Tag: Management

Strength in Diversity

Recently, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) hosted the first ever “Logistics and Transportation Diversity Challenge” event, a day designed to demonstrate how increased diversity in a team leads to higher productivity, performance and drives innovation.

The event drew 30 teams from companies such as Coca-Cola, DHL, National Express, Siemens, and more. As students in the MSc Global Supply Chain Management course, we have student membership to the CILT and were able to participate. So along with eight of my course mates in MSc Global Supply Chain Management, I travelled up to Newark to represent Cass Business School at the event.

After arrival and putting on our team shirts, the day began with a keynote speech highlighting the aim of the day and the significance of diversity in the work environment. Then we were off! Our team was tested through 14 challenges, requiring different levels of skill, stamina and problem solving, all while being incredibly fun. We climbed an unclimbable ladder, we learned archery, and we performed a Haka. We tested our knowledge in trivia, strategized through an assault course and more.

As we worked through the challenges, we were able to experience the benefit of diversity within our own team. Our varying backgrounds and identities helped us be strategic in earning the most points for each challenge. Each individual shined at a different event, and by the end of the day we were much closer as a team than we had been going into this diversity challenge.

While we may not have scored the top spot and coveted “Team of the Year” award, we did place 3rd out of the 30 competing, which we were very excited about! Overall, it was a great day of practicing team-building skills and meeting professionals from the logistics and transport industry. I look forward to future teams representing Cass and taking away as much from this event as we did.

Julia Elliott
MSc Global Supply Chain Management, 2019

Study tour to Berlin

When I found out about the international study tours offered to MSc Management students, I jumped at the opportunity to join. The study tours gave my cohort the chance to visit Lisbon, Berlin or Prague. I chose Berlin as I had the chance to discover the culture, the architecture, the food, but also to meet local entrepreneurs. We went to explore how their businesses are run, what issues they face and how they resolve them.

There is a world outside the classroom ready to back up young people who are willing to work hard. If you have a good idea and the character to pursue your dream, if London won’t be your home, Berlin could be. Personally, I have already worked in France and the UK, and I will now definitely take Berlin into consideration as another option. Cass Business school gave me the possibility to visit the city from a professional prospective that I could never had otherwise.

We met inspirational entrepreneurs who made us see the city through their own eyes. One of them in particular invited us to see beyond the cold German architecture and the cloudy weather, and instead look deeper to appreciate the thumping heart of the city, so open, dynamic and cosmopolitan. Germany is a country that has stood up twice from its own ruins, and both times it became stronger than before. The future is bright in Germany’s capital.

We mostly visited start-up incubators, so since the first day, I started questioning myself and wondering whether I should set my own business instead of working for somebody else. I had never thought seriously about this option, as it once seemed to be a world so far away that it was hard to imagine what it would really look like. However, by meeting these professionals who so openly talked about the failures and the challenges they had to face to get where they are now, I think I now have a realistic overview of what it takes to be an entrepreneur:  a mix of passion and resilience.

I was really inspired by the quote: “ask yourself where the pain is bigger.” This was told to us by Maurice Grassau, CEO at Architrave, which develops digital processes and solutions for the real estate industry. He delivered an incredible speech about launching a start-up that I will remember forever. He explained to us that from his experience, if you will ever find yourself looking for a valuable idea to base your start-up on, you should focus on what is the factor that causes more issues to get done, the thing that is so tricky or time consuming that people would love to pay for getting it sorted. During his speech, he gave us other important insights about managing a business, such as choosing a partner who will often challenge your ideas and thinks differently from you. He also imparted that you should always acknowledge the pressure on your co-workers, as he said “you can’t keep people on stress mode for 12 straight months”.

I’d like to thank Cass for the possibility to listen to such experienced people and see another part of the world. Sometimes we are so focused on the textbooks that we forget that the things we study are aimed to be applied. This trip was a good reminder of that.

Prost!

