City Alumni Network

Brewing Up A Dream

Alumni Stories, Cass Business School News.

group shotTom Miller (TM), James Cartwright (JC) and Chris Mortensen (CM) studied their Executive MBA at Cass from 2012 to 2014. Now, alongside their full-time roles, they mentor Cass students, and over the past 12 months started up their own craft beer company, Elemental Brew House.

We sat down over a beer (obviously) to talk with the team about dealing with HMRC, their love of brewing and how they fit it all in!

Tell me about your time at Cass!

(TM) We all started at Cass together in March 2012, to do our Executive MBAs. We all came from different fields. James and I were in the same working group in our first year and Chris was in a group we worked very closely with. We were a very close-knit cohort who worked hard and played hard, and in doing so we formed very strong bonds which will last our whole lifetimes.

(TM) During our second year at Cass, we moved over to 200 Aldersgate and left Bunhill Row behind. Chris and I took modules in how to Fast-Track Ventures and New Venture Creation, because we had both always had the idea that we would want to launch a venture at some point. (CM) I also studied lots of strategy.

(TM) A lot of our venture creation coursework was so relevant. For example, we had to interview two similar businesses, one which succeeded and one which didn’t, and Chris and I chose coffee in East London – which is very relevant to the brewing industry but ahead in timeframe. I did lots of learning then that was useful for our proof-of-concept launch. We also created our business plan as part of a coursework.

(CM) I specifically enjoyed Fast Track Ventures with Sam Kamuriwo. We learned a lot about growth versus speed, pitfalls etc. The main conclusion I took away from that elective was you need the right team and the right mix of skills. It really sowed the seeds for our idea and our approach. I also learned all the marketing tools and methodologies such as customer segmentation and behaviours, frameworks and foundations and we used lots of the theory in our launch. Even getting our license we used a framework from Sam’s class.

You’re now offering MBA students a chance to work with you?

(JC) We have developed a very deep relationship with Cass, and we all wanted to open up the opportunity to current students to get their Business Mastery Project (BMP) underway with us for our new venture. Tom, Chris and myself have strengths in several fields but we are also able to recognise where our gaps lie. As a result we are offering a really great opportunity for a current student at Cass who wishes to learn more about digital marketing and launch strategies. Our BMP is focussing on a detailed analysis of the London based craft ale market, customer segmentation and profiling, along with the development of optimised launch strategies for our product range. You will also get to know the process of beer making along the way.

(TM) We love to give back – we all mentor current students – and lots of people don’t know what they want to do for their BMP. I was sponsored by my company so I did my project on them and Chris and James had ideas too, but not everyone does, so we wanted to offer something to benefit them. If things go well this year then we will no doubt come back next year and see if we can offer another opportunity.

What did you do after you graduated?

(TM) We all went back to our full-time jobs in different industries and are currently running the ‘Elemental’ business in our spare time. We graduated in June 2014, did our proof of concept in 2015 and had our official launch about four months ago in October 2015.

(TM) Chris and I were the original partners, but we always wanted James to come on board. He recently joined us back in 2016 so we are now all co-founders at Elemental Brew House.

(CM) I remember we started talking about this in October 2014 over dinner! We were all finished and back doing our normal full-time jobs – it was nice to have not so much to juggle. (JC) and then our flagship product won a prize!

Your beer won a prize?

(CM) Brewing has always been a real interest of mine, I’ve been home brewing for at least 10 years. (TM) And he got us interested, because we liked the idea of brewing beer for ourselves to consume! We brewed this particular beer at Chris’s house (CM) and in February 2015 submitted what is now one of our flagship beers, Pamplemousse, to this home brewers’ competition. There were about 380 entries, and we placed in the top 10. A prestigious judge said in a special comment that ours was his favourite and the feedback was that it was very highly regarded. It validated the product and created the ground swell.

(CM) I got Tom and James in to brewing in our first year, and after this we kept having conversations about the best things to make. We want to appeal to each person’s palate so we did a lot of testing. We went from homebrew, to thinking about what gives us an edge, to proof of concept from August to December in 2015. We were successful and last year started looking for brewing location. We chose a place in Edmonton in Spring 2016, then had to get a license, and started brewing there in October 2016.

(TM) We have been brewing commercially for over a year now, but we recently moved in to our current premises in Edmonton as this allowed us to step up in production scale from 150 litres to 850 litres. We recently completed our first brew at this new scale and all that remains is to label it and it will be ready to sell.

What’s been the biggest challenge?

(JC) HMRC! The taxation regulations and VAT all take so long. There are some helpful videos around but at a certain point you just have to grind through it.

