From London to New York. Cass alumnus Krishna Verma shares his journey

Studying at Cass Business School, was a great decision. London is truly an exceptionally diverse city where one can learn so much about different cultures and experience a new adventure every day. This really helped me grow as a person as it broadened my horizons and, more importantly, helped me to develop a perspective I can call my own.

I studied BSc. (Hons) Accounting & Finance, and I’m not going to lie to you, the course was very intense. I put in a lot of hard work over my three years, and I was rewarded with knowledge which prepared me for my new life today as a young finance professional in New York City.

Crossing the Atlantic to follow a career opportunity

London and New York City are very similar yet different cities, each one has its own unique energy and personality. Even though London holds a special place in my heart, I felt that moving to NYC was the right decision as it is truly the heart of the financial world. America is the land of opportunity, where one can work hard and be well rewarded for the effort.

I was facing many problems finding a permanent position in London, mainly due to the change in work permit laws for international students. I had never failed at anything in my life before, yet while trying to find a permanent position in London, I faced so many rejections which almost made me question myself, was I good enough, does my nationality define me?

I decided to not give up and took the challenge as an opportunity to prove myself. I secured an internship with a boutique investment bank in the City working within their M&A division. I networked hard, especially with the President of the bank who began his career with UBS AG in New York City. Nearing the end of my internship, I got my current position at UBS in NYC by leveraging what I had learned about the industry through my internship.

Study what inspires you and grab the opportunities early enough

I would recommend Cass Business School, to all who are passionate about the field of finance as the experience of studying there will allow you to find inspiration from great minds who teach you as well as those you study alongside with. The in-depth knowledge gained is also taught from a practical perspective which will allow you to face challenges in the demanding work environment from your first day on the job. Studying and working alongside your fellow students as well as the vast alumni network, will build you a strong network with the future leaders of the field.

Finally, my advice to students interested in the financial industry is very simple, make the best of the opportunities you have and seize them at the earliest. Work hard and dedicate to what you want to achieve and, at the same time, learn to adapt your goals to the situation at hand.

I intended on staying in London, but life took me in another direction. I was so disheartened and emotionally broken when I realized I would not be able to pursue my goal of staying in London, but now when I look back at, I wish I could have seen where I would end up.

Contributed by Krishna Verma

Enjoy reading pocket-sized stories? You will love Sixpenny, a literary magazine founded by a couple of City Alumnae.

Sixpenny MagazineOnce upon a time Elizabeth Leonard and Kate Thomas graduated from the Creative Writing (Novels) programme at City University London. They both had a common interest: writing stories to delight audiences.

They then embarked on a journey to create Sixpenny, a digital magazine of illustrated short stories. Each issue has six stories that take six minutes to read: three are written by widely published authors, and three are by unpublished authors. They will be launching their first edition this winter and are now looking for writers and illustrators, who will get paid for their work, to join their initiative.

Meet the founders

Elizabeth: “After graduating from NYU, I joined the “real” world with a proper job, a house, a car, and a promise to write when I was a “stable” adult. I turned in my resignation for this life in exchange for one I was better at. I moved to London to study at City University and wrote my first novel. I love the sound of the Thames as the tide comes in, sunsets over the Hudson, Hemingway, walking through a new city with an old friend, and a cheap spiral-bound notebook with a good pen.”

Kate, on the other hand, attended Cornell University and Goldsmiths in London for several years but graduated from neither of these fine learning institutions. She says: “I started taking myself seriously when I became a mom and I now hold a Masters degree in Creative Writing. I am a fan of surprising punchlines, the search for life on other planets, brave truths, keen observations, and people who laugh a little too loud.”

Why Sixpenny?

This is the little story of how Sixpenny was born according to their founders: Long, long ago, there were magazines filled with illustrated stories. They created a market for writers and illustrators to hone their craft and make a living, and they gave readers a steady supply of stories they could truly enjoy. When these magazines began, some were called sixpenny magazines, because they cost a sixpence – affordable enough for just about everyone. But over time, all of these ‘everyman’ fiction magazines died. Luckily, while out in the woods one day, we found a single cell of a sixpenny magazine hidden away in a nugget of amber. Soon after, we discovered the emerging technology of the internet. Thanks to that little pocket computer called a mobile phone, people are reading again so we decided that now is the time to bring back the Sixpenny.

Want to contribute?

Kate and Elizabeth are looking for creative writers who can produce literary fiction short-stories that keep the reader engaged and excited from the first word to the last. Each story should be a six-minute read – 1000 words, give or take (just a little). The six stories selected for each issue will be illustrated before publication in Sixpenny.

They are also looking for illustrators who can produce GIF illustrations as well as graphic short stories. To be considered you will need to submit a portfolio. For more information and guidelines, please visit Sixpenny’s webpage.

Don’t forget that the first edition of Sixpenny will be released this winter. Don’t miss it!

