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Ilyas Khan

Leader in Residence
Fellow Commoner of St Edmund’s College


Ilyas Khan, KSG, is the “Leader in Residence” at Cambridge Judge Business School and a Fellow in Management Practice. Ilyas is a Fellow Commoner of St Edmund’s College. He is also the inaugural founding Chairman of The Stephen Hawking Foundation.

Ilyas is the founder of Cambridge Quantum Computing. He is also the non-executive Senior Partner of Stanhill Capital Partners, a boutique merchant banking business with operations in Hong Kong, the United States of America, and London. In 2015 he was made a Knight of St Gregory the Great by His Holiness Pope Francis.

Apart from his technology business background, Ilyas is best known in the UK as a philanthropist, and was Chairman of Leonard Cheshire. Leonard Cheshire is the largest NGO in the world that is devoted to caring for and supporting disabled people, and has operations in over 50 countries worldwide, with over 200 care centres and services in the United Kingdom alone.

Ilyas teaches a part of the MPhil programme (the Ethics elective) at Cambridge Judge Business School. He is a regular guest lecturer with a particular focus on the philosophy of mathematics and also quantum computing.

Within CJBS Ilyas has been intimately and actively involved in the highly successful business accelerator programme and is a founder member of the investment committee.

Previous appointments

Ilyas Khan’s professional experience started in 1984 with British merchant bank J. Henry Schroder Wagg. He also spent 20 years living and working in Hong Kong, where he worked in senior management position with institutions such as Citigroup and UBS prior to establishing his own merchant banking business with a focus on the technology sector. He is the recipient of a number of industry awards from that time. After being a merchant banker Ilyas successfully founded as well as backed early stage technology businesses that have subsequently become public companies.

Ilyas is a widely published author of articles and columns and also the author of the award-winning and bestselling book Underdogs in Overdrive. He was the founder of the award-winning magazine Asia Literary Review, and a columnist on technology for the Hong Kong-based magazine Asiaweek and currently speaks and writes extensively on subjects related to quantum computing and the philosophy of mathematics.

Research interests

The philosophy of mathematics; Wittgenstein and his work on the foundations of mathematics; quantum computing; ethics within business organisations; how large charitable organisations with global operations can continue to be accountable and efficient, and how charities and not for profit organisations can be philanthropic and at the same time “business-like”.

Selected publications

Khan, I. (2016) The case: string theory on trial [Kindle edition]. Available online at

Khan, I. (2016) Free will – a road less travelled in quantum information processing.

Enterprises honoured

The annual Business Weekly Awards include several recipients with ties to Cambridge Judge Business School, including Cambridge Quantum Computing as Business of…

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Joining up

Cambridge Quantum Computing, founded by Cambridge Judge Fellow Ilyas Khan, combines with Honeywell Quantum Solutions to create a new company. Ilyas Khan…

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Digital diversity

Asian tech pioneers list by charity Diversity UK includes two people with connections to Cambridge Judge Business School. Two people associated with…

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Quantum computers will be prevalent sooner than you might think

Ilyas Khan, CJBS Leader in Residence and Fellow in Management Practice, tells us why quantum computers will be prevalent sooner than you…

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Quantum computers will change our lives – but how quickly?

Quantum physics? Check. Quantum mechanics? Check. Quantum computers? Erm, computers? That's right – quantum computers. Millions of times more powerful than conventional…

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Town and gown

Debate on quantum computing, including remarks by Professor Stephen Hawking, inaugurate new Cambridge Judge “Town and Gown” series linking business and academia.…

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Ilyas Khan.

Contact details

Ilyas Khan
c/o Cambridge Judge Business School
University of Cambridge
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1AG


Download Khan, I. (2014) “Wittgenstein’s characterisation of the inconsistency within mathematics”

A very slightly fictionalised account of the debate around String Theory. The format of this work is a drama/novella, with fictional appearances by Einstein, Poincare, Dirac, Feynman, Einstein and Hardy.

Download the book

Has Stephen Hawking solved one of the most famous outstanding challenges in science – the black hole information paradox? Ilyas Khan on the ‘eureka’ moment that happened when Hawking listened to Andy Strominger present a paper on gravitational memory, BMS supertranslations and soft theorems.

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