Spotlight on Executive Global Master's in Management (EGMiM) alumnus Elisabeth Prager

EGMiM was an obvious choice for me. I was looking for further education that was based in theory and grounded in hands-on experience.

Elisabeth Prager, EGMiM


Elisabeth PragerTell us about yourself

I’m Elisabeth. I’ve had a fun and varied career so far. I graduated with a Bachelors in Economics and Economic History in 2009 and started in the financial services industry, followed by a move into management consulting and then freelancing. As I progressed through my career, I also did the EGMiM at LSE, graduating in 2017. Over the course of my career, it became increasingly important to not only tackle interesting and challenging work, but to do something that created a positive impact. So, I went from focussing exclusively on the for-profit sector, into philanthropy, impact investing and working with various UN agencies to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges through technology.

Now, I’m combining my desire to leave the world in a better place and solve some big challenges through a fintech, called Aila Money

You recently co-founded a business, Aila Money – congratulations! Tell us more about it

Elisabeth Prager 2

Thank you – it’s a fun but challenging journey to have embarked on!

My co-founder, Nitika Vyas and I, bonded because we both worked in banking. We realised just how much financial advice people with money had access to.

At the same time, our friends were asking questions about their money: “you worked in pensions, what’s really the benefit of contributing more than the minimum?” or “you’ve had kids, how do junior ISAs work? Should I get one for my kid?”.

We realised that the financial services industry is increasing rather than closing wealth inequalities. It’s hard to dispute that a money advice gap exists; around 75% of the UK population don’t receive independent financial advice, and as a result, individuals stand to lose an estimated £48k on average every ten years (Royal London). The situation is worse among the younger, more digital generation, and women. Specifically, the gender investment gap is substantial. At a macro level, this is demonstrated by a BNY Mellon report suggesting that there would be $3.22tn more assets under management if women invested like men; and at a micro level, this translates into women having 17% less retirement income than men and being 80% more likely to be impoverished after 65 (NIRS).

With this as a backdrop, we realised there was a huge inter-generational wealth transfer taking place. Globally, $68tn (Forbes) are due to shift hands to Millennials over the next decade. And the share that is controlled by women in rising faster than ever-before; with women now controlling circa one third of global wealth (BCG). Having access to high-quality independent financial advice is essential to the success of these people.

The current financial environment – high interest rates, inflation at all-time highs, greater cost of living - is leading to a rise in financial stress. These gaps and inequalities seemed worthy issues to tackle.

So, how does Aila help?

Aila Money is a personal finance coaching solution for people who are looking to be more financially effective and efficient.

Aila solves three problems that we determined through interviews with potential customers:

  1. We find it hard to understand how our current money situation connects to our life goals.
  2. There’s a gap between intention and action; “I know I should, never leads to I do”.
  3. We don’t know where to turn for advice; which means we often don’t get any advice at all.

To address these problems, we are creating:

Aila Assistant – a digital financial assistant. It provides users with a holistic overview of their money, allows them to set life goals and translates them into money actions that are personalised to them and their situation. Aila then prompts users into action, leveraging behavioural science principles and using learning to help people understand what their options are.

An example of a prompt might be something along the lines of ‘I notice you have quite a bit of money in a savings account. I realise it might be foreign to start investing, but over time, investing outperforms what you can get from a savings account. Do you want to explore your risk appetite and learn more about investing?’.

Aila Coach gives users access to an accredited financial coach - a human - to guide their financial journey and hold them to account. The coach gives users the human support they need and allows them to think through the emotional side of money. When speaking to people about money, we realised that their financial behaviours and emotions were closely interconnected. From lacking confidence to invest, to feeling a heightened sense of financial responsibility when becoming a parent; emotions and money are inextricably linked. Aila’s financial coaches help users address the emotions as well as the money side of things.

Aila Advisor connects users to a network of experts and vetted advisors to help with more complex money situations. For example, you might need to speak to a pension advisor if you are looking to plan for retirement, or a lawyer and mortgage broker when you’re thinking of buying a house.

In summary, some people we’ve shown Aila to have called it a “digital family office for normal people, with normal wealth”.

We’re in the early stages of our minimum-viable-product and would love for you all to try it out! 

Why did you choose to study the EGMiM programme?

When reflecting, EGMiM was an obvious choice for me. I was looking for further education that was based in theory and grounded in hands-on experience. A further criterion for me, was that I didn’t want to take a whole year or two out of work to do it… especially as a woman I felt it would be better for my career to study and keep my career progressing.

How has EGMiM benefitted your life/career?

There’s been many positive out of EGMiM – the first and most important, is that I met my partner (and now father of our two children) on the programme!

Secondly, the people I met in the cohort, supported various steps in my career by providing advice and many great networking opportunities.

The learnings from the course have also been extremely insightful. Some of the most relevant were the organisational behaviour and leadership classes, where we learned the theory or motivating employees intrinsically and giving them a voice. And now with Aila, the principles of the strategy and finance course are coming more and more in handy! 

Also, being an EGMiM graduate, means that I’ve been working with LSE Generate and other LSE professors now to test and sense-check what we’re doing. This is a support network, that I’m very grateful for. 

What was the most challenging aspect of the programme?

Honestly, it was two-fold. First was the sheer workload. I was a management consultant at the time, responsible for projects across various continents. Adding course work, group work and essays to the mix was at times a challenge!

Second was the group work; in any situation where you have multiple ambitious people from different backgrounds, cultures and with varied styles working together on a project there are bound to be moments of disagreement. These were the most fun and simultaneously the most challenging moments of the course. They teach you as much about yourself, as they teach you about others!

Name three personality traits of an EGMiM student?

This is hard… but if I had to have a go: Fun, ambitious, switched-on!

I was super impressed by all my classmates. Everyone came with years of experience, skills we could learn from and points of view that were different and broadened my perspectives.