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A Road to Extinction

Alumni Stories.

Researched and written by the first Director of the Royal African Society, Dr Jonathan Lawley (Administrative Sciences MBA, 1994 and Chemistry, 1996) chronicles the fascinating 100,000-year history of the Andamanese aboriginals and showcases how modern society threatens to wipe out our earliest human ancestors.

We recently caught up with Jonathan who told us all about his recently published book, A Road to Extinction: Can Palaeolithic Africans survive in the Andaman Islands?, and his experiences at City.

Can you tell me about your time at City?

In August 1982, I was taken on by the Rio Tinto company to set up and run a pioneering programme; to train the first Indigenous technical managers for the mining industry in southern Africa. The methodology involved bringing the trainees, all graduates, to Europe for two academic years away from their home environment where for historical reasons, leadership and management were associated in everybody’s minds with white men. The aim was to help gain both skills and confidence through interspersed work attachments at mines and smelters and academic studies involving amongst other things, accounts, economics and management theory leading to a MSc in Industrial and Administrative Sciences.

Arrangements were made by Rio Tinto with City for the academic modules to be under the umbrella of Prof John Donaldson assisted by Dr Sue Grimes and in collaboration with the Business School. I was Trust Director with responsibility for the trainees, arranging work attachments and contributing to the academic programme and briefing the trustees.

As the programme got off to a shaky start, we adopted a tough new approach with work choices made by the company and by the time of the second annual intake of trainees, instead of being a burden to the them, the companies were even more keen to accept trainees because of their hard work and commitment. We sent trainees on three work attachment to 32 companies in the UK, Ireland and Portugal and incorporated trainees from Brazil and Portugal. Besides the success of work attachments, the academic part of the programme was a huge success. Back home, virtually all trainees made rapid progress. We had broken new ground and being much stimulated, I applied and was accepted to do a PhD in 1988.

What happened after you graduated?

On retirement, after winding up the programme in 1994, the World Bank wanted to take me on a secondment from Rio Tinto to apply our methodology to the Russian Mining Industry but that did not work out. Instead, I was seconded to the British Executive Service Overseas as Africa Director. In 2000 I was appointed the first Director of the Royal African Society. Then from 2004 to 2016 I was Senior Adviser to the Business Council for Africa

Tell us how the idea for your new book A Road to Extinction came about?

I was encouraged by Rio Tinto and City to build on our success and to write up the experiences. This includes the data of what was a new ground-breaking approach to addressing one of Africa’s main problems – the dire shortage of investment in the local population to make them competent, confident managers and decision makers

I wanted to help readers recognise the significance of tribes with lifestyles in total harmony and compatibility with their environment, which for centuries, they have fought to preserve against the threat posed by so called civilization. It is the life of our earliest human ancestors from whom we have much to learn. Now exploitative and demeaning tourism is reducing them to humiliating dependency and threatens to destroy a human success story many thousands of years old.

I was fascinated to discover, mainly from two books he had written, of my grandfather’s experiences when he was an administrator in the Andamans more than a hundred years ago. Most recently three things have combined to make the story even more interesting. First was the murder of an American would be missionary on an outer island whose community is the only one in the planet with no links to the outside world. Then in March 2020 came DNA evidence linking the aboriginals, specifically to Botswana, which I know well and now comes a new threat of Covid-19 to the continuing existence of the tribes.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

Seeing former trainees gain real self-confidence, having genuinely understood and embraced the management challenge and gone on to succeed. It was particularly rewarding to see, in an African context, the impression made in the UK of our single female trainee and to witness her subsequent career successes.

What has been the biggest challenges with writing your book?

Overcoming racist cynicism and gaining the genuine understanding of trainees of what management is really about.

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

Understand that there is as much potential technical management talent in Africa as anywhere else in the world.

A Road to Extinction: Can Paeolithic Africans survive in the Andaman Islands? is available now at: https://amzn.to/3f6YpmF. For further details about this book, download this Advanced Information sheet.

Virtual Science

Alumni Stories.

Second place prize winner Zaibaa Patel (Biomedical Engineering (MEng + PhD), 2019), tells us all about her experience of the prestigious Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, including the first-ever 48-hour Online Sciathon. 

Can you tell me about your time at City?

