Tech Movers and Shakers: Titus Amundson
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
Titus J. Amundson, American
Past professional life: F-15E Aviator, Weapons Systems Officer, U.S. Air Force
What is your ‘LBS tech story’? Where do your interests lie?
Arriving on the LBS scene, I felt I owed it to myself to survey the entire landscape of MBA opportunities – especially with the awesome access LBS provides. I looked into everything from private equity to corporates; the inertia of the consulting crowd even sucked me in for a bit. But, after the fall Dublin tech trek, I immediately knew tech is where I would focus. The crazy but relaxed culture fit my personality and the endless opportunities satisfied my creativity. Entering the second term, I had fully pivoted to tech, became more involved with the Tech and Media club and networked with startups and industry experts.
For me, Tech is the manifestation of human ingenuity and curiosity. Combine that with the tools of business school and you get a practical vehicle to bring real benefits to society. It is that combination and tangible capability that continues to excite me. I felt tech is area where I could contribute real value to people – not monetary value, but value that truly makes lives better and more fun.
During my first year I was involved heavily on the LBS Tech & Media club as a member of the committee and the co-organizer of the Silicon Valley Tech Trek. My second year I returned as one of the Co-Presidents of the Tech & Media club where I could help shape LBS’s tech scene. I was also competitor in both the Venture Capital Investment Competition and the Hackathon (hosted on by the E-Club), and an organizer of the E-generation tech summit and first ever LBS sponsored New Co. event.
What did you do for your summer-internship and what are you doing full-time after graduation? How did you secure these jobs?
For the summer internship, I joined Amazon at the Luxembourg office working on strategy and product management for a new product category launch. Despite the negative NY times reviews, I actually enjoyed my time there. Being at the EU headquarters, I gained exposure to a bigger picture strategy and the challenges of implementing across inner-EU borders. I even learned to write some SQL – while not considered real-developers’ code, it was a great start.
Having spent almost 7 years in Europe, I decided to focus on relocating back the US and the west coast tech scene after graduation. Through an LBS alumni and colleague at Amazon, I was introduced to guy at Apple who was building a team for a new undisclosed product dev project. After 6 months of informal interviews, I was finally invited for an official day of interviews and I was honored to be offered a full-time role shortly after. Since the development was already moving quickly, they asked me to start as soon as possible. With the flexibility of the 18-month exit point, I smashed through the last term, graduated in March and began the transition. I started full time at Apple in May and it been a fast, exciting and challenge experience since.
What do you consider to be your most significant contribution to London Business School tech-community?
For me, I would have to say my involvement with the Tech and Media as the organizer of the Silicon Valley Trek and as Co-President for the ’15-’16 academic year.
During my first year, I was able to bring 25 fellow MBA colleague to Silicon Valley to see inside some of the boldest and influential Big tech firms, start-ups and venture capitalists in the world. It was very satisfying to help raise the profile of LBS in Silicon Valley, connect international LBS colleagues to the bay area, and build new connections to LBS that will hopefully continue to benefit future classes.
I was also honored to serve as one of the Tech and Media club presidents during my second year. Together we built a team of 35 LBS tech enthusiasts to help lead the 2000+ member LBS Tech club, provided a platform for MBA students to bring new tech developments to LBS, and developed a closer partnership with the E-club to take the LBS tech scene in a new direction.
What was the highlight of your MBA?
I loved the Hackathon. It was the opportunity to step outside the theory of the MBA and smash through a challenging sprint – the initial idea pitch, forming a team, developing the tech, and building a business plan for a final pitch. I was able to test an idea that I had been thinking about for a while. It was a fun and practical event. I feel like a pulled back the curtain to see what it might actually be like to be a product manager developing a minimum viable product.
What is the one thing you wish you knew before coming to LBS?
I wish that I would have known, and spent more time refining, my MBA strategy and focus before arriving. There are a lot of “shiny objects” in the first term and it’s easy to say “yes” to everything. If I had spent a little more time being clear about my focus, the first term experience would have been a lot more satisfying and rewarding.
How has your London Business School experience shaped or influenced your interest in the tech-sector?
Coming from a military background, I have to give a lot of credit to LBS and the community for helping me build a tech foundation from scratch. I had an Engineering degree, but had never working in the sector. The combination on the formal education with all the of tech speakers, events, networking sessions, site visits and treks provided such a tangible familiarity with the tech scene that exponentially accelerated me into the industry at a level that would likely taken me years without it. Post MBA, I feel I have the practical skills, the networks and confidence to succeed in either a big tech firm or my own startup.
What advice would you give to the incoming class of London Business School?
Just like traditional Business Strategy, focus is critical. Decide early WHAT YOU WILL DO, but more importantly, be clear about WHAT YOU WILL NOT DO. Having clear and intentional strategy to your MBA is cannot be understated. Use your instincts to help decide what is true to you – use that to define your strategy and avoid the mob mentality the puts you in a rabbit hole where you don’t really have an interest. This will set you up to love your LBS experience even more.
Are you staying in London after graduation? How can people get in touch with you?
Nope, I have relocated to Seattle and spend my days working out of an Apple field office in Seattle with occasional trips to Cupertino.
Facebook: Titus Amundson
LinkedIn: Titus Amundson
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