(TM) Yes HMRC had obstacles! We had plenty of advantages from our fast track venture course but as a small business we’re struggling because there are no economies of scale, for example in negotiations with suppliers. We’re definitely trying to start lean and learn the business!

(CM) We literally have do to everything. We’d love to outsource but at the moment it’s cheaper to do it ourselves, although maybe not as cost-effective from a time point of view. We all work full-time so fitting it in can be tricky. Luckily we’re now licensed and when we move to even larger premises it will just mean an adjustment to our license which we can deal with when that moment comes.

(JC) When we were in MBA mode we would come and study and do our full-time jobs. Now we’re back to working full-time and doing this at evenings and weekends, so personally I’ve had to dust off those time-management skills again!

(CM) Yes I agree! And now I really enjoy the different combination of physical things – work is not just sitting in office. We have to move big grain sacks, and brewing is a physical process in general, which is part of the draw (TM) for all of us! (CM) It’s creative and a work-out plus when you add the financial management, marketing, sales and more, it’s akin to doing the MBA. It’s all good stuff, and great to have a good balance with the physical and the intellectual.

(JC) To create a batch we have a brewing day which means an early start to get water boiling and grain dispensed and after many hours of effort you have flavoured sugar water! Then you have to wait two weeks for it to ferment before you can package it up and then two more weeks for it to mature in the bottle or in the keg before distribution.

(TM) It’s all done by hand – the bottling, the labelling, we even hand-stamp the best-before date. It’s really crafty, there is no automation (yet!) and we even try to deliver it ourselves too.

What’s next?

(TM) Next week we’ve got tastings with buyers to talk about the tasting profiles and to make deliveries.

(JC) In the near term we are planning a formal launch event and we are actively working with various venue owners across London, so watch out for details of that coming soon.

(TM) We recently supplied to a photographer for an event, so we want to do more of that sort of thing. The complexity is in finding time to do it all and not to let it affect your day job. We all live and work in different areas of London, and brewing is in another location completely, and storage yet another.

(CM) Logistics is fun 🙁

What has been your most rewarding moment?

(CM) For me it’s definitely seeing someone drink a beer with Elemental on the side.

(TM) At our launch party for the proof of concept at Shoreditch BL-NK, at one point we had the Mayor of Hackney and our beer on stage and he couldn’t stop drinking it! The event was great, we got feedback on taste and also tested our market position with a choice of two labels by going person to person. It was really useful feedback and our biggest event so it was great to be there personally.

(CM) Our first brew for the proof of concept was quite stressful! We did an American amber called Ombre, which is the same as we’re planning for the launch this time.

(JC) Chris and I have Engineering backgrounds so as youngsters we used to build things and then take them apart again to see how they worked and that was fun, but we are both now at that stage in our careers where it’s all about laptops, meetings and sitting behind a desk. At the end of the brewing day you feel shattered but you can also see all the beer you’ve just created, and that’s very cool.

(TM) We have tried to develop beer that satisfies all our palates. It’s great when you do a taste test with people and you say, drink this beer let me know what you think – and they say well, I don’t normally drink beer but I loved it! It’s really rewarding! We try to make beer people like rather than (JC) something like cardamom and clove! (CM) Maybe for Christmas (joke)!

(CM) I personally like what we brew these days, I’m not interested in really hoppy IPAs wars with everyone.

(JC) I’ve been trying to get Chris to develop a rice beer, (TM) Chris is our Master Brewer (JC) because there is a growing trend in China linked to President Xi’s ambition for China to be a sporting hub by 2025. The connection between beer and sporting events is well documented but if you want to drink Chinese-style beer, the flavour profile is one dimensional. Therefore we have a chance to develop and augment rice beer and introduce more structure and complexity to a very popular product.

(TM) The challenge is that our passion is making beer and for us it’s all about producing high quality product, but we also need to sell it. Currently we’re also struggling with doing our HMRC returns!

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

(JC) I came to the MBA journey quite late in my career. I’m definitely older than Tom and I do have regrets about not doing it sooner. You have to have the courage to take that leap. If you feel something is not quite right, all is not well at work, do some quiet analysis and if the solution is to go back and return to study don’t worry about the cost – it will happen.

(TM) Planning but never actually doing it is textbook!

(JC) People get stuck in the mind-set that they will do it next year, but there is always something stopping them – look hard enough and you’ll find a reason not to make that leap. Change your perspective and look forward, invest your time and effort and you’ll get your reward.

(CM) For me it’s about belief. Get an MBA, further yourself and start to create. Then you can better contribute and believe you can actually achieve something successful. For me it’s all about valuing your own time and your abilities

And finally, it’s the quick fire question round!

