Month: November 2016

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work


It feels like only yesterday we were at the early welcomes of autumn, ready to  start our MBA degrees. Now, Christmas lights appearing across the streets and department stores of London remind us that the first term is nearly over. As the people of London look forward to winter festivals, hot chocolate and baby pancakes (with nutella on top),  I look back at a myriad of eclectic experiences. From looking through the City of London solving mysteries, to learning how to bake a cake, building a vertical farm out of Lego and  hiking up and down the Barossa to save hostages – all as part of an MBA experience at Cass.


Looking back, it is incredible how much we have experienced and learnt from each other during this short time; each student coming from a different background and industry. For me, I came from the world of healthcare. I wanted to do an MBA to develop my understanding of management in the health industry. But, if my experience has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t
achieve great ambitions alone.

Working as a doctor taught me indefinitely that ‘I’ is a letter, not a word. Everything we achieve represents what so many people have inspired, believed and invested in us. So, I came to Cass looking for a network of people who would not only be diverse in their backgrounds, but who can challenge and push me to the next level. I am so grateful I have met individuals who have taught me so much: both in my cohort, and my Professors of course.

When I first arrived at the school, I expected the lectures and high volume of reading we needed to do, but the course has been more practical and intriguing than that.

During our introductory weeks, we had a team activity where we were given iPads and asked to follow the map to search the City of London for clues and complete challenges. Myself and my group were asked to re-enact an iconic movie scene – as my acting skills are terrible my contribution was to direct and film my group’s re-enactment of ‘Run Forest, Run!’ from the movie Forrest Gump. Later in the term we were asked to put our strategy teaching into action with a Cass MBA Bake-off. Each group had an incomplete set of ingredients to bake a cake that they had to negotiate and trade with other groups. We also had to work around the logistics of kitchen equipment and booking times to use them. Using our strategy theory helped focus our strategic approach to this (very delicious) challenge.


img_4119Following this, we had a trip to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. It was an unforgettable experience that really brought the class together and facilitated our effectiveness as a team. We worked in groups to complete tasks and practical problems on the school grounds. In the end, we were sent on a rescue mission to save a group of ‘injured hostages’ in the midst of coloured smoke screens – representing the school’s efforts of giving us a realistic experience. The combination of skill-sets in the team was valuable in allowing us to learn from each other and further develop our leadership and followership skills.


img_4266Most recently, we had a competition for presenting about oil and energy to an affiliate of the school named the Tallow Chandlers – without using overhead slides. We soon learnt that sometimes the less technology you have, the more creative you can be. In our endeavour for innovation, we presented a case about sustainable food and renewable energy. We explored how we can harvest crops grown using vertical farming methods to alleviate the burden of biofuels on food supply. To illustrate the concept of vertical farming and other statistical figures we utilised child’s play: from Lego blocks, to monopoly  boards and UNO cards. Using children’s games to illustrate our points served as a subtle – though important – reminder: that the decisions we make regarding sustainability today, will affect our children tomorrow.



It has been an interesting experience studying at Cass and now we are already on the doors of winter. Being a Londoner for nearly 13 years, you can’t help but adore the festive season’s charm: with  people beginning to ice skate on the courtyards of Somerset House and awaiting the opening of Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.

However, this year has brought interesting and new experiences to the normal traditions. Doing an MBA at Cass Business School has been very full on with the academic requirements and studies, but introduced something different and further solidified the notion of the importance of working as team, it’s important to remember we can go further together, and that team work can make the dream work.

Mashael Alanizi
Full-time MBA (2016)




The Shaman who turned around Ducati, comes to Cass


Mr Federico Minoli (left) Dr Paolo Aversa (middle) Umang Shankar (me on the right)

When you retire you would want to have enough money, a house, a nice car or probably kids; but very few will have the luxury of leaving a legacy behind them. Yes some people are either lucky to be in that place in that time, or they were just an out right maverick with their work. We were honoured enough to meet such a person in our last Strategy module who through his work turned around a legacy company to world dominance in its segment.

The person I am talking about is none other than Mr Federico Minoli, Mr.Turnaround, Mr I will get the company out of the deep hole, Mr who brought Ducati back from the crisis and Mr who inspired Siddharth Lal to restructure Royal Enfield to become one of the leading brands in 400-600CC motorcycle market, worldwide.

Growing up in a motorcycle environment, I would never have imagined that I would meet this man, let alone to be standing next to him and getting my photo clicked. It was all good work from our professor who through his work and his experience knew him well and arranged a guest lecture from him.

It was insightful and entertaining, something that is very rare with business people and because he was both I like to refer him as … Shaman (it’s not something I invented, he termed himself as a shaman and gave the entire back story as well).

FedericoMinoli with CASS FTMBA 2016 batch

Mr Federico Minoli with Cass FT MBA Class of 2016

Well for the ones who think I will be giving away his entire lecture, you are out of luck, you need to join the Cass Full Time MBA program and beg Dr Aversa (our professor) to get Mr Federico back on the panel. You don’t get free lunches you see. However, I will not just yap around the topic, I will give you a broad outline of his talk.

Well in the 1990’s, 1996 to be precise Ducati was bought over by an investor and Mr Minoli was hired as the head of that project, he talked about sticking it to the brand and the brand ambassadors first – hence came the Ducati Museum. It is worth saying that they treat customers like gods, but interestingly enough not many brands  reply to customers let alone making them ambassadors. Harley did that and we know that this brand does not need any ambassadors, anyone riding a Harley automatically becomes the marketing manager of the brand, such is the close knit community of the brand.

Next he spoke about innovation, it is imperative to be liquid in finances and liquid in head. Your dynamic strategy can develop an advantage that can take care of any disruption. But as a head of the company you need each and every employee to participate in the thinking. Because, wait for it… this is what happened in Ducati, the MH900E sale on 31st December 1999 and was an idea from someone in middle management and it became a case study in itself.

We have all worked in teams, worked under bosses but when you become one, he says – be dynamic, be bold, be the brand, love it, cherish it and love the people associated with it because at the end the day, humans and only humans will take your brand to legendary level and you my friend will end up with a better car, much more money, and yes, a legacy; kids? Well not for me.

Umang Shankar

Full-time MBA 2017

© 2021 MBA Blog

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Skip to toolbar