Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Sean Cornell, London Business School

Sean Cornell

London Business School

“Serial entrepreneur with a passion for building sustainable, social-impact businesses in the Education sector.”

Hometown: Byron Bay, Australia

Fun Fact About Yourself: I set up an LBS social network called Socius.MBA, with help from a great team of admits, to create a space for admits to connect, network and collaborate. We have profiles for each admit (including social media links and bios), a shared calendar which had 5-10 events per day, interest-based groups, and messaging features. Some students wrote pages on handy tips and tricks for moving to London while others organized fitness and networking zoom sessions.

It was a great antidote for the Covid-19 lockdown as we were able to use our time networking and getting a head start on our business school experience. It might also help to mitigate some of the challenges of a hybrid online delivery model.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Melbourne (Economics and Finance)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Founder, Educare Pty Ltd

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was very impressed by the entrepreneurial program at LBS; its connections into the European startup ecosystem and its world-class faculty are clear factors which made me consider LBS the ideal platform from which to enter the UK startup scene. The school also maintains an exchange program with UC Berkeley, which I’m hoping to leverage to gain exposure to the US tech culture.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Collaborative! There’s this incredible sense of genuine interest in understanding and helping each other along our business school journey. Each and every member of the admit cohort I’ve met has had such an inspirational story, but more impressively, they are not self-promoting; the cohort truly wants to learn from each other. During the admissions process, a number of students hosted sessions on Zoom, through which they shared their background and industry insights. It was a fantastic way to build connections and get a sense for certain dynamics in a wide array of sectors.

What makes London such a great place to earn an MBA degree? There are few cities in the world which match London on true cultural diversity! For an LBS MBA class which will likely be >90% international, London provides the perfect canvas on which to showcase our diverse culture. We’ll also have access to the best academic and business talent to inform our learning, and a burgeoning finance- and technology-led job market to apply our skills.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I founded an early education business in Australia, bringing high-quality early education to 60 children and employing 15 staff. Seeing first-hand the tangible social impact that the service had on children and families attending made it by far the most rewarding experience of my life. The growth in the first few months was exciting and quite challenging which prompted me to think about the value of an MBA. I was able to sell the business and return to London.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? The timing was quite purposeful as it felt like my next career step required the augmentation of a variety of skills. The business school environment seemed like the perfect platform on which to learn these skills, as well as develop leadership qualities and a global business network.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I was looking at HBS, GSB, and Columbia. They are great schools, but LBS certainly seemed like a better fit and removed the risks of having to relocate through Covid.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The one which stumped me was when I was asked how I would apply my learning to make an impact on the world. It’s a tough order, but I’m super interested in the value of early education in improving social equality, so that seemed to match the mandate.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? My biggest priorities were location, diversity, and entrepreneurial opportunities. To research the entrepreneurial offering, I looked at the structured programs schools were offering, connectivity to their local startup scene, and financial support for businesses being started by students and alumni.

What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? I’ve been loving the podcasts, such as Hidden Brain, How I Built This, Secret Leaders, and Sam Harris. On the technical side, I’ve been learning Python and Javascript. I’ve been trying to put together high-level business and leadership questions I want to answer through the course.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I’m fascinated by organisational science – the discipline of creating high-performing teams where each team member can positively contribute to the growth of the company. There was a point as a founder when I realised there is incredible value in creating management frameworks and principles in order to scale a positive workplace culture. It’s one thing to shape a team when you work directly with them every day, but it’s quite another to succeed in instilling this culture when your role is separated or indirect

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? There’s an inspiring content agency in London called Vidsy which has essentially reinvented the way marketing content can be generated for major brands, by providing a workflow solution for distributed video content creation by amateur and aspiring artists. The solution is fully integrated so that diversified businesses can deliver this content right through to consumer-facing platforms such as Facebook and Youtube.

The founders have built a top workplace culture which both amplifies creative potential of its employees and drives a resounding focus on business outcomes.

DON’T MISS: Meet London Business School’s MBA Class Of 2022

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