Tom James Chris
Favourite place in London: East London, I’ve lived there for 10 years Blackfriars on a Sunday at 7am Richmond Park
Favourite holiday destination: Sicily SE Asia, particularly Shanghai & Hanoi Nepal
Must-check everyday website: Twitter for sports news Bloomberg NY times
Dream travel destination: South America The 5 mile radius around my home Everywhere! South America, specially the Andes
Cheese or chocolate: Chocolate. Chocolate coffee stout is my favourite! Cheese Chocolate

If you would like to order some Elemental Brew House Beer please contact You can also follow them on Facebook and on Twitter @elementalbrew.

#CityJournalism40: Mickey Carroll and Lucy Palmer

#CityJournalism40, Alumni Stories, Arts and Social Sciences News.

As the journalism department prepares to celebrate its 40th year, alumnae Mickey Carroll and Lucy Palmer took time out of their busy (but exciting) schedules to tell us a little bit about their student experience at City.

So student life at City, what was it like?

Mickey: I loved it at City. I joined in 2012. When I first got to London, I came from the fields in Cheshire, my dream was to just live in London and be a journalist at some point. So, I got here and I was full of enthusiasm. I emailed my favourite journalist at the Guardian and wrote ‘I’m at City and it’s very exciting’. And then I went for the most awkward coffee in the world with him. That kind of spurred me on so for the next 2 years.

I was really keen – I was keen the whole way through but I was working for lots of local newspapers and stuff and became really obsessed with journalism. I got on really well with my tutors. So that was useful.

I went to Denmark in my third year – I was studying TV foreign correspondence. I arrived thinking I was going to be in a city like Copenhagen. But when I arrived I realised, ‘this is not Copenhagen! This is Aarhus’ – which is a tiny tiny town, smaller than the town near me where I grew up.

At first I just freaked out completely and then realised that the course was amazing. It’s one of the best course for TV foreign correspondence in Europe. I ended up really loving it and got to meet the most amazing people and just had a great time. I came back and worked in the industry for 6 months; part-time at the Economist Educational Foundation, part time at an all-female production company and a month at the Sunday Times.

Lucy: My three years at City were probably the most challenging and rewarding years of my life. You’re in London so, although it’s expensive, if you want to be a journalist it can be full of really unexpected and rewarding experiences.

I think the best thing that City gave me would be the skills I’ve needed to do what I’m doing right now. The course put us under pressure in terms of deadlines, and expecting a lot from you. The support from the lecturers was amazing. They really genuinely invest in you as a student of theirs and they want you to do well.

I think City helped me realise that, if you’ve got the drive to do it, you can be a journalist. I came from an arts background so went to university a bit later than most. At the time I really wasn’t sure what I was doing, or if journalism would be right for me. I walked into City’s journalism department and immediately thought, this is exactly where I want to be. Still, to go from making puppets and strange light instillations to journalism was terrifying. Thankfully, in my first week I’d written an article about a homeless charity that got homeless artists’ work up in cafes in central London. It ended up going into City Magazine – I was so excited and remember thinking oh my god maybe I can actually do this journalism thing.

Mickey: One of the great things about City is that the tutors are so well connected and they helped to put me in touch with other people. And I’m still in touch with lots of people from journalism.

Any advice to current or future journalism students?

Lucy: I would say just do as much work experience as you can, take opportunities and really push yourself because it doesn’t get easier. You will never have more time when you graduate and whilst you’re at uni you have a seriously amazing safety net and support network.

Mickey: Make the most out of the lectures and the lecturers because they will help you immensely if they think you want it, talk to everyone and take every opportunity.

Mickey and Lucy are now both journalists at The Economist Educational Foundation.


New Year’s Honours 2017

Alumni Notice Board.

Congratulations to the following alumni who have all been named in the New Year’s Honours list 2017:

Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

• Caroline Miller, MA Cultural Leadership 2009
Executive Director Orlando Ballet, Lately Director, Dance UK.
For services to the Arts.

• Caroline Ross, PG Dip Law 1998 & Professional Legal Skills 1999
Lawyer, Department of Energy and Climate Change.
For Legal Services to International Climate Change Negotiations.

Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

• Dr Howard Leicester, Measurement and information in Medicine Research 2004
For services to Improving Patient Services in the NHS.

Image credit:

Tallying it Up

Alumni Stories.

When Pravina Pindoria graduated from BSc Child Nursing in 2004, little did she know that she would later launch a start-up that would improve the work-life balance of many! Here she tells us how Tallyfy is set to change complex routine processes ‘into an easy-to-follow checklist’.

