Senior Alum Profile - August 2023

Brendan Gellman

My time at LSE was an incredibly profound and special year that was so rich with academic, cultural and personal experiences.

 brendan gellman

  • Programme studied: Diploma in Business Studies
  • Year of Graduation: 1999
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Brendan Gellman completed the Diploma in Business Studies from LSE in 1999. After graduating, he rose from Advertising Agency Executive to Head of Marketing at two different global billion dollar consumer tech companies (Samsung & Razer), despite being legally blind and nearly deaf. In this blog, he shares his journey and fondest memories of his time at LSE.

Current job title and description of what this role entails:

Recently, I was Head of Marketing at Razer, Inc. This involved managing all marketing efforts and the department for the entire Razer portfolio in the North and Latin America regions.

How was your experience of studying at LSE?

My time at LSE was an incredibly profound and special year that was so rich with academic, cultural and personal experiences. LSE really opened my eyes to the intellectual nature of other cultures, the standing of my country (USA) from the perspectives of others, how to become more accountable and self-reliant academically, and ultimately professionally, due to the different academic structure at LSE vs American universities. LSE exposed me to amazing warmth and richness of different cultures due to the many friends from diverse backgrounds. Despite having graduated almost 25 years ago, my LSE experience is still near and dear to my heart and I constantly think about it.

Tell us about your career journey after graduating.

Unlike many of classmates who pursued careers in finance, I ventured into marketing/advertising due to my attraction for the combination of creativity, the digital space, analytics, strategy and presenting. I spent the first 13 years at various ad agencies in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Chicago including launching a digital ad agency in New York. I managed iconic brands such as Microsoft, HP, Nestle, Activision Blizzard, and 20th Century Fox. I then went “brand side” and was hired by Samsung to build, launch, and manage a new marketing organisation based in Silicon Valley during the height of their competition against Apple. Later, I moved back to Los Angeles and joined Razer (a leading video gaming brand) to modernize and manage the entire marketing department across the full portfolio and multiple regions.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve received?

“You want that coveted marketing internship with the Los Angeles (L.A.) Dodgers that all of the MBA grads want? Go fly across the country on a plane, go to the L.A. Sports Careers Conference and instead of handing him a resume since you have no experience, create something that will stand out and demonstrates what you bring to the table, who you are and why they should hire you”.  – My college professor and mentor to me during my freshman year in undergraduate college instilling in me the value and confidence to create my own path.  I go after what I want, rather than hope others will give to me.

“Lead with the strategic vision of a General and with the courage of a front line soldier” – Unsourced

“The end goal of everything I do as a manager should be…empowerment within my team” - Myself

What’s the greatest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Navigating the corporate world despite two profound disabilities. In working at multi-national global companies, people from different cultures/countries don’t all react with the same sensitivities and sensibilities. Learning how to become more confident in communicating my disabilities and asking for the help I need to be productive.
What is your greatest achievement?
My career path despite my disabilities. The success of building an entire new marketing organisation at Samsung (despite limited relevant experience at the time coming from the agency side), capturing market share from Apple, to the point of causing a national intra-department restructuring that seemed unfathomable when we started.
What is your fondest memory of your time at LSE?
The friendships and relationships I made with flatmates (High Holborn) and classmates from all over the world. Courting the pretty student who managed the front desk at High Holborn, then moving in with her for the final trimester. Drinking tea at the tea shop on campus with classmates after class.  Nervously calling from a pay phone in Prague to find out if I passed my exams!

If you would like to be profiled or if you would like to nominate a Department of Management alumni, please email dom.alumni@lse.ac.uk.