I was at City for 8 years, completing my MEng and PhD. I absolutely loved my time at City; especially the great staff within the department. I can’t thank my PhD supervisor, Professor Panicos Kyriacou enough for giving me the opportunity to embark on a PhD and for training me to be a researcher.

I was awarded a Doctoral Scholarship by SMCSE, where my research focused on optical monitoring and electronic instrumentation. I engaged in a research project that involved the development of an intra-luminal sensor monitoring intestinal viability in colorectal cancer surgery, where I also received a prestigious postgraduate award by the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers.

During my PhD, I was nominated and identified by the university and the Royal Society as a young scientist candidate to apply to participate in the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting 2019, dedicated to Physics. Here I was selected and invited to attend and now considered as a Lindau young scientist alumni.

What happened after you graduated?

I was offered a position at King’s College London as a Research Associate in the Randall Centre for Cell and Molecular Biophysics (Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine). Still staying close to the PhD research area of optical monitoring, I am contributing to research within muscle biophysics. Specifically, I am in a group investigating the molecular mechanism of cardiac contraction through optical techniques. The understanding of how the heart contracts on a molecular basis would aid in potential therapeutics for heart disease.

Tell us about the 69th Lindau Meeting

Due to the pandemic, the annual Lindau meeting could not take place, therefore an online Science Day was held (28 June – 1 July). The online event gathered representatives from all the scientific disciplines of the Nobel prize, and the range of topics and discussions were extremely interdisciplinary this year. Nobel Laureates, Lindau alumni and young scientists from physics, chemistry, physiology and medicine as well as economic sciences came together.

The Lindau meeting also held the first-ever Sciathon. Following the format of a hackathon, Lindau alumni, young scientists and young economists were invited to work on an interdisciplinary project during an intense, 48-hour Sciathon. The topics of the Sciathon were about: (1) Lindau Guidelines, (2) Communicating Climate change and (3) Capitalism after Corona. During the 48 hours, they worked on current problems from the three topic areas mentioned before. In the competition, 87 different nationalities were represented as well as alumni from 24 different Lindau meetings of the last 40 years, and also someone from 1982!

I participated in a project under the topic ‘Lindau Guidelines’. The Lindau guidelines was first suggested by Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, where the guidelines aim to develop and support a new approach for global, sustainable and cooperative open science in the 21st century.

The group project was called ‘authentiSci: Enabling scientists to provide guidance in a post-factual era of media’. This was a proposal of a web extension that would allow scientists to work together to communicate reliable sources of scientific information to the public. Every day science is communicated to the public through media regardless of its accuracy or reliability, but there is no way for scientists to guide the public as they choose what to believe.

In just 48-hours, a group of 8 members, including myself, created a web extension prototype that allows verified scientists to score sources of scientific information and non-scientists to use as evidence of credibility. We were selected as the top 3 finalists and presented our results ‘live on stage’ during the Online Science Days to all Nobel Laureates and young scientists. With amazing projects to compete with, we were awarded 2nd place.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

Our group of 8 individuals came from all over the world. Coming together, immediately identifying our strengths and starting to work was amazing. We immediately bonded and brainstormed ideas online and found ways to always communicate to enable us to have such a practical project up and running within 48-hours.

Yes! In 48-hours, we managed to get a web extension developed, write a report and create a short video to entice the jury! It was remarkable and I was impressed with the hard work we put in.

Now that the Sciathon is over, our project is continuing to advance and it has been a great way to increase my network of researchers. We are still bouncing around ideas and keen to have this extension used frequently. We are seeking for funding bodies, university sponsorship or verification of our web extension and most importantly, researchers who would like to contribute in “verifying” media articles.

What has been the biggest challenge in creating your prototype?

A challenge was to figure out a way to verify scientists who are reviewing media articles and scoring them. We decided the best method to verify scientists was by authorising them access to review articles by signing into their ORCID account. ‘ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier (an ORCID iD) that you own and control, and that distinguishes you from every other researcher’. (https://orcid.org/)

The logistics of the team was a little challenging, since all of us were from different countries; the time zones and working hour had to be managed well. We were literally working around the clock!

Right now, we need to increase authentiSci’s visibility to scientists, the public and bodies who would be interested in helping us. It would be great if people who are interested could follow us on Twitter or contact us through our website.

