Will Thorne
Executive MBA

Employment prior to studying at the Business School?

I was an underwriter at The Channel Syndicate, a Lloyd’s insurer and part of SCOR, the fourth largest reinsurer in the world. Working on the Marine and Cyber portfolios, I had responsibility for deploying up to 25m USD of capacity to any one risk, and worked with clients all over the world.

Employment after studying at the Business School and what is your current position?

I am now Innovation Leader for the same syndicate, working with a huge variety of different FinTech and InsurTech startups and other firms in order to generate new distribution opportunities and engage in joint research and development. We are one of the few Lloyd’s syndicates to have launched a specific division dedicated to innovation, and this arose directly from my MBA dissertation – both in terms of the network I was able to generate and the theoretical work that was undertaken.

Why did you choose to study your programme and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?

I was attracted to Imperial by a) the focus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the opportunity to work with the RCA and b) the intensity of the weekend structure for a part-time course. Imperial’s strong brand was also an attraction. I also liked the mix of backgrounds of MBA students at Imperial as I was keen to avoid a purely finance-focussed course. The Behavioural Finance elective was superb and had a huge impact on me personally and professionally.

What was the Business School community like?

Excellent – I took full advantage of the multiple societies and the opportunities to network with colleagues from other courses. One of the key benefits of the Imperial MBA was that many classes were mixed with other MBA programmes.

What do you enjoy most about your work and what are the main challenges that you face?

My new role blends my personal interests in FinTech and consumer behaviour with my professional experience of an industry I enjoy working in. The (re)insurance sector faces considerable challenges at a time of significant capital influx, declining profits, the crunching of the traditional insurance value chain, and the emergence of a millennial sector who do not view insurance as a fact of life. At the same time, it can be difficult to translate the aspirational and transformational vision and language of early stage start-ups into a proposition which traditional (re)insurance executives can buy into. Start-ups need to deal with people who have a mandate to deliver change – otherwise they risk burning their cash whilst waiting for answers.

In what way is remaining connected to your alumni network important to you? What value do you get out of your connections with the Business School and your fellow alumni?

Imperial’s alumni network is extensive and extremely helpful – the ability to open doors for a coffee and leverage their networks in turn is a tremendous benefit for any job.

Have you volunteered at the Business School since you graduated? If so, why do you feel it’s important to volunteer your time and experience?

Yes – have come back several times to talk to current MBA students – most recently for the newest Weekend MBA intake. It is important to share experiences and offer them the chance to build the same relationships with alumni that I was able to utilise. Also, the intake quality at the Business School is very high so there are also opportunities for me to build new relationships.

Have you taken advantage of any of the lifelong learning opportunities offered to you as an alumni benefit? Why is it important to you to continue your learning journey?

Not yet, but I will be returning for some electives I didn’t manage to take whilst at Imperial. You never stop learning!

Executive MBA 2016
United Kingdom
Undergraduate education:

BA in History (1st) from Nottingham and MA in European History from UCL

Job prior to Imperial College Business School:

Underwriter, The Channel Syndicate, a Lloyd’s insurer

Employment after studying at the Business School:

Innovation Leader, The Channel Syndicate, a Lloyd’s insurer