First day of MBA London Symposium brings stellar guests to Cass

Students gather at flagship event to learn from industry leaders

The fifth Cass MBA London Symposium kicked off its four-day run on Monday at the business school on Bunhill Row.

Building on four previously successful events, high-profile business and industry leaders have again stepped up to offer students a glimpse behind the scenes of businesses in the capital.

After a morning of lectures, students will spend the afternoons getting an inside track on London’s range of diverse organisations including Peter Jones, Fuller Smith and Turner, AppDynamics, and BCB Group.

Network Effects

The theme of the week is ‘Network Effects’. Dr Sionade Robinson, Associate Dean, MBA Programmes said the theme represented: “London as a global hub, the unexpected benefits or consequences of connectedness or connectivity and the emergent properties that come from networks of relationships.”

The first day opened with welcomes from Dr Robinson and Professor Marianne Lewis, Dean of Cass Business School.  They were followed by Sir Andrew Parmley, the late Lord Mayor of the City of London. Sir Andrew served as the Lord Mayor from 2016 to 2017.

Late Lord Mayor reflects on strategic value of London  

His speech was entitled Reflections of a Late Lord Mayor and Sir Andrew used the time to consider what he learned during his time in office, overseeing one of the world’s great global cities.  He discussed the strategic value of London to the business and finance communities, the importance of combatting cybercrime and said that, following the Brexit vote, the city’s strength lay in “its ability to collaborate, innovate and influence”.

Transport for London keeps London running smoothly

Sir Andrew was followed by Mike Brown, Transport for London (TfL) Commissioner, who spoke about the challenges and rewards of leading and running London’s transport system.

“Steady and sustained investment has allowed London’s transport network to improve over the past few years.  We play an important role in securing productivity and growth and our network allows business people from all over the world to move around the capital,” he said.

Mr Brown also highlighted TFL’s commitment to the Mayor’s 2018 Transport Strategy and stressed their commitment to improving air quality, encouraging more people to cycle, walk or use public transport, delivering 50 per cent of affordable homes across the TfL estate, and ensuring London’s transport system is accessible to everyone including older people, those with disabilities and those with ‘hidden’ disabilities.

Branding London

Finally, Julie Chappell, Managing Director - International Markets at London & Partners, and recently Chief Digital Officer, spoke about Branding London.  London and Partners are the Mayor’s promotional agency and have added £1.5 billion to London’s economy since 2011.

“Our stakeholders are people who care about London’s future – there has never been a more important time to ensure London’s success. We work to keep international business in London and make sure jobs and growth stay here.  We attract international investors to regeneration and affordable housing projects,” Ms Chappell said.

Ms Chappell also discussed the challenges of Brexit and said London and Partners were addressing the associated risks in two clear ways – by retaining jobs and retaining talent.

About the Symposium

The Symposium will continue at the British Museum on Tuesday.

The Symposium is an elective element of the MBA course which brings together over 150 students from all Cass MBA cohorts, as well as MBA teams from partner schools in South Africa and Europe. Plenary lectures continue this week at three of the capital’s iconic cultural institutions; the British Museum, the Royal Institution and the National Gallery.

The first Symposium was held in 2014 to celebrate Cass’s unique network inside the heart of one of the world’s best global cities.  The Symposium mixes thought leadership in plenary sessions with a ‘backstage pass’ to some of London’s most iconic locations, brands and organisations which drive the city’s prosperity.

It is now the flagship MBA elective, providing students with excellent networking opportunities and access to some of London’s most prominent and respected business figures.

You can tweet about or from the Symposium using #LeadingTheAdventure.