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Management Series: graduate-success

Meet Pontus Noren, CEO, Cloudreach and Cass MBA alumnus

Technology entrepreneur shares his career secrets.

Many of you will have seen the recent news that private equity giant Blackstone bought a majority stake in the technology company Cloudreach.

But did you know that Pontus Noren, CEO and co-founder of Cloudreach, is a Cass MBA alumnus (2004)?

Pontus has over 15 years of international experience in the IT industry in sales, business development and product marketing, working for a series of blue chip companies like Cisco, Computer Associates, Ericsson Hewlett Packard, and Nokia Telecommunications.

He took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to the Cass PR team about his experience at Cass and how it has prepared him for his current career.

How did your time at Cass prepare you for your current success?  

Before my MBA, my focus both academically and professionally was very IT and technology based, because that’s where I had focused during most of my career. My entrepreneurial desires were always there in the background, and the MBA helped me by giving me a broader education across finance, accounting, corporate finance, strategy and HR. Though my career up until the time I began my MBA was successful, I realised that insights across such a vast set of subjects can only be gained through an MBA. My year at Cass gave me the foundation I needed to take my career to the next level and, ultimately, the platform on which I built my business.

What lessons did you learn that you now apply to your work?  

The broad-based education I received, delivered by true experts in their field, demystifies how a business is run and its core components. This helps me every day because I can now delve into any subject across the business. Of course, since my undergraduate degree and career focussed on IT, and my business is a technology company, I already have a particular understanding of our core business. That said, as CEO I am concerned with all the other aspects of running the business too, and my understanding of things such as finance and accounting are crucial in allowing me to fulfil my role.  

What inspired you when you were at Cass?  

We did a project with Cobra Beer (less gassy, good for curries!). Meeting Lord Billimoria and hearing his story about founding Cobra beer, how he approached setting it up and what it was like creating a new business in a very crowded market was inspiring. Our project concluded that the business could capitalise on its success by introducing new beer types / brands into other ethnic food markets such as Chinese or Thai food. I believe they have done something similar, and hope our project at least inspired them to a degree in return!

What did you particularly enjoy or find useful?

I really enjoyed the Strategy component of my MBA. The tutor was excellent. Strategy is a very complex subject and it is difficult to get right at the best of times. Gaining insight into other companies’ successes and failures is something I have taken away and often crosses my mind today when we make choices at Cloudreach.

Do you have any tips for anyone considering postgraduate study?

There is always the question about specialisation post-degree, such as a CFA or doing an MBA. The specialisation route is great if you are seeking a career at a large institution or company, but I believe an MBA is the route to go if your ambitions are aimed at starting a business.

Find out more about studying for an MBA at Cass here.

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