Meet London Business School’s Class of 2019

Robert Haigh 

London Business School 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less fewer: Inquisitive, logical and a confident communicator. Wry-humoured opponent of the misuse of the word ‘less’.

Hometown: London, UK

Fun Fact About Yourself: I surf on the freezing, British west coast every New Year’s Day.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Oxford, Geography

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: 

Brand Finance

Analyst: July 2009 – July 2012

Marketing & Communications Manager: July 2012 – December 2013

Marketing & Communications Director: January 2014 – June 2017

Board Director: Ongoing

Brand Finance is an independent consultancy operating at the junction of marketing and finance. It’s a family company, founded by my father in 1996. It is perhaps best known for valuing intangible assets such as brands, pioneering the discipline with extensive annual research studies and whitepapers. It offers a broad range of services, where some, but not all of which, rely on brand valuation, including business valuation, financial due diligence, finance raising, tax and transfer pricing advice, franchising and licensing strategy, brand architecture, brand positioning and extension, plus return on investment analysis.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Brand Finance is respected by clients and other key stakeholders who are aware of its innovative work that ‘bridges the gap’ between finance and marketing. However, historically, it has not been quite as well-recognised as competitors with the resources of much larger parent firms behind them.

To address this, I decided that, in addition to existing coverage in the trade and technical press, we should aim to increase coverage volume in the general business media. I achieved this by increasing the frequency of press releases, expanding the number of thought-leadership reports more than tenfold, improving the quality of our software platforms and contact lists, and ensuring that our written and visual content was clear, accessible and entertaining enough for a broader audience.

During my three-and-a-half year period as Director, coverage volume more than doubled to over 10,000 articles and interviews a year. This has contributed both directly and indirectly to a consistent rise in annual revenues over the same period.

Brand Finance is now unquestionably regarded as one of the ‘big three’ within the field of brand valuation, a reputation secured through technical excellence and the high quality of our work, of course, but also through effective communication on a fraction of the budget of our rivals.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? I read a lot of articles from Poets and Quants! This helped to give a really good picture of schools’ cultures and their distinguishing features by cutting through the official rhetoric, which, by necessity, can be a sanitised or aspirational version of the truth.

I also spoke to quite a lot of alumni which helped too. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with people, even if your connection with them is tenuous or non-existent, as in my experience MBAs are very open and friendly.

As far as the GMAT goes, I actually took some holiday time to focus exclusively on it. I found that an intensive period of study helped me to retain concepts better and to maintain momentum. This may not be an option open to everyone but practice and preparation are key.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you?  The London location. I’m confident I want to continue to base myself here in the long-term so establishing a network with hundreds of talented people who want to do the same makes sense. The location also means that LBS can easily attract some of the best guest lecturers in the world and forge connections with the capital’s businesses. At a practical level it makes attending interviews, meeting up with mentors and undertaking internships a lot easier too. On a final and perhaps mawkish note, I also really liked the idea that, having grown up and worked here, I’d be able to enrich the experiences of people new to London by sharing my insights, experiences and contacts.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? Professionally, I’d like to have successfully completed a summer internship with a top consulting firm as I like the breadth and intellectual challenge that consulting offers. Having said that, I am keeping an open mind for now:  internships in private equity, investor relations / marketing /communications for financial services are also on my radar. At the academic level, getting onto the Dean’s list would be fantastic, though I’ve no doubt jinxed it by mentioning it here! Finally, I’d like to have made solid new friendships, be part of at least half a dozen clubs and have helped LBS take home MBAT 2018 with a personal victory or two in swimming.

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