Can you tell me about your time at City?

I really enjoyed my practice placements across schools, wards and clinics at prestigious institutions in a vibrant multicultural area. There were plenty of opportunities presented to network with the brightest professionals in healthcare and education. This taught me one of the most valuable skills – the ability to communicate with and relate to anyone. The course was well balanced to enhance our critical thinking skills in the workplace to make sure we came out asking why for everything that was done in our professional life.

What happened after you graduated?

For the first 10 years, I worked at London’s leading hospitals, carried out international clinical trials abroad, and trained health care teams in rural Africa. I noticed a common pain point and decided to try and fix it by starting my own startup – Tallyfy. Tallyfy is simple, yet powerful workflow and process management software for teams who want to automate and track repetitive tasks. Tallyfy is now headquartered in the US after we received funding from Silicon Valley. Tallyfy is being used across many industries – pharmaceutical companies, universities and nonprofits to track and improve customer onboarding, implementation and approval processes, so that people can focus on their real job roles. I hope we’ll be helping people in the NHS very soon!

How did Tallyfy come about?

Throughout my journey of bedside care in hospitals, working at state-of-the-art research facilities and teaching in under-resourced areas, I noticed one common problem – bureaucracy and paperwork came in the way of professionals trying to do their job – whether it was caring for patients, training employees or innovating. All the places were using badly designed, expensive and hard to configure software and creating workarounds with excel sheets and paper forms. In an age where people had smartphones at home with user-friendly apps to make life easy, I thought this simplicity must be available at work. So, I started working on Tallyfy, an easy-to-use web application that transforms any complex distributed process into an easy-to-follow checklist, so that everyone involved in a multi-step process can see exactly what they need to do, how and by when, and also track the progress of any process in real-time from anywhere in the world, without asking anyone.

What has been the biggest challenge with regards to Tallyfy?

Not getting paid is not fun. Funding is always a challenge for most early stage startups, especially in an expensive city like London. I realised that we had to validate the idea before we even got serious funding. So in the meantime we were looking to move to wherever the cost of living was low, where there was less competition to get a business to test Tallyfy and where we could get initial seed funding. I relocated to South America and the USA, as the first funding we received was $40k from Startup Chile in Santiago, Chile and $50k Arch Grants in St. Louis, Missouri.

When we started out, we were dead set on the technology being used in healthcare, but we quickly discovered that there was a lot of red tape involved in selling to this market and that it would require a lot of patience and custom development. We found that our solution gained traction in small-medium enterprises (SME) in other industries – legal, accounting, online service businesses for customer onboarding and implementation to improve customer retention. These customers had an obvious pain point and a small sales cycle and therefore we decided to pivot to serving this SME market to get initial revenue. We planned to target healthcare at a later stage. We are even thinking about entering the enterprise market around digital transformation.

I have not practised nursing for 3 years now as running a tech startup is a full-time job. I do miss working closely with children and their families, I’m still very passionate about the field.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

I love that what we have created with Tallyfy is improving the quality of someone’s work-life by making routine work simpler and faster to do. It’s wonderful knowing Tallyfy is also creating jobs for people where getting employment is difficult.

I believe that taking a risk and being an entrepreneur has exposed me to invaluable experiences that I would not have been presented to me otherwise. I’ve been invited to international trade delegations, spoken at gender equality and minority inclusion panels and invited to share my story and hopefully encouraged those students and professionals looking to start their own business.

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

If you’ve studied for one career and ever thought you’d like to try something else, well you can! Your skills are applicable and valuable in more places than you probably realise. Never say ‘no’ to an opportunity that is presented to you. Say yes, apply for it, rejection may hurt but it’ll teach you precisely what you need to know and do to succeed the next time.

If you have an idea on a way to improve something at university or work, speak up about it, become obsessed with the idea and don’t let it go until you find a way to convince someone to join you to help you make it happen. Infect others with your ideas.

I was always the quietest and most shy person in class, I learned to network later in life. I’d say – learn to network from a young age, pull out your hand, smile and just ask a simple question. You’ll be surprised where it takes you. Always, always follow up with and stay connected with people you meet even if it’s to say ‘nice to meet you’, you never know when they could be helpful to you later in life. Surround yourself with people from different ages, backgrounds, interests and skills – great attributes from all these groups will rub off on you.

Finally, it’s the quick-fire question round!:

Favourite place in London: Brick Lane
Favourite holiday destination: Elqui Valley, Chile
Must-check everyday  website: LinkedIn and Mixpanel (it’s for geeky user analytics)
Dream travel destination: China
Cheese or chocolate: Dark chocolate please




Top 10 tweets and posts from 2016

Alumni Notice Board.

