Tech Movers and Shakers: James Covey
The London Entrepreneurship Review in conversation with the personalities of the LBS MBA Class of 2016 technology and entrepreneurship community. A special tribute to the Class of 2017, the incoming Class of 2018 and all future LBS students.
Basic profile - Name, Nationality and Past Professional Background
James Covey, American
Past professional life: US Department of Energy and White House Council on Environmental Quality
What is your ‘LBS tech story’? Where do your interests lie?
I went to business school because there was knowledge I wanted and needed, and could only get it through an MBA. I came to London Business School because the people that surround you define the value of your MBA – and LBS has the greatest combination of actual quality, genuine cosmopolitanism, and diversity of pre-MBA experience of an MBA program anywhere. In short, I could get the tech experience and knowledge I needed anywhere. The things I couldn’t make for myself, the Sussex Place Massive could provide.
What did you do for your summer-internship and what are you doing full-time after graduation? How did you secure these jobs?
What do you consider to be your most significant contribution to London Business School tech-community?
I came from a deeply-non-tech-traditional background. Many tech companies are at a level of business sophistication that they now both need and can afford to pay for top-tier investment banking and strategy consultant talent. This has also permeated the global tech community in the form of skills and experience that companies of all sizes look for. For as much chat that surrounds the tech companies wanting people with diverse experience, that’s not actually what they want.
What I’ve done is what previous MBAs did for me: help career switchers understand that diverse experience only matters if you can solve the problems that companies are facing now, this minute, that you can fight for their attention, and make a convincing case for why you are the person to help solve their challenges, and then helping other MBAs find those opportunities. This is particularly vital for career-switchers coming from the public sector like – our mode of advancement and placement is quite different.
What was the highlight of your MBA?
Always, always, always the people. The community that I joined was more challenging and fulfilling that I dared to dream it would be. Forgive the gushing, but it will always be true.
What is the one thing you wish you knew before coming to LBS?
Two things. First, no degree, even with the heft and recognition of LBS, will do any real spade work for you and you need to bleed for every opportunity. I learned that quickly, but I wish I had known it before arrival. Second, and I knew this, but it bares repeating: just like the sweet days of summer, the exploration and excitement of the MBA goes by so quick.
How has your London Business School experience shaped or influenced your interest in the tech-sector?
The diversity of the London tech scene has greatly broadened my perspective and experience. While LBS does not yet have a strong tech reputation, this will change rapidly as London becomes an ever-more important tech hub, and as LBS startups gain steam. But LBS is only fractionally well-known as it should be for the quality of its innovators – both on faculty and in its student body.
What advice would you give to the incoming class of London Business School?
Two things. First, no degree, even with the heft and recognition of LBS, will do any real spade work for you and you need to bleed for every opportunity. I learned that quick ,but I wish I had known it before arrival. Second, and I knew this, but it bares repeating: just like the sweet days of summer, the exploration and excitement of the MBA goes by so quick.
Are you staying in London after graduation? How can people get in touch with you?
Unfortunately not - my wife and I have recently relocated to Miami. Feel free to connect with me via:
Linkedin: James Covey
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