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

Take every opportunity – don’t miss out.

It’s easy to feel nervous before applying or to feel that ‘It’s highly unlikely that I’ll be chosen’ – you definitely won’t be chosen if you don’t take the opportunity!

Work your utmost best! Once completing the Sciathon, we were extremely happy with the work we produced. Knowing that you put 100% into something, you’ll never be left feeling disappointed or saying ‘I wish I did more or tried harder’.

 

If you are interested in learning more about Zaibaa’s prototype authentiSci or would like to see the Lindau meeting presentation, please explore the links below:

  1. Zaibaa’s City profile
  2. Lindau guidelines
  3. authentiSci 2 minute video
  4. authentiSci Chrome extension
  5. Live on stage presentation

Income insurance for millennials

Alumni Stories.

 

Affordable, Digital and Instant Income Insurance

Reza

After finding the process of buying or claiming on insurance incredibly frustrating, Reza Hekmat (Actuarial Science, 2014) felt it was time to bring the system into the digital-age, so it no longer took weeks to complete! With Spring now fully set up, the team have been able to reduce prices, make income insurance affordable, digital and instant, where customers can buy income insurance straight from their phones and in just minutes.

Find out more about Reza here:

Can you tell me about your time at City?

I studied at City for four years from 2010 to 2014 and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I usually talk about my first year at university as one of the best years of my life. I was at the old Finsbury Halls student accommodations in my first year, which I believe were completely renovated immediately afterward. So, we were the last set of students living in those iconic accommodations. Huge floors with, if I recall correctly, about 20 rooms on each floor. Old and worn out at the time, but I met some of my best friends there and had the best year of my life.

I studied Actuarial Science at the Business School, which gave me a brilliant foundation and opportunities for the rest of my career.

In the academic year 2012-13, I took a placement year and worked at an insurance company called Friends Life (now Aviva) in Bristol. This also gave a huge boost to my experience and career, which I should thank City’s Career Services team for helping set up. I still recommend to everyone to try and get a placement year during their university studies.

What happened after you graduated?

I was fortunate enough to get an actuarial job straight out of university. After finishing my exams, I started working at Vitality, as an actuarial analyst. I worked in the product and pricing team which allowed me to work on some great products alongside brilliant people from across the insurance industry. An experience that is proving to be very valuable now.

I worked at Vitality for five years, qualifying as an Actuary in 2017. I left Vitality in 2019 to work on Spring. Spring is a new provider of insurance, offering affordable, digital, and instant income insurance to millennials.

How did the idea of Spring come about?

We have seen and experienced first-hand, the frustrations that customers go through when buying or claiming for insurance. It was almost impossible to buy income insurance online. It usually involved lengthy phone conversations or filling long forms. In the era of one-click purchases, this really frustrated us.

That’s when we decided to set up Spring. At Spring we have created a simple and fully digital journey, where customers can buy and claim for insurance online and in minutes. Also, by cutting out the “middle-man”, manual forms and phone calls, we have managed to reduce the prices and make income insurance affordable.

What have been the biggest challenges?

Starting the company from scratch meant that our biggest challenge was always going to be capital and finding investment. It took us many months, countless coffees, and numerous meetings to find the right investors for our business.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

Learning new skills. Soon after we started Spring, I realised how much more there is for me to learn. I spent the majority of my first few months learning about different aspects of running a business and learning new skills. From programming and compliance, to marketing and even video editing.

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

I’m still at the beginning of my journey and so may not be best placed to advise anyone. But what I have come to learn is that knowledge and contacts are the two most important assets that anyone can have. I suggest to anyone who wants to start a business or make progress in their career, to learn as many new skills as they can, even if it seems irrelevant to their job at the time, and to make as many connections as possible with the right people.

And to finish off, do you have any other words of wisdom?

Recent events have had an impact on all of our lives and the way we live it. It has made us more aware of our responsibilities towards our hygiene, the environment, and our finances.

And now is the time for us all to take a hard look at the way we conduct ourselves in relation to these and take more responsibility to manage them.

Now that life seems to be returning back to normal, or a new normal, I hope everyone stays safe and look towards the future with enthusiasm and realise that we all have the power to make a difference

Thank you Reza for sharing your success with us! Follow the team on their website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

‘Books for Children That Adults Like Reading’

Alumni Stories.

