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Imperial Business 2019

The business of tomorrow How to grab your chance in a technology-driven world

04 Our new School strategy

20 The benefits of bootlegging

38 Women in tech

Future you sees business differently MBA programmes Executive MBA Full-Time MBA Global Online MBA Weekend MBA Master’s programmes Finance Masters’ Management Masters’ Specialised Masters’ Doctoral programme Summer School

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Contents Q&A





14 Consumer behaviour

04 Dean’s welcome

12 Leila Guerra

16 Executive Education

36 Careers

20 Research and development

06 News

22 Ben Williams

24 Research centres

46 Podcast

28 Diversification

08 Events

32 Jonathan Haskel

31 Conference

42 Alumni

40 Xia Chen

34 Bitcoin

Editorial enquiries +44 (0)20 7589 5111 Alumni enquiries +44 (0)20 7594 6137 Editorial Claire Bower Marketing and Communications Manager Michael Mills Communications Officer

Contributors Nancy Burley, Bob Denham, Aine Doris, Callum Glennen, Mansoor Iqbal, Seb Murray, Celia Pearce, Nicole Pires, Helena Pozniak Original photography Marcus Ginns With thanks to Sarah Belfield, Anne Louise Burnett, Hannah Edwards, Joanna McGarry, Torhalla Metsniin, Rebecca Moody, Jack Olney, Laura Singleton, Anna Wall, Hannah Webb, Ed Whisker

Cover JeanPierre Le Roux – Folio Art Design

© Imperial College Business School 2018 The opinions expressed in Imperial Business are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of Imperial College Business School. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the information in this publication is correct, matters covered by this publication are subject to change.


Welcome from the Dean Professor Francisco Veloso presents the Business School’s plans to become a world-leading hub for research and entrepreneurship

Imperial Business

In 1969, the best advice you could give a 21 year old with a newly minted degree was to get into plastics. At least if you believed and remembered The Graduate. In 1979 it was probably home video, in ’89 computers, in ’99 the internet, and in 2009 anything that didn’t require credit. But what’s the best industry to get into in 2019? The sight of whole markets being upended by technology has become a convention in and of itself. “Disruption” is its own industry. Business can now be expected to change multiple times within the career of any one individual, and that will make business education and research different, but more important than ever. Imperial College Business School is uniquely positioned to be a leader in this technology-driven world, which is our ambition and drive. To achieve that, over the next 10 years, the School will grow in size, expand in purpose, and continue to push innovation across the board. This will mean an expansion of top-level faculty and research capabilities across all disciplines of the School; it will also mean the development of a set of strategic interdisciplinary themes that will help us connect departments and the broader College, as well as engage with business and society. Digital transformation, health and climate, social responsibility, and financial and organisational resilience will be critical areas that we will be investing in and engaging with. We will also continue to expand our preexperience MSc programmes, which will be organised around three major suites in finance and management, as well as a suite of specialised offerings in areas and themes of strategic significance. These programmes will allow us to foster the great entrepreneurs and executives of tomorrow from before their careers have even started. Our Intercalated BSc programme has given Imperial’s science and medical undergraduates a good grounding in management for over 25 years; over the next 10 years we will launch our first full cross-disciplinary undergraduate degree, which we will develop in collaboration with other faculties in the College. As we expand, we will also be changing the way we work. On a literal level, that will mean the media we use and the formats of our programmes. Working closely with our faculty, our award-winning Edtech Lab has already built our Global Online MBA programme from the ground up, going so far as to develop a bespoke learning platform to support it. We will add new

online programmes and expand our blended learning approach, mixing online teaching with on-campus discussions. The leading digital experience we offer on our MBA will become an even stronger anchor for the continuing global affirmation of our entire MBA suite; in developing these programmes, we will be entrepreneurial and innovative. In a few years, I may even be telling you all this via hologram – but I’ll leave that to my colleague Leila Guerra to discuss later in this issue. Changing the way we work also means examining how we interact with each other, with our partners and with our students. We want to foster a diverse, supportive and effective work environment, and to establish a transformative community that offers an outstanding student experience. That will entail new streamlined processes and tools, often digital, but also a shared need to rediscover and push our core values, making sure they remain present and visible as the School grows. In our work with students, it will require us to innovate – certainly in terms of digital delivery, but also by bringing more diverse teaching elements (creative learning, experiential learning, coaching and others) to their time with us. Our Executive Education practice is already at the forefront of many of these changes, collaborating with artists, scientists and researchers up and down Exhibition Road to help business leaders better understand the changing world in which they work. By making our teaching available through a mixture of online and face-to-face classes, executive education will become a natural and convenient part of working life. This expansion will be the anchor for our wider, significant growth ambitions over the next few years. Our former students too will have much to tell us. Already our Alumni Advisory Board and professional interest networks give us opportunities to learn from each other’s experience and knowledge, and we will be encouraging further such engagement. Beyond alumni, our commitment is to broader engagement with College, other business schools, the public sector and private firms in tackling the critical challenges of a tech-driven society. To support our development, we will expand our professional staff by almost half, and almost double our research and teaching staff. We will also be pursuing high-impact, collaborative initiatives with the wider College


across strategic themes. We will be a significant anchor of Imperial College London’s White City development, bringing together worldclass researchers, businesses, and partners from academia to work, share ideas, and turn cutting-edge research into benefits for society. Our ultimate aim is to open a new building on the White City campus, providing state-of-the-art facilities and space for these collaborations to flourish, and serving as a base for our entrepreneurial ambitions. The Business School community will be at the very heart of the College’s plan to make White City a worldleading, tech-driven, entrepreneurial hub. The judgement of our success we will leave to others. Within the next 10 years, we hope to be challenging for the top spot for research in the UK and in the top 20 globally. We will also be considered among the top five or top 10 in the world for our degree programmes, certainly in leading areas such as entrepreneurship. And we very much believe we will become one of the leading global business school hubs for finance, entrepreneurship and digital transformation. These are ambitious and clear goals, but ones we are more than capable of achieving.

“We will become one of the leading global business school hubs for finance, entrepreneurship and digital transformation” Together with our faculty, staff, alumni, colleagues and partners, we will show Imperial College Business School is a world-leading authority on leadership in a technology-driven world.­ ­

Francisco Veloso Dean of Imperial College Business School


The business news A round up of the top stories from across Imperial College Business School

Multiple programmes enter world’s top 10

Bank of England appointment for Business School economist

Imperial’s first student-led investment fund launched

Imperial College Business School was placed second, third and ninth in the world respectively in a number of recent programme rankings. The School scored the number two slot for both its MSc Business Analytics and MSc Strategic Marketing programmes in the QS Business Masters Rankings 2019; the Imperial Global Online MBA was named third in the world in the same publication’s Distance Online MBA Rankings. The Global Online MBA was also placed second in the world for employer reputation, with 93.2 per cent of respondents identifying the School as one of those they considered best at preparing graduates for the workplace. All three programmes achieved these positions in their first year of being ranked. Our Master’s in Finance, meanwhile, was placed ninth in the world in the most recent Financial Times ranking. The programme rose three places from the year before, and was the only entrant in the top 10 to have enrolled equal numbers of men and women.

Professor Jonathan Haskel was appointed as an external member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee in May. His threeyear term, which started in September, saw him join the nine-member committee responsible for setting UK interest rates. Chancellor Philip Hammond said Professor Haskel’s “expertise in productivity and innovation will further sharpen the Committee’s understanding of the British economy”; Dr Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said Professor Haskel’s experience and knowledge would “be hugely valuable… as we seek to promote the good of the people of the United Kingdom by maintaining monetary stability”.

Imperial launched its Student Investment Fund in May. The brainchild of students from the Business School’s Investment & Wealth Management and Finance & Accounting programmes, the fund launched with £100,000 in assets under management, raised from donors and the Imperial College Endowment. It runs several quantitative and fundamental strategies, overseen by faculty and industry figures. Any cash generated will be reinvested. Jonathan Fielding, Co-Chief Executive of the fund, told City AM: “We came together to create this fund because we shared an interest in investing, wanted to learn more and challenge ourselves. There are many changes currently taking place in the asset management world and it is important that Imperial College Business School has responded by enabling us to introduce a high-profile initiative of this kind.”

You can read more about Professor Haskel’s research on page 32

Donations fund new prizes and scholarships The School received a number of generous donations this year. Professor Samuel Eilon (pictured), the first head of Imperial’s Department of Management Science and a leading figure in the founding of the Business School, gave a donation to fund prizes on the new Business Analytics programme. Donations from the School’s Advisory Board have made available a series of scholarships on the Full-Time MBA, while the support of the Amjad and Suha Bseisu Foundation has funded the new Bseisu-Imperial College

Business School Scholarship. The latter aims to support students from Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. To find out more about making a donation to the Business School, please contact Paul Mburu on +44 (0)20 7594 0738 or email

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European grant and US fellowship for Associate Dean

Dr Muûls recognised for Excellence in Education

Accreditation extended with leading business school body

Professor Carol Propper, Associate Dean of Faculty and Research, was awarded a €1.5 million European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant in April; it will fund her work on the impact of the labour market on the production of healthcare and health. The grants are a part of the European Union’s research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, and provide the resources to “continue groundbreaking projects”. Imperial College London has hosted 93 ERC grants so far. In further recognition of her work, Professor Propper was made an International Fellow of the National Academy of Medicine in October. The US-based body provides guidance to the American and international communities; membership is considered one of the highest honours for professionals working in the fields of health and medicine.

Dr Mirabelle Muûls, Assistant Professor in Economics, was one of this year’s winners of a President’s Award for Excellence in Education. The awards are presented annually to members of the College’s academic staff judged to have been most outstanding in the quality, organisation and presentation of their teaching. Dr Muûls’ award recognised her work in launching the MSc Climate Change, Management & Finance programme, having started with a blank sheet of paper just 18 months before the first students arrived. Dr Muûls said: “I am extremely grateful to all those that worked together to achieve setting up the MSc, as well as the different teams in the Business School and in the [College’s] Grantham Institute who supported and inspired each other.”

The Business School has had its accreditation with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) extended for another five years. Following a rigorous peerreview process, the School was commended for its success in differentiating itself as a part of one of the world’s leading technical universities, as well as for its strategic focus on management and innovation. Founded over a century ago, AACSB is the longest-serving global accrediting body for business schools, and the largest business education network in the world. Imperial College Business School is among just one per cent of business schools worldwide to be accredited by all three of the leading accreditation bodies: AACSB, the Association of MBAs, and the European Quality Improvement System.

White City masterplan revealed Imperial College London submitted plans for its new White City campus to the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in February. The proposals were the result of a year-long consultation with key stakeholders, including local residents and businesses; they aim to encourage collaboration and innovation by locating businesses and researchers alongside each other. This will present a range of exciting development opportunities for the Business School, which will be examining plans to invest in additional space at White City. The White City Incubator, which helps startup companies grow and develop, has already

reached 94 per cent occupancy and helped over 20 early stage science and technology companies in just a year and a half. These companies have created more than 100 jobs between them and attracted £85 million of investment. In May, aerospace giant Airbus announced it would establish a new office for its Defence and Space division on the White City campus. Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said: “Our teams are excited by the prospect of developing innovation through networking with students, academia, startups, SMEs and other industries.”








Imperial Women’s Network seminar: Growing Awareness of Unconscious Bias More than 60 alumni, students and guests from across the College attended this seminar on the nature of unconscious bias and how we can tackle it. The talk was given by Dr Pete Jones, a chartered psychologist and scientist who specialises in research and consultancy in the area. The seminar was organised by the Imperial Women’s Network as part of a programme of events on the theme of growth.

Over the last academic year, the Business School has brought together students, alumni, academics, policy makers and industry experts to discuss the most pressing issues in global business. Here are just some of the highlights…


Imperial students win £10,000 prize Full-Time MBA students Byron McCaughey and Henry Oakes took home the top prize at the Imperial Business Pitch Final 2017, run by Imperial College London’s Enterprise Lab. The competition challenged students from the Business School to compete in a Dragons’ Den-style challenge, pitching their business ideas to a panel of investors. Byron and Henry’s startup, Kahoots, is developing an AI-driven tool that aims to make complicated house-buying decisions easier and more transparent.


