As part of “Alumni Week”, every day this week we’re looking at a different profile of a past MSc student of the LSE.
Today we’re talking to Suneel Pillai who graduated from LSE in 2008 with an MSc in Analysis, Design and Management of Information Systems. Suneel currently splits his time between Bangalore and London.
1. What is your current job role?
I am the founder of an early stage tech-startup called Kollido (spelt collide with an ‘o’). We are building a platform that connects individuals based on their interests, which is now available to students at LSE to try out. As founder of a bootstrapped startup, my role requires me to be closely involved in disparate functions of firm-building such as product development, recruitment, financing and marketing to name a few.
2. What did you do directly after the completion of your MSc?
I graduated in 2008 which was timed well with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the subsequent recession. After a few months job hunting, I was recruited by Ernst & Young to join their management consulting division. A combination of prior industry experience in the software services sector and a master’s degree from LSE in Management helped improve my chances in a difficult market. Within EY, I was a part of the IT Advisory practice where we helped clients improve their business performance by supporting technology implementations and large scale transformation programs.
3. Thinking longer term, what have you done career wise?
I started my career as a programmer with Infosys, focusing on databases and application integration. Later on in my career I began engaging with clients more directly which gave me a real insight into business problems our applications were meant to solve. This motivated me to pursue management consulting as a career path, which led me to join EY after completing my masters degree. I have performed managerial as well as analytical roles on diverse engagements with clients across both the public and private sector. My current role however is entrepreneurial and I can finally use ‘challenging’ and ‘satisfying’ in the same sentence while describing my job.
4. Reflecting on your MSc, what do you feel you gained from the course that has aided you in your current role, but also more generally in your career?
LSE’s strong foundations in the social sciences were reflected in the course I took, and practically this made a difference to how I viewed my profession. Software systems are viewed very differently by programmers and end users, and these views are mostly disjunct. Through the duration of my course I was able to understand that technology adoption takes place not just by having a great product but equally importantly by addressing the social aspects of the users.
5. Is there anything you wish you’d known prior to starting your MSc?
I wish I had known more about the excellent library LSE has. In fact I discovered the library, its unparalleled range of books across varied subjects, only after I graduated. But I might be in the minority here, most of my peers at LSE utilized the library and its resources fairly well.
6. Were you involved in any clubs or societies whilst at LSE? Did any of these help you progress in your chosen career path?
In the frenetic activity that accompanies the first few weeks of Michaelmas, I had enrolled for more than a couple of societies including many cultural ones as well as those based on activities and careers. However, I gained a few skills at public speaking in the times I spent with the Debating Society which helped me shed some of my fears. The Film Society also exposed us to some very interesting movies which definitely helped broaden my views about the world.
7. And finally, is there anything else you’d like to say about your time whilst at LSE studying for your MSc? Or perhaps some words of advice to the current postgraduate students?!
LSE has an active social life which offers opportunities to meet people from different cultures across the world. I have gained much, in terms of great friendships as well as a better appreciation of diversity, during the time I spent at LSE. While it is easy to get immersed in coursework, it is not very often in life that you can find yourself sharing an environment with over 100 nationalities (the LSE is said to have proclaimed that it represents more nationalities than the United Nations). I would recommend venturing out, maybe a pint at the Tuns could end up solving disputes between nations.