We Love the NHS book cover

At the height of the pandemic, Thursday evenings became an opportunity for the nation to express its gratitude for the NHS. But when it became apparent that her own children were not entirely sure what they were clapping for, Ellie Levenson (Journalism, 2001) decided a book was needed. Here she talks about life at City, how she became a children’s author and her new book for under 8s; “We Love the NHS”.

Can you tell me about your time at City?

I loved living in London – I shared a flat in Tottenham with a friend from my first degree at Manchester University – and we really made the most of it, going out most nights either with friends or to cultural events. The journalism department had loads of talks from big name journalists and I went to every single one, and at the time the postgraduate courses were small enough that you knew everyone and all socialised together after the talks. Also one of my good friends worked round the corner at Amnesty International which seemed hugely glamorous and we would meet for lunch on Exmouth Market or for after work drinks. Shorthand wasn’t compulsory for those of us on the periodicals course but I chose to do it anyway which meant getting to College for 9am every day so in many respects it was like having a job rather than being a student, and the City name opened doors so there was a steady stream of internships, or work experience placements as we called them then, all unpaid, so many of us worked bar jobs as well. We must have been exhausted but I don’t remember it as such.

What happened after you graduated?

I got a job immediately on a Business to Business publication called The Lawyer. I hated it and also had just split up with my boyfriend who I had met at City, so I applied for a competition in The Guardian called Netjetters. I won the competition and got to travel around the world business class for four months with a weekly column for The Guardian online. This was just at the beginning of interactive journalism, and readers sent in suggestions for what to do in each place and I was expected to engage with this and report back – this was pretty novel then as it was pre-social media.

When I got back, I got a job at the Fabian Society, a Labour Party affiliated think tank, working on their magazine and publications. I loved it – again, a bit like City, we worked hard and played hard, and spent every evening at political events networking and soaking up the atmosphere of the Westminster Bubble. But we were paid a pittance and after two years I left to become a press officer for a charity. This wasn’t me at all and after six months I left with the intention of going freelance, working in a bar if I had to, but I got lucky and applied for a part-time job teaching journalism at Goldsmiths College. I have been there for 15 years now, freelancing part-time for national newspapers and consumer magazines and teaching part-time. Since having children, I have reduced my teaching hours and also changed the focus of my freelancing. I no longer have time to write same day opinion pieces and fast turnaround features, so I have longer term deadlines instead and write books, for adults as Ellie Levenson and for children as Eleanor Levenson. I specialise in making political issues accessible for all audiences, including children, and my most successful children’s books have done just this, first with The Election in 2015, which explained voting and democracy to under 8s, and now with We Love the NHS which explains our health service to the same age group.

How did you become a children’s author?

I started writing children’s books when I had my own children and read some amazing ones and some less good ones, which made me think ‘I can do better than this’. As with journalism, success came with dogged persistence and following leads. I sent many pitches to many publishers and the moment one showed a bit of interest, I pursued them until it became a firm commission. I then set up my own publishers when no existing publisher wanted to publish The Election, which was a great decision as it went on to become a bestseller. My company, Fisherton Press, also publishes work by other authors – our tag line is ‘Books for children that adults like reading’.

We Love the NHS, my most recent book, specifically came about when after a few weeks of enthusiastically clapping for the NHS with my children, now aged 4, 7 and 9, I thought to ask them how much they knew about what it was we were clapping for and it quickly became apparent that a book was needed! It has the same amazing illustrator as The Election, Marek Jagucki, and is also aimed at under 8s.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

I love it when schools invite me in to speak to children about my books and being a writer and it is as if you see the lightbulbs go on above the kids’ heads when they realise a writer can be a normal person speaking to them in a normal way and that it is something they could also do.

What has been the biggest challenge with regards to setting up your own publishers?

Whether to publish each project through Fisherton Press, my company, or seek a bigger publisher with a bigger budget is always a quandary, although I am a control freak so often prefer the opportunity to be in charge that I get from Fisherton Press. Being so small also means no clunky meetings spread out over weeks and months which meant we could get We Love the NHS from conception to completion in ten weeks.