Annual Business School Alumni Celebration The main event in the alumni calendar, this year’s celebration brought together former students from across all programmes. Over 180 alumni, guests and staff were in attendance at City Hall (headquarters of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly) for a night of drinks, speeches and networking.


MBA Class of 1997 reunion Alumni from around the world returned to South Kensington to mark the 20th anniversary of their time at the School. Classmates came from across the UK, while others flew in from countries as far afield as France, Greece and Pakistan.


26 Oct

Student Welcome Reception 2017 Almost 1,500 Imperial College Business School students were welcomed to the Natural History Museum to meet, network, and celebrate the start of the academic year. Students from all 17 programmes were present, joined by professional staff and faculty members. One focus of attention was the museum’s newly installed blue whale skeleton, a fine example of the largest creature to have ever lived, suspended from the hall ceiling.

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Report launch: Indian Household Finance Indian households should embrace technology to make wiser financial decisions, Professor Tarun Ramadorai (pictured) told the audience at the launch of the Reserve Bank of India’s Report of the Household Finance Committee. Professor Ramadorai, who chaired the committee, said regulators and businesses should both do more to make Indian households aware of the products and services available to them.

Book launch: Capitalism without Capital Professor Jonathan Haskel, Chair in Economics, and co-author Stian Westlake launched their book Capitalism without Capital at the Business School. Their award-winning work looked at the increasing importance of intangible assets to the global economy. The UK has a seemingly lower output of valuable work than other developed economies, Professor Haskel told a panel chaired by former Executive Editor of The Times Daniel Finkelstein, but “if you throw intangible value in, you get a better image of productivity”. You can read more about Professor Haskel’s work on the intangible economy on page 32






Dr Marisa Miraldo at the World Economic Forum The Business School’s Dr Marisa Miraldo (pictured) was among the Imperial academics who attended the 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos. She presented her research into the links between personality and eating habits, explaining that interventions aimed at making people eat more healthily have generally been unsuccessful. “A better understanding of individual behaviours can improve our health and the economy,” she argued. “To make this happen, we need to measure risk and self-control.”

Annual conference: The Future of Finance Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus (pictured), Lloyds CEO António Horta Osório and the Bank of England’s Alex Brazier joined business heads, policy planners and senior finance academics at the School’s third annual conference. Cryptocurrencies, inequality and development were among the topics covered, with the emphasis on financial inclusion and the effects of emerging technologies. Professor Yunus said: “Credit should be accepted as a human right… If you connect people with finance, they become alive and productive.” You can read more about the annual conference on page 31



26 Apr

MSc Finance 20th anniversary Over 160 alumni, students and faculty attended an exclusive party at the London Stock Exchange to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Imperial College Business School’s MSc Finance programme. The highlight of the night was an on-stage conversation between Bank of England Governor Dr Mark Carney and David Miles, Professor of Financial Economics and former member of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee.



The Future of Organisations: GCIIAIMA Second Annual Conference The School hosted the second annual joint conference of the All India Management Association and the Gandhi Centre for Inclusive Innovation. Leaders from business, politics and academia debated the future of organisations, with privacy, the impact of automation on labour, and protectionism proving hot topics. Speakers included: G.P. Hinduja, Co-Chairman of Hinduja Group; India’s High Commissioner to the UK, Y.K. Sinha; Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chairman of Cobra Beer Partnership; and Baroness Sandip Verma (pictured).

Delivering Healthcare in the 21st Century: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and the NHS Organised by Intercalated BSc students Joyce Omatseye and Sarah Khavandi (pictured), this one-day conference gave an exciting assessment of the current healthcare environment. Speakers included policy makers, venture capitalists, consultants and entrepreneurs, as well as lecturers from Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine.


Women in Finance dinner Speakers from across the financial services industry gave future MSc Finance students their top tips on how to succeed in the sector at this special dinner. Presenting were: Tanit Curry, ex-Managing Director at Morgan Stanley and a member of the MSc Finance Advisory Board; Imperial alumna Sophia Aluko, now Director of Transition Service Management at Barclays; and Kristine Rasmussen, Vice President of Model Risk Management at Bank of America Merill Lynch.







Dean’s Graduation Reception Ahead of their graduation, Dean Francisco Veloso welcomed students to the Institute of Directors for the annual Dean’s Graduation Reception. It was an exclusive event to celebrate students who had made a significant contribution to the School, as well as those who were recognised on the Dean’s List or had won an award.

Postgraduate Graduation The latest cohort of students were received at the Royal Albert Hall by President of Imperial College London Alice Gast, outgoing Provost James Stirling and Dean of the Business School Francisco Veloso. Professor Gast told the assembled graduands they were receiving their diplomas at “an exciting yet challenging time: revolutionary changes in technology, communications and information are transforming the way we work, collaborate and solve problems”.


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28 Jun

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MaKi London Business Media Conference Founded in 2005, the MaKi Network organises the leading international business-education media conferences in Europe, Asia, the GCC and Latin America. This was Imperial’s second year hosting the London event, which brought together representatives of top business schools with journalists from various sector and international news outlets. The BBC, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Economist and Associated Press were among those represented.

02 Jul

26 Jun

Entrepreneurship Professional Interest Network Alumni and students explored crowdfunding, angel investing and ICOs at an event organised by the Entrepreneurship Professional Interest Network. These networks provide a forum for alumni and professionals working in, or with a particular interest in, a specific sector to share ideas, challenges and experiences with one another. Full-Time MBA alumnus and member of Imperial College Court Oliver Woolley chaired a panel consisting of experts and leaders in the sphere of investment and crowdfunding.

Tony Blair marks NHS 70th anniversary Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair took part in an event to mark the 70th anniversary of Britain’s National Health Service. The event was hosted by Lord Ara Darzi and Imperial’s Institute of Global Health Innovation, and held at the Business School. Speaking on a panel introduced by Dean Francisco Veloso, Mr Blair said: “The challenge for the NHS is to stay true to its principles but be under a constant state of change and modernisation.”

Report launch: Climate Change and the Cost of Capital in Developing Countries Academics and business leaders gathered at the School for the launch of a new study commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme. With financial support from MAVA Foundation, the report was prepared by the School’s Centre for Climate Finance & Investment, and SOAS University of London. The report found developing countries face debt payments of up to $168 billion over the next 10 years as a result of their vulnerability to man-made climate change. You can read more about the Centre for Climate Finance & Investment on page 25

In 1989, Imperial College London launched its Executive MBA – the first programme to be offered by its newly established School of Management. “Most leading business schools have an Executive MBA to cater to working executives,” explains Professor George Yip, the current Associate Dean for Executive Programmes. “Being based in London, Imperial was and is ideally placed to serve a large potential market.” And as the School of Management has grown into Imperial College Business School, so the programme has grown with it. “The Imperial Executive MBA has established itself as a serious contender among top UK-based programmes,” says Professor Yip. “With the split of the Executive MBA from the old Weekend Executive MBA, we retargeted the former to recruit those in senior executive positions with a minimum of 10 years’ work experience.” The business world has undergone radical changes in the last three decades, and the Executive MBA has responded. The blended approach to teaching provides greater flexibility for busy students (the majority of lectures are now provided online, with students’ valuable classroom time used to share their personal experiences), while residencies in China, Germany and the US give them a greater insight into the three economies doing the most to influence globalisation. “Leadership and technology are even more important in business today than they were in 1989,” says Professor Yip. “We have added a required module on leadership, as well as a two-year-long Executive Leadership Journey that develops individual skills, and we have repositioned our programme to be the Executive MBA for a technology-driven world. We have lectures from leading Imperial College London scientists about new technologies relevant to business, we have increased the number of case studies about technology companies, and there is a strong mix of technology experience among our programme participants.” To celebrate the programme’s 30th anniversary, the Business School made available two special anniversary scholarships for the February 2019 intake, covering 30 per cent of the tuition fees. The occasion will also be marked with a special event being organised for the new academic year.




Profile Leila Guerra: thinker, presenter and international ambassador The School’s new Associate Dean of Programmes says modern business demands strategic thinkers who can pitch, present, and manage technology Written by: Helena Pozniak

When Princess Leia begged for Obi-Wan Kenobi’s help via hologram, 1970s Star Wars audiences were wowed. Will students at Imperial College Business School be equally impressed when lecturers from around the world are beamed directly into their classes via hologram? Leila Guerra hopes so. Holograms are just one of the new technologies being considered as part of a plan to reshape the Business School over the next 10 years. Leila, the School’s new Associate Dean of Programmes, is a natural innovator and has worked her magic at IE Business School in Spain, London Business School (LBS), and, most recently, Singapore Management University. “We can afford to be bold,” she says. “We have a new leadership team. Imperial offers the combination I’ve always wanted: a top school with great potential but which is also very innovative. We are really pushing boundaries.” A graduate in international law, Leila began working in corporate social responsibility before taking an Executive MBA at IE Business School. There, staff liked her so much they invited her to join the team and take charge of innovation

and development. “I got myself involved in everything that wasn’t an MBA.” She set about rejigging courses and launching a new master’s. “I was travelling the world speaking to gurus, trying to understand where innovation was happening and how that could fit into programmes.” She joined LBS in a similar role, where she launched two new master’s degrees in management and finance. After Brexit – which left her heartbroken – she moved to Singapore, with “husband, kids and cat” to become Assistant Dean at Singapore Management University, where her portfolio included everything from marketing, recruitment and admissions, to programme management and careers. Imperial ambitions Now firmly back in London, Leila has grand plans for Imperial, and doesn’t intend to pit the School’s offering directly against the likes of LBS and INSEAD. “We don’t want to compete with a traditional MBA. In a technology-driven world, we need to design MBAs that master both business leadership

and technology. We are best placed to lead this change”

“We are uniquely positioned to lead in a tech-driven world” By this she means incorporating Imperial College London’s strengths in science, maths, engineering, technology and medicine into the Business School’s programmes. “We have a new Dean, new Associate Dean, new Director of Executive Education [see page 16], we’re writing a new chapter for the School. What’s happened in the last few years has been fantastic, but we know about technology and about innovation; combined with our worldleading academic research, we are uniquely positioned to lead in a tech-driven world.” What will this look like? As well as building bridges with the College’s engineers, scientists and medics, the School wants to create a new approach to programme design and delivery.

Imperial Business



Born in Spain, has lived in eight countries and speaks four languages Graduated with an Executive MBA from IE Business School Redesigned the structure of IE’s master’s programmes Launched London Business School’s Master’s in Financial Analysis

“That will not only be the usual face-to-face programmes, but also blended and digital – that’s where holograms come in.” She’s also investigating potential collaborations with other business schools to share delivery of online programmes. And the School is also looking at deploying artificial intelligence to smooth student recruitment. “We might look too at how it could shape the student journey.” All this is relatively easy at a school such as Imperial, Leila says. “The Director of the Edtech Lab sits just three desks away from me. When we want to innovate, we have all the expertise in house to be able to do this.” This struck her at a recent conference of business schools, where academics were discussing how to incorporate technology into business degrees. “We got talking about Alexa [Amazon’s virtual assistant] and how it can make life easier for students. But I thought: ‘OK, I don’t want our students to be consumers of technology, but managers.’ That’s what I mean about being bolder: we have technology and innovation in our DNA.”

