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Care Leavers Initiative – ‘City Cares’

City Future Fund.

Now in the second year of an Engineering degree, Christopher told us:

 

“City Cares supported me and gave me hope and opportunity when I thought there wasn’t any.  They picked me up from nowhere and helped me get somewhere.  I am studying for an undergraduate BSc in Engineering and the help from the bursary is vital.  All the staff are extremely helpful, super supportive, friendly and always keen to ensure my wellbeing.  I thank City Cares and all the donors who have supported it for their dedication, generosity and the great difference that they are making to the lives of the less privileged. I simply would not have been able to do this course if it wasn’t for them.”

 

Indeed, helping young care leavers and estranged students to achieve their academic potential through our dedicated care programme is a priority at City.  Breaking the social care cycle is essential in giving these young adults the chance to see a promising future unfold.

 

With that in mind, we aim to not only attract more care leavers to the University through our outreach work, but when they are here we ensure that they have access to a comprehensive support package that includes an annual bursary, a designated member of staff to offer them practical and pastoral support, priority accommodation that extends through the summer, and, priority for professional mentoring and mental health monitoring.

 

Thank you so much for continuing to make this possible.

The Student Hardship Fund

City Future Fund.

Katie is a second year midwifery student who came very close to dropping out in her first year of study. Solely reliant upon her own finances means that Katie has developed an incredibly strong work ethic, always supplementing her studies with part time work. However, the demands of the midwifery course and the requirement that students must not work whilst on placement – placements are typically around 40 hours per week – took away the capacity to fund her degree. It quickly became apparent that her student loan would not be enough to support her throughout her degree, just about covering the cost of rent but not money for travel, food, bills and vital course materials. Costs and the anxiety that goes with that began to spiral out of control. As Katie told us, “I had reached a point where, if I could not find money from somewhere, I would have no option but to leave my course.”  

 

News of the Student Hardship Fund came at just the right time. Katie applied and received that all-important hardship grant. The award primarily helped Katie to pay her rent but it also provided her with the reassurance that she could afford her travel costs to and from her placement, and also to her lectures. A weight had been lifted from Katie’s shoulders and with the disappearance of the stress caused by financial worries, she was able to focus one hundred per cent on her studies and placement.   

 

The immediate plan is for Katie to complete her BSc in Midwifery and to work in hospitals for a couple of years, rotating through different aspects of midwifery. This will give her further exposure to working with different patients and enable her to work up through the NHS career bands, closer towards one of her long-term goals of, perhaps, becoming a doctor. Furthermore, new ambitions are also being considered. A return to City to complete a Masters in Midwifery (Advanced Practice) and a longer-term view to undertake a PHD in Health Sciences in the area of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is an option.  She is also passionate about working for Sands, a stillbirth and neonatal death charity. As Katie remarked, “I want to specialise in bereavement midwifery because I have had a friend who was affected by stillbirth and I think this is such a vital and often neglected area.” 

 

Katie told us, “I am so grateful to those alumni and friends of the University who donate to the Hardship Fund.  The difference you have made to me is basically the difference between dropping out or staying. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”   

The Student Hardship Fund

Cass Future Fund.

Doyin has recently completed an MSc in Insurance and Risk Management at Cass. But without the help of your donations and the student hardship fund this might not have happened. A highly motivated and driven individual, Doyin undertook her Masters in order to bolster the seven years of experience she had already gained in the Insurance sector. Doyin told us that “I felt my career was nearing a ceiling, and the Insurance and Risk Management Masters was my plan to ensure it didn’t and I could move on up to the next level.”

In order to take on the intensive workload of the degree, Doyin made the courageous decision to put aside her full-time position. Her income was drastically reduced, and course-fees, bills, travel and food expenses soon began to eat into the savings that she had put aside to undertake the degree. It was at this point that the Student Hardship Fund stepped in and supplied her with the necessary funds to continue. “It definitely gave me peace of mind and the ability to concentrate on my studies without the daily and incapacitating worries about money.” Doyin was overjoyed to complete her course last month and would like to say thank you to all those who supported the Cass Future Fund.

