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Cass students consider brands and customers at MBA London Symposium

Industry figures share insights with students at Science Museum.

by Amy Ripley (Senior Communications Officer)

The second day of the Cass MBA London Symposium was held on Tuesday at the Science Museum.

The theme was Brands and Customers with MBA students given the opportunity to hear leading figures from business and the creative industries share their insights about their work and careers.

The future of department store retailing

Frank Slevin, Executive Chairman, House of Fraser and Hamleys spoke on the subject of What Does the Future Hold for Department Store Retailing?

Mr Slevin’s lecture considered some of the challenges for department stores in the current economic climate.  He said some of these challenges include the struggle to stay relevant in the face of declining sales and shoppers who spend more on ‘experiences.’  Mr Slevin also outlined the many current opportunities for department store retailing which include how to harness online power and the importance of focusing on nimbleness and innovation.

Person-centred coffee

Malcolm Finn, Global Financial Controller, Costa Coffee and a Cass MBA alumnus, spoke about Towards Person-Centred Coffee in a wide-ranging speech which brought in the history of Costa in London, the challenges of Brexit and the detail behind how Britain’s second largest coffee chain is utilising intelligent technology.

Great customer service

Matt Watkinson, author of award-winning book The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences spoke about these principles in a lively talk which stressed the importance of creating better memories, rather than just experiences, and of always ending things on a high.

The future of film

Cass students and staff were delighted to welcome back Sir William Sargent, CEO and Founder, Framestone and a Cass Honorary Visiting Professor of Leadership.  In an interactive lecture, Sir William considered the Future of Film, giving students a glimpse of the stories behind some of Framework’s biggest films which include the recent hit Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.


The Symposium is an elective element of the MBA course, and brings together more than 150 students from all Cass MBA cohorts, as well as MBA teams from partner schools in Europe and South Africa.

Plenary lectures continue this week at two of the capital’s iconic cultural institutions: the National Gallery and the Royal Institution.

You can Tweet from or about the event using the hash tag #CassLS2017.

The inaugural Symposium was first held in 2014 to celebrate Cass’s unique network inside the heart of the global city. It mixes thought leadership in plenary sessions with a ‘backstage pass’ to some of London’s most iconic locations, brands and organisations which drive the city’s prosperity.

The Symposium is now the flagship MBA elective, providing students with excellent networking opportunities and access to some of London’s most prominent and respected business figures.

Read about the other days at the Symposium here:

Day One.

Day Three.

Day Four.

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