Leadership skills Leila is also reshaping the School’s portfolio, “so we can be smarter about how we share electives across the different programmes – they can no longer exist in isolation”. And if students mingle across disciplines and age groups, it will, she believes, mirror the workplace and help develop the leadership skills sought by recruiters. “You might have a boss 10 years younger than you, or work in a team made up of millennials, Generation Xers and so on.” And she aims to forge on with a shift towards more experiential, project-based learning. “And for this you need to prepare, you need global exposure and contacts, not just with the usual suspects but also the smaller businesses and startups.” And that’s part of her job: not only to woo the giants but to keep talking to startups and entrepreneurs, including the School’s alumni. While the last five years have witnessed a growing emphasis on entrepreneurship, Leila calls for a little more focus from higher education. “It’s all been about how business schools can help but I don’t think we’ve really cracked it yet: we haven’t really offered the right

ecosystems and environments.” Over the next three years, she aims to focus on technological and impact entrepreneurship, and build them as Imperial’s strengths. And as a business school veteran with two master’s degrees under her belt, she urges business students not to waste opportunities. “It’s about embracing the year, squeezing everything out of it, networking like crazy. You’re privileged: not many people can go to business school.” Tactically, she adds, it’s worth developing presentation and communication skills. “Recruiters take the hard skills for granted, but it’s not good enough to be a brilliant strategist, you need to be able to pitch and present.” Finally, take the chance to build your personal brand: “What makes you different? We all need to be bold about who we are.” w


Consumer behaviour

Want to change people’s behaviour? Stop inspiring them Whether it’s the latest depressing headline or a cute picture of a dog, smartphones can seriously affect our moods – and that’s something leaders can use Written by: Dr Yuting Lin & Professor Andreas B. Eisingerich

Getting people to change any kind of behaviour, big or small, is a tough task. Just think of all the things your significant other does that annoy you: checking their smartphone the moment it buzzes; texting in the cinema; browsing Instagram, or their eHarmony dating app while having a face-to-face conversation. It’d be so easy for them not to do it, so why do they find it so hard?! If it is so difficult to change the little things, what about when you want someone to change their behaviour for a really important reason – say, to quit smoking? Could their smartphone, source of so much rage, actually help them to do it? To answer this question, we collaborated with a group of Business School alumni who co-created Quit Genius, an app based on cognitive behavioural therapy that helps people quit smoking. Specifically, we asked: how do you design such an app to change people’s behaviour? What design elements are important? We studied the app’s users and our findings were surprising. Inspired much? It turns out efforts to inspire users actually did not have a positive effect on their success at quitting. When the app tried very hard to motivate users to be the person they ideally wanted to be – and made explicit efforts to inspire them to live a healthier life – it seems that, for a lot of people, it was simply overwhelming.

As anyone with an overachieving older sibling will attest, feeling constantly measured against a “better” version of yourself isn’t helpful. The person you are told you could be quickly comes to feel like the person you should be, and every time you are not them, you feel like a failure. But smoking is an addiction: it’s incredibly hard to give up. People, it would seem, felt overwhelmed by the pressure the messages of inspiration placed on them, and ended up comforting themselves – by smoking. It’s a simple smile wot won it So, what design elements of the app did help people change their behaviour? The answer: those offering hedonic wellbeing and psychological empowerment. Let’s look at hedonic well-being first. When the app contributed to people’s daily happiness (by increasing their overall life satisfaction, and helping them to be more productive at work) it also helped them change their behaviours significantly. This involved the app’s aesthetic presentation (lots of lovely clouds, fun symbols and pretty mountains) but also how it framed content: functional descriptions gave people achievable goals, while an acknowledgement of special occasions helped. An endearing image, a cute logo, a heart-warming story, a gentle touch or a caring word in our daily lives does matter, probably a lot more than we think.

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“Try to help others think about the behaviour they (or you) want to change in a different way, and add to their happiness today”

We are surrounded by negative headlines and depressing news stories; we feel overwhelmed by society’s pressure to be perfect. When we try to change other people’s behaviour – or indeed our own – it seems a simple, innocent smile goes a long way, even in the digital age. Hedonic well-being, however, was only one element of the app’s design that facilitated behavioural change: the second was psychological empowerment. When Quit Genius offered information or a user journey that enabled people to think about smoking in a different way, it had a significant effect on their likelihood to smoke less or quit smoking altogether. The way we look at the world creates meaning for us. One way to affect change digitally is to make people see a different point of view. Often we get stuck in our own way of thinking and cannot find a way out. A subtle balance of not being too simple and not being too challenging – such as giving someone a new piece of information so they can look at the current problem from other angles – may go a long way. Now what? What then do these findings mean for the effective design of mobile apps or businesses, or even for leaders more generally? Can we motivate people to change their behaviours – even the ones that are incredibly hard to change? Well, yes. Try to help others think about the behaviour they (or you) want to change in a different way, and add to their happiness today, even if only in a small way. Try to avoid inspiring them to death. Our research has focused on getting people to stop smoking, but would our conclusions apply in other contexts? What about getting people to work harder, buy into an organisation’s cultural change, visit a website more often, or spend more money through an app? These are all questions richly deserving of additional research. Watch this space. w To keep up to date with the latest research from Imperial College Business School, visit IB Knowledge:

About the authors Yuting Lin (left) is a Research Associate at Imperial College Business School. Her interests include consumer behaviour, emotions, data-driven marketing and service science. Her work has been published in the European Journal of Marketing and Simulation Modelling Practice and Theory. She participated in a joint study on mobile application use at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York, and co-developed a blueprint for maintaining the e-books industry subsidised by the Republic of China’s Ministry of Economic Affairs. She has four patents to her name Andreas B. Eisingerich (right) is the School’s Professor of Marketing, and Programme Director of its Full-Time MBA. He is best known for his work on brand management, consumer engagement, and service innovation strategies. His work has been published in the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Consumer Psychology and Harvard Business Review among others. His book Brand Admiration: Building a Business People Love (co-authored with Professor C. Whan Park and Deborah J. MacInnis) explored how brand admiration can be built, strengthened and leveraged over time. This article draws on findings from Yuting and Andreas’s paper “Effective Behavioral Changes through a Digital mHealth App: Exploring the Impact of Hedonic Well-Being, Psychological Empowerment and Inspiration”, published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth.



Executive Education


The future of Executive Education Imperial’s new Director of Executive Education talks pressure, technology and 19th century business practices

David Brown joined Imperial College Business School in March as its Director of Executive Education. His appointment to the newly created role is part of a wider initiative to accelerate, expand and strengthen the School’s Executive Education practice (the programmes it offers to businesses and industry executives). We sat down with David to find out more about his plans for the future of Executive Education. What were you up to before you joined Imperial College Business School? I’ve always been interested in developing ideas and growing businesses. I began my consulting career with Mars & Co, which had grown out of BCG, and they joined Andersen Consulting, which is now Accenture. I eventually set up my own consulting business, specialising in leadership and business development training. A few years later, I got a call from London Business School, asking whether I could help turn around their sales and marketing within executive education for six months. Nine years later, we’d transformed the business in terms of quality, reputation, revenue, profitability and working environment. We became nearly 50 per cent of the school’s revenue. I’m so thrilled to now be here at Imperial College Business School, where we have a terrific opportunity to grow and develop what we do.

Imperial Business

What is executive education? It refers to programmes that are targeted at leaders working in managerial or executive roles. At Imperial, we run both open enrolment programmes for individuals or small teams, and bespoke custom programmes for larger teams or organisations. Executive education is about four things. First, it’s about developing new knowledge, skills and attitudes, and ensuring executives have the confidence, practice and commitment to put those things into practice. Second, it’s about helping individuals through transitions as they become more senior, or as they take on responsibility for new areas. Third, it’s about organisational change and developing the new capabilities organisations need to deliver strategic change. Finally, it’s about being forensic in what it is that you’re trying to achieve. What do businesses actually want from such programmes? Everyone wants fast, cheap, digital and impactful. They want great networking opportunities, “wow” moments and minimal time out of the business. Some of those things are mutually exclusive. Our role is to help clients find a solution that exactly meets their needs. Part of what makes this job interesting is that often companies don’t know what they want to achieve, or don’t agree. We help them establish and then measure the value of specific programmes. Once we’ve done that – starting with the end in mind – it’s a lot easier to design the programme.

“The pressures and level of scrutiny placed on leaders are greater than ever”

How has that process changed? Thanks to advances in technology, the speed of change in business has been extraordinary, and looks set to increase. Many executives need help understanding the changes, implications of those changes, and how to work differently with colleagues, with different parts of the organisation, with customers, competitors, regulators and suppliers. At the same time, many managers and executives are getting increasingly anxious. That’s partly due to the speed of change, but it’s also because the pressures and level of scrutiny placed on leaders are greater than ever, and that’s made being a leader more difficult – and exciting – than ever. Most working environments have changed. Executives themselves have changed – or need to change. That means the need for learning has increased, but the time and money available is reducing in many companies. It’s a challenge that needs creative solutions.


Creative in what way? Executives need to be able to engage with the people who are actually creating the future: the researchers, the scientists and the early adopters. They also need to be able to directly engage with some of these new technologies and ways of working. We need to create a visceral experience of working with new technologies, big data, AI or rapid design to help executives understand what might be possible, to explore faster, more innovative and more effective ways of creating the future. Imperial has long been a leader in great learning design, and we work with our colleagues up and down Exhibition Road – the Royal College of Art, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Geographical Society, the Dyson School of Engineering, the Data Science Institute, our medics and engineers – to provide amazing learning experiences. And that will involve a certain degree of experimentation? Experimentation bridges the gap between an interesting idea and a practicable business reality. For over 100 years, Imperial has been helping students and organisations experiment. The tragedy for business is that, for many people, experimentation – even play – was something they left at school. Stimulated by new experiences, we need to help executives develop ideas and test whether they work in the context of their business and their industry. And then we explore how to refine and scale those ideas. Does that mean you have to change the way you teach, or are you still handing out photocopies and pointing at a blackboard? Many people think digital or face-to-face learning is an either/or. We have to design every programme to meet the clients’ needs in terms of time, people, money and outcome. We are incredibly fortunate to have a world-class Edtech Lab within the Business School. We think we have some of the most interesting programme designs around. We mix in-person sessions of 15 to 150 people from around the world with online learning and create extraordinarily high levels of peer-to-peer and faculty-supported learning in a way that very few organisations can achieve. What do you see as the biggest risks to organisations at the moment? Most businesses are still organised around 19th or early 20th century business practices. Given the speed of change, many firms will find themselves ill-equipped for the future. That will have implications for individuals, communities, even countries. In working with large organisations on organisational change, we can begin to help. And, basically, make the world a better place. w


Executive Education

Don’t get scared, get ahead Business is full of uncertainty, unless you ask an expert

Technological advances and political and societal shifts are having effects on business the likes of which haven’t been seen for 30 years. At the same time, people across industries are increasingly aware personal and professional development is as important as pay. It’s no surprise then that Imperial College Business School Executive Education is a strategic priority of the School’s new 10-year strategy. “For those who are able to take advantage of what’s happening – by building new business models, for example – it’s a huge opportunity,” says Professor Nelson Phillips, the School’s Abu Dhabi Chamber Chair in Innovation and Strategy, and Director of its programme Leadership in a Technology-Driven World. “Organisations that don’t recognise or understand the challenges will go the way of Nokia or Kodak. You get it wrong, you’re out of business; you get it right, you thrive.” Programmes such as Nelson’s take the resources of the College – academics, facilities, networks – and use them to build programmes that solve the problems businesses actually face. That could be giving a professional services firm such as Arup a better understanding of its clients’ markets (it’s a lot easier to pitch to someone if you understand what keeps them awake at night), or helping bankers understand how the tech industry works (an industry that, even 20 years ago, they’d have needed no greater insight into than how to upgrade Windows).

Imperial Business


“You get it wrong, you’re out of business; you get it right, you thrive” Online tools and horses Of course, just talking at people doesn’t always get a point across (we’ve all attended GDPR workshops in the last year). “It’s not about us lecturing you,” says Nelson, “it’s about us engaging you in a process of thinking and experiencing new things.” That can mean putting people into unfamiliar environments, giving them a horrible problem to solve, the resources to solve it, and seeing how they do (can a group of risk management experts save the world from climate change?). It can mean getting executives to literally look at data in a different way with Imperial’s Data Observatory (problems can be a lot more obvious when they are a wall of numbers falling on your balance sheet). And it can mean developing soft skills such as empathy to better understand what it is other people want (what is this horse thinking?). Not to lay all the credit with Prince Albert, but it certainly helps that Imperial has such close and easy access to a diverse range of clever people and world-class facilities. Colleagues from the faculties of Engineering, Science and Medicine, experts from the Royal Colleges of Art and Music, and those intrepid folk from the Royal Geographical Society have all contributed to programmes. Of course, charming as South Kensington is, not every client is just a couple of stops away on the Circle Line: finding time for education is another challenge businesses face, even when they really, really want to enrol. As lovely as it is to see clients, convenience can also mean spending less time together, and there is an increasing move towards blended learning, with the main body of lectures delivered online so face-to-face sessions can focus on discussion and interrogation. That was certainly convenient for Arup, who found the smaller, lighter modules Imperial designed for them much more convenient and flexible than a traditional lecture series.

