Leading thought in entrepreneurship from the London Business School community

Tech Movers and Shakers LBS MBA 2016 - Sheng Huang

Tech Movers and Shakers: Sheng Huang

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


Sheng Huang, Chinese American 

Past professional life: Deloitte Consultant, 2 x Cleantech startups, Google business analyst, Niantic Labs (Google’s AR gaming team) User Ops



What is your ‘LBS tech story’? Where do your interests lie? 

I have a narrow and broad view of “tech”. The narrow definition includes big tech (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple), startups, and VCs. But more broadly I see tech as the enabler and disrupter in every other sector from government to healthcare to fashion. Someone who understands tech can see opportunities in almost any industry. 

Contrary to what most people do, I escaped the Silicon Valley because I felt its view of the world was too narrow and I wanted to see tech and entrepreneurship was evolving and impacting people around the globe, especially in Europe and in Asia.  

At LBS, I’ve been part of the Entrepreneurship Club, Tech Club, and TELL Series. My involvement with the broader London ecosystem include Hello Tomorrow as Fintech chair, Mass Challenge as startup judge, and European Commission’s Startup Europe Week as a lead organizer. I recently joined Founders of the Future, an invite-only community of the most promising entrepreneurial talent in technology in Europe.


What did you do for your summer-internship and what are you doing full-time after graduation? How did you secure these jobs?

I was a VC over the summer at Balderton Capital, a London-based European venture firm. This job started with an intro from a LBS buddy who worked with them previously. Post-graduation, I’m heading up product at REVL, a London-based events app startup. The CEO is also a LBS alumni whom I met at a LBS entrepreneurship dinner. So LBS played a major part in both instances. 
Before coming to LBS, I wanted to explore 3 post-MBA paths: 1) back to big tech, 2) be a VC, or 3) join a startup. #1 was first to go because it was a rehash of my past. #2 was my summer experience. I ended up taking #3 because while I loved my time in venture, it was very much a solo gig. I missed leading a team to drive a product forward and seeing the results. 
The startup world is like a horse race with VCs as the betting spectators and the entrepreneurs/startups being the jockeys. I realized I rather be the jockey and maybe one day be a VC with some battle scars. 

What do you consider to be your most significant contribution to London Business School tech-community? 

In February 2015, Romain Assuncao and I pitched the idea of hosting a Hackathon at LBS to the LBS faculty, Career Services and Deloitte Institute. It was to be a 3-day event bringing together 90+ business students, designers, and engineers to build prototypes from ideas. LBS, while strong in business, was far removed from the startup scene in Shoreditch and lacking in technical talent. The Hackathon was an attempt to bring the Silicon Roundabout to LBS.

Together with an all-star team that included LER’s Graeme Burns, the first LBS Hackathon was launched successfully three months later. A second Hackathon was held a mere 6 months afterward and will hopefully continue to be a LBS tradition going forward. 


What was the highlight of your MBA? 

The Hong Kong Global Business Experience was amazing. Not only did it reunite me with many friends I haven’t seen in months (2nd year MBAs tend to travel A LOT), it also kick started my 2-week, 4-city, 40-company trip across China that dramatically changed my outlook on Asia’s future economic potential. 


What is the one thing you wish you knew before coming to LBS?

I thought LBS was going to be chill 2-year vacation, but it turned out to be way busier (and far more rewarding). While I’ve no regrets, I wish I had a better idea of just how significant some opportunities cost would be (ex: running a club vs going on exchange). 


How has your London Business School experience shaped or influenced your interest in the tech-sector? 

LBS expanded my view of tech from the Silicon Valley’s 50km radius to a truly international level. For example, over the past 2 years, I’ve had the pleasure of:
  1. Living with two Colombian flatmates who are both pursuing their own startups post-graduation in London and Colombia. 
  2. Leading 2 amazing hackathon teams consisting of people from the UK, Germany, Burma, India, France, USA, Australia, Israel and Brazil. Many of them will return to their home countries and drive tech and economic change there. 
Because of the distributed nature of our network, LBS has the potential to be an entrepreneurial powerhouse that brings together the world’s brightest minds and give them the skills, network, and opportunities to make an impact on a global scale. 

What advice would you give to the incoming class of London Business School?

Don’t be in a hurry to jump into craziness of 1st year recruiting. Stop and think about what you really want to do relative to how the world is changing. In today’s environment of rapid change and career mobility, it’s possible that you will not be staying in the same company, sector, or even country for long, so don’t obsess over that “dream” post-MBA job. 
While it’s hard to predict the future, it never hurts to have a solid understanding of the world, self-awareness, and capable people you can count on – all three of which can be developed at LBS if you come to this amazing place with an open mind and a willingness to help others. 


Are you staying in London after graduation? How can people get in touch with you? 

I’ll be in London post-graduation so reach out on LinkedIn via Sheng Huang or Twitter (@sheng06). You can also find my geeky musings on Medium.



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