Second day of MBA Symposium explores opportunities, experience and future business

Experts discuss the necessity of ‘perseverance and ingenuity’ as student elective continues

The second day of the MBA London Symposium saw business leaders and experts discuss the future of money, creative opportunities and building relationships.

Opened by Faculty lead Dr Sionade Robinson, who welcomed participants and speakers, the first speaker of the second day was Business School alumna Liz Broderick who graduated from the Full-Time MBA Programme in 2018.

Ms Broderick — now Head of Network and Portfolio at Kindred Capital, an early stage venture capital firm investing in European tech companies — discussed ‘the economics of VC funds’ and said it was a good time to put ideas into practice, with more capital to invest than ever before, and more international funds coming to Europe.

“We want to back people and their ideas, those with a big idea who want to solve the big problem.

"We like irrational hubris, as sometimes you need a crazy edge to start a project that may take 15 years to achieve. It is not about the type of founder but the type of person, an entrepreneur that can build a team who also has the drive to succeed and make a difference. Having that ‘north star’ goal can make you stand out from the crowd.”

The future of money and payments

The second session was led by William Lovell, Head of Future Technology at the Bank of England. An expert in payment systems, Mr Lovell discussed ‘Digital Currency; changing how pay will change the way we do business’.

Mr Lovell explored money and payments and their definitions, what is wrong with existing payment systems, types of digital currency and how it is represented in the UK and abroad.

“Payments are entering an era of massive change. You must have a stable payment system to support the economy and boost confidence. The difficulty in addressing the issues with payments systems, such as waiting for money to come through or online fraud, are dependent on where in the world you are and the type of systems you're trying to run. But the way payments are priced can influence business models.

“A Treasury and Bank of England Taskforce is working to look across the issues with introducing a digital currency into the UK. We want to bring people who are unbanked, or those who are sceptics into the digital economy. It will take time but the focus is on being cheaper, more functional and more inclusive.”

Bringing science and business together

Dr Sam Adlen, Chief Strategy Officer for the Satellite Applications Catapult, led the next session, discussing the expansion of the UK space sector and ‘the opportunities of astropreneurship’.

Dr Adlen, who has also worked on a NASA Mars mission, believes we are about to enter a new wave of innovation with commercial spaceflight alone having an estimated global market of £40 billion by 2030.

“We are living in times of radical and fast change, driven by machine learning and automation, new manufacturing processes, increasing connected and informed worlds. The space sector has historically been technically strong but lacked in the business skills an MBA provides. This is a skillset companies are now seeking.

“Until recently, science was looking out at space asking big questions of humanity. Now, with China discussing ideas like a Moon, Earth, Mars economic zone, we will see science & business come closer together in the space sector.”

Re-imagining the customer experience

Mark Sherwin, Managing Director at Accenture Interactive and Honorary Visiting Fellow at the Business School, spoke about the key trends impacting growth and the business of experience.

Mr Sherwin discussed the value of reimagining the customer experience post-pandemic and the importance of capitalising on micro moments, developing relationships and driving the human experience forward.

“Having a closer relationship with customers in the next four years has been driven by the pandemic. Its important to reimagine the experience, with 85 per cent of CMOs seeing increasing openness for consumers to new digital offerings.

“It is not a battle to own the experience, but there is an increasing race to be part of the experience. Companies that deliver an experience with the entirety of their business are more likely to achieve the highest levels of sustained growth. Human behaviour must be understood to know what it means to deliver great experiences.”

Creating value and the future of money

Breakout sessions in the afternoon focused on creating value with perseverance and ingenuity when leading environmental, social, and corporate governance. Speakers included experts Alex Barbosa, Dr Tauni Lanier, Varia Pehurina, Gordon Wilson and Professor Barbara Casu, Professor of Banking and Finance & Director of Centre for Banking Research at the Business School.

Running concurrently was a session on the ‘future of money – the role of cryptocurrencies’. Julian Sawyer leads the global team at Bitstamp, a cryptocurrency exchange that serves over four million customers worldwide.

Mr Sawyer discussed the disruption the financial services industry has faced in the last two years, how cryptocurrency fits into this framework and growth in this industry.

“Fintech is not only the next generation of money but it is opening up options of how we pay for things in the world. The future of money and banking means the technology, customer experience, and speed of execution is so important. There is a fine line between analysis and paralysis. The basic sense of financial services is changing and to play to win, we have to get the basics right.”

About the Symposium

The Symposium will conclude on Wednesday.

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.

The first Symposium was held in 2014 to celebrate the Business School’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 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 #PercyAndJenny2021.