Welcome to the information superhighway As the business world changes, so too must business education. Nelson’s Leadership in a Technology-Driven World programme was launched just last year in response to increasing concern from business leaders that their whole model might suddenly be wiped away by a new app. Drawing on Imperial’s rich expertise in robotics, innovation, AI and data science, Nelson and his colleagues are able to reassure participants that digital transformation can be as great an opportunity as a threat. Who wouldn’t want to have had a plot of land in Texas just before the oil boom? Technological disruption is a particular concern for finance executives: machine learning, mobile applications and artificial intelligence are changing everything in the sector, from credit markets to currencies. And that’s before we get onto the issues around cybersecurity. The Fintech – Innovative Banking programme was designed to give executives a head start on all that. Through practical experiences, it shows them how finance and technology can integrate in an ethical, productive and mutually profitable way. A lot of industry uncertainty comes from how much has changed in so little time; many of today’s executives graduated before the internet was even really a thing. So 2019 will see the launch of Digital Mindset for Customer Value, a new programme aimed at directors with at least a decade or so’s experience. It will be a guidebook for non-digital natives and help those without a Twitter feed or YouTube channel understand the “digital mindset” when creating, communicating and delivering products or services. As a famous proponent of free market capitalism once sang: “The future’s coming and you can’t run from it.” What he didn’t add was that you can prepare yourself in a thorough, informed and convenient manner. w If you would like further information on Imperial College Business School Executive Education, visit


Research and development

Apple’s next hit won’t be something they planned Employees have to be inspired to put the effort in outside official projects if your company is to invent the next big product or service Written by: Dr Paola Criscuolo & Dr Anne ter Wal

In 1968, an employee at 3M discovered the “wrong” type of glue: it was cohesive rather than adhesive. The project he was working on was abandoned, but he continued working on it underground. Six years later (and with the help of a colleague) the idea emerged that the glue could be used for sticky notes. Today, 3M produces 50 billion Post-its every year, earning them somewhere in the region of a billion dollars in annual sales. It’s a famous example of how underground innovation (bootlegging) can be an effective way to develop radically novel ideas. But it requires a delicate balance of individual creativity and managerial oversight. It’s unlikely, for instance, that the next big thing to come out of Apple will be anything to do with official projects aimed at improving the iPhone, iPad or their underlying technologies. Research and development teams at the company may be busy developing, say, better batteries or screens, but the design parameters of these projects are fixed and aligned with company strategy, and progress is strictly monitored. These projects, with tightly defined criteria, allow limited space for divergent and original thinking. The next big thing will more

likely be an idea that’s come from the bottom up and wasn’t on the official plan. Yet, if we ask business students, “Would you tolerate your employees working on the quiet on ideas of their own?” they almost always say “No” – they see it as risky behaviour. As an R&D manager, you’re in charge of and accountable for the budget. The very reason an R&D manager exists is to allocate budgets according to the strategic priorities of the firm, to make sure ideas staff are working on are ultimately valuable.

“The more control you impose, the less space for creativity you leave the individual”

Imperial Business

Drifting off into hobbyland The more control you impose, the less space for creativity you leave the individual. But at the same time, we are scared of projects that run outside our control, sometimes beyond our knowledge. Give too much freedom and people will come up with ideas that don’t fit the strategy of the firm, or worse, waste time and resources. Give too little freedom, and ideas will lack originality and novelty. So how can firms manage this basic tension – how to find the sweet spot between freedom and control? It’s a difficult balance. Nylon was famously invented when a Harvard chemist was lured in by DuPont to work on his own ideas with a generous budget and a blank slate. But Google, for instance, has largely dropped its “20 per cent time” scheme, which encouraged employees to spend 20 per cent of their time working on something other than their regular projects – reportedly because its workers couldn’t find the time. GlaxoSmithKline Chief Executive Emma Walmsley vowed to stop her company “drifting off into hobbyland”, i.e. stop researchers pursuing drugs with little prospect of hard cash behind them. But our research shows individual employees often have moments of creativity when they develop their ideas beneath the company radar – they go underground, and pursue their own projects, regardless of whether they are aligned with company strategy. They are convinced they are on to something, but they don’t want to go public until they have done the necessary research. Why is this? Probably because they feel free to operate without fear of being overseen or facing reprisals if their efforts come to nothing. They haven’t got a manager looking over their shoulder asking how their work is coming along. They might be pursuing an idea the company has decided to drop because it was judged to be not worth the effort – the “low-tack” adhesive that led to the Post-it note – or they might be developing ideas that don’t seem to have a place in the company strategy but which they believe have legs. Precious, vulnerable ideas We conducted our research in a science-led company where employees were inspired to push the boundaries of discovery. This might not be typical of all sectors, but somehow – perhaps because the ideas that emerge are pushed through by people who tend to be particularly motivated – in this one they are often successful. You have to be inspired to put the effort in outside “official projects”, and take the risk to go against formal organisational rules and procedures. Bootlegging, which by its very nature is selfstarting, is very different from other approaches firms use to enable radical innovation (such as


setting aside time for employees to work on their own ideas). It is also different from a “pyramid” approach, where the bulk of the R&D budget is allocated to low-risk, incrementally novel projects, and a smaller amount to projects deemed to be more radically novel but higher risk. Some companies offer small amounts of seed funding that employees can bid for in order to develop their own ideas. Yet, although both the pyramid approach and seed funds may enable innovation, ideas are developed “out in the open”, vulnerable to premature criticism that may lead to them being discarded before they have had a chance to mature. How best to support innovation is one of the greatest challenges companies face. Although, from a manager’s point of view, a lack of control over bootlegging projects feels deeply scary, tolerating the underground innovation efforts of highly passionate scientists may be part of the answer. Giving creative staff the chance to develop such ideas to a level where they can withstand managerial criticism is critical if an organisation wants to push innovation beyond mere progress along expected lines. w To keep up to date with the latest research from Imperial College Business School, visit IB Knowledge:

About the authors Dr Paola Criscuolo (left) is Deputy Head of Imperial College Business School’s Department of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Her research focuses on the transfer of knowledge across individuals and firms, open innovation, and the strategic use of patents. Dr Anne ter Wal (right) is an Associate Professor of Technology and Innovation Management. His research, often conducted in collaboration with leading multinational companies, focuses on the role of networks in innovation and entrepreneurship. This article is based on findings from their paper “Going Underground: Bootlegging and Individual Innovative Performance”, written with Professor Ammon Salter (University of Bath and Imperial College Business School) and published in Organization Science.


Profile Ben Williams: alumnus, engineer, and royally approved Business School alumnus Ben Williams is engineering new ways of doing things in the building industry – to the approval of Her Majesty the Queen Written by: Aine Doris

Ben Williams has a date at Buckingham Palace. His business, MagmaTech, has won a Queen’s Award for Innovation – an accolade that goes each year to a small group of exceptional businesses deemed leaders in their sector. For Ben (Full-Time MBA 2006), the award is the latest in a succession of prizes from industry and academia – recognition that speaks loud and clear about the kind of against-the-tide thinking and solid business chops that underpin the success of MagmaTech and its founder. What began as a team project during his MBA at Imperial College Business School has taken Ben and his growing team to the very forefront of innovation in sustainable energy: efficient home construction. Today, MagmaTech is a recognised leader in thermally insulating connections for super-low-energy buildings in the UK. The firm designs and manufactures patented wall ties that minimise cold bridging in masonry cavity walls, improving the thermal performance of a building and reducing energy use – and costs to the household. Its Teplo wall ties address the issue of heat loss, a chronic problem that affects a significant portion of the

UK’s buildings. By using basalt fibre instead of steel, Ben and his team found they could not only minimise the thermal bridge effect in cavity walls (which allows heat to escape from the building and cold to track inwards), they could virtually eliminate it. Foundations in MBA The idea for MagmaTech, says Ben, arose in response to a change in UK legislation in 2006. “Like most good ideas, ours was sparked by a problem. The Code for Sustainable Homes was issued by the government to ensure that all new construction in the UK was zero carbon by 2016 to enable [the country] to meet climate change targets. And it laid down some pretty stringent thermal efficiency requirements.” Sensing the opportunity to innovate within a historically conservative industry, Ben put together a business plan that targeted thermal bridging. The ideas, business plans and market research that emerged would form the strategy of MagmaTech for many years to come. “With the construction industry, you have a conservative culture that’s built on doing things a certain way, and the new legislation was a


Completed a Full-Time MBA at Imperial College Business School in 2006 Co-founded MagmaTech the same year, based on his MBA project His company develops and manufactures components to improve buildings’ energy efficiency Awarded a 2018 Queen’s Award for Innovation

Imperial Business

disruptive force that opened a window of opportunity to do things differently. The timing was ideal. The opportunity dovetailed with my project work within the MBA, so within my team we were already pursuing ideas iteratively, talking concepts and really doing our homework, leveraging a culture of enquiry and a kind of imperative to improve on what’s out there. And that’s what really drives innovation.” Introducing a novel concept into a conservative market also calls for what Ben describes as “staying power” – the capacity to pursue an idea through to completion. “At the end of the day, it’s not really just about having the ideas: we don’t lack ideas. It’s the challenge of getting things finished. More than having a good idea, it’s about having a kind of determination or resilience that keeps you going, even in the face of resistance to change.” The case for collaboration Ben believes the construction industry has plenty to learn from the low-energy sector. In the wake of the 2017 Grenfell fire in London, when problems around communication, collaboration and quality control were thrown into tragic relief, there is an opportunity to rethink how buildings are designed and built. Ben cautions against any knee-jerk reaction from industry decision-makers to eschew innovation and batten down the hatches of conservatism in the fallout from Grenfell. “The route to the future is greater collaboration with the energy-efficiency sector. We need to be looking, together, to higher standards of quality and sustainability”. He cites the Northern European “Passivhaus” standard in construction, which produces ultra-low-energy buildings. “Studies now show that these Passivhaus buildings are performing as intended with no performance gap from their modelled design. This comfort and quality standard is an excellent example for the industry as a whole as we seek to improve.


“The low-energy, high-tech sector is providing answers and new solutions that prioritise safety, comfort, sustainability, and respect for the environment that can drive this forward.” Leadership in the digital era As business models and cultures change, the pace of innovation is increasing, as are the opportunities to have an impact, regardless of your size or sector, says Ben. “I’ve seen massive change in my career. With mobile technology, we are seeing new organisational structures emerge. More and more we are working remotely, our hierarchies are being dismantled and there is a move towards a greater fluidity and a kind of blurring of the lines between our private and professional lives in how we collaborate and communicate.” While he welcomes greater fluidity and collaboration as drivers of innovation, Ben also points to new challenges for leaders in the digital era. “What an organisation is has really changed, I think. As people start to look for new ways of working – remotely, as consultants, as ‘makers’, instead of formal employees, as off-site collaborators on projects – leaders will face a new challenge of dealing with people where everybody is in a different place and everyone is an individual. I wonder what that means for leadership and for the importance of face-to-face interaction.” Leaders might stand to lose something, he says, as the need to be “present” diminishes. One thing is clear though: you don’t have to be part of a large enterprise to have impact. “We’re working today in a culture of rapid prototyping, with innovation lead-time and the amount of infrastructure needed coming down dramatically. An MBA student today can leave business school with a good idea and rapidly get it prototyped. You no longer have to be in a huge organisation to effect change. If you have an idea, just do your homework and then get on with it.” w


Research centres

01. Health You’re nothing without your health, and the Centre for Health Economics & Policy Innovation looks at how the human race can be better protected against famine, pestilence and carbohydrates through economics, policy and management. –– I n June, researchers and policy makers from 16 countries gathered at the Centre to launch Europe’s largest research project to tackle childhood obesity. The €10 million project will be led by a team from the Business School and Imperial’s School of Public Health and Department of Medicine (pictured below); it will identify and test the best approaches to the prevention and treatment of obesity over the next four years.

