Month: June 2019

Cass Real Estate Club Brings Together Speakers, Students, and Alumni at 2019 Conference

The Cass Real Estate Club recently convened its eighth annual May flagship conference at BAFTA Hall, Piccadilly, hosting industry-leading speakers from premier property firms for the 2019 Cass Real Estate Club Summit on Global Investment Strategy.

Focusing this year on global investment strategy, the all-day conference featured exciting panel discussions on a range of topics including global capital flows, innovations in real estate, property development and an intriguing investigation of ultra-high net worth and institutional investment strategies. With leading speakers from premier firms such as UBS, Knight Frank, GIC, CBRE Global Investors, Hines, HFF, Grosvenor, PGIM, LandSec and many more in attendance, over 250 attendees had the opportunity to hear from and network with industry leaders on a variety of subjects in today’s dynamic property market.

Keynotes delivered by Concrete Venture Capital partner, Chris Stephenson, and UBS’s UK Chief Investment Officer, Geoffrey Yu, on the future of innovation in the built environment and global macro-economic outlook offered context as to where the property market is heading near term. Their speeches decoded what we can expect as forthcoming graduates in a constantly innovating built environment.

The attendance and caliber of speakers on the day is not only a testament to the reputation of Cass, but also to the Business School’s continued commitment to engaging current master’s students with both industry leaders and our extensive alumni network. Nearly half of the speakers, all managing directors and department heads of prestigious firms, were Cass alumni or are affiliated with the Business School through professional or personal connections.

The level of engagement from alumni demonstrated the fantastic camaraderie fostered at Cass through an exacting education and continued networking opportunities post-graduation. The nearly six-month process of planning, pitching, booking and organizing the event underscores the hard work and dedication of the entire Real Estate Club team, with support from Cass and the events office.

The event is moving into its ninth year in 2020 and has evolved over the years to become a student-led initiative. Be it crafting panel content, leading sponsorship development for the club, and or gaining experience in organizing a boutique industry event, the conference provides students the opportunity to work with industry leaders.

Events such as Cass REC 2019 are the result of the Cass Real Estate Club’s continued commitment to supporting the Business School’s strategic goals. For nearly a decade, the club has done so through its two-fold mandate: providing forums for networking and learning so that master’s students and alumni can connect; and raising funds for the Real Estate Club’s scholarship initiative which benefits two incoming MSc Real Estate or MSc Real Estate Investment students each year. Successful venture partnerships with Drooms and Altus Group, along with strategic media partnerships with CoStar and Real Estate Fund Intelligence, made Cass REC 2019 a fun, successful and fruitful day of insight and networking. The club thoroughly looks forward to welcoming everyone next year to Cass REC 2020!

Myles Hooper, MSc Real Estate (2019)
Vice President, Cass Real Estate Club 2019

EntrepreneursTalk@Cass Returns to Cass Business School!

From left to right: James Song (MSc Entrepreneurship at Cass, 2019), Aurore Hochard (Head of Entrepreneurship Programmes at Cass), Emily Brooke MBE (Founder of Beryl), Martin Mignot (Partner at Index Ventures)

EntrepreneursTalk@Cass returned with a bang to Cass Business School on June 5th, 2019 organized by Aurore Hochard, Head of Entrepreneurship Programmes at the University.

Martin Mignot and Emily Brooke MBE discussed advice for entrepreneurs seeking funding, and their experiences as an investor and investee in the transportation industry. They were interviewed by James Song, a Product Designer at Founders Factory and MSc Entrepreneurship (2019) student at Cass who stated, “It was a great occasion to learn from the experiences of a couple of successful people both from the VC side and entrepreneur side!”

Martin Mignot, a partner at Index Ventures, exclaimed early in the evening that his favorite part about the industry is the fact that “I get paid to learn and work with incredible people” and how much he enjoys helping solve problems for early-stage companies. According to Mr. Mignot, “Every company, no matter how successful, is just a sum of problems to solve” and he enjoys the process of finding solutions.

Index Ventures is typically Seed and Series A investments, and Mr. Mignot commented, “We like to be the first institution but not the first money in” for investments made. This is fairly common in the industry, with angel investors taking on the most risk and venture capital investors signing on later. The UK is a great ecosystem for early-stage investment due to the various tax benefits that angel investors make, especially EIS and SEIS.

SEIS stands for Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme and offers a 50% tax break for investors that put in part of the first £150,000 for a qualified startup. Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) offers a 30% income tax reduction for investments up to £1 million for an individual and £12 million for a company. These are some of the highest tax benefits in the western world for angel investment, and this helps to make London and the United Kingdom a healthy market for new startups.

