Tag: Alumni

AIR-Q Insuretech Forum: the Future of Insurance is Now!

Tech is a game-changer across all industries, but none more than insurance.

I was delighted to work on this year’s Actuarial, Insurance, Risk and Quants (AIR-Q) society forum. This year, we selected a focus on insuretech, which is a very pertinent issue within the insurance space. The event brings together students from the Actuarial and Insurance and Risk master’s cohorts as well as insurance industry practitioners and is held at Cass Business School.

The impact of technology cuts across both market needs and service delivery for insurance providers. As Co-President of the AIR-Q society, myself and the rest of the committee felt it was important for students to consider the changing landscape as we prepare to start our professional lives in the sector.

Through keynote addresses provided by esteemed guests Madeline Bailey, James Norman, Massimo Vascotto and Rahul Mathur, attendees got a chance to listen in on how insuretech is expected to transform the future industry roles and market needs.

Speakers illustrated how the sector is already changing. For example, the US-based insuretech startup Lemonade uses AI for most of its operations, including underwriting and claims management. This presents opportunities for “insurance-on-demand” which could be as influential a disruptor as Uber was in the taxi sector.

The speakers’ talks were followed by an interactive panel discussion. One of my key takeaways was that insuretech can be a tool for the optimisation of insurance products and services. Madeline Bailey gave an example of how the Insurewave platform uses blockchain technology to make marine insurance more efficient, thus providing better protection for the very complex maritime logistics sector.

For students to gain an edge in this changing market, they need to equip themselves with modern skills such as programming and data analysis. It is therefore clear why Cass shows support for this by offering modules such as Python Programming, Machine Learning, Modelling and Data Analysis and VBA programming among others.

It was not all praise for insuretech though. Insuretech does indeed present new opportunities, but it is also important to remember that at the centre of it all lies the end-consumer of insurance. Domain knowledge and a good understanding of human factors are crucial in the successful implementation of insuretech. This provided a very balanced debate and an engaging learning experience for both speakers and students.

Leading up to the event, myself and my Co-Presidents Maria Bou-Rizk (MSc Insurance and Risk, 2019), Vinit John (MSc Insurance and Risk, 2019) and Peter Vodicka (PhD candidate in Actuarial Science) worked with support of Cass’ events team to book the speakers and venue. With immense gratitude, we received further support by the Faculty of Actuarial Science and Insurance, with Dr. Simone Krummaker moderating the panel discussion. It was an incredible learning experience that tested our teamwork and organisational skills.

At the end of the event, we hosted a networking session which provided the chance for all the attendees to mingle. Overall, it was a great evening and I look forward to many more successful forums!

Eric Ndoria, MSc Actuarial Management (2019)
Co-President,  AIR-Q Society 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

Cass: the catalyst of my career

“Ok guys, we are going to apply tonight.” Those were the words I said to convince myself and two friends to apply to Cass Business School one evening in March 2016.

These were words of hope. We were lost and all we wanted was a breakthrough. We were three confused students, with an obsession for the stock market but clueless about the financial world. At least I was! Like most people applying for an MSc degree, we were clueless as to where the degree would take us. If you are reading this, you might be asking yourself the same questions. All of us came from disadvantaged backgrounds, with little or no experience, but that did not stop us— it became a fuel for our unstoppable thirst for success.

I moved to Brixton in London when I was 13, long before the area was gentrified. At 15 my secondary school teacher told me that I would not go far in life and by 16 I wanted to drop out of college. As if it was not enough, I was also working ridiculous hours to help my mum at home as she was a single parent.  None of my friends knew what university was, and the ones who did didn’t bother applying.

Fast forward to eight years later and I was about to make the hardest decision of my life:  applying to a top business school with no money for the fees. I had passion, a willingness to learn and I saw Cass Business School as a catalyst to my success.

 

Michael Salvi and his cohort

I strongly believe that the environment and people you are surrounded with have a strong impact on your life. Many transformative events took place during my time at Cass, but meeting Professor Nick Motson (Associate Dean of the MSc Programmes) a year into my MSc was one of the most significant. As I walked in, his secretary offered me cake after telling me off for being late. The meeting was brief. I complained and explained my frustration about my current job situation, and how I was failing to see the use of my time at the Business School. Nick listened, like a wise man with a long white beard from a movie. Then he spoke, and I listened. Nick taught me about alternative investment and made me fall in love with the hedge fund industry. He described it with so much fascination, triggering my interest in the field I currently work in. During this meeting, I remember being surprised because for the first time, someone really believed in me. He wasn’t just speaking in platitudes, his words were firm and confident.

Nick’s words were the catalyst which I had looked for for so long: words of encouragement and wisdom, which I then went sharing to my friends, who similarly to me felt demotivated. I eventually completed the MSc with flying colours, winning the Beta Gamma award for excellence whilst completing the CFA Level One and working full-time. I borrowed to pay for the MSc, in fact we all did. During those two years, we were rejected, defeated, laughed at and told we could not make it, but my first conversation with him stood out above everything else. This conversation overpowered all negativity that had surrounded us before.  Nick’s favourite words were, “there is no free lunch in the financial markets”— and believe me, there really isn’t.

In the end, my friends and I all went to work our dream jobs. One pursued his love for deals and works in investment banking. Another chased his love of coding and became a quant at a hedge fund. Finally, as an enthusiast of equity analysis, the last friend became a research analyst at a leading asset management firm.

If you are looking for a breakthrough like I was when I applied back in 2016, my suggestion is to cast the doubt away and go for it. You won’t be able to connect the dots just yet, but rest assured that once you complete the degree it will all make sense. On completion of our degrees, my friends and I have now been able to connect the dots going backwards. With determination and perseverance, you can achieve what we’ve achieved too.

Michael Salvi graduates

Studying at Cass wasn’t just a means to an end. It provided me an overview and guided my career choice. Each of the modules that I studied helped me steer my ship in the right direction, all of which would not have happened if I didn’t have some amazing crew members as lecturers!

Here I am now, listening to one of my favourite songs, Craig David’s “Rise and Fall”, as I write this post on my flight back to London. I have learned many lessons, and there are many more to learn. The most important is to take all the chances that come your way. Fear is always going to tell you that you can’t, hope says that you will, but it takes determination and drive to reach and produce endless results.

 

Whether you are a student applying for the Cass Business School or not, remember that when everything might seem to be going against you, “planes take off in the opposite direction from the wind.” Fight your fears and any other forces trying to stop you from moving forward. If the plane can manage to take off with all the resistance, trust me so can you!

Michael Salvi

 

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