2021 MBAs To Watch: Luke Lindsay, Imperial College

Luke Lindsay

Imperial College Business School

I thrive at the intersection of customer, engineering, and business needs working to launch MedTechnology.”

Hometown: Houston, TX

Fun fact about yourself: The first business idea of my b-school journey was inspired by the excruciating pain of a stingray strike.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Santa Clara University, Major: Mechanical Engineering, Minor: Computer Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? SI-BONE, Manufacturing Engineer II

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? I was working full time with SI-BONE.

Where will you be working after graduation? Still selecting!

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I am a committee member for Imperial Launch, a student led service providing extreme early-stage student start-ups with mentoring and next steps road-mapping. I was also a fundamentals analyst for the Imperial College Business School Student Investment Fund evaluating healthcare industry investment opportunities.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am the first, and to my knowledge, the only three-time consecutive Pitch ‘n’ Mix champion – an initiative run by the Imperial Enterprise Lab. As an engineer it is rewarding to see that my presentation skills are still strong!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of being selected as the only one to travel with the CEO of the company to assist her in negotiations with potential international partners. Being selected for the trip was a validation of the work I had done to learn and to help improve operational efficiencies for all departments. I was there because I could quickly model and re-model our whole business to evaluate various scenarios and I could speak knowledgeably about the product I had helped engineer. It gave me a huge boost of confidence. I very much appreciate the faith shown in me during that trip.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Imperial College Business School because of its strong connection to the incredible medical and engineering resources of Imperial College London. Knowing that I wanted to continue my career in medical devices, I felt that exposure would provide me with more targeted opportunities. It paid off as my Entrepreneurial Journey project was carried out in conjunction with the Bioengineering Faculty. My classmates and I provided business strategy and planning support for the launch of a non-invasive constant glucose monitor to improve the care of premature infants.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? (What did it reflect about your business school?) A lot of things were different this year, being locked down in London. Previous cohorts will have no idea what tradition I am talking about; even my cohort may not think of this as a tradition. Before every video lecture, someone sends the link to the group chat. It is a simple thing, but it speaks to the supportive community our programme fosters. We all understand what a struggle it can be to keep track of every link, so we take it in turns to look out for each other. We do not have a designated keeper of the links. No one has suggested we set up a rotation or assign representatives for different classes. It just happens.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? If I could go back, I think I would tell myself to let the programme run its course. I spent too much time trying to look ahead and prepare for what was coming. Especially in such a volatile year, I should have taken each week as it came instead of trying to get a jump on everything to come.

What surprised you the most about business school? What surprised me most about Imperial College Business School was all the opportunity and encouragement to be an entrepreneur. I had a much more “corporate drone” skewed view of where an MBA would end up. Imperial has so much knowledge; everywhere you look there is a programme promoting student startups to get ideas out into the world.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? During the application process, I focused on what I would do for the cohort. The admissions team is trying to build the best cohort they can from all the applicants. If they are going to award a seat to me, that means someone else will not get it. They had to see in my background and perspective a unique contribution to class discussions and group projects.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The classmate I admire most is Alberta Asafo-Asamoah. Her driving goal is to bring better early-stage financing to emerging market startups, with a focus on Ghana, to support local entrepreneurship. We have had highly engaging conversations about what vehicles could be created to ensure sustainable financing for viable investments resulting in net return for the investor, the entrepreneur, and the served market.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? Imperial College Business School did a great job transitioning us to full online learning during the local and national lockdowns. Imperial has had remarkable online educational facilities – for years having recognized the need long ago to digitize education, as is every other industry. What facilitated the switch most impressively was the professors’ willingness to adapt their modules to the tools the university provided. By changing their course structures to fit the new delivery method, instead of trying to force new tools to deliver a lecture the same as always, the faculty were able to provide a meaningful experience in a difficult environment.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Michaela Lindsay, my older sister, was the deciding factor in my pursuit of an MBA. Watching her success convinced me that, this time, I should follow in her footsteps. Initially, I was convinced an undergraduate degree in engineering was the best way to get a job doing what I loved, building and problem-solving, without requiring additional schooling. I was right, but that was not the end of the story.

The challenges and situations Michaela described overcoming during her workday sounded like more advanced versions of the demands I found most enjoyable. R&D was great fun, but where I found myself intently engaged was in strategic planning, process building, and executing to minimize risk. The second-hand MBA experience I learned from her and the career growth I foresaw as a result were what finally convinced me to listen to mom and get an MBA.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Without a doubt, my top two items are to set up and lead a team that takes a Medical Device from idea to commercialization and to build a network that supports others to do the same.

What made Luke Lindsay such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“This has been the most unusual year of teaching in my whole career. Teaching multimode with some students in the classroom physically with others there virtually on screens and then having lockdown with everybody on Zoom has made getting to know students very challenging. However, I did come to know Luke well. I taught him in two modules, one on Corporate Finance last term and one on Investments and Risk Management this term. He was a great contributor in both. When I would ask questions, he would often be the person that answered. They were always sensible answers even though not always correct. When he felt he had answered enough he gave others a chance but would mouth the answer or use sign language so I would know he was following.

“He is a person of great character. His desire to help people both in terms of his classmates and professionally comes through well. I think he will have a very successful career in MedTech. This is such an important field, particularly in today’s pandemic world.”

Franklin Allen
Vice-Dean, Research and Faculty