Interview 7: Sam Vennin

Sam Vennin (Meng, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l’Electronique et de ses Applications; MSc, Imperial College London; PhD, King’s College London; MIMechE), London Business School

2020 Scholarship Winner

Trained as an electrical and biomedical engineer in France and in the UK, Sam used his engineering background to earn a PhD in Cardiovascular Science during which he developed technologies to help clinicians to assess cardiovascular functions non-invasively. He subsequently worked as an engineer research fellow at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Foundation Trust on the clinical translation of these technologies by coordinating a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians and engineers. Sam has led many STEM initiatives and is passionate about increasing the profile of engineers in society, particularly in healthcare.

Why did you decide to do an MBA?
When I started to apply for large research grant programmes to kickstart the clinical translation of my work, I realised I needed to get a feel for how innovation is managed, both by companies and hospitals, and ultimately implemented in clinical settings. I felt like an MBA was the best way to help me to do that while complementing my scientific and engineering skills.

What stage in your career were you at when you decided to do the MBA?
I applied to those grants the summer before I applied to MBA programme, exactly a year after the end of my PhD.

How will you use what you learned on your MBA course to further your career?
I want to work at the intersection between academia, the MedTech industry and the NHS to help to get new medical technologies into the clinics. The MBA will give me a business perspective on engineering and innovation while giving me the opportunity to network and gain new insights on MedTech. I hope this combination of added knowledge and expanded network will help me to reach my goal.

What was the most important or surprising thing you learned from your business school experience?
I was not used to giving and receiving that many feedbacks. There is a big emphasis early on in the programme on good communication, at every level, and that is something I am adjusting to. I am also surprised by how grounded and down to earth the people I have met so far are.

What are your hopes/expectations of being part of the SMF network after business school?
The SMF is a unique network of people in the UK who possess both technical skills and a considerable business acumen. I know that being part of it will boost my chances of reaching my goals by having access to the insights of people who succeeded in making engineering technologies the cornerstone of successful ventures and are directly impacting society through them. I hope to follow their path.

How do you hope to support SMF after you graduate from business school? 
I have always been very involved in STEM outreach activities and initiatives aiming to highlight the contribution of engineers to everyday life, especially in healthcare. I intend to keep doing this post-MBA by mentoring young engineers and representing SMF in the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Engineering Leaders Scholarships scheme for university students.

How did you find out about the SMF scholarship?
Through my School who had listed on their intranet the scheme as a potential source of funding.

How was your experience of applying for the scholarship? Anything that you found especially challenging or surprising?
Applying for the scholarship was very different from applying to business school where you have to demonstrate you fit with the school values and mission. I felt like the SMF application gave much more space to talk about my passion for engineering and my vision for how society can benefit from it. I really enjoyed the process.

What difference has the scholarship made to you?
There is obviously the financial relief that the scholarship gives me. It will allow me to stay longer at LBS (different exit points are possible in their MBA programme) and stay true to my original objective which might involve working in the public sector right after the degree. The recognition offered by this prestigious award also boosted my confidence in my abilities to carry out my project.

Find out how to apply for a scholarship.

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