You have been showing us a lot of love on social media this year,  so as a reminder of what you liked, retweeted and shared, here’s our Top 10 tweets and posts of 2016…


Cass Alumni Social Media Round-Up 2016

Cass Business School News.

It’s been a busy year for everyone, so we’ve created a whistlestop tour of our 2016 social media posts, so you can get the year’s best bits all in one place.

Read more #Cassat50 interviews here.

And finally, here are some things you could have won!

Sorry – all these competitions are now closed.

SPOTLIGHT: Maureen McIntosh, (Counselling Psychology, 2014)



Our alumni are really amazing and we want to share their achievements with the world! In the SPOTLIGHT this month is Maureen McIntosh, (Counselling Psychology, 2014).

Since graduating with a Doctorate Degree in Counselling Psychology from City, University of London, I have been elected Chair of the Division of Counselling Psychology (DCoP) in July, 2016.

I have worked for the NHS full-time for 14 years with older adults since qualifying in 2002. I sit on a number of different committees: The North Thames Faculty of the Psychology of Older People, the Black and Asian Counselling Psychology group, Workforce Planning Advisory sub-committee, Unite Applied Psychologists’ National Organising Professional Committee, Presidential Taskforce, and I am the facilitator of the NHS Psychology Network which is open to all Applied Psychologists. Over recent years I have co-authored a book chapter with Dr Afreen Huq (Consultant Clinical Psychologist) about Professional and Ethical Issues in working with older adults (Handbook of Professional & Ethical Practice for Psychologists, Counsellors and Psychotherapists by Tribe & Morrissey; 2015).

My doctoral research about Older Adult’s Experience of Psychological Therapy was published in the Counselling Psychology Review (June 2016) and I am a co-editor of the Culture & Diversity Booklet. On 25th July I travelled to Yokohama, Japan for the ICP conference (31st International Congress of Psychology). I presented my older adult research there as part of a symposium called: ‘Listening to the voices of older adults to improve psychological health and well-being. I believe it is important for Counselling Psychologists to disseminate their research as part of our continuing professional development and it also strengthens us as scientist-practitioners.

Over the last few years I have developed an interest in poetry and recently my poem ‘This Gathering of Women’ was chosen as one of 100 winners selected for the National Poetry Anthology 2017 to be published next year. In addition, my poem entitled ‘Poetry’ will be published this month in Moments of Inspiration to showcase the work of a group of poets.

Shortly before taking on the role of Chair, I presented at a Career talk event (June, 2016) at the BPS to those interested in training to become Counselling Psychologists. I enjoyed answering questions and meeting those that attended as this also helps me to understand the views of future trainees. I was invited to present at the 27th workshop for trainees and undergraduates which is a DCoP trainee event (July, 2016) to talk about ‘The Centrality of Cultural & Contextual Factors in Psychological Therapy: Working with Older Adults in Mental Health’, Those in attendance were curious about my work with older people and I learnt from others as they shared their perspectives on the elderly.

My Chair role keeps me very busy but I was invited to participate as part of a panel for ‘Psychologists’ Live’ in Manchester which is organised by the Black and Asian Counselling Psychology group (BACPG). The event is in a Question Time format to offer our thoughts, opinions and professional expertise to live questions and via emails. I am also looking forward to being part of a DCoP short film arranged by our Training Lead to “showcase what Counselling Psychologists do to reflect the broad range of work that we engage in across the UK”.

I believe it is important to become more visible as Counselling Psychologists to dispel myths about who we are as a professional group and the knowledge and skills we hold. Being more visible can mean we are seen and heard, which can make us influential in shaping important issues. When I say yes to different tasks and roles (ie: public speaking, leadership, writing etc) I don’t always feel confident, however I am learning that with courage, by rising up , facing my fears and trying new things I am learning to be confident and I am also representing Counselling Psychology by putting myself out there.

I am very proud to be the Chair of this Division and with the expertise of the Executive committee and members, I intend to work hard to support the Division as it continues to grow.

2016 Research Round-Up

Cass Business School News, City News, Health Sciences News, Law News, Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering News.

City, University of London produces high quality research on an incredibly broad range of topics. We have put together a quick overview of some of the top research stories from the Insitution in 2016. For all the latest news please go to the Research homepage.