Doyin has since returned to employment in the City of London, and is back working in the Insurance sector. She will officially graduate in January 2020 and is very much looking forward to it. Doyin’s immediate goal is to utilise the skills and contacts obtained whilst studying at Cass, broadening her experience in some of the areas of Insurance that prior to her MSc were closed off. Doyin is passionate about driving change in Insurance and is incredibly committed to career development, not only for herself but for those around her too. “I belong to an ethnic minority group that is under-represented in our industry and am involved in encouraging some of these talented individuals into the market, regardless of background.” Doyin reiterated: “the London Insurance Market serves a global client base, and in my opinion, the way to achieve success at this is to foster diverse working environments. Education is great. It evokes thinking and contributes to the much talked about diversity of thought in a workplace.”

Doyin also plans to get involved with the Cass Global Women’s Leadership initiative. Learn more about this here.

Without doubt, the Student Hardship Fund has been instrumental in Doyin successfully completing her course. And it will continue, through your help, to do that for countless future students. Thank you so much for your support.

The CommuniCATE Aphasia Clinic

Cass Future Fund.

At the outset, the Clinic’s aim was to dramatically improve people’s ability to communicate after a stroke. By making use of life-changing interventions through modern technology, the project focuses on enabling and providing vital therapy to those with aphasia. Indeed, for those living with this condition, the Clinic is now ensuring that stroke survivors receive at least six weeks of communication therapy. The Clinic’s reach is also extending with the exploration of innovative models of delivery such as a greater use of therapy and an increase in the number of practical applications that can be run on smart phones and tablets. Through research and publications the Clinic is also making a vital contribution to the knowledge base of colleagues in the NHS and beyond. And let’s not forget the considerable benefits that the Clinic provides to our Speech and Language Therapy students through placements and internships, developing and guaranteeing skills in novel therapies and ensuring that the project is sustainable.

We caught up with Eve, now a graduate, who undertook a placement with the Clinic:

Eve Samson studied for an MSc in Speech and Language Therapy, graduating in 2019. As part of her MSc, she undertook a placement at the CommuniCATE Clinic, and after finishing took up a role with the NHS in Surrey.

Eve thoroughly enjoyed her MSc, choosing City because of its unsurpassed reputation for Speech and Language Therapy. Her path to Speech and Language Therapy came about through previous roles and her first degree. Out of a love of languages, she chose to study Italian and French at Warwick and grew passionate about translation. This passion solidified when she went on ERASMUS in Italy, studying in the north in Bergamo. After graduating she undertook a role with British Airways as part of their cabin crew. Her passion for communicating was clear to her in interactions with passengers and other staff. This eventually led to a big career change decision, and her pursuit of speech and language therapy.

Eve’s placement at the Clinic was alongside three other students, and they worked three full days per week. She was an integral part of the reading and writing groups and quickly realised how essential she and her fellow students were to the clinic’s work and clients. If the students were not there, the clinic would not run. This responsibility made her feel incredibly valued and she rose to the occasion. She was also struck by the superb organisation of the clinic. Things were done professionally and properly and there was clearly a far-reaching impact being made on the clients. Eve places the Clinic’s importance in bringing technology to those who need it the most, and ironically, those who may not have been totally au-fait with this technology before their aphasia diagnosis. That this technology, which is usurping pen and paper, can be brought into the realm of those who truly need it, helping them communicate with family and friends, cutting down on isolation, is essential. As Eve remarked, “the Clinic is innovative, on-trend, and forward looking … Subsequently the clients become forward looking too”. The reactions of the various clients are incredibly emotive.