 

Bianca Gabellini, MSc  Management (2019)

 

Studying MSc Insurance and Risk Management at Cass: the Khatib legacy

Reem El Khatib

Prior to my bachelor’s degree in psychology, my father would sit me down and talk to me about the insurance industry’s potential, hoping that one day I would follow his path and that of his brothers. I was, however, fixated on a certain perception that stopped me from delving deeper into this misunderstood field. Upon finishing my bachelor’s, I soon realised that despite my passion for psychology, it was not the right career for me. By that time, I had lost my father and my main source of guidance and advice. I struggled to find a new passion that would give me the same excitement and thrill as that from psychology.

I am lucky enough to come from a family that looks out for each other. Although I lost my father, I had another father figure in my life that I looked up to, my uncle, Wael El Khatib, the Chairman of Lockton MENA. My uncle completed his MSc in Insurance and Risk Management at Cass in 1998. Upon completing his degree, he had unknowingly begun a legacy for the Khatibs to follow. Years later, my cousin, Ata El Khatib, followed in his father’s footsteps and also completed his MSc in Insurance and Risk Management at Cass in 2008. Ata is currently Deputy CEO at Lockton MENA.

I think by now you know where this is heading… Ata was not the last Khatib at Cass.  His brother, Faris, also joined Cass in 2012 and completed the same master’s degree. Faris is currently the head of Employee Benefits at Lockton MENA. Obviously, the list continues… In 2016, Zainab, their sister, also joined Cass. Zainab had a similar background to mine where, despite her bachelor’s in linguistics, she decided to venture into the world of insurance. She joined Liberty Specialty Markets in London, around two years ago, in an underwriting assistant role for the Strategic Assets team.

During my phase of confusion, Zainab spent hours talking to me about the beauty of the insurance industry. She described it as “the field that offers you something new every day, the field that challenges your analytical abilities and forces you to think about the unthinkable.” She helped me overcome the misconceptions and helped me acquire a clearer vision of what I wanted. That’s how the fifth member of the Khatib family joined Cass, as I am currently doing my MSc in Insurance and Risk Management.

Faris, Ata and Wael El Khatib

If it wasn’t for my uncle, I wouldn’t be where I am at right now. He encouraged me to join Cass and supported me in every way. They all told me about the strength of Cass’s education system, their remarkable memories at Cass and the unbreakable friendships that they developed. Hence, I knew that Cass was the place to be. There was always a common story that I heard, a story that described my family’s respect towards our professor, Chris Parsons. Professor Parsons managed to teach every member of my family. In the span of 20 years, he met the father, the sons, the daughter and the niece! Which is crazy if you think about it…

Zainab Khatib’s graduation

I am currently creating my own Cass experience, which so far has been indescribable. Not only have I acquired a new family that is so diverse and caring, I am discovering a world that I had no idea existed. Although I am leaning more towards Risk Management at this point, I am enjoying every aspect of the programme. I can’t deny it, it can be challenging sometimes, but I am definitely receiving the appropriate support and knowledge from my professors to help me overcome the obstacles. It is safe to say that my vision of what I want to do after my master’s is becoming clearer. But for the time being, I am planning to take my time in developing this vision. Every day I am learning something new, every day I am falling in love with a different aspect of this field. But, I am sure that Cass will eventually direct me towards establishing my vision.

 

Reem El-Khatib, MSc Insurance and Risk Management (2019)

An Investment in Knowledge

I decided to study the MSc in Management at Cass because of its practical focus, prestige and international standing. I tried to take a very proactive role at Cass and ran as one of the class representatives of the MSc in Management cohort. Thanks  to this role, I built relationships with almost all my peers and tried to find ways to improve our experience at Cass. Before joining Cass, my career goals were to secure a full time job in London. My initial areas of interest were management consulting and FMCG, but most importantly finding a job that was dynamic, where I could always learn, with fast career progression and strong values.

On a professional level, I attended seven one-to-one appointments with career coaches, which helped my career and recruitment preparation. I also attended five professional development workshops with various focuses, from CVs and covering letters to preparing for assessment centres and behavioural questions. These seminars were vital for my application process, especially the two employer presentations – both had line-ups of great guests, like current employees and HR reps, who gave me  practical advice about the recruitment processes of their particular companies. I also attended many of the events hosted by the Cass Consultancy Society, such as seminars and panel sessions with top experts in consulting firms an opportunity to network with many employees.

