Hult MBA Pioneering London Start-Up With World’s First 3D-Printed Laptop

MBA grad leads sales and marketing at pi-top

Jon Prove is at the heart of London’s thriving technology start-up scene. A graduate of the MBA at Hult International Business School, which has seven campuses including in the UK capital, he works as director of sales and marketing for pi-top, home to the world’s first 3D printed laptop.

In addition to working at the fledging tech company that was founded in an apartment, he works as a business consultant at TechMend UK, and is excited by emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT). Previously, he worked as global business development manager at Premier Farnell, the electronics group, where he launched internationally the Raspberry Pi 2, a credit-card sized computer.

Jon enrolled in the full-time one-year program at Hult in 2010 and benefited from a diverse class, and the London location, part of a rotation across global cities.

He hails from the US, where he worked in Washington as a self-employed realtor during the global financial crisis, and over a six-year period he negotiated more than $60 million in sales.

What has an MBA added to your toolkit? 

Aside from reinforcing my undergraduate studies it really taught me how to work with people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

One thing that sets Hult apart from all other business schools is its diversity. There were over 61 different nationalities represented in my class. As MBA programs tend to be heavily based on case studies and working in teams, the fact that I was able to work with people from around the globe was truly amazing and incredibly valuable. I learned a lot from my peers and now have a truly international network of friends I can rely on. 

What do Hult MBAs do for fun in London?

Loads! We all chose London because it’s a truly amazing city. There is always something fun to do. Personally I love history and London has a long and proud history to celebrate. As a US citizen it’s quite daunting to walk around the city and see buildings older than my country.

Apart from the obvious pubs, restaurants, and theatres we also enjoyed celebrating a wide variety of holidays from around the world. For instance, we hosted a large, traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the [MBA] class. 

You worked as a US realtor during the financial crisis. What challenges did you face?

I was lucky enough to have started my business when the market was hot. At that time it seemed like everyone had a real estate license. Those people were swiftly ushered out of the business during the financial crisis because they were only interested in making money, not about taking care of their clients.

It was during that time [that] I established strong bonds and trust with my clients, which allowed me to rely on a relatively steady stream of referrals and repeat buyers / sellers throughout the financial crisis.

What excites you about emerging technologies?  

The infinite possibilities! My company, pi-top, was founded in our CEO’s apartment. He created the world’s first 3D printed laptop a year ago with our CTO and now we are manufacturing in China and shipping units to over 47 different countries. How cool is that?

London’s technology scene is amazing. There are a ton of things happening in fintech, health, retail, education, and [the] IoT / hardware.

What impact do you expect 3D printing to have on the hardware market?

3D printing is still in its infancy but will change how we look at and interact with the world around us. At the moment a lot of people are printing toys and all sorts of gadgets. My hope is that it will empower individuals who previously didn’t have the means to create, and give them the opportunity to build things they’ve dreamed of.

I’m also really excited about 3D printing’s recent applications in medicine. I read about one recent instance where doctors managed to scan a little girl’s heart, 3D print a replica, and successfully perform surgery that was previously thought to be impossible. In the not so distant future doctors will be able to replicate actual human organs and potentially eliminate the need for organ donors.

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