The essence of what CommuniCATE is trying to do, is captured in the simple words of one of Eve’s clients who was undertaking a writing strand of therapy using an iPad. “You’ve helped me so much and I have had my ability to communicate returned to me!” In particular, he has found the basic ‘Notes’ application particularly helpful. Through setting goals, ones initially very difficult to achieve, his use of this application has now become second nature.

Eve is now working as an NHS therapist in Surrey, dealing with adults who have acquired communication difficulties and swallowing difficulties. She hopes to stay in this field and perhaps explore areas such as dementia and aphasia. Indeed, Eve loves the sense of community in her current role. Staying in a particular area for a long time will give her the opportunity to see the impact of her work and how people overcome their difficulties through her help.

Find out more on the CommuniCATE Blog: https://blogs.city.ac.uk/communicate/

Care Leavers Initiative – ‘City Cares’

Cass Future Fund.

An undergraduate in the second year of her Business Studies degree, Sara is unequivocal about the difference that City Cares and the Cass Future Fund donors have made to her life. She told us:

“Reassurance and confidence are the two things that I get from the bursary and all of the extra-curricular support that City Cares provides. Without that, I may well have thought twice about embarking upon these studies; with it, I feel that I am flourishing and getting closer to my best possible self. I have always been prone to only looking a few months ahead, and that I’m now looking at what I want to do once I graduate, and where I’d like to be in ten years’ time, is something that truly amazes me. I will never take this support for granted, and I thank all those who have donated and contributed to City Cares.”

Indeed, helping young care leavers and estranged students to achieve their academic potential through our dedicated care programme is a priority at Cass. Breaking the social care cycle is essential in giving these young adults the chance to see a promising future unfold.

With that in mind, we aim to not only attract more care leavers to the Business School and University through our outreach work, but when they are here we ensure that they have access to a comprehensive support package that includes an annual bursary, a designated member of staff to offer them practical and pastoral support, priority accommodation that extends through the summer, and, priority for professional mentoring and mental health monitoring.

Thank you so much for continuing to make this possible.

Making the most of your next adventure

Alumni Stories.

Blake ReddyFrom being a Stelios scholar to going into business with easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Blake Reddy (MSc Banking and International Finance, 2012) has now created a new platform – easyGuide – that enables tourists to plan their trips around their interests and book tickets for various activities and experiences.

Find out more about Blake and easyGuide here:

Can you tell me about your time at Cass?

As a Sir Stelios scholar I graduated from Cass Business School in 2012 with an MSc in Banking and International Finance. The experience was probably the most valuable year of education I have had, obtaining a significant amount of industry insight, vast practical knowledgeable versus just theoretical and excellent networking opportunities.

I had my mind set on working in finance and Cass certainly helped with enabling me to successfully pursue a career in the industry.

What happened after you graduated?

After graduating from Cass, I took an investment management role in the City, but found that the pace of where I was at was not as fast paced as I had hoped for or imagined.

Early on in my career I decided to start an investment management firm of my own, focusing on providing high-net-worth private clients with a holistic investment strategy. This decision was a reflection of my longer term goals of owning and building my own business(es).

After six years in finance, I began to see the emergence and growth of tourists enjoying “living like a local”. Airbnb really pioneered this with tourists choosing to stay in local accommodation versus hotels and more recently through Airbnb Experiences.

I ended up choosing to start a new venture with Sir Stelios called easyGuide; a platform that enables tourists to discover and book tickets instantly to hundreds of exciting in-destination activities and experiences.

How did easyGuide come about?

easyGuide was the result of finding a number of pain points when travelling to various cities in Europe and never having a reliable and simple solution to discover the best things to do and instantly book tickets from my phone.

This, combined with the sector as a whole beginning to grow exponentially, led me to pitch Sir Stelios the idea and when it became apparent I could use the easy brand it was an opportunity I felt passionate about and had to pursue.

Sir Stelios is now an investor and shareholder in easyGuide as we look to grow our presence across Europe.

What have been the biggest challenges?

As with all start-up companies, wearing many hats and managing all aspects of the business is very challenging, although it can also be the most exciting.