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

When I was at City, my flatmate gave me great advice when I was talking about the kind of career I wanted – which was writing half the time and working in education half the time. ‘Just because no one else does it, doesn’t mean you can’t,’ she said. In fact, other people do also do it, but I hadn’t met any at the time, and it is exactly what I have ended up doing. So I guess that translates to not being afraid to forge your own path. Also, my parents always gave me the age-old advice of be polite, meet deadlines and fulfil the brief and I think that is what nearly all successful people actually have in common.

 

We Love the NHS is available to purchase via fishertonpress.co.uk and amazon.co.uk

Green Banking: a fairer economy for a sustainable future

Alumni Stories.

If you thought being green was limited to your diet and recycling habits, think again! Hanifa Azri (Professional Legal Skills, 2013) is helping to forge the way in ‘alternative self-sustainable green financial systems’ with her search engine Regall11, and we caught up with her to find out all about it.

Can you tell me about your time at City?

After successful completion of my LLB, I undertook the Bar Professional Training Course at City. It was a great experience for me. I met lots of special people throughout the year; I remember Veronica (Ronnie) Lachkovic, who was always around to support us and my favourite lecturer. I mainly enjoyed the advocacy classes and maritime law which is directly linked to some of the projects I am working on today.

What happened after you graduated?

I undertook training in common law and decided to move into the corporate field. I worked in several international law firms (Skadden Arps, and Cleary Gottlieb), mainly on dispute resolution and financial sanctions related matters. I then worked in financial institutions advising on the regulatory and compliance process (The Bank of New York Mellon, HSBC and Europe Arab Bank).

What is Regall11?

Regal 11 is a search engine based on artificial intelligence for financial institutions. Linking Eastern and Western regulations by principles into one. Compliance is at the heart of financial institutions; allowing continuous training and all related tailored mandatory documentation. It helps emerging countries grasp the international regulatory framework, compete in all markets and lead the way toward international regulatory innovation.

How did Regal11 come about?

I was working in a small international bank that used to be a family-owned business with strong leadership. Like most financial services, they were in need of the right technology in order to be more efficient. Whilst we were implementing several regulations at the same time, I brainstormed with a few colleagues and the following week I had created the visual model of what Regal11 is today.

The main idea of HG2 (a green trading platform) was finalised when I met with Fabrizio Francone, Vice-Chairman of Regal 38i83, who was also working on a similar platform. We then started working on the Regal 11 prototype; our regulatory search engine with the help of several astute developers. HG2, OIII3 BANK and Flyup (an accelerator for emerging countries) came later and as part of the new green financial system we have been implementing.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

Meeting unique souls every day, and seeing our dream unfolding. New learning experiences happening continuously and the enjoyment of leading a team of people who share your vision. The prototype of Regal 11 going live was a major event and setting foot in Dubai, UAE is a fabulous achievement. Starting the implementation of OIII3 Bank is also very exciting.

Can you give us a short overview of platforms you just mentioned?

OIII3 BANK ( the first green virtual banking platform): OIII3 BANK is an alternative honest and transparent banking system running alongside the current financial stream based in London, the UAE, and leading the way to green blockchain expansion. Offering real trading opportunities to all emerging countries by the use of a simplified Regulatory Framework. Promoting emerging countries’ leadership in Green Circular Economy.

HG2: HG2 is a green trading platform using human time and influence online as a commodity. It will allow countries to comply with the international mandatory obligation toward being green equities.

FLYUP: FLYUP provides funding to green start-ups from emerging countries through OIII3 funds.  For example, a new virtual schooling system to benefit vocational training for children who think outside the box and fulfilling educational rights all over the world through our virtual portal.

What has been the biggest challenge with regards to your setting up Regal 11?

People are often reluctant to accept new ideas and we were not really taken seriously when we talked about having an alternative self-sustainable green financial system using blockchain or virtual schooling systems. Today people see that we were right and that we have the correct vision for the well-being of our planet.

Why is a self-sustainable system a big deal?

We are all witnessing the end of capitalism and it needs to be replaced by a more equitable economic system,  an alternative system where the actions of individuals and businesses benefit themselves and the society in a more sustainable and equitable manner. A self-sustainable system will allow all of its participants to use their banking power self-consciously by contributing to a more ethical banking system.

The system will allow all participants to be more aware of their banking rights through the usage of self-regulated and transparent tech tools.

