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Cass MBAs Are Exploring FinTech, Artificial Intelligence — And Meeting A Bank CEO

London Symposium sees MBAs cosy up to senior executives from HSBC to TSB

Sun Apr 24 2016

Few capital cities fit as much culture, business, and innovation into 600 square miles than the UK’s London.

From the Square Mile to the east — packed full of virtually all the big global banks, insurers, and asset managers — to the cacophony of tech companies filling the Silicon Roundabout area of Shoreditch, London exudes history, openness, and entrepreneurialism.  

The city’s Cass Business School explored this rich mix during its London Symposium last month, a unique opportunity for 150 Cass MBAs, plus MBA representatives from across Europe and South Africa, to meet thought leaders and inspiring individuals from across business, finance, media, culture, and sport — including senior executives from banks HSBC and TSB, and the London Stock Exchange Group.

“We seek out inspirational individuals who can offer our students a truly unique perspective and broaden all of our horizons,” said Dr Sionade Robinson, associate dean of MBA programs.

The theme for the third edition of the Symposium, which took place between 25-28 April, is “Explorers and Discoveries” — a reference to innovation.

Cass MBAs explored themes including fintech, and the future of artificial intelligence and robotics with Deloitte and IBM.

Site visits included to CBRE, the real estate group; professional services firm EY; fund manager Fidelity; the Bank of England; and Lloyds of London.

This year’s speakers included Sir William Sargent, founder of Oscar-winning film studio Framestore, and the British scientist and astronaut, Helen Sharman OBE, who became the first Briton in space, in 1991.

“We should push forward not only our own individual boundaries, but also the boundaries of what humans believe is possible,” she said. “People are the biggest limitations in our own lives.”

Participants received a “backstage pass” to some of London’s most iconic locations, brands and organizations — from the Treasury to Soho and Savile Row.

The Symposium mixed morning plenary sessions, afternoon business briefings, hosted visits, and social events — offering opportunities to develop knowledge, networks, and insight.

For Cass, the London Symposium is now the flagship MBA elective, providing students with networking opportunities and access to some of London’s most high-profile and prominent business figures.

“We got to rub shoulders with some very high-calibre people, including the chairman of Tesco, the technical brains behind CGI movie hit Gravity, a former Lord Mayor of London, and Dame Tessa Jowell,” said Conor McVeigh, a 2014 Cass MBA graduate.

He added: “Our location and network also facilitated site visits to Blackrock, Wimbledon Tennis Club, the Bank of England, and Wembley Stadium.”

Last year’s speakers included Dame Fiona Woolf, former mayor of the City of London, Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holding, Graeme Craig, commercial development director for TFL, and Vernon Hill, chairman of Metro Bank.