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.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cass MBA Alumni develop a great app for busy Londoners

Lukas Linsbichler and Ash Bhadal met while studying the Executive MBA at Cass Business School in 2011. They both had a very strong drive towards starting their own business and that’s how Drinqsmart was born. After all their hard-work and commitment they will officially launched their initiative on Wednesday, and the event was held at Cass Business School.

Drinqsmart: An App helping busy Londoners to plan their after-work life

Drinqsmart-App

Drinqsmart app

According to Ash and Lukas their idea was strongly influenced by their busy and stressful life while studying for their Masters. They realised that people, especially in London, have hectic routines and also time constraints to their social lives and, very often, their private relationships suffer. Friends and family are overshadowed by work and academic commitments.

They thought that it would be amazing to have a platform that facilitated planning meet ups with friends after work in an easy and fun way. That was when the Drinqsmart app was developed. Drinqsmart’s vision is to “Give time back to smart Londoners”, to allow them to use their time better for activities they genuinely enjoy.

How does Drinqsmart work?

Drinqsmart is an app that allows you:

  • To discover friends and venues near you
  • To connect and invite friends, who are in the mood to meet up for drinks
  • To use a venue chat where you and your friends can get together before you meet and exchange venue ideas.

There are many other benefits to users, as the founders point out: “The benefit is clearly saving time and being able to meet friends more often. In a modern, fast city like London, people move very quickly and private or social life is only a residual after work. The Drinqsmart app gives people the chance to use this time more efficiently by being able to meet friends spontaneously, organise drinks easily and find the best venues. All in the one app to “Get your night started” whenever you like.”

Why is the app unique?

Ash says: “There is no other app available offering the same integrated functionality as Drinqsmart. There are many other apps using use geo-location to check people in and listing venues around you, and other apps allowing you to chat with friends, but all of them are doing it separately. The unique offering of Drinqsmart is to have them all in one platform and allowing users to create an exclusive network of friends around the concept of going out.”

How to get the Drinqsmart app?

The app is only available to iPhone users, at the moment, and you can download it by going to: http://ow.ly/xRTVu Android users will be able to download it after summer 2014.

Finally, Ash and Lukas told us how their MBA helped them to stay focused on their journey: “The MBA gave us the confidence to make educated decisions about our strategy, leveraged our network to hire our CTO and get great contacts for marketing. An amazing fact is that after an MBA you can actually run a company on your own. From formulating marketing plans to accounting, from legal to HR and so on. What we have also learned is it that a good portion of gut feeling and street smartness is needed to manage a start up in the given time. We strongly recommend an MBA to anyone who wants to create their own business; it definitely arms you with all the tools you need to succeed and a great network you can leverage.”

Find out more about Drinqsmart: www.drinqsmart.com

City student helping people to get into the job market

BSc Sociology student, Afshin Moayed, who will graduate in July 2014, co-founded Individuum a recruitment start-up helping graduates to enter the labour market.

Individuum launched in Luxembourg in 2012. Since then, the company witnessed a sharp rise in youth unemployment in Europe and therefore decided to expand to London and Paris to offer their innovative solutions to students and companies.

According to Afshin, what makes his company stand out is that students and graduates can sign up to Individuum and benefit from offers of well-established partner companies in Europe, an innovative way of presenting their CV and skills and also potential opportunities of being head hunted by other recruiters.

Entrepreneurial journey

Besides winning a third prize at CitySpark, the annual business idea competition, Afshin’s team also took part in workshops and enterprise mentoring activities organised by CitySpark and continued to work with their mentor for a while.

Afshin told us that the biggest challenge he and his co-founders faced when starting Individuum wasn’t getting their first customers, it was getting the team right: ‘The challenge was to organize and establish a competitive team and be able to work together while all being in different locations. At that time, one of my partners was in Luxembourg, one in Strasbourg and me here in London. It wasn’t easy, but what made it happen was the dedication of the team.’

With the team settled in the last two years they have successfully established themselves as the major player in graduate recruitment in Luxembourg, and got backing from Xavier Buck, one of the co-founders of MEGA and a successful entrepreneur and investor.

Working in London right now, where the job market is slowly recovering, represents a big opportunity not only for Individuum because of the diversity of its environment and the number of multinational companies opening offices here, but also for graduates who are looking for jobs locally and in Europe.

Afshin is currently running Individuum London’s office from The Hangout, an interactive work environment with great amenities specially created for City students/graduates and entrepreneurs.

Are you looking for jobs and want to learn more about the company? Have a look at Individuum.com.

Journalist alumnus Andrew Marshall wins Pulitzer Prize

City University London alumnus Andrew Marshall has won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. He becomes the first graduate from City’s Journalism Department to win the prestigious prize.

Andrew was recognised with colleague Jason Szep for their series on the oppression of the Muslim Rohingya of Myanmar. Congratulations to Andrew from all of us.

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