You have to be good with the numbers to ensure you manage the capital well and allocate resources correctly. You have to be good at sales and marketing to ensure you can raise capital when needed and actually sell your product to customers. You have to be a HR professional, ensuring you find and hire the best talent. You have to be the head of operations and make sure all your systems and controls never fail. The list goes on…

What has been the most rewarding experience?

I found the first six years of my career working in finance to be a mixture of highs and lows; when the sole objective is to generate a return on your client’s investment the actual sense of reward was fairly limited as it was purely monetary.

My most rewarding experience is therefore having the sense of building something with easyGuide which members of the public from around the world can experience and enjoy. When you receive a great review or recommendation from a customer from the other side of the world you know you have actually added enjoyment to someone’s trip.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?

People often tell you to follow your passions. In the literal sense, this isn’t good advice, but it should be considered to a certain extent. Find what interests you and what makes you jump out of bed in the morning. If you’re not excited to start your day then what are you really doing…

Once you have identified those interests start doing your homework and really prepare. We live in a world now where you can reduce the risk to very low levels before embarking on a new journey.

You can test your ideas quicker than ever and at a very low cost, so manage the risk by understanding what works and what doesn’t as fast as possible and iterate quickly along the way.

Your biggest risk isn’t failing, but it’s in wasting time.

Thank you to Blake for sharing his story! If you’d like to find out more about easyGuide, visit: http://www.easyguide.biz

Building a veterinary empire

Alumni Stories.

Dr.AndrewMoffatt-CEO (1)With a long-standing ambition to become a veterinary hospital owner, Dr Andrew Moffatt (Executive MBA, 2011) was determined to make his dream job a reality. Although it was initially a challenge to get a foot in the door, Andrew persevered and is now the CEO of VetnCare, Inc., a veterinary management company, which currently owns and operates seven animal hospitals in California, USA. This number is set to at least double in 2020, following a new partnership with Petco, a national pet retailer with over 1,500 stores.

Find out more about Andrew, his time at Cass and his business here:

Can you tell me about your time at Cass?

My time at Cass, was a pivotal turning point in my professional career. Most of my experience had been in small business units (veterinary hospitals) until I started in May, 2009. I had no formal business training to support my entrepreneurial aspirations. I’d been wanting to go to business school since my late teens. All my studies had been in maths and science, which didn’t afford me time to obtain a formal business education. It was a couple of friends, who were considering business school who introduced me to Cass. I was in London working and it just seemed like the right time. I applied to the Executive Programme and was accepted. At the time, I believe I was the only veterinarian to have applied to the programme. At 26, I was also the youngest in my class.

With a complete lack of corporate experience and business knowledge, I just sat there in awe, learning through diffusion. We had a wonderful class. Thirty-three nationalities, a rich diversity of personas, experiences and views. Our class, was also social, friendly and supportive. It was an incredibly memorable time of my life. I wish I could do it all over again.

At Cass Business School, I developed a real passion for change management. The Entrepreneurial Centre also developed my primitive entrepreneurial flare into something more robust.

It was tough to balance my relationship, day job and business school at the same time. We didn’t have a lot of money in those days. My girlfriend (now wife) lent me her savings (10,000 pounds) to pay for my course one semester when I couldn’t afford to pay the tuition costs. She also supported me through the programme, which was all-consuming.

What happened after you graduated?

The confidence I gained through the programme gave me the strength to take on new challenges.

I’d always wanted to be a veterinary hospital owner. I worked as a senior clinician and multi-site operations manager at various hospitals in the UK while I was at business school. At the time in the British veterinary industry, there was a fierce consolidation battle occurring and I couldn’t get my foot in the door. Disenchanted, I was going to make the move into human hospital operations.