Inspired by Airbnb

airbnb sign

We all know when a new business comes along and disrupts the status quo, but how do they do it? Cass PhD student Tatiana Mikhalkina and Professor Laure Cabantous have had their research “How do innovative business models become the exemplars for a new category of firm?” published in Business Model Innovation: How Iconic Business Models Emerge. This explores how a new company emerges and the power of iconic business models. Read article.

More excuses to keep playing video games

ps3 controller

Stop feeling guilty about how much time you spend with your PS4 or Xbox. Dr Irene Scopelliti from Cass Business School has published research on decision-making bias and the use of video games. The paper, published in Policy Insights in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, explored ways to improve upon traditional methods of training designed to reduce bias and improve people’s decision-making ability. The research team developed two interactive computer games to test whether they might substantially reduce game players’ susceptibility to cognitive biases. Full text.

Online dating in The Independent

man with smartphone

The saying goes “there’s plenty of fish in the sea” – but what if the fish send you unwanted explicit messages? Laura Thompson, a PhD student from the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism, tackles just that and has had her research published in The Independent. The feature explores the issue of why some people choose to send graphic images to other website users without consent and looks at how different genders interact on dating websites and how this links to offensive or insulting behaviour. More details.

A better measure of obesity?

waist measuring

If you’ve ever worried about your BMI, it’s time to give that up and measure your waist-to-height (WHtR) instead. Dr Margaret Ashwell, Senior Visiting Fellow at Cass Business School and her colleague Sigrid Gibson, have proposed this new measure in BMJ Open. The research found that 35% of adults judged to be OK using the current measure were found to have higher levels of some cardio metabolic risk factors when using the waist-to-height ratio (WHtR). These risk factors can be early indicators of health problems including diabetes, heart disease or stroke. Full information

Cancer costs keep adding up even after a decade

operating theatre

The cost of cancer treatment on the NHS is a hot topic, and new research from Dr Mauro Laudicella and Dr Brendan Walsh at City, University of London shows that even a decade on, cancer survivors cost the NHS in England five times more than someone without the disease. This study was commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support and published in the British Journal of Cancer and it reveals that hospital care for the average patient diagnosed with the four most common cancers (breast, colorectal, prostate or lung cancer) costs the NHS in England £10,000 in their first year of diagnosis – but nine years on is still costing £2,000 a year. Academics from Imperial College London also contributed to the report. Continue reading.

UK creativity on the up

coloured lights

If you’re looking to get in to the creative industries, the UK outperforms the US and Canada. Professor Andy Pratt, Director of the Centre for Culture and the Creative Industries at City, University of London, was part of the team behind a report for the charity Nesta titled “Creative Economy Employment in the US, Canada and the UK”. The research showed that employment in the UK creative economy grew at 4.7 per cent per annum on average, between 2011 and 2013 – faster than the US (3.1 per cent). Read on.

High praise for gender balance research


Leading figures from the BBC, Sky, Channel 4, ITV and Channel 5 joined politicians in praising City research into gender imbalance on the country’s top news programmes. Professor Lis Howell is running an ongoing study of the proportion of women experts, reporters and presenters in news programmes. This issue was discussed at the Women on Air conference, which highlighted the lack of women on television and the radio. More here.

Augmented reality

computer simulated augmented reality

Augmented reality can now help you choose wine by overlaying information on the bottle, and is opening the door for brand new ways to enhance online shopping. Professor Ko de Ruyter, Professor of Marketing at Cass Business School, said, “Companies such as IKEA, L’Oreal, and BMW have already added AR applications to their frontline service delivery.” The team’s research shows that adding AR into retail systems could reverse deep-rooted consumer dynamics and helps the customer to make choices that are more consistent with their personal goals. Fast-forward to the future.

Taking your phone to bed causes harmless blindness

man in bed with phone

Have you experienced that temporary blindness from spending too much time using smartphones in bed? A new study by academics from City University London, Moorfields Eye Hospital, King’s College London, and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, seeks to raise awareness for physicians and reduce costly investigations, while also reassuring patients. Although ‘temporary blindness’ sounds alarming, the experience is completely harmless, and not confined to smartphone use, but due to the wide use of smartphones in bed, has been most commonly observed in connection with them. Read on.

Malnutrition and obesity on the rise

apple with world map

The 2016 Global Nutrition Report was Co-Chaired by Professor Corinna Hawkes of the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London, and it reveals insufficient progress in the fight against all forms of malnutrition. Forty Four per cent of countries with data available (57 out of 129 countries) now experience very serious levels of undernutrition as well as overweight and obese adults. Despite good progress in some countries, the world is off track to reduce and reverse this trend. Professor Hawkes said “One in 12 people globally have diabetes now, and nearly two billion people are obese or overweight. We must stem the tide.” Find out more.