A key piece of advice I have regarding the recruitment process is to start early (around September/October) and be well-informed. I am an international student and, for this reason, finding a job was more challenging for me as I need sponsorship to work in the UK. After applying for many jobs and doing several interviews, I also realised the importance of networking and of forging professional relationships. A referral from an existing employee significantly adds to  your application. It is very important to practise as much as possible, to be comfortable with yourself and to be able to play to your strengths.

Overall, my experience at Cass was very enriching. I had the unique opportunity to meet people of various nationalities which allowed me to understand cultural dynamics and diverse approaches to doing business. I also enjoyed very much working with my study group as we all come from different backgrounds and brought new perspectives, making our work more comprehensive. Another thing I liked about my studies was its practical implementation, like for instance the consulting and strategy seminar working with Bain that simulated a real-life business scenario. And then, on a personal level, the trip to Florence was incredible as we explored one of Italy’s most iconic cities as a cohort, which made many nice memories. It was very nice to get to know my peers more in detail and in a different setting. This trip definitely created stronger bonds between us.  I really look forward to our reunion at the graduation ceremony so we may celebrate our achievements together.

After my master’s at Cass, I am joining Gerson Lehrman Group in their London office as a client solutions analyst in their two-year graduate programme. I am really looking forward to joining GLG as it is the world’s largest membership network for one-on-one professional learning.

Valentina Delgado Buitron, MSc Management (2019)

 

 

Keep Calm & Trust Cass Careers

After one long year of brainstorming, I finally decided to quit my Senior Actuarial Analyst job at AXA XL Catlin in New Delhi and begin an MSc in Actuarial Management at Cass Business School.

Like most of my peers, I aspire to work in the UK and I’m keen to explore the various routes to employment here.

Two weeks into the course, Cass gave us an opportunity to meet more than 60 employers under one roof at the Cass Careers Fair. Here, we could network with an array of leading companies: Aviva, KPMG, Deloitte and many more.

Before the Careers Fair, we were given access to online sessions and workshops on how to make the most of the event. Looking back, it really helped me understand the application process of the companies that interested me.

The Cass Careers Service organises weekly sessions to enhance our employability. In those sessions, they address various topics like the preparation of CVs, covering letters, interview skills and sessions on industry-specific knowledge.

I made sure I attended each session at least once and they turned out to be very helpful in the application process. Moreover, the Cass Careers website has a real-time update on graduate jobs in different industries in the UK market, making it easier for us to keep track of opportunities.

I was invited to a telephone interview with KPMG. Afterwards, I had to record a series of answers and send them back by the end of the day. I had classes until 3pm that day, so I went to Cass Careers immediately afterwards. Although I’d not booked an appointment beforehand, they assigned an expert who helped me refine my answers until they were perfect and ready to be sent off.

As of today, I’ve been invited to five video interviews (stage three of the applications process for many companies). I’ve made it this far thanks to the Cass Careers Service. The detailed guidance and feedback at every stage– from drafting application answers to psychometric tests – really makes it easier.

The Cass Careers Service employ experts who have worked in the industry for more than 10 years, so they understand better than anyone else what makes your application stand out from a pool of thousands of other applications. Soliciting their advice throughout the different stages of the application process is really helpful.

So, if you enrol to Cass, then you can be confident and trust their Careers Service.

Sambhav Jain,  MSc in Actuarial Management (2019)

If you have any questions for Sambhav or any of our other student ambassadors about the student experience, visit our Ask a Student page. 

Heading Out

This year’s induction sessions began on the 17th of September 2018. As a MSc Actuarial Management student, I expected numerous lectures throughout the week involving a lot of mathematical calculations, group assignments and the inevitable long hours at the school library.

For the most part, this is the expected life of an Actuarial student. But Cass Business School provides way more than that for its pupils.

Our weekly timetable includes a module on Professional Development. Again, I expected this to be a typical lecture series which theorised about competition and personal development. However, the course turned out to be a very practical module, drawing upon the wisdom of experts in various fields.

One of the most popular sessions held was titled ‘Networking with Fun, Confidence and Professionalism’, hosted by Sue Tonks from The Career Farm. Surprisingly, as mathematically-minded actuarial professionals, networking is not exactly a natural skill for us! It is something we would rather avoid in favour of complicated spreadsheets and data models.