One day that all changed. I received a call from a friend from vet school, Dr. Jerob Leaper, who wanted to buy his great uncle’s vet hospital in Castro Valley, California (Groveway Veterinary Hospital). He didn’t have the operational experience to do it by himself, so we decided to take on the project together. Jo (my wife) and I immigrated to California at the end of 2011. Dr. Russ Hackler (the owner at the time) offered me a job at the start of 2012, and we bought Groveway from Russ in April 2012.

How did your business idea come about?

It was Russ’s incredible legacy at Groveway Veterinary Hospital which fuelled the concept of a larger group. Why couldn’t exceptional independent hospitals collaborate to improve their ability to compete with the big guys? Jerob, Jo, Teresa (Jerob’s wife) and I learned so much in these early days! We made lots of mistakes but never made the same mistake twice. I remember early on, we couldn’t afford to paint the interior of the hospital, so the four of us and many of the staff came in on the weekend and did it ourselves (nourished by pizza and beer!). So many employees (past and present) have contributed so much to get us to where we are now. Shortly after that, we purchased Pinole Pet Hospital. With the acquisition of our second site, VetnCare, the management company, was established by Jo and I in 2013. As the number of hospitals grew, so did the expertise of the VetnCare management team. We’ve got pretty good at this over the last eight years, but still have lots to learn. We thoroughly enjoy every opportunity we get to expand the VetnCare family and have lots of fun doing so!

What have been the biggest challenges?

The thing I found most challenging as the founder of a fast-growing business was getting the work-life balance right. I was so focused on the business and its success that I failed to give the necessary attention to my wife, family and friends. I forgot a lot of birthdays, anniversaries, date nights, weddings and births. I regret this. You can never get these moments back. Going forward I intend to get this right. Be present in every moment. Passionate for every person in your life. These things are so important. Success isn’t worth anything if you’ve got no one to share it with. I’d rather be loved and poor, than rich and lonely.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

The most rewarding part of the whole experience for me has been the way our team has come together. Unfairly, I get all the credit for the group’s success. In reality, it is the amazing efforts of our teams who have propelled the reputation and success of our hospitals. Hard-working people, who are energised and unified by a goal to provide our animal patients and their human parents with incredible, clinical care.

I have a real passion for education. We’ve always tried to provide opportunities for our colleagues so that they can advance themselves. We finance the education programmes for our nurses and provide advanced clinical training for all our clinical teams. Promotion in our organisation is based on the advancement and progression of skills and knowledge.

We have quite a few employees who have climbed our organisation’s ranks through hard work, determination and education. It’s a great feeling to have built the platform that allows these people to succeed. If all our team members can succeed and grow on this exciting journey, then we are on the right track!

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?

The following six principles have been pivotal elements of our success:

  1. Build a reputation in your chosen industry of excellence, fairness, honesty and collaboration.
  2. Become the employer of choice – to become this you need two things – the best HR team possible (best processes, best recruitment strategies), and the willingness to invest in your people – best education, best equipment, best leaders.
  3. Surround yourself with the most talented people you can afford (Accountants, Attorneys, Management Executives, Operators)
  4. Maintain accurate and timely financial statements. Keep a close eye on your business’s financials performance.
  5. Give to your communities and industry – if you give to these two groups, you’ll always get good karma back. Become a Centre of Education for your fellow professionals and students. Support schools and colleges. Give kindly to the charities and NPOs in your communities.
  6. Try to keep control of your company. Especially if you’re in professional services. Avoid private equity if you can. Always opt for a slower growth rate and control, than fast growth, and loss of control. Non-professionals will never prioritise your professional values and goals like you do. Instead, consider joint ventures, industry lenders, angel financing, family financing etc. There’s always a way to find the money!

Things I wish I’d done better:

  1. Hired talented executives to help me, earlier than I did.
  2. Invest equally in your family and relationships. Without them, you can’t be your best self.

Thank you to Andrew for sharing his story! If you’d like to find out more about VetnCare, visit: https://vetncare.com/

An established journalist turned novelist, preparing to release a chilling, psychological thriller that will make you think twice about your neighbours!