Gender stereotypes strong in infants

boy with car

What have you got for the little kids in your life this Christmas? Something ‘gender appropriate’, or something that breaks those stereotypes? A new study from academics at City University London and UCL found that children as young as 9 months-old prefer to play with toys specific to their own gender, according to the research in Infant and Child Development. The paper found that in a familiar nursery environment significant sex differences were evident at an earlier age than gendered identity is usually demonstrated. It continues that boys and girls follow different developmental patterns with respect to selection of gender-typed toys due to both biological and developmental-environmental differences. Continue reading.

How easily can you spot an online lie?


Spotting an online lie is now easier than ever thanks to a team of academics who have designed an algorithm that can detect lies in emails. The research team from Cass, Westminster Business School and Catholic University of Louvain developed the algorithm by identifying linguistic cues of deception found within online communications such as emails. The full paper, ‘Untangling a Web of Lies: Exploring Automated Detection of Deception in Computer-Mediated Communication’ is published in the Journal of Management Information Systems. Read further.

Men still dominate sports journalism


Despite some high-profile female sports presenters arriving on our screens in the past decade, the story is not the same throughout sports journalism. Professor Suzanne Franks, Head of the Department of Journalism, highlights why the number of women working on the sports desks of UK national newspapers has not improved over recent decades. The study, by academics at City, University of London and the University of Huddersfield, asked journalists why there were not enough women in the field and found aspects of the modern media climate could be hindering progress. The findings were published in the US journal Media Report to Women and built on their previous study which was conducted after the 2012 Olympic Games. Find out more.

Worldwide attention for City economist

mutual funds headline

The Wall Street Journal cited a research paper co-authored by a City economist which showed a link between national monetary policy changes and decisions by investors to withdraw their money from investment funds. Professor Gabriel Montes-Rojas is one of three academics behind a study that found that sudden actions by central banks, such as the US Federal Reserve, can have significant effects on the behaviour of investors and this can result in financial instability in bond and equity markets. Continue this article.

Virtual reality world helps stroke recovery

screenshot of programme

Impaired speech and language following a stroke has profound consequences for quality of life. The effects on personal and social relationships are particularly devastating, with loss of friends commonly reported. New research shows a virtual reality world called EVA Park can help, according to a paper published in PLOS ONE by academics at City, University of London. It shows the potential for technology to play an important role in improving the everyday lives of people with aphasia, which is a language disorder affecting about one third of stroke survivors. Further details.

Men 25% more likely to get a payrise

money v gender

The gender pay gap has been big news in 2016, and this report from Cass Business School, the University of Warwick and the University of Wisconsin is helping to shed light on why it persists. The paper confronts the previous theories, which have all been based on reasons why women might be reluctant to ask for an increase in their pay packet. Co-author Dr Amanda Goodall at Cass Business School said “Ours is the first proper test of the reticent-female theory, and the evidence doesn’t stand up.” In fact, their report shows that females do ask for payrises, but are less likely to get them than men. Keep reading.

Cass leads the call for financial reform

number crunching exec

A Cass Business School report for New City Agenda says that Britain’s financial regulators must change to avoid sleepwalking into another financial crisis that will have a devastating effect on our economy and political system, and that crucial changes made following the 2008 economic crash are already being watered down. Get the details here.

Boko Haram’s media strategies studied

map showing Nigeria

Reserach from Dr Abdullahi Tasiu Abubakar shows how the changing media strategy of Boko Haram reflects their change from a peaceful movement in 2002 into a violent insurgency of 15,000 fighters. Published in a chapter of Africa’s Media Image in the 21st Century and based on interviews with individuals who have had first-hand dealings with Boko Haram, the research found that the organisation rose to notoriety through their long-standing commitment to self-promotion, barbaric activities, effective communication with journalists and the western media’s “obsession” with jihad-related stories. More information.

Chinese M&A in the UK

handshake with UK and China flags

Cass has published innovative research into Chinese M&A market, focussing on acquisitions from China to the UK from 2012 to mid-2016. During this time Chinese companies began making frequent acquisitions in the UK. With the growth of Chinese outbound M&A activities and their foreign direct investment (FDI) becoming increasingly important to the world’s economy, the research is both timely and useful in examining whether these investments create value to shareholders of the acquiring firms and which factors will drive performance. Continue reading this arcticle.

#Cassat50: Dr Brian Shegar, 1979

#Cassat50, Alumni Stories.

brianDr Brian Shegar studied BSc Banking and International Finance, 1978 followed by MSc Finance, 1979. He has since gone on to work in international banking, and currently lives and works in Singapore.

