Alum of the Month - December 2015

Ian Ellis

Since leaving LSE I’ve had the opportunity to work within the senior management function of a major financial services firm, both in London and New York. Ian Ellis

  • Programme studied: MSc Analysis, Design and Management of Information Systems
  • Year of Graduation: 2004
  • LinkedIn profile

What's your current job? 

Director, Microsoft Ventures

Where have you worked previously?

Since leaving LSE I’ve had the opportunity to work within the senior management function of a major financial services firm, both in London and New York, focused on innovation and client relationships (not mutually exclusive!) everywhere from Silicon Valley to Bangalore.

This has allowed me to get very involved in the emerging technology ecosystem, with the top company founders, innovators/disrupters and venture firms globally.  

Previously, I worked as Executive Director for Morgan Stanley. Recently I joined Microsoft Ventures to work with their portfolio of accelerator alumni, helping to drive them to be successful on a global scale.

What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?

My field of speciality would be innovation management and outreach for fortune 500 companies, spotting emerging technology trends and world beating companies.

The job sort of happened by accident, through an elevator pitch (literally!) when I was still at LSE.  Sir Howard Davies was still Academic Chair of the LSE when I was there and had just been appointed to the Board of Morgan Stanley. His office was in Pankhurst House, then referred to as Tower 1, where the Dept of Information Systems was also based.  I was social coordinator for my class, so when we happened to be in the elevator together one day I pitched him on having someone from Morgan Stanley come speak! He sent a note to the CIO in New York, which found its way to the European CIO and then they sent a speaker – the person that they sent liked my tenacity, so offered me a summer internship – the rest is history!

How has the programme helped your career since you graduated? 

ADMIS provided me with a strong foundation in critical thinking, which is crucial for working with senior management, as is the ability to see the broader strategic viewpoint and look beyond the current situation to what could potentially play out.  On a practical level, IT is all about people so understanding the psychology of organisation change is very helpful.

I often joke with other graduates from my year that my day-to-day job requires use of many frameworks that ADMIS exposed me too, including work by Introna, Ciborra, Cordella, Christensen, Brynjolfsson, etc… (unleashing my inner geek).

What has been your greatest achievement since you graduated? 

There are two competing achievements for this accolade….

I worked with key technology leaders across the Financial Services industry, in collaboration with Accenture and the New York City Investment Fund to establish the London FinTech Innovation Lab, which is an acceleration/mentoring programme that works with 6-8 emerging tech companies per year to work with 14 participating banks to help major banks and startups work in partnership to improve the whole ecosystem.

I also set up the London Enterprise Tech Meetup, which is a monthly event encourage innovation in the enterprise technology space by bringing together the technology practitioners with innovative tech companies – we’ve had some amazing sessions over the last three years with speakers like Joel Spolsky (blogger and company founder), Gus Hunt (former CTO of the CIA), Frederic Rombaut (Head of International M&A for Cisco), Graeme Hackland (Head of IT at Williams F1) and Ray O Johnson (former CTO of Lockeed Martin).

In three words, how would you describe your experience at the Department of Management? 

Adventures in Management.