Putting the big questions front and centre From climate change to epidemics of disease, the School’s research centres are tackling the hottest topics in business

Not all problems facing the world fall into easy categories: in order to tackle them, and help ensure its work is aimed at the problems businesses and governments most want solved, Imperial College Business School runs a roster of research centres. Each is charged with tackling a particular issue – be it energy, healthcare or some other hot topic – through activities that cross disciplines, departments and sometimes even institutions. It’s been a busy year. Here are just some of the highlights…

–– P  rofessor Franco Sassi and Dr Laure de Preux contributed a chapter on the economics of pollution to the UK Chief Medical Officer’s 2017 Annual Report. They found air pollution could cost healthcare systems £18.6 billion by 2035 unless action is taken. The good news is even small changes could have a positive effect on people’s health. –– P  rofessor Sassi also led a study into the effects of taxes on health and diets. The research, published in The Lancet, looked at data from 13 countries and found taxes on tobacco, alcohol, sugar-sweetened drinks and snack foods would have the greatest positive effect on the health of the poorest households.

Imperial Business


03. Fintech

02. Climate change Despite growing awareness in the investment community of the need to act against climate change, big institutional investors don’t have the data and analysis they need to make informed decisions. The Centre for Climate Finance & Investment works to provide clarity and unlock solutions within capital markets.

£18.6bn Potential cost of air pollution by 2035

$168bn Potential cost of climate change to vulnerable countries

–– T  he Centre received an additional £525,000 donation from its founding benefactor, Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners (a low-carbon and renewableenergy infrastructure investment specialist). The gift established the Quinbrook Fellowship, a new academic post whose holder will look at the business models, financial instruments and investment strategies that can help the global economy adapt to climate change. The gift enables research on a shorter timescale than would be possible through other sources of funding, and will allow the Centre to have immediate real-world impact. –– P  ublished in July, the UN-commissioned report Climate Change and the Cost of Capital in Developing Countries found poorer nations could face debt payments of up to $168 billion over the next 10 years due to their vulnerability to climate change. For every $10 these countries pay in interest payments, an extra dollar is added due to climate vulnerability.

The Centre for Global Finance & Technology aims to provide a greater understanding of technology’s effects on finance, business and society. –– I n March, the Centre entered into a strategic partnership agreement with Plato Partnership (a not-for-profit company comprising the largest global asset managers and broker dealers) to establish and lead a European Market Structure Research Network. The purpose of the effort is to facilitate independent academic research on the evolving market structure of European equity trading post-MiFID II/MiFIR. –– I n June, the Centre hosted the second annual CEPR-Imperial-Plato MI3 conference. The event featured the presentation of eight papers on market structures by talented research teams from around the world and all parts of the network. Awards were presented for Best Paper (won by Roger Silvers for his study on “The Influence of Cross-Border Cooperation on Equity Market Liquidity”) and Best Paper by a Young Researcher (won by Jinyuan Zhang for her work on “Dynamic Trade Informativeness”). There was a keynote presentation by Tailman Lueder, Head of Securities Markets at the European Commission, and a panel discussion (moderated by the Centre’s Director, Dr Andrei Kirilenko, pictured below) featuring regulators from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and the EU, as well as practitioners from Barclays, UBS, Union Investments and Merrill Lynch.


Research centres

05. 04. Big data Rapid advances in data collection and our ability to analyse such information will bring huge changes to businesses and governments. Imperial Business Analytics works in partnership with organisations to pursue research that will fundamentally change how companies manage people, operations and marketing. –– I n the last year, Imperial Business Analytics has begun a new research project on the future of organisations. This has led to it receiving new funds to focus on the application of data science and artificial intelligence to cognitive tasks in professional services (e.g. auditing, law, financial services and consulting). Early results from this work were shared at a mini-conference; the research has also fed into new papers (currently under development), and led to collaborations with funders and leaders in a variety of industries. –– P  rince William visited Imperial’s Data Observatory in October (pictured below). The facility – one of the world’s most advanced data visualisation spaces – boasts a circular wall of high-definition monitors, allowing almost unparalleled visualisation of real-time data. –– T  he Data Spark placement scheme, in which Imperial students work with academic mentors to apply data science and consulting skills to difficult business challenges, was run again in 2018. This year, the projects mainly focused on AI and healthcare.

Social impact One of the true challenges of business is connecting innovative ideas with practicable business realities. The Gandhi Centre for Inclusive Innovation seeks to solve that problem by linking innovation and entrepreneurship within and between British and global companies. –– T  he Gandhi Centre hosted the Ideas to Impact Challenge in March, bringing together student teams from a number of UK universities to present their solutions to societal challenges. Each entry had to be capable of positively affecting the lives of one million people. Pitches covered financial inclusion, agriculture, education and skills, healthcare and sanitation, and climate, water and energy. The three winning teams received startup funds, as well as coaching, mentoring and business support from the Centre’s partners at Global Action on Poverty. –– A  pril saw the School host the second annual joint conference between the Gandhi Centre and the All India Management Association. Prominent CEOs and innovation experts from the UK and India debated privacy, the impact of automation on labour, and protectionism. Speakers included: G.P. Hinduja, CoChairman of Hinduja Group; India’s High Commissioner to the UK, Y.K. Sinha; Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chairman of Cobra Beer Partnership; and Baroness Sandip Verma, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development.

Imperial Business

“Each entry had to be capable of positively affecting the lives of one million people”

06. Management buyouts

32 Years since the Centre for Management Buyout Research was established

Formed in 1986, the Centre for Management Buyout Research has tracked the rise in prominence of management buyouts (MBOs). At their peak in 2007, the total value of MBO transactions in Western Europe was about €23 billion, and they remain a significant part of the corporate restructuring sector. The Centre has recently published an important book synthesising the systematic evidence on management buyouts over the last 30 years, showing a positive impact on company performance. Analysis provided by the Centre is frequently cited in the media. In the last year this has included: –– T  he Financial Times, which covered the Centre’s December analysis showing private equity groups were “selling businesses at a faster rate than in the years leading up to the financial crisis”. Sellers were looking to cash in on record-high prices for assets sold at a time when “institutional investors [came] under pressure to deploy money in a low interest world”. –– C  ity AM’s June coverage of the Centre’s analysis showing the value of privateequity backed sales in the UK had fallen by more than 55 per cent in the first half of 2018. The paper linked these findings to the effects of Brexit negotiations on the value of the pound and the relative value of UK and European assets.


07. Economics Now in its fourth year, the Brevan Howard Centre for Financial Analysis has continued to enhance the School’s expertise in financial economics and strengthen ties with other disciplines, including engineering and computational finance. –– I n December, the Centre hosted the 12th Annual Hedge Fund Conference. Held in collaboration with the Centre for Economic Policy Research, the conference featured speakers from universities around the world. The Centre will host the 13th annual conference in December 2018. –– I n April, the Centre hosted the Third Annual CEPR Symposium in conjunction with the Centre for Economic Policy Research, highlighting a wide range of research on the subjects of banking, asset pricing, corporate finance, and finance and employment. –– I n May, the Centre hosted the Second Annual Conference on Competition and Regulation in Financial Markets. The event included a keynote speech by Professor Elena Carletti of Bocconi University.



When good evaluations can be bad for business When it comes to buying a product or service, or hiring somebody, should we trust the recommendations of other people? Written by: Professor Markus Perkmann

People ascribe a great deal of value to the opinions and choices of those who are like them. For instance, we have higher confidence in a job candidate when they come with recommendations from our peers, colleagues or friends. This “herding effect� can be perfectly rational as individuals save time and effort when they trust the judgment of others. But what happens when the recommendation or evaluation comes from somebody who is different from us? Will we still follow their lead in evaluating somebody if we know they have a different notion of what is valuable?

To answer this question, I, together with my co-authors Riccardo Fini and Julien Jourdan, conducted a study of how academic scientists are evaluated by their peers. The study was published in the Academy of Management Journal in 2017. Using data on 9,500 scientists, we studied how academic grant applicants were evaluated by their academic peers when those peers had information on how the applicants had previously been evaluated by another (external) audience, i.e. industry. We first confirmed the conventional herding effect: applicants who had previously received

positive evaluations from academic peers (their own audience) were positively regarded by peer reviewers. However, previous positive evaluations from industry were not always received positively. In fact, we found a threshold effect: up to a certain point, being well regarded in industry helped academics to be positively evaluated by their academic peers. This is because an academic evaluator of a grant applicant believes positive regard from industry means the applicant can manage projects, produce impactful science, and productively deal with multiple stakeholders.

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However, the small minority of academic grant applicants who had very high levels of industry appreciation were less favourably regarded by the academic reviewers. We believe this is because of an identity mismatch: when somebody exceedingly conforms to the expectations of an external audience, a peer evaluator may start doubting they still possess what the peer audience expects. In other words, those who are too highly regarded by an external audience are seen to be at variance with the values of the evaluator, and therefore as unsuitable recipients of research funding. Implications for business There are wider implications for business from these results. Chiefly, bringing in a new audience risks alienating a traditional audience, who may feel they do not share their values with the new audience. For instance, launching or positioning a product for a new customer segment may mean your traditional customer segment feels – rightly or wrongly – the product no longer caters to them. Perhaps this might be the root of a spate of branch closures by US chain restaurant Applebee’s, whose attempts to win over millennials have widely been held up as a failure that alienated their traditional audience in the process. J.C. Penney was guilty of a similar misstep a few years ago, while, in the UK, the declining fortunes of the clothing arm of Marks & Spencer are commonly ascribed to core customer base alienation. These results may also be applicable to online reviews. Carry out a simple Google search for a product or service, and you will be inundated with constellations of star ratings, encyclopaedias of text reviews, and resources aggregating and breaking them down in formulations to suit every taste, requirement and profile. We often rely on such evaluations when deciding, for instance, which seller we purchase from on Amazon. A Harvard Business Review study found each star in the standard five-star rating system utilised by Yelp was worth five to nine per cent additional revenue to restaurants. A study published in Psychological Science, meanwhile, showed consumers tend to favour products that have been reviewed by a higher number of users, even if the actual score is lower. Many of these evaluations are provided by our “peers” while others are provided by “experts”. This is where the results from our study become relevant. It is likely we give more credence to evaluations from people like “us”, while aggregated reviews and evaluations may tend to the threshold effect we identified: a bit

of external evaluation is good, but too much has a potentially negative effect. Value of diversity Overall, for organisations with diverse ranges of stakeholders, evaluations from different perspectives can afford a more balanced, objective and nuanced understanding that Can keep investors, customers and staff on side.

“Consumers tend to favour products that have been reviewed by a higher number of users, even if the actual score is lower” There is value, therefore, to looking at non-conforming valuations. But we must also acknowledge the sensitivity of evaluators to non-conforming assessments. In order to perform well with any given demographic, it is essential to be a bit like them. w To keep up to date with the latest research from Imperial College Business School, visit IB Knowledge:

About the author Markus Perkmann is Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Imperial College Business School, as well as Academic Director of the Imperial Enterprise Lab and Director of the MBA Entrepreneurial Journey. He has collaborated with organisations including GlaxoSmithKline, Syngenta, Shell, Rolls-Royce and Imperial Innovations, and been published widely in journals. He is Co-Editor in Chief of Innovation: Organisation & Management. This article draws on findings from his paper “Social Valuation Across Multiple Audiences: The Interplay of Ability and Identity Judgements”, published in the Academy of Management Journal, and co-authored with Dr Riccardo Fini (University of Bologna and Imperial College Business School) and Professor Julien Jourdan (Université Paris Dauphine).


