by Dr Faheem Ahmed, MBA2020 Candidate and SARI Scholar
The term ‘reading week’ can be misleading. Loosely defined in the context of business school, it can range from reading cases to travel guides. For most of my MBA colleagues, we found ourselves doing both during our first break of the academic year. Although I did not venture as far out as some of my other peers, I crossed one of Britain’s most talked about borders of late. Brexit politics aside, Dublin’s docks harbour hundreds of fast growing start-ups and more established players in the technology sector. Expertly curated by fellow MBA2020 classmates Filip Tremac and Maria Mittica, a group of 20 enthusiastic students were selected to attend LBS’ ‘tech trek’ to meet some of the world’s most innovative companies.
Introduced by our well-connected career coach David Morris, we were warmly hosted by LBS alumni at every company we visited. It began with Frontline explaining the role of venture capital and ended with Dropbox’s recent IPO, exposing us to every stage of the start-up lifecycle. IBM explored the challenges and opportunities of Watson whilst Stripe demonstrated how they are disrupting the payments industry. Much to my dismay, our friends at Facebook refused to divulge the best time to post on social media. Nevertheless, I was impressed by the reach of our alumni from freshly minted MiM graduates at Google to an EMBA as Square’s head of Europe. Not only did they give us unique insights into the inner workings of the sector, they offered invaluable advice for pursuing a career at their respective companies.
Learning from others’ experiences and what motivates them is what I enjoyed most about this trek and what inspired me to build my own start-up. Prior to the MBA, I designed a digital platform to help other clinicians transform their ideas into impact for the NHS. Backed by Bethnal Green Ventures, it gave me the opportunity to experience first-hand the risks and rewards of being a health-tech entrepreneur. Whilst the founder’s story often features failures before success, I hope my new role in sourcing speakers for the TELL series will inspire my LBS colleagues to go beyond their comfort zone and create their own careers.
Treks are an integral component of the MBA experience. My main motivator for joining this one, rather than any of the many others on offer, was to meet like-minded students with ambitious aims to leverage the transformative power of technology in everyday business. I was not disappointed. Our diversely talented group reflected the strength and breadth across the entire school ranging from EdTech entrepreneur, Joice Gumala (MBA2019) to coder-cum-photographer Harrison Froeschke (MiM2019). In all, it was a week well spent with stimulating conversations over Irish step-dancing to get our entrepreneurial juices flowing for the enthralling journey ahead.