City alumna’s play about Muslim female boxers is being performed at this year’s Edinburgh Festival

No Guts, No Heart, No Glory, a play written by City University London alumna Aisha Zia is being performed at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer.

Aisha, who studied for an MA in Playwriting and Screenwriting at City, now works as a part of Common Wealth, a theatre collective which removes plays from theatres and stages them amongst the wider community.

Read the full story…

Father and daughter share their love for City

City University London has seen many generations of students coming through its doors and, in some cases, they have been family members. Vaseem Ahmed, BSc (Hons) Aeronautical Engineering (1989) and his daughter Naila, BSc Management (2014) share the love and commitment to City in different ways.

Studying at City: two generations aiming to be the best

Vaseem has great memories of its time at City including: playing cricket for the University’s team, enjoying life at the Northampton Hall, and learning how to overcome adversity when having difficult times as a student.

He said: “I didn’t have a great 2nd year and could easily have coasted along with an average degree result. However, I decided to really give it a go and, in my 3rd year, if I didn’t understand a topic (there were many – have you tried Aerodynamics?) I would bug the class genius and lecturers until I did understand. The effort paid off and when I finished 2nd in our final year exams I was over the moon.”

Vaseem told us how all those factors were important when advising Naila to follow her path at City; however, her decision to join Cass Business School was primarily driven by the excellent reputation of the School and, although she was also inspired by her father’s tales of City.

Naila also talked passionately about her time at City and how her lectures and tutors gave her the confidence to tackle her dissertation and advised her to think carefully about her future when leaving City. She said: “My dissertation tutor was amazing, she was extremely warm and friendly and very reassuring.  She shared ideas and gave me tips that helped me to come up with the perfect dissertation. Other lecturers also encouraged me to do my best, and aim to get the maximum skills and experience for the real corporate world.”

They would both recommend City to others because they think is a great place to study and people would benefit hugely from its facilities and the quality of its teaching.

Supporting City

Vaseem Ahmed

Vaseem Ahmed

Vaseem has helped City generously for a few years not only by sponsoring the Human Computer Interaction Department, as he thinks that facilitating the way we interact with technology is vital, but also by supporting the Olive Tree programme, which encourages young Palestinians and Israelis to build leadership skills.

He says: “There is, and has been, much doom and gloom for the prospects for a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict in Palestine. The only workable solution is one based on justice and bringing together the younger generation. That can only be a positive move.”

Naila not only agrees with her father about it, but also thinks that the best option for this conflict is to coexist. The Olive Tree programme is a small step in working towards that objective, not only by giving young students with great potential a chance of a bright future, but also an opportunity to put their energy elsewhere in a creative manner.

“The foundation can help change mind-sets, to focus on the similarities of their neighbouring communities rather than their differences, to actually view them as their neighbours rather than their enemies.  Ultimately that is the only thing that will ever stop the conflict in the Middle East, especially the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” She says.

It’s been 25 years since Vaseem graduated from City. He now works in the recruitment industry, running his own headhunting company, Capumen International. Vaseem’s best piece of advice for young graduates is to start looking for jobs early enough and treat each role as a career, not just as a job. Naila, on the other hand, is starting to apply for roles and is also thinking about doing a Postgraduate Certificate back at City.

To find out more about the projects mentioned contact Anita.jethwa.1@city.ac.uk

Business founded by Cass alumnus backed by Cass Entrepreneurship Fund

The Cass Entrepreneurship Fund, Cass Business School’s £10m in-house venture fund, has completed its latest investment into a promising growth business.

Humble Grape, a growing wine merchant and events business founded by Cass MBA alumni James Dawson, raised over £450,000 from the Entrepreneurship Fund and the Seedrs equity crowdfunding platform.

The funding will be used to develop a new retail space and expand the existing business, which services a variety of high-profile clients with wine events and merchant services.

Founder and Cass Alumnus James Dawson said:

“Humble Grape is an exciting and dynamic business in what is often a staid and highly conservative industry. We’re delighted to combine the institutional investment from Cass alongside the popular and public funding support delivered through Seedrs. This growth funding will help us expand our existing services to more clients, develop a new retail space, and provide a genuinely novel and inclusive environment for customers to enjoy new wines.”

Jane Reoch, Investment Director at the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund, said:

“James and his team have built a great business which Cass is proud to support. Humble Grape offers high quality events and wine merchant services to a range of corporate, retail and private clients. We are excited to support the company’s next stage of growth. Humble Grape brings a novel retail experience to the market, which builds on the positive trends we’re seeing in the retail wine sector.”

To learn more about Humble Grape, visit their website.

Find out more about the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund.

Distinguished law alumna receives honorary degree

Sandie Okoro, Global General Counsel at HSBC Asset Management, has been awarded an honorary doctorate during City University London’s summer graduation ceremonies. An alumna of the Inns of Court School of Law, now The City Law School, Sandie was honoured for her outstanding achievements in the legal profession and financial services.

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Sandy Okoro

Sandy Okoro