However, with the increasingly global reach of most professions and the requirement to engage with a wider variety of stakeholders, it is something we must all do at some point.

The session was led humorously by Sue, who also provided many key insights into the following matters:

  • How to prepare effectively for a networking session: this involves everything from logistics to emotional and physical preparation;
  • How to break the ice when meeting new people: acceptable topics include asking where the other person is from, how do they know the host, what brought them to the event, and the weather (always a safe topic in London);
  • How to discuss business matters: enquire into people’s current interests and plans and generate a conversation from this;
  • How to work the room: engaging people with courtesy and politeness and, importantly, how to join and leave groups;
  • How to maintain contact after the event: keeping in touch by exchanging business cards or contact information.

As the module is available for all Cass students, I highly recommend attending, even for just one key insight. Other useful professional development sessions included: ‘How to Effectively use LinkedIn’, ‘Write Effective Cover Letters and CVs’ and ‘Building Industry Awareness’.

Heading to Middle Earth

As hinted above, weather in London can be dreary and cold for most international students. I recommend taking a day trip outside London; that will cure some of those weather blues! Me and a few classmates visited both Warwick and Oxford one weekend in October. Here are some highlights:

  •  Our visit to The Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick: Originally founded in 1123, the church is a treasure of Gothic architecture. Nearby, J.R.R. Tolkien (author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, for all the non-middle earth fans) married Edith Bratt at another Warwick church, St Mary Immaculate, in March 1916.
  • Visiting Oxford: Exploring some of the locations from the Harry Potter films is a must, and so we paid a visit to the famous Oxford University colleges. Most famous of all is Christ Church College, that inspired the design of the Great Hall in the Harry Potter movies. At Christ Church, both muggles and non-muggles are welcome to visit!

Joan Wanja Mungai, MSc Actuarial Management (2019)

Assassin’s Creed, Armani Silos, and Pinocchio – it must be the MSc Management study tour of Italy

The Arctic freeze that recently swept across Europe didn’t prevent 172 MSc Management students from travelling on their annual study tour in February. The study tour is a non-credited option in term two that provides students with an alternative experience to traditional classroom-based education.

Students had a choice of either visiting Florence to learn more about the wine industry, culture and art or to Milan where design, branding and the luxury goods sectors were the main focus.

Tours were led by four Italian Cass faculty. Professor Davide Ravasi and Dr Alessandro Giudici guided students in Milan and Dr Simone Santoni and Dr Paolo Aversa in Florence. Each of the faculty was able to share stories and their local knowledge via passionate storytelling which brought to life the country they call home.

The Florence study tour started with a day trip to the enchanting Tuscan hilltop town of San Gimignano which was the location of Assassin’s Creed, the massively popular mixed-media franchise.

Students then roamed the picturesque streets and squares, browsed the local shops and ate award-winning gelato while walking among the town’s famous medieval towers. After lunch the group visited the Fatoria Poggio Alloro vineyard, where they were able to taste world renowned wines such as Chianti Classico.

The second day was spent in Florence, a city noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture. Students visited the Galleria dell’Accademia Museum which displays Michelangelo’s “David” as well as The Uffizi Gallery which displays Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation”.

Students who chose the Milan study tour visited the Kartel and Alpha Romeo museums as well as Galleria Campari and Armani/Silos, a new edition this year.

Armani/Silos is a fashion art museum which showcases Giorgio Armani’s career in fashion. Armani is the most successful Italian designer ever and is fondly thought of as the patron saint of fashion having designed a gospel book cover for the Pope, as well as uniforms for Milanese taxi drivers and the police force.

Students later visited Terrazza Triennale, a rooftop restaurant with a magnificent view to listen to a guest speaker talking about design.

“We hope that our study tours are a refreshing and fun experience” says Course Director Dr Joanna Zaleska. “An option to take part in a study tour enhances social skills as students spend time with peers outside of the classroom to explore new things together. The Cass master’s study trips are about experiencing the real world and provide a learning experience that is creative, lively and encourages new friendships.”

Joanna Zaleska
Director, MSc Management 

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