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The future of finance Financial institutions should use technology to promote economic inclusion and development, said experts at this year’s Business School conference Written by: Seb Murray

The future of finance was the subject of the 2018 Imperial College Business School annual conference. The invite-only event, now in its third year, brought together an impressive array of business heads, policy planners and senior finance academics. Lloyds Banking Group CEO António Horta Osório, delivering one of the day’s two keynote speeches, said there were “few better venues” in which to discuss what the future held for the financial services sector. He pointed out that we live in a time of unprecedented change: technology is transforming the ways in which banks meet the needs of individuals and businesses. “But at the same time, the bank of the future needs to be inclusive… it must always look after the interests of the vulnerable,” he added. “It is therefore encouraging, if perhaps counterintuitive, that the digital transformation is creating more, not fewer, opportunities for vulnerable customers”. Technology as a force for good A panel on inequality and development concluded technology can curb economic stagnation in developing nations. Ralph De Haas, Director of Research at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, discussed the impact of mobile money in subSaharan Africa. He said: “Mobile technology has broader impact than initially thought. We know it’s being used to facilitate payments, trade and saving. But mobile money is becoming almost an insurance mechanism. If there is a

catastrophe, you can receive money from a wider range of sources than in the past.” Mr De Haas said he believed improved access to finance could have a positive impact on developing economies: “People become less sensitive to economic shocks and they switch out of traditional labour into selfemployment. That is a positive, as people have more ownership over their economic lives.” Pursuing social and shareholder value The need for financial inclusion in the developing world was a prominent theme throughout the day. Nobel laureate and microfinance pioneer Professor Muhammad Yunus pondered the challenges poor people face accessing finance due to bad credit scores. In sub-Saharan Africa, he pointed out, two-thirds of people do not have access to a bank account. Professor Yunus spoke of the need for financial institutions to pursue social objectives as well as shareholder value to improve access to credit and catalyse entrepreneurship: “Credit should be accepted as a human right… If you connect people with finance, they become alive and productive.” Cryptocurrency craze The need for financial institutions to harness technology such as cryptocurrencies was another theme of the event. Thomas F. Huertas, Partner and Chair of the EY Global Regulatory Network, summarised the “disruptive” financial environment: “Advances in technology are

making data more readily available as well as cheaper to store and process. That has profound implications for finance: it lowers the cost of providing financial services while potentially improving quality and reducing risk.”

“Credit should be accepted as a human right… If you connect people with finance, they become alive and productive” But Mr Huertas said there was also a dark side to new technology: “It disseminates... disinformation and can increase the potential for market abuse. It also greatly increases the threat of cybercrime.” In concluding remarks, Professor Francisco Veloso, Dean of Imperial College Business School, said: “From cryptocurrencies and social business to digital transformation and regulation, the financial industry is undergoing fundamental change. Our conference was a unique opportunity to learn, reflect and reimagine a fundamental area of business and society, while showcasing Imperial’s intellectual leadership.” w



Profile Jonathan Haskel: professor, award winner and productive guy Being appointed to the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee was just one highlight of what has been an extraordinary year for this professor of economics Written by: Callum Glennen

With the recent commencement of his threeyear term on the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, Professor Jonathan Haskel continues to be one of the leading minds addressing the UK’s biggest economic challenges. Currently a professor of economics at Imperial College Business School and formerly Director of its doctoral programme, Jonathan’s career has also seen him serve as a member of the Reporting Panel of the Competition Commission, and the Conference Secretary of the Royal Economic Society (he also served on the organisation’s council from 2011 to 2016). Since 2016, he has been a Non-Executive Director of the UK Statistics Authority. His appointment to the Monetary Policy Committee serves as a fitting culmination to what has been, by anyone’s standards, a truly extraordinary year. Central to Jonathan’s work over the last 12 months has been demystifying the “intangible economy”. Traditionally, the value of a business has been heavily tied up in physical assets like vehicles, buildings and infrastructure, all of which can be easily included in GDP measurements. However, today’s behemoths, such as Google, Uber and Facebook, own comparatively little, instead investing in more abstract assets. “The economy has become much more intangible, and what firms are investing in nowadays is stuff you can’t really touch or feel,” Jonathan told the School’s Business Podcast (see page 46). “It’s things like branding, it’s things like writing software, it’s things like analysing databases, it’s things like design, it’s things like

the whole organisational process of the firm itself. This is a challenge for GDP measurement because [an assessor] just finds it too difficult to measure all that sort of stuff.” Capitalism without capital This ever-growing category of asset was the subject of Jonathan’s latest book, Capitalism without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy, which he co-authored with Stian Westlake. Launched at Imperial College Business School, Capitalism without Capital has received widespread praise and was named one of the best books of 2017 by both The Economist and the Financial Times. The research behind it was also the basis of Jonathan’s winning submission to the inaugural Indigo Prize for economics: his team was awarded a share of the £125,000 grand prize for their essay examining how intangible assets could be better measured by GDP. “Accountants and statisticians find it very difficult to measure these types of intangible investments, but we took the view, when we started this work about 10 years ago, [that] although this [would be] difficult, we thought we’d have a go,” explained Jonathan. “There are all sorts of difficult challenges out there, and Imperial likes to think that it can have a go at difficult things.” With technology-centric companies now dominating business, understanding the intangible economy is of paramount importance to the leaders of both the future and today.

One worrying trend Jonathan has identified is that the intangible economy seems to be fostering inequality. Smaller companies are finding it difficult to compete with their larger peers: the latter not only have greater resources to pour into R&D, but are also able to develop unmatchable synergies across their portfolios of intangible assets. Google Docs might be worth comparatively little on its own, but when combined with the full suite of Google’s apps – like Gmail, Drive and Hangouts – it is worth considerably more. Social division is also increasing, with rural dwellers not seeing the same benefits from the intangible economy as those living in cities. As Jonathan wrote for IB Knowledge: “Someone with a Harry Potter-style script isn’t going to bump into a computergenerated-effects expert or a talented actor in a small village in the Cotswolds.” Protecting productivity In the wake of the 2008 crash, intangible investment growth in the UK declined, slowing economic activity and stifling productivity. According to Jonathan, this has had far-reaching consequences: “It’s dampened the benefits of spillover technologies and knowledge, which in turn has limited how much companies can scale up and expand. And it’s this that has caused our productivity to stagnate.” Jonathan is now in a position to help address many of these challenges, particularly through his role with the Bank of England. As an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee, he will hold one of nine votes to decide the future path of UK monetary policy. The Bank’s Governor, Dr Mark Carney, said Jonathan’s “broad academic experience and the depth of his knowledge on productivity and innovation will be hugely valuable… as we seek to promote the good of the people of the United Kingdom by maintaining monetary stability”. Jonathan’s achievements also led to him being made a Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s 2017 Birthday Honours, in recognition of his leadership in public services and agenda-setting research. Jonathan said he was delighted to receive the accolade: “The award reflects, I hope, my contributions to helping solve some of the most pressing issues facing today’s economy, including the contribution of science to boosting the UK economy.” Jonathan joins the Bank of England at one of the most challenging times for the UK economy in recent decades. Exactly how those challenges will manifest – and how he will be called on to respond – remain, for now, intangible. w

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External member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee Research Associate at the Centre for Economic Policy Research Member of the Financial Conduct Authority Competition Decisions Committee Non-Executive Director of the UK Statistics Authority

“There are all sorts of difficult challenges out there, and Imperial likes to think that it can have a go at difficult things”





Valuing cryptocurrencies Bitcoin represents the birth of a new asset class, according to a recent paper from two of Imperial College Business School’s finance academics Based on an interview by: Bob Denham, Econ Films

What is the value of Bitcoin? Does it have any value? The speculative investment du jour has caused a fair amount of excitement and a considerable amount of controversy over the last year, but up until now we haven’t had a rigorous answer to these two – pretty fundamental – questions. That was until March, when Dr Emiliano Pagnotta and Professor Andrea Buraschi of the School’s Department of Finance published a paper that sought to give such answers. They proposed a model for pricing Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies.

You ask two basic questions, don’t you? “What type of asset is Bitcoin?” and “What is its fundamental value?” AB: That is correct. Some people claim Bitcoin is a currency, others think of Bitcoin as a commodity. We are thinking of Bitcoin as a decentralised network of exchange. What do you mean by that? EP: Think about a group of computers that are connected to each other. Typically, networks in the digital age exchange information; the novelty of Bitcoin is the ability to exchange one particular type of information, which is economic value. A fundamental difference between Bitcoin and other digital networks is the verification of transactions and the integrity of the ledger that describes who owns what; it is not done by a single trusted party or a group of trusted parties, but in a decentralised fashion, meaning you or any other person who wishes to verify these transactions can do so. People might say: “Well, I have digital currency: I just go and I pay for something using Visa.” But the difference with Visa is, if I make a payment, that has to be verified by somebody (that’s your centralised system), whereas a Bitcoin transaction isn’t verified by any one bank or individual, it’s verified by the whole network. AB: Correct, the verification is decentralised and this is absolutely key.

OK, if Bitcoin is an asset, what are the forces that determine its value? AB: Being able to transfer resources, goods or services without the possibility of them being censored by a central authority. Think, for instance, about the risk of changes in regulatory regimes or tax laws, or even the possibility of assets being confiscated due to political or even religious reasons. We might take it for granted that we trust our government and financial systems, but there are places in the world where that just isn’t the case. AB: That’s right, and this brings us to the second component that is driving demand: the possibility to engage in exchanges without the need for trusting or even knowing the other person. And what are the forces that drive the supply? EP: If you want to create a system that works in a decentralised fashion and in which you don’t need to trust any particular person – any particular computer – you need to trust the system itself. [With Bitcoin, that is done] by having certain notes [held by a large number of different people]: the notes are not only linked but keep a copy of every [transaction] that has happened since the inception of Bitcoin. Some of those notes will not only keep a copy, but will add blocks [i.e. new transactions] to the chain. Those are the miners. The miners

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need to invest resources; they need to solve hard mathematical problems that require the consumption of energy, and hardware, both of which are costly. The incentives [for such effort] come in the form of [Bitcoin] tokens. Bitcoin performs two [roles in this network]: on the one hand, you have consumers transferring money, on the other hand, you have the suppliers of trust, the miners, being compensated with and incentivised by tokens. This is unique to Bitcoin, at least when it comes to private networks. AB: The major insight of our paper is that Bitcoin becomes the first member of a new class of decentralised network assets that share a property which distinguishes them from any other asset that we are used to – which is this unity. Does your paper predict a value for Bitcoin or does it just lay out the parameters that might define the value of Bitcoin? AB: We do not provide price predictions; what we provide is a toolkit, a set of relations that describe the specific functions of demand and supply, and how they connect to each other. And this goes back to your unity characteristic, that you can effect supply and demand at the same time. The price starts to fall, then the value of mining goes down, and therefore fewer miners means less strength in the network, which forces the price to go down even lower. Of course, you could have

it in the opposite direction. Volatility could actually be rational behaviour responding to fundamental values. EP: Say, for example, that China makes Bitcoin illegal: well, if the network size decreases, or expectations of future network size decrease, a similar set of dynamic forces are in place. The initial price pressure will incentivise less economic value and miners will provide less resources [because the tokens they are being paid in will be worth less], making the network less secure and so on and so forth.

“If you want to create a system… in which you don’t need to trust any particular person… you need to trust the system itself”

And that would affect demand, which would affect supply and there’d be a sort of cycle. EP: China is important in this sense because China not only has a lot of fundamental demand but, until last year, most mining pools were located there – or the most important ones. So if China takes decisive action against Bitcoin, the model would predict that [would be] more painful than if an economy like the UK created some restrictions on the use of Bitcoin. Why would that be the case? Because in China you have effectively both demand and supply at the same time, so the effect would be even stronger. Thank you very much. w This interview is based on findings from the paper “An Equilibrium Valuation of Bitcoin and Decentralized Network Assets”. This article was based on an interview conducted by Bob Denham of Econ Films (, which can be viewed at

Dr Emiliano Pagnotta (left) and Professor Andrea Buraschi (right)





Careers: the reason you’re here Imperial College Business School Careers has been relaunched with sector-specific guidance and support for current students and alumni

Investing in an MBA or MSc is a big decision and one most make because they want to advance their careers. As part of its commitment to helping its students and alumni get the maximum possible value from their degrees, Imperial College Business School this year relaunched its Careers & Professional Development Service as simply Careers, with a new focus on sector-specific guidance and early engagement. To find out more about how students and alumni can benefit from these changes, we sat down with the Director of Careers, Lisa Umenyiora. What does a careers service actually do? Career factors play a large part – if not the largest part – in many students’ decision to study at a business school. The role of my team is to offer practical support, advice, and skills training to ensure students achieve their goals, no matter what stage of their career they are at. A big part of that is building and developing sustainable ongoing relationships with employers, and preparing our students to be competitive in the selection processes they run.

