A born and raised Texan, Kent Killough is currently helping to lead the largest financial services merger in UK history. He was recently made finance lead for the project office overseeing the Lloyds/HBOS post merger integration. “This is an incredible “hands on” experience,” says Kent. “I sit between the head of the integration programme and the nervous system driving it forward. As such, I am in the challenging position of taking ‘big picture’ goals and connecting them to tactical deliverables that cascade through the organization.”
The strategic mindset and financial tools Kent acquired at Saïd Business School, he believes are critical to his success in this role. “Maintaining structured discipline, balancing diverse stakeholder needs, all whilst under the immense time pressure of delivering an unfathomably large and complex integration programme in the next 10 months? It’s like I’m embarking on my MBA at Said all over again!”
Before coming to Oxford Kent Killough worked as a manager for Countrywide Financial Corporation, one of the largest mortgage banks in the United States. He had decided an MBA was the next logical step to transfer the tactical experience he had gained in roles focused on building revenue to the broad world of private equity.
“The geographical boundaries to business and commerce are quickly coming down, and I needed more international experience,’” he says. “Saïd offers a cultural range in its class makeup that no US institution can match. And there is a strong focus on emerging economies. The School’s economic emphasis stretches far beyond the US, Europe and Asia especially given its strengths in entrepreneurship.”
Kent’s MBA highlight was the Venture Capital Investment Competition where he and a team of four of his MBA classmates not only won the European Championship, but also placed 2nd in the International Finals. “During the months of preparation our team met with a cadre of industry practitioners, worked with early stage entrepreneurs and immersed ourselves in the best practices of venture capital. The competition was a terrific experience, and we learned a great deal in the process.”
Something that Kent was not prepared for was the range of opportunities at Oxford outside the core courses. “I broadened my horizons in ways that most non-Saïd MBA students could only hope to,” he says. “From experiencing debates at the Oxford Union, to senior practitioner lectures, to up close and personal discussions with some of the world’s most influential figures, such as the creator of Tesla Motors, the Chairman of Barclays and the CEO of the FSA.”
Since graduating in 2009 the School continues to be pivotal in Kent’s professional life. “The Saïd alumni in London were extremely open and eager to help as I moved out of my last role at Hamilton Bradshaw Private Equity as an Investment Manager,” he says. “In fact, I was approached for my current position at Lloyds by one of our MBA alumni. So the network I developed at Oxford could not have been more helpful.”