Alumni Stories, Uncategorized.

Caroline Corcoran (Periodical Journalism, 2003) thrived as a journalist student in City, doing work experience at a teen magazine where she later landed a job. Through her career as a journalist, Caroline discovered a real passion for interviewing people and learning more about the art of writing. To allow flexibility into her schedule Caroline became a freelancer – this enabled her to dedicate enough time to start writing her first novel “Through The Wall“, a creepy psychological thriller said to be “A rival to Gone Girl for its addictive, twisted plot” by STYLIST. 

For her book, Caroline drew inspiration from her own life, combining some personal experiences with a truly chilling story of two neighbours who can hear each other through the thin walls of their apartments. Creating opinions about each other regardless of having never met, until the protagonist notices that something is off. A book out of place. A wardrobe door left open. A set of keys going missing…

Find out more about Caroline and how she came to publish her first novel here:

Can you tell me about your time at City?

Gladly! I did the Periodical Journalism Postgraduate Diploma (as it was known then) and it was one of the best years of my life. My first year in London, making some of my closest friends, being creative, learning what sort of writer I was (definitely not a news one), doing all kinds of interesting work and laughing a lot along the way.

Utterly brilliant for contacts too, with work experience, jobs and even now. There’s always a certain nod you do when you meet someone else who went to City, I think…

What happened after you graduated?

I freelanced at a teen magazine called Sugar – I had done work experience there while I was at City – for a few months before a Junior Writer job came up which I got.

I interviewed Beyonce among other things and I loved every day in that job and regularly reeled from the fact someone paid me to do it. After that, I worked at various magazines/ newspapers and climbed the ranks to section/ deputy editor level before I decided in 2013 that I wanted some more flexibility and became a freelancer.

How did your novel come about?

I’ve talked about writing a book for a long time and a time slot came along when it seemed possible. it also helped that I had an idea that I thought might work: that bit of the puzzle had been missing before!

Creatively, Through The Wall came from a couple of ideas that I thought initially were separate books but eventually merged together. One was my experience going through fertility treatment, which I thought wasn’t written about honestly enough in fiction. And two was living in a London flat where I heard my neighbour often but never met them and my imagination running wild about what a situation like that might lead to.

Through The Wall is about two women that live next door to each other, hear each other’s lives through the wall of their flats and build perceptions of one another that are far from accurate. Then the situation escalates, and one of them becomes truly obsessed with the other’s life and wants to make it her own.

It’s an examination of how much we compare ourselves to others, and how damaging that can be. I hope it’s also a good, gripping read!

What has been the most rewarding experience?

The whole publishing process. I have worked with a great agent and brilliant editors who’ve all brought something more to Through The Wall. There are similarities with the magazine process that I’m used to – the cover sell, good quality writing, a lot of edits – but there are also huge differences, and I hadn’t anticipated to what extent they would exist.

So learning about how publishing works has been rewarding, as it’s fascinated me for so long. Seeing the cover of my book for the first time (and its international counterparts, as it’s been sold abroad) was a proper dream come true moment.

What has been the most challenging experience?

Time! Exhaustion! I started writing Through The Wall when I was pregnant, then picked it up when I had a newborn. I edited it when I was pregnant for a second time, and when I had another newborn. I learnt to write fast and focus more though, which is not a bad skill to develop when you’re used to procrastinating and faffing about on social media, as we are all guilty of…

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?

Ask around – use your City contacts – and find yourself a brilliant agent.

But before that, get writing and keep writing. Manuscripts loom too large if you stop and leave them for months. Get the words down and edit or delete later. But keep writing and being in the document so it doesn’t start to intimidate you. Oh and take any windows of time you have. Not many people have whole days to dedicate to writing their first book as you’ll likely be working/ studying too so if you wait for those, you won’t start.