Why did you come to Cass?

It wasn’t Cass then! It was the Centre for Banking and International Finance, which was an independent centre (not a faculty) that was part of the City University and not the Business School. The Centre was initially headed by Professor Geoff Woods and after a year it was taken on by the Lord Brian Griffiths (then Professor). He was from the LSE and was noted for an important monograph about competition in the UK banking industry. Back then there were only four clearing banks; an oligopoly that badly needed competition!

The BSc (Hons) in Banking and International Finance attracted a large number of applicants due to the close linkages between the City University and the City of London – the world’s largest international financial centre. I was attracted to apply for this course arising from Singapore’s aspirations to be an international financial centre coupled with my interest in this area.

Back in those days, we were competing in the rankings with the likes of Loughborough and Bangor in Wales – but no one was as bold and as visionary as we were! Also we were close to the City and could tap in to City’s expertise and prestigious institutions. Since the degree it was founded by economists, it initially had a strong weightage on economics and a lesser focus on finance. However this evolved over the years into a well-defined and structured programme.

What was your experience of studying at Cass?

There were 24 in our maiden cohort, from all over the world. I came from Singapore, there were other international students from Malaysia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, South Africa and elsewhere. It was great to be a small and cosy group and we were close to our lecturers, some of whom are still around eg Professor Roy Batchelor, Kate Phylaktis.

It was an enjoyable experience. We had most of our lectures at Gloucester Annex where the centre was based and some lectures in the main University at St. John Street. The only problem with the programme is that it was misleading in its title as Banking & International Finance, because it was mainly economics! After graduating I had not really been exposed to finance proper so I enrolled at the Business School (CUBS as it was then) and did the MSc Finance – which was quite specialised.

I graduated in 1978 from my BSc and I missed the Mais prize by one mark! Then I obtained a fees scholarship for my MSc thanks to JF Chown & Company, a leading international financial and tax consultant based in the city. I was introduced to JF Chown by Professor Brian Griffith and I have been in contact with my sponsor ever since! It was a good programme and we studied accounting and finance, insurance, operational science, corporate strategy and portfolio management. Again we were a small group, this time based largely at Lionel Denny House, at the Business School before it moved to the Barbican.

It was a full one-year programme and I graduated in 1979. We had lectures and exams followed by a thesis. Upon graduation I have had a little bit of contact with lecturers and fellow students. However what is truly impressive is to witness the phenomenal growth of CUBS into Cass Business School which is recognised as one of the leading centres for Business and Management Education in the UK. Additionally the linkages with the City have been further enhanced.

What is your favourite memory from your time at Cass?

The degree convocation at City University back then was a great ceremony in the Guildhall – totally unforgettable. It was a small University and we had an intimate convocation ceremony in one of the most historic buildings in the country. We were called one by one and had to kneel in front of the Lord Mayor of London who was the Chancellor and he would hood us personally. So my Bachelor’s convocation ceremony was certainly a highlight, although I was unable to attend the graduation for my Masters convocation.

On the whole, University for me was about the people. To be honest, the University was based in a pretty run down building in St. John Street. Gloucester Annex, which is where the Centre for Banking & Finance was located, resembled a converted warehouse office building. Back then Angel Islington was pretty depressed and not a very nice part of town, unlike today – it has become a trendy and upmarket location. London itself is an amazingly interesting and multi-cultural society with a rich history. Within London, the City with its one square mile of financial institutions from all over the world had a certain aura that mesmerized me as a banking student.

How did studying at Cass change your life?

In Singapore, after my A’ Levels, it was compulsory to do two and a half years’ military service, so I was older than the rest of the cohort by two years, and I think that made me more mature. This exposure to life after schooling helped, and it was good to not go straight to University. Coming to London to study after military service was an expensive proposition but it was a great way to learn banking & finance. And with hindsight, it was the best thing that I did!

My whole London experience changed my life because I was part of the ecosystem in London and could take advantage of it. I did some internship in the City and was exposed to some of the brightest people I have met. The depth and breadth in the City is awesome and it is the world’s leading financial centre. It moulded my future and passion and interest in the profession of banking and international finance.

My degrees launched my career – thanks to the learning, the exposure and the experience. I started at Midland Bank and Samuel Montagu in international and merchant banking largely in the Asia Pacific region where I worked for 15 years. Subsequently I established a Regional Branch of Nedbank covering the South East and South Asian. Then I moved out of banking to run a hedge fund, following which I returned to banking to establish the regional office of Emirates NBD in Singapore, covering the Asia Pacific Region.

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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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