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Which sectors are students most interested in? There’s a good spread: finance, management consultancy, technology, media and telecommunications, fast-moving consumer goods, healthcare, energy, social impact, and sustainability, among others. As part of the relaunch, we’ve realigned the service we offer according to these sectors: we now have sector teams made up of both careers consultants and employer relations managers. They have been developing expertise and knowledge of their sectors and building relationships with target employers: we’ve met or spoken with hundreds of businesses, from startups to global corporations including Amazon, BP, Goldman Sachs and McKinsey. As well as knowing what students want, we have to know what employers want: what their recruitment needs, preferences and processes are. The result is students now have access to focused networking, tailored feedback and more detailed information about the recruitment processes within their target industries. And employers see a benefit too: they have a named member of the team managing their relationship, and access to students they know are specifically interested in their sector. How early in a student’s time at the School can you practically start offering support? Even before they’ve started their studies! Time is limited for students on a one-year programme, and some employment opportunities arise within the first month of the academic year. We’ve been able to tap into the School’s outstanding edtech capabilities to develop an online Careers onboarding process, which includes a foundation careers module and CV-writing support. Students have to work through four key steps to gain full access to our services, including one-to-one support and industry-specific career modules.

The latter have raised students’ awareness of the various industry sectors, their roles and recruitment cycles, and led to them starting their programme better prepared to meet employers and make early applications. This also means we are able to focus on more practical careers support once students join us on campus, including mock interviews, assessment centre prep and increasing students’ commercial awareness. What about alumni? Will these changes make a difference to them? The sector specialism will be available to all users of Careers, including alumni. I have reviewed the support we provide to alumni, who can now benefit from one-to-one appointments, webinars and careers advice well after they graduate. Of course, many alumni are hiring managers themselves, and our existing relationship means we can be an excellent partner in finding them suitable candidates. I encourage alumni to get in touch if they are seeking to recruit or if they would like to be involved in one of the many events we hold during the year, including alumni and industry panels. What effect have all these changes had? Students are engaging with Careers up to four months before the start of their programme. This has led to a 30 per cent increase in the number of one-to-one appointments being held in the autumn term. The earlier engagement, together with our new sector approach, means students are more aware of the jobs market and industry trends, which helps prepare them for early employer networking sessions and making early applications. We are seeing strong recruitment this year and anecdotal feedback from employers indicates they are impressed with our students and their level of preparedness. Employer partners are also pleased with the tailored


service we are providing to them through our sector approach. We are facilitating companies holding early interviews on campus (including Amazon, Emerson and DXC), we are supporting corporate research by supplying student project teams, and we are helping employers engage with suitable students through our Careers Clubs, which are now aligned to key sectors. What will you be focusing on in the coming year? Our students are interested in having an international career, whether that be back in their home country or a location outside the UK. I am rolling out our international careers strategy, building our global employer network and educating students on recruitment timelines and processes outside the UK. Ultimately, we’re working towards increasing the careers success of our students and alumni. We’re improving the ways we track what our graduates are up to after graduation and advise them to keep our Alumni team informed as their careers progress. If any alumni are interested in supporting our Careers initiatives, then I encourage them to get in touch with me. w To find out how Imperial College Business School Careers can support you, visit or contact Lisa directly at

Director of Careers Lisa Umenyiora

“As well as knowing what students want, we have to know what employers want”



Bridging tech’s gender divide Three recent graduates explain how the School helped them land jobs with some of the biggest companies in tech Written by: Nicole Pires

Given Imperial College Business School’s expertise in innovation and technology, it’s no surprise the Full-Time MBA should launch so many graduates into careers at the most sought-after tech giants and startups. The specialisms of the School’s faculty, its place as part of one of the world’s leading STEM institutions, and its proximity to the tech hubs of London mean it is riding the crest of a sector-wide trend. According to industry website MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance: “2017 [marked] the fifth consecutive year that tech MBA recruiting increased more than all other industries.” It’s a trend the School’s Employer Relations team are more than aware of. “We hear from employers that they expect to see this only grow year on year,” says Sarah Ranchev-Hale, Associate Director of Careers, Employer Relations. “As organisations and job roles continue to evolve, we have seen growth in interest in students with skills and experience in analytics and big data, digitalisation, and fintech. Imperial is an obvious choice to many of these tech recruiters, given our reputation as a STEM university and the quality of our MBA students.” Of the students in the 2017-18 Full-Time MBA class, 44 per cent were women, and many are going on to careers in the technology industry. We spoke to three of the year’s graduates to find out how the Imperial MBA helped them secure jobs in the sector.

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“Thanks to the Imperial MBA, I have secured my dream job”

Tatiana Arventi Product Marketing Manager, Microsoft

Lavishka Katwa Pathways Operations Manager, Amazon

Monika Pratiwi Senior Account Manager, Google

“I am looking forward to joining Microsoft as a Product Marketing Manager within the Modern Workplace solutions [sic] in the UK. I was extremely lucky to receive a job offer from the very first company I considered joining! “Initially, I didn’t even think I would opt for a large corporate... I am grateful to my career consultant, who encouraged me to explore all opportunities that might fit my personal strengths and career ambitions. Additionally, the self-discovery stage of the MBA helped me understand and prioritise the things I really cared about. My list included innovation, digital transformation, creativity, problem solving and social impact. All I had to do was look for an employer with similar priorities. “[Imperial College Business School Careers] brought in Microsoft for a company presentation, a hackathon and a couple of industry panels that helped me meet company representatives and explore the company culture. It clicked! Starting from the company’s mission ‘to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more’, to what the company is actually doing in its day-to-day activities, and how the employees are feeling about their impact.”

“I am excited to join Amazon on their MBA Operations Manager Pathways programme. This will be a fast-paced and rewarding management programme based in the fulfilment centres that make up the heart of Amazon’s operations. Not only will I use the technical knowledge and course material in my career, but I will definitely draw upon the soft skills that I developed during my time at Imperial. I furthered my ability to lead, work in diverse teams and have the confidence to tackle complex problems. Moreover, I plan to continue using the network I have built with my peers and alumni. “[Imperial College Business School Careers] has been instrumental in me securing my job at Amazon. They hosted Amazon reps on campus for an information session and even organised a visit to see a real fulfilment centre in action. They also connected me with Imperial alumni who now work at Amazon to talk more about the role, as well as conducting a mock interview with me to prepare. More broadly, I’ve really appreciated having a dedicated career coach who has helped me talk through my goals and refine my materials.”

“My goal was to work in technology – at Google actually – and thanks to the Imperial MBA, I have secured my dream job there. After meeting Google at an APAC MBA gathering at their offices in London, I told them I wanted to work in sales; they looked at my CV and I was invited for an interview. “[Imperial College Business School Careers] runs drop-in sessions where they can check your CV, so I got it checked by my coach [beforehand] and also another consultant in the team who is an expert in technology sector companies. Both of them really helped me shape my best experience into a one-page CV. Once [I was invited in for an interview], I worked with my careers coach… my mock interviews got better each time. “My new position will be as a Senior Account Manager in Strategy for Large Customer Sales at Google Advertising in Jakarta. Google is one of the biggest companies in technology and is still growing – also, their innovation is mindblowing… By joining the team, I will be part of a company that changes the world.”



Profile Xia Chen: alumna, IT architect and rising star The IT systems of too many firms are a mess: ancient software jostling with the latest apps. This Imperial alumna is helping them sort it all out Written by: Seb Murray

A technology consulting job at a top firm, a prestigious award nomination and a thriving women’s business network – Xia Chen has certainly had a prosperous career since graduating from Imperial College Business School in 2015. And she credits her recent accolades with the education she received on the one-year MSc Management programme she undertook – as well as the extensive network of friends and associates it left her with. Today she works for Big Four accounting firm Deloitte in London, advising firms across industries on IT architecture and integration. “Most of my peers were applying to consulting firms, so we shared our experience with each other,” Xia says. “The university has a dedicated and supportive career development service, which offered consultations on how to write my CV and cover letter, and how to prepare for the assessment centres [see page 36]. I signed up for 20 sessions with the careers coaches to improve my applications. I’m so glad and grateful I chose Imperial to do my postgraduate degree.”

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“It’s important to encourage more women into business roles and specifically in the tech industry, where they are under-represented”


Originally from China, spent 10 years living in Singapore Graduated from Imperial in 2015, with an MSc in Management Co-founder of the Imperial Women’s Network Nominated for a WeAreTheCity Rising Star award

Business and technology It was through the support of Imperial that Xia secured her first job after graduating, at the IT architecture consultancy Glue Reply in London. She spent two years at the firm before joining Deloitte in 2017. “Glue was a great company for a beginner’s role,” she says. “It gave me good experience in a broad range of consulting work. But after two years or so, I felt I needed a bigger platform to progress in my career, to learn from the best in the industry and get on bigger client engagements.” Deloitte offered that and more. “With Deloitte, I’m able to work on more influential projects and directly speak to senior leaders, aligning companies’ future IT landscapes to their business visions.” But the shift from small to large organisation has required a cultural adjustment, she adds. “Coming from a small company, it’s easy to get to know people. At a bigger company (we have 4,000 employees in Deloitte’s UK consulting practice), how do you make sure you are known by your department, and by the leadership? It’s a big challenge.” Staff at Deloitte have been supportive. “One great thing about Deloitte is that it’s a supportive company in terms of people’s progress. In my first two weeks, everyone reached out to me, was very friendly, warm and welcoming. They shared their experiences: how to become successful in the company. It’s up to me to put their advice into practice.” Where does her passion for the field come from? “IT architecture aligns with how I think about the world,” she says. “It’s structured and offers a holistic view of business. It helps any business to understand how an IT estate can help it achieve its vision and goals. It promotes categorisation of capabilities and assets, reduces duplication and overlaps, encourages reusability, and aligns everything with a company’s strategic direction. IT architecture bridges technical expertise with business understanding.”

Awards recognition Xia’s commitment appears to have paid off as she was recently nominated for WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star awards. Launched in 2015, the awards recognise the achievements of women who will form the next generation of leaders. “I was very honoured, and it was an exciting experience,” she says. “The shortlisted women were invited to a celebration ceremony, where I realised there were so many women committed to volunteering work on top of their day jobs, like me. It was inspiring, and I felt privileged and grateful to be among them.” Xia was among the team of alumni who, in 2016, set up the Imperial Women’s Network. The group aims to share knowledge and experience, and celebrate the achievements of its members through visits from guest speakers (successful business leaders and mentors) and other events. The network has grown fast – its LinkedIn page now has over 570 members from across Imperial College London – and it was this year recognised with the Dean’s Community Award for Alumni. “Women often face glass ceilings in their careers, and we want to help alumni advance in their careers,” says Xia. “I feel it’s important to encourage more women into business roles and specifically in the tech industry, where they are under-represented.” Her goal now is to do just that. “Deloitte is an amazing platform for growth; we have very skilful people who are specialists, experts in what they do. I’m planning to stay here for as long as I can, as there’s so much I can learn from them.” w



Alumni updates

A degree from Imperial College Business School is just the start of a great business leader’s journey; here’s what some of our alumni have been up to in the last year

Johnny Kwan MSc Management Science 1979

Melanie York Full-Time MBA 1993

Dr Ramin Takin PhD 2004

Andrew Fernando MSc Finance 2007

In April, Johnny organised a tour of China’s famous Xue Long icebreaking research vessel for alumni of Imperial College London (together with alumni of the University of Texas and employees of Sinochem International). This was followed by a seminar from Professor Martin Siegert, Co-Director of Imperial’s Grantham Institute, on the scientific evidence for climate change. The day was co-hosted by the Polar Research Institute of China and Imperial College London, and was generously supported by the Imperial College Alumni Association of East China, Sinochem International and Bee Associates.