Take that half-hour window to start a chapter. Do ten minutes of character work on the bus. Just get going. Personally, I plan chapters – even loosely helps – so that I don’t ever have that sinking ‘What’s next?’ feeling which is another thing that makes you stop writing, when you lose momentum. If you have a plan you always know where you’re going with the narrative, though I know lots of other writers don’t plan so perhaps that’s an individual thing.

Thank you to Caroline for sharing her story!

“Through The Wall” is out October 3rd and is available for pre-order NOW from Amazon and Waterstones.

If you would like to find out more about Caroline’s ventures, please check out her Twitter or Website!

 

Creating an influential business while still studying – how passion and determination pays off!

Alumni Stories, Uncategorized.

With a passion for sports journalism, and the drive necessary to be a successful young entrepreneur, Martin Caparrotta (MA Newspaper Journalism, 2011), together with business partner Kieran Beckles, founded and built The Sport Review website.

Originally having been started as a simple blog on which to practice their sports writing, The Sport Review has grown into an influential fan favourite with millions of page views every month.

Martin learned how to balance his studies and business early to maximise results from both. Soon after starting the website, he gained high-profile attention and received invites to important sporting events.

Find out more about Martin and how he started his business here:

Can you tell me about your time at City?

After having set up The Sport Review during my undergraduate studies, the website gained a small following. My business partner Kieran and I decided to pursue it as a full-time venture after we graduated.

However, I wanted to make sure that I’d be qualified to run the site full time, and also have a safety net if it didn’t work out, so I decided to do an MA in Newspaper Journalism at City.

The course was fantastic, even though it was probably the busiest year of my life up until that point! It really prepared me for life as a journalist. From court reporting to digital journalism, I learnt the skills first-hand that I would need to be able to manage my own publication.

What happened after you graduated?

We started working on the website on a full-time basis and focused on growing its audience. By mid-2013, the site was getting more than one million unique users per month.

We wrote about football, tennis, cricket and rugby union, while also managing the commercial side of the business at the same time. It was challenging at times but it was also highly rewarding.

As well as giving me the tools needed to operate as a digital journalist, the course at City also helped teach me how to think on my feet and while under pressure. We were required to solve problems and come up with solutions at short notice. For example, I often had to prepare for last-minute interviews with experts for news stories whilst having to do research out and about.

The skills I learned from this were particularly useful when it came to building some of the early commercial partnerships that we established with brands such as bet365 and viagogo.

How did your businesses come about?

Myself and my business partner Kieran had set up The Sport Review during our undergraduate degrees, whilst on a year abroad studying in Italy. We both wanted to be sports journalists and were looking for somewhere to practise our writing.

I continued to run the site alongside my studies at City. By that time, we were already gaining media access to some important sports events, such as the Champions League and Fifa World Cup host announcement ceremony.

I remember having to miss the last day of the first term at City to fly to Zurich to cover the 2018 and 2022 World Cup host announcement!

What has been the most rewarding experience?

I remember the first time I attended a Chelsea FC news conference. They were unveiling Andre Villas-Boas as their new manager in the summer of 2011. Most of the world’s media was there, and it was amazing just to be involved, let alone representing my own website.

Over the years, we’ve been incredibly lucky to attend events such as the Europa League final and London 2012 Olympics.

After the continued success of The Sport Review, we launched two new websites in January 2019.

Human Window is a new health, wellness and personal development destination.

helloBARK! is a new resource founded to provide pet owners with information, advice, tips and tricks when it comes to their favourite animals.

Both websites have been growing steadily and they currently have a readership of around 40,000 unique users per month respectively.

What has been the most challenging experience?

The first few months after leaving City were quite challenging. Kieran moved over from Ireland to live in London and there was quite a lot at stake for both of us.

It took time for the site to really pick up and in the meantime, all of my friends from my course at City had landed jobs.

There was plenty of self-doubt during that period, but we just kept pushing ahead – and I’m very glad we did!

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?

