the sessions had focus. This allowed our guest speakers to speak with confidence and in a structured manner. It also provoked well-considered questions from our students which added to the quality of the session! 
  3. Relationship with course provider. All three of our guest speakers so far have completed degree programmes at the School. We are very fortunate at London Business School to have alumni who are willing to share their insights with our current students. Having this strong School link allows us to further build our community through guest speaker sessions, which have the potential to inspire students  

The key takeaway here is that guest speaker sessions need to be considered carefully and linked to the course you’re providing. Drawing from the expertise of the School community is also an effective way to deliver impactful guest speaker sessions. Next week we will return to hearing insights from Giri, one of the students on the course. 

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