Mathew Iype has followed in the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest business leaders in becoming a graduate of the Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy from London Business School. A former business manager and product leader at Apple, Mathew decided to relocate to London from Montreal to join the 2020 program. He did so with the help of a Lendwise loan and like most of the world at that time, oblivious to the impending global pandemic.
In the second of this two-part interview, we hear from Mathew about how his previous MBA experience at IE Business School prepared him for the Sloan program and how his career has progressed since graduating.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your education and career background before you joined the Sloan Masters Program at the London Business School?
I was born in India and grew up in the Middle East before moving to Vancouver as a teenager to go to secondary school. After college, I had intended to go to medical school, but I took on a job in clinical research managing research trials. I found myself drawn to the pharma industry and particularly the use of technology within it. At the time, the economy in India was booming so in 2005 I moved to Bangalore and joined one of the country’s largest life sciences startups. I helped to grow the team and the business internationally, which was a fantastic learning experience. It gave me the confidence to think about starting up my own business but I decided instead to do an MBA at IE Business School in Spain, as it was renowned for being very entrepreneurially focused.
Q: How much do you think your previous MBA experience prepared you for the Sloan Masters?
My experience at IE Business School really set me on the path to becoming a Sloan Fellow almost a decade on. We had 70 to 80 different nationalities represented on the course, so I learnt how to work and communicate with people from across the world. It also taught me a lot of humility, I realised just because you’ve travelled a lot it doesn’t mean you fully understand and appreciate different cultures. It was a very positive experience and had a big impact on my career, and also helped me when I came to London. Sloan taught me how to collaborate; how to work in study groups; to consider different perspectives. I was able to transfer some of those skills into the Sloan Program to help the rest of the group.
Q: How much did London Business School support you with making the next steps in your career?
It was serendipitous, that’s how I would describe how things played out while I was on the program. I was contacted by two alumni of the Sloan Program in London who worked for Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Asia and they brought me in to work as an external adviser on relevant technology and e-commerce projects for their clients. It demonstrated the power of the alumni network and that if you do the right things, by having an up-to-date profile, connecting with people, and being curious, then good opportunities will come to you.
The Sloan Masters introduced me to people otherwise wouldn’t have met and it gave me the confidence to reach out to CEOs and add them to my Linkedin network. I wasn’t going to apply to hundreds of jobs and blast CVs out, I wanted to be able to pick three or four companies that I cared deeply about because of their cause and their product. I decided to write to the vice president of revenue at Logitech and explained my reasons for getting in touch. It led to meetings with several of their business heads and eventually to them creating an entirely new role for me in Switzerland.
Q: How exactly did that new role at Logitech come about?
My daughter was in school in London and I was watching her go through the experience of learning in class and with the help of digital, online platforms, and it inspired me to speak to Logitech’s head of education about it. We spoke about what Logitech was doing in this area and how passionate I was about it, but they already had someone covering education. However, she really liked my experience and decided to pull some strings for me to create this new role based in Geneva that gave me the opportunity to impact education partnerships.
I didn’t have specific partnership experience, but I had a conviction about the work, enthusiasm and curiosity, and I had recently worked with a lot of start-ups and SMEs during the pandemic to help them restructure digitally. That was a bit of a surprise to her and she said you’ve done all that, and advised for BCG so I’m confident you’ll make the most of this new role.
Q: How do you think your career trajectory is set to differ now that you’re a Sloan fellow?
The Sloan Masters helped to elevate me onto the global stage. It connected me to all these incredibly smart alumni who want to offer a helping hand, who are willing to spend time with you to figure out your next move, which they’re phenomenal at. If I hadn’t joined the program then I simply wouldn’t be part of this amazing community. The teaching also gave me greater strategic thinking and a better appreciation, and understanding of how CEOs operate and structure their organisations. Overall, it gave me a level of insight that enabled me to relate to global business leaders on a whole new level.
Q: What are your ambitions or aspirations for the future?
The more we use technology the more I see it creating a digital divide in society. We don’t like to talk about inequality, the haves and the have-nots, but I could have easily fallen into the latter. My Dad worked hard and sacrificed a lot to give me the opportunities I had. If we had stayed living in India my path could have been very different and I’m not sure my parents would have been able to afford to buy me an iPad for example. This is an area I’m really passionate about and I would like to be able to help reduce inequality in some small way by making digital technologies more inclusive.
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