It’s a cliché, but you really have to keep believing in yourself and moving forward, even when the times get tough.

If you really believe in what you’re working on, then it’s ultimately down to you to make the dream a reality.

 

Thank you to Martin for sharing his story! If you would like to find out more about Martin’s ventures, please check out his Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/martincap/) Twitter or LinkedIn!

MBA Thesis given the ‘sign’ of approval by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Alumni Stories.

FabrizioFabrizio Nicoli (Executive MBA in Dubai, 2014), shares how his fantastic opportunity to complete his MBA Thesis project at Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s not-for-profit organisation, R20 – Regions of Climate Action, has secured him a representative role in the Middle East.

Find out more about Fabrizio here:

Can you tell me about your time at Cass?

Having lived in Dubai for the last 10 years, I undertook the Executive MBA at the age of 31 at the institution in the United Arab Emirates. This was alongside my full-time employment at the leading conglomerate Group of Dubai. Being a full-time employee while doing the MBA taught me how to optimize my time. This included adding hours of study to my days, finding motivation to study during evenings and weekends for over two years and carrying out the MBA Thesis for an additional period of seven months.

I carried out my MBA Thesis project on finance and strategy at R20 – Regions of Climate Action (R20), a not-for-profit international organisation founded by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, which supports sub-national governments around the world to develop and secure financing for green infrastructure projects.

What happened after you graduated?

During my MBA studies, I became a commercial director of a leading European construction company. Once I graduated, I was then appointed as a general manager there, which involved me setting up a new branch in Dubai. Within five years, our business has gone from a startup level to having work in the Middle East, Singapore, South Asia and Australia.

After graduation, I also had the opportunity to become a representative for the R20 Group in Dubai. I developed a strategic plan, including extensive research on the green investment market and investors’ appetite for sustainable infrastructure projects in the Gulf Region, for the deployment of an R20 regional office in the Middle East.

How did the opportunity to get involved with R20 happen?

My Idea to get in touch with R20 came about in 2011. As soon as I started the MBA, I realised that the masters would provide me the knowledge, the capability, the credibility and the confidence necessary to work in any industry, along with professionals of global companies that before the MBA, seemed to be far away from my profile.

I had the opportunity to first meet Gov. Schwarzenegger at a fundraising event in California in 2008. I later learned he had founded an NGO dedicated to sustainable infrastructure projects which focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Their approach, which essentially consists of “connecting the dots” between local authorities, who want to develop projects which have the technologies and investors and can fund project implementation, was particularly interesting to me in the context of the Gulf regions. I contacted R20’s management and presented my idea to carry out my MBA thesis with them – a strategic plan for the Gulf Region and for the creation of a regional office in the Middle East.

What have been the biggest challenges?

This has been the easiest question to answer. When you have a vision and you are passionate about what you do, nothing is seen as a challenge. The new things learned every day and the small achievements overcome the majority of the daily challenges, even when you have to match multiple cultures, projects or investments between Europe, Arabian countries and Asia.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

The most rewarding experience has been the opportunity to attend high-level meetings with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. This includes when we were preparing for COP21 in Paris in 2015 and at the R20 Austrian World Summit in Vienna in May 2019. The R20 team, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, a number of heads of states and sustainability professionals from around the world were all in attendance. The opportunity to have personally met Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger twice in four years and to have presented him with my MBA project has truly been a lifetime achievement.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?

My personal advice is to have a clear vision of which business you want to do or in which industry you want to work in. Be motivated and passionate about your project and vision, and work hard to be a part of it.

I would suggest not to wait till the end of the MBA course to receive the proposal to carry out the MBA project. It is important to visualise what you want to be before the completion of the MBA, then you can create the necessary connections within the industry. Get in touch with the decision makers of the company where you dream to work at and talk to them about your project. All of this should be done before you complete the MBA.

Thank you to Fabrizio for sharing his success with us! If you would like to find out more about him, follow him on Twitter: @fabrinicoli

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.

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