This year, Melanie celebrated 25 years since graduating from the School. She credits Imperial with preparing her for a career in healthcare, science and technology. She has worked with and for global institutions and the smallest of new ventures on their business-to-business marketing and strategy. She is currently advising: a startup in the new microalgae industry; a digital technology company; and a large energy provider. She is helping them clarify their innovation stories for financial audiences, potential new markets and customers.

In 2015, Ramin’s company Parkway Logic launched Exabler, an online tool for reducing time, effort and risk in overseas trading; it offers a one-stop shop for planning, costing, financing and delivering international orders. The aim of the business is to eliminate frictions in cross-border commerce and simplify international trade so it is possible for companies of all sizes.

Andrew led the Brexit engagement for a US investment bank, an exciting and intense project that involved shaping the bank’s business model post-Brexit. He led the team assessing the effect of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on the bank’s clients, products and services. He also helped set up their trading activities in the relevant jurisdictions. This year, he joined the Business School’s Alumni Advisory Board.

Victoria Reanney Executive MBA 2005 Victoria is a member of the School’s Alumni Advisory Board and has spent the last year working for Barclays on two major regulatory change projects. The first was the Structural Reform Programme to separate the core retail banking division from the investment bank to prepare for UK ring-fencing requirements. The second was the General Data Protection Regulation, introduced in Europe to promote a united framework of personal data protection, which came into force in May.

Imperial Business

Tess Goldenberg MSc Management 2007 In February, Tess founded the Marketing Professional Interest Network for Business School and College alumni. Driven by her experience in entertainment media marketing, she wanted to set up an alumni-led platform that would bring together those with similar industry backgrounds to discuss best practice and share industry knowledge. The group also helps its members build professional networks, and further their individual professional development and learning. The Network has already held two events, attended by alumni, industry colleagues and students. Tess is currently Head of Marketing for the UK’s only 24/7 boxing channel, BoxNation. She has previously worked in marketing roles for Sky and Travel Channel, and was on the School’s Alumni Advisory Board from 2012 to 2014.

Dr Zain Sikafi Intercalated BSc Medical Sciences with Management 2008 Zain is behind Mynurva, a startup that aims to transform mental health treatment in the UK by offering quick access to support online.

Daniel Hall MSc Management 2010

Davide Turi Weekend Executive MBA 2012

Daniel is in the process of launching Hubbite, a social review website on which friends can share and recommend places to visit.

As well as being a member of the School’s Alumni Advisory Board, Davide is a lean-venture builder, entrepreneur and innovation professional. He guides early stage entrepreneurs from their initial idea or technology to a product validated on the market and ready to raise seed funds. Davide is Resident Business Coach at Imperial College London’s on-campus incubator, and Lean Startup’s Ambassador for London. He has over 15 years’ experience launching award-winning products in the tech industry, and has worked with FTSE 100 companies, startups, incubators, accelerators, venture capitalists, and top-tier universities.

Sidsel Rytter Bockhahn Full-Time MBA 2011 Haris Sitzoglou MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering 2008 Haris is a Director for Credit Agricole CIB, originating and executing high-yield bond transactions. Separately, he this year completed a residential real estate project in London through a partnership with fellow Imperial alumni. In January, he joined the School’s Alumni Advisory Board.


Sidsel has moved within Johnson & Johnson, from a senior marketing role to become a National Account Manager. She heads up two of the company’s largest customers: VisionExpress and Specsavers.

Michael Pawlicki MSc Strategic Marketing 2012 After a period of uncertainty, the joint venture digital agency Michael set up with a friend (Asset Digital) has started showing strong signs of success. Investment in staff training and assets are producing returns, and the founders’ economic assumptions have been proven correct.



Anjalika Bardalai Weekend Executive MBA 2014 In her work as Chief Economist and Head of Research at TheCityUK (the organisation representing Britain’s financial services industry), Anjalika has travelled far and wide this year, from Leeds and Manchester to New York and Vilnius. Much of this travel has been to speak about green finance: TheCityUK launched its second green finance report in collaboration with Imperial College Business School’s Centre for Climate Finance & Investment. As well as being a member of the School’s Alumni Advisory Board, Anjalika this year joined the University of Sheffield’s Economics External Advisory Board. She has also continued her work as a trustee of All Stars London, a charity that uses performance to help develop soft skills in young people from less privileged backgrounds. These skills help open up professional and other opportunities that may otherwise be closed to them.

Andrea Bonaceto and Nassim Olive MSc Finance 2014 Andrea and Nassim recently launched Eterna Capital, which they believe will play a key role in shaping the future of blockchain technology by providing early stage funding to projects with a social impact perspective.

Andrea Solana Full-Time MBA 2014 Andrea is a committee member of the Imperial Women’s Network, and this year helped organise three events (alongside a few socials) on the theme of growth. Each event has brought in a number of new faces and helped the Network establish a greater degree of engagement with alumni from across Imperial College London.

Adrian Walker and Natalya Zubova Full-Time MBA 2014 Adrian and Natalya set up Boataffair, a boat-sharing platform. The initial idea was to allow nonboat owners to rent boats, but this quickly grew to allow boat owners to create “experiences” for boat renters, including island cruises, sunset cruises, wining and dining, sailing lessons, and yoga. The pair now have ambitious plans for international expansion.

Troy Ballesteros Weekend Executive MBA 2015

Tomas Zalatoris MSc Management 2015

Troy joined the School’s Alumni Advisory Board this year. Careerwise he has been managing two of the biggest customer-facing and listening programmes at Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, connecting engineering, product and leadership teams to build the next generation of products. His goal in the coming year is to take these programmes worldwide, with expansion into Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Passionate about increasing diversity in the tech sector, Troy has helped build bridges between the Imperial Women’s Network and the Oracle UK Women’s Group, as well as participating in Oracle’s first Gay Pride march in Seattle.

Tomas launched Clouder, the world’s first B2C and B2B vaping marketplace. His ambition is for it to become the world’s largest vape store without owning any products.

Alexander De Kegel MSc Economics & Strategy for Business 2015 In December, Alexander launched Crowd Scholar, a community-led scholarship programme to help high-achieving UK students from disadvantaged backgrounds attend university.

Gwenaelle Pellerin Full-Time MBA 2016 Gwenaelle (pictured below left) joined a startup creating an online platform that will help international students get settled in their country of study.

Imperial Business

Rory Ryan MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management 2016 Rory is Chief Operating Officer and founder of ZiO Health, which he set up in 2016. The company plans to provide state-of-the-art diagnostics to the home, with the aim of helping users lead happier healthier lives. ZiO is developing a pocketsized body fluid analyser that connects to a smartphone so the user can test their blood, saliva and urine for nutritional parameters. The app gives personalised diet advice (and exercise advice when needed) to help optimise health and potentially reduce the risk of developing diseases. The company will be launching its first product in China next year: a baby nutrition analyser that parents will be able to use to test water, food samples and formula milk quality for contaminants. Mothers will also be able to use it to monitor the quality of their breast milk.

Alexander Bleeker, Felix Martinez and Will Rowley MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management 2017 Will, Alexander and Felix have set up Refundease, which began life as a project during their MSc programme at the Business School. The idea is to provide a way for consumers to return online clothes orders without the hassle of Post Office queues or waiting hours for couriers to fetch their returns. Through the Refundease app, shoppers can order a pick-up at the touch of a button, which instantly dispatches a rider to the user’s location. They will be launching a trial at the end of 2018 for the postChristmas returns window and are aiming for a full launch in the first half of 2019.

Heather Mack Weekend Executive MBA 2017 Following a promotion within KPMG, Heather has been working on a range of projects, including the design and development of a learning academy for nurses who treat haemophilia. Her client’s aim is to improve the standard of care for haemophilia globally. Outside work, Heather sits on the board of Four Corners, a learning and production centre for film and photography. She has been working closely with them to bring rigour and clarity to their three-year business plan. This year, she also joined the School’s Alumni Advisory Board and, in the spirit of continuous learning, undertook a week-long sailing course to become a qualified day skipper.


Michelle Maukner MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management 2018 After graduating, Michelle joined the Bakery, an accelerator and incubator that connects large corporations (such as Unilever, Facebook and Barclays) with startups that can solve their innovation challenges. Through this unique matchmaking process, the Bakery has brought over 50 technologies to market and accelerated tech companies such as Babylon Health through revenue. Through this partner programme, the Bakery recognised such corporate challenges could also be solved by starting companies from scratch, with talented entrepreneurs setting up their own tech companies in a supportive environment. Since joining the Bakery, Michelle has helped grow this programme by finding, evaluating and recruiting such entrepreneurs. It is designed to make the path to success less risky by proving startups are addressing real market challenges and unlocking access to corporations – which become the startups’ first paying clients after six months.



Business speak The student-led Business Podcast brings together the best minds from Imperial and beyond to discuss hot topics in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship

Launched in 2017, the Business Podcast is recorded and produced right in the heart of Imperial College Business School. In its first year, the show has featured interviews with entrepreneurial alumni, award-winning faculty, and even the Dean himself. The brainchild of MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management student Amin Siala, the podcast is a synthesis of his love for media, business and communication. “When I received my offer from Imperial, I decided to download the College app,” he says. “The first thing I saw when I launched it was a radio icon with the title ‘IC Radio’ – bingo, the idea was generated there and then. I did some research to find out who managed the radio station and ended up being shown around the studio one day before the start of my course. I remember being amazed by the facilities available; after seeing it in person and knowing I was going to be at Imperial for a year, I knew what I wanted to do with it. “I designed the site and formally introduced it as the Imperial College Business Podcast. I detailed the goals, missions, format, aims and guidelines, and sent it to my programme team to let them know: ‘I’ll be doing this.’ On the same day, I received a very positive response and a £150 credit line for any expenses for the first few episodes. After the fifth episode, someone from the Marketing team got in touch and offered to give me a producer for every episode, which

would include setting up the cameras and microphones, as well as editing the video version at the end (a time-consuming task!).” This Imperial life Guests in the months since have included: Dean Francisco Veloso, discussing the future of business education; Michael Rolph, CEO of mobile wallet firm Yoyo; and the presidents of student entrepreneurship societies at Cambridge, London Business School and Imperial in a single roundtable discussion. “There have been many amazing podcast episodes I’ve enjoyed,” says Amin, “but the one that stands out to me was the one I did with Professor Jonathan Haskel, who at the time had just released his book Capitalism without Capital. Not only do I find his research absolutely fascinating, but his book ended up being one of the top recommended books in both the Financial Times and The Economist [see page 32]. “My aim with the podcast was to ultimately communicate brilliance and achievement to the world. I’d invite entrepreneurs, professors and students who have had an experience that is worth sharing, and we’d record the discussion.” In the next episode With over 20 episodes under its belt in its first year, the podcast already comprises over 1,000 minutes of original content. “Coming from a

technical background, I was taught in ones and zeros, but I’ve learnt people are emotional beings and things aren’t always right or wrong; it’s important to be empathetic and approach every problem with a mind open to new solutions. If you watch one of the episodes back, you’ll see that most of the time I’m just listening.” And Amin will take these soft skills with him on the next step of his career, as a Channel Sales Associate with Apple: “The interview had around five stages and tested a variety of skills, including presentation, interviewing, financial modelling, and above all communication. I thought ‘This would be a fantastic company to work for’, and could see right away what I’d have to offer them.” But it won’t be the end of the podcast: the search is underway for the next host, who will produce at least another 20 episodes over the next academic year. Amin is sure they will enjoy the same support he found: “Imperial is a place that gives you as much as you give it, and I certainly attest to the truthfulness of that: the faculty, staff and students make for an extremely innovative and supportive community.” w The Business Podcast @ Imperial can be downloaded from iTunes or watched on YouTube

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Imperial Business 2019  

In the 2019 issue of the Imperial College Business School magazine, we look at the business of tomorrow, from blockchain to bootlegging, and...

Imperial Business 2019  

In the 2019 issue of the Imperial College Business School magazine, we look at the business of tomorrow, from blockchain to bootlegging, and...