Changemakers at Reunion 2019

Three alumni who are shaking up their sectors spoke at Reunion, LBS’s flagship event for alumni, about the relationship between impact and innovation.

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The trio, who all feature in LBS Review’s Changemakers series of interviews, exemplify the talent and dynamism of London Business School’s alumni community at the School’s annual Reunion celebration.

They were in conversation with Ioannis Ioannou, Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, at LBS’s Sammy Ofer Centre.

Misha Engineer (MBA2012), a medical doctor who is now revolutionising the pharmaceutical industry said that for her, innovation means always being relevant.

Determined to change the world of healthcare, she launched her first company in 2012, promising to keep drug prices low and two years ago she started her current company, Northumbria Pharma. “Resilience is so important,” she advised. “LBS helped me to build resilience, and now I use it to drive myself forward.”

Fellow panelist Oriol Fuertes Cabassa (MBA2015) agreed that, in healthcare, the end user has to be the primary consideration. The former McKinsey consultant started up QIDA, an at-home care provider, which pays care workers 20% more than any other provider, ultimately resulting in better quality care.

QIDA will be expanding outside Fuertes Cabassa’s home country of Spain this year. He said one of the keys to the company’s success has been showing hospitals and insurers that it’s cheaper to keep patients at home. “It seems so obvious, but when they see that the cost for a night’s stay in hospital is €500 (£440), and at home it’s €100, they make the changes. Everyone is happier: the hospitals, the families and the patients.”

As a venture capitalist, panelist Hussein Kanji (MBA2007) is focused on possibilities, not patients, but one of the companies he’s backed – Babylon Health – is currently working on an AI doctor. His strategy is to find a company that looks like it might be number one in a new market. “It pays to win that category”, he said. Each year, Kanji, sees up to 2,000 people who knock at the door of Hoxton Ventures, his investment company. He’s currently invested in just 13.

The three panellists talked tech, transitioning between careers, the supply of opportunities, the role of data and what we all need to focus on when it comes to innovation.

Reunion is one of the School’s flagship alumni events for its global community of over 44,000 business professionals working in over 155 countries. The weekend-long celebration brings together old classmates and their families for a mixture of speaker sessions and reconnecting at venues on and off campus. This year the Sky Garden, London’s highest public garden, played host to the evening party, ‘A Night in the Sky’.

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The event boasted leading thinkers from the School’s faculty, including Andrew Scott, Gillian Ku, Herminia Ibarra and Costas Markides, in addition to guest speakers David Pearl, business innovator and author, and Susan Henry, voice consultant and Director of Word of Mouth Communication, among others.