Emily Brooke is the Founder of Beryl (formerly Blaze), and her company has benefited from this great ecosystem, getting early investment from the Richard Branson family, Index Ventures, and others. Beryl has gone through some rough patches, and Mrs. Brooke discussed the problems they have overcome when expanding internationally including trademark issues that forced them to change their name. Her biggest advice for entrepreneurs is to “Get on with it” when getting started, and to “Focus on doing one thing properly before diversifying”.

Mrs. Brooke’s advice for getting investment is to find investors that will let you retain a lot of control over your own company, stating “Our goal is light-touch investment” which has “…given us a lot of freedom”. Apparently, this approach has worked well, as Beryl has won multiple awards for their bike lights, including the iF Design Award (2019), Eurobike Industry Award (2018) and many others while expanding her product sales across Europe, the United States and Japan since its founding in the United Kingdom in 2012.

Emma Rowe, MSc Entrepreneurship (2019) at Cass Business School, attended the event and said “[the evening] was incredibly valuable. I loved having an insight into the speakers’ personal journeys, particularly the challenges they faced and who inspired them to do what they do today.”

The evening ended with a networking session and drinks, where up-and-coming entrepreneurs mingled with their experienced counterparts. The excited conversations were a sign that the next event will be well attended! These types of events are what help Cass Business School to stand out among its peers, and the evening offered real value to students and industry professionals alike.

The next EntrepreneursTalk@Cass event will be taking place on July 3rd, 2019 at Cass Business School attended by another Entrepreneur and Venture Capital duo. Please find details here.

Andrew Bott
MSc Entrepreneurship (2019)
www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-botty

My dual degree at Cass and Bocconi

With one semester left at Maastricht University as an undergraduate student, and having just returned home from my exchange semester at Fairfield University in the United States, I started applying to several business schools in order to specialise in the area of finance. Prior to my application for an MSc in Investment Management at Cass Business School, I saw the possibility to enrol in a double degree during my studies at Cass, which would allow me to study at Bocconi University for an extra year towards an MSc in International Management. I was extremely enthusiastic about this idea and I could already see myself studying in London and Milan at two of the most prestigious universities in Europe.

In the first place, my decision to apply for master’s in London was an easy one. After I decided to stay in my hometown for my bachelor’s, I was certain to study abroad for my master’s. This came from the idea to explore more of the world, aiming to develop myself in a competitive environment. Studying a finance-related track in one of the financial hubs in the world has been a goal since my first year of undergrad. The teaching method at Cass, in comparison with Maastricht University and Fairfield University, has been more lecture-based, yielding more freedom in terms of organising a day.

After I got accepted to Cass, I knew that I had to work hard in the first term in order to achieve a competitive average to be considered for Bocconi. Spots for dual degree programmes are scarce and allocated based on your average in the first term and a short motivation letter. Students from the MSc in Investment Management and from the MSc in Corporate Finance are eligible to apply for the dual degree at Bocconi, and the programme fees are waived. During the first term, the course officers send an e-mail about the possibility to apply. One of the requirements is to take on a Business Research Project (master’s thesis) in term three, which you will elaborate at Bocconi.

My studies at Cass have deepened my knowledge of financial markets, portfolio management and its wide range of securities. As I aim to work in the financial services industry, I specifically enjoy the real-world aspects of the programme. For example, creating structured products based on derivatives in a Bloomberg terminal has not only given me exposure to theoretical aspects like pricing of financial instruments, but also opened my eyes to the practicalities of these can be replicated within Bloomberg. Studying at Cass in London gives you the opportunity to connect with many employers in the financial services sector, giving you a wide range of insight to different roles. Cass’s careers centre is very active and organises many events, which are always beneficial to attend.

After applying, and hoping to get one of the two spots, I got the good news and was accepted at Bocconi! Studying towards an MSc in International Management will give me exposure to a broader perspective of international business situations, deepening my theoretical knowledge of how corporations function. This builds upon the foundational knowledge I gained during my BSc. Being able to study in another international environment surrounded by intelligent students will widen my horizon and add towards my professional skillset and social life.

As I pursue my career in the financial services sector, I believe that the combination of my four study programmes at four different universities worldwide brings significant added value to my understanding and evaluation of finance, international organisations, and their management strategies. My international experiences over the last three years have brought me many friends and possibilities to learn about different cultures. As business is globally oriented, I think it is necessary to widen your horizon and study business in different parts of the world. As a current CFA level 1 candidate, I also aim to complete the CFA program in the early years of my future career in order to keep learning within the broad area of finance.

Ad Maiora!

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