It will allow decentralisation of the banking system, providing fairer wealth distribution. It will contribute to the preservation of our planet ecosystem through the promotion of a green circular economy, which is essential to humanity.

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

Follow your heart and your dreams, they are tied to each other for the better.

 

Postgraduate careers update

Careers.

Sarah Juillet, Director of Business School Postgraduate Careers and Professional Development:

Sarah JuilletThe Postgraduate Careers team would like to thank our alumni who, over the past few months, have been wonderful in supporting our postgraduate students with their time for virtual chats, sponsoring MBA Business Mastery Projects and joining us for live virtual ‘coffee mornings’ to share their advice and knowledge. The next year will be challenging in many ways and being part of this community will provide essential support for those graduating and starting their courses this year.

As postgraduate alumni, don’t forget that you too benefit from access to a suite of resources to help support your career and professional development. Through links on your Careers Online homepage you can access alumni resources including: job search advice and resources for company research; industry sector factsheets; interview and selection advice and practice; a suite of expert-led webinars on career progression, career change and leadership; and access to paid-for subscription sites such as PayNegotiation.com. Remember to check back regularly as we will be releasing new webinars and interviews over the summer months.

You can also utilise Careers Online to help you identify and target Business School talent efficiently by posting jobs, or to find and apply for jobs yourself.

For any queries or if you would like to support postgraduate students, please contact cass-careers@city.ac.uk.

Executive Editor of Business Insider Spriha Srivastava (International Journalism, 2009) gives City students the ‘Inside’ scoop.

Alumni Stories.

Spriha Srivastava (International Journalism, 2009), current Executive Editor of Business Insider, recounts her time at City, her role in the University newsroom, working towards deadlines and the lessons she learned that have stayed with her to this day. She inspired our journalism students with her journey and experiences; going from a City student to the Executive Editor of Business Insider,

Speaking to the students about my journey since I graduated from City University took me back to the Northampton Square campus. I remember how we used to look forward to these guest lectures in order to get an insight into the real world of journalism. And so I tried my best to use real-life examples during my lecture in order to help the students understand the challenges and the fun of being a journalist.”    

In these challenging times, learning about Spriha’s career is an invaluable experience for our graduating students; to help them understand the job market they will be facing.

James Rodgers, Reader in International Journalism, (who chaired Spriha’s discussion with students) said,    

“We were delighted to welcome Spriha back to City—even if it was on Zoom this time. The student feedback was really positive. Spriha’s willingness to talk to students even when it is such a busy time for senior editors like her really shows the value of our alumni network.”

As the world has changed drastically in a very short time, Spriha discussed the challenges the current pandemic imposes on journalists,

We live in unprecedented times and the coronavirus pandemic has placed special responsibility on the journalists. We are the carrier of news but before we publish something, we have to be able to understand it ourselves so we don’t mislead our readers.”  

Spriha’s secret behind her successful career is something that is easy to adapt to yourself – hard work and determination:

Being a journalist is a constant work-in-progress. I constantly find myself learning new things. I studied politics and international relations but ended up being a financial journalist. It wasn’t easy but I spent a lot of time reading financial market books, WSJ, FT and others that helped me understand basic concepts that drive the market.”

 

Keeping motivated during your studies and working life

Alumni Stories.

MandeepRecent graduate Mandeep Kaur (Computing Science, 2018) reflects on her time studying at City and how the experience has supported her with entering the working world. Mandeep also provides useful tips for others who are graduating and hoping to make the most of their career.

Can you tell me about your time at City?

My first day at City was an important event in my life, as I was the first in my family to attend university. To me it is an unforgettable day. I first became a student at City when I was 18 years old (2015), studying Computer Science. I entered the City premises with new hopes and aspirations. I was glad to that the city presented a new sight, it was quite different from what I had seen at school. I found all newly admitted students in high spirits. They were all happy to make new friends. This was one of the best things I have ever done, meeting new friends, making memories.

I really enjoyed my course, and the opportunities it’s given me. City is very international as a university. Learning about different cultures and customs, and their differences and similarities with mine, was very interesting, and made for great relationships. Joining different societies, interacting with other students.

Most of my professors and tutors were very good, and showed passion in the subject they were teaching. They were always available for any questions we had too. I felt that most lectures were very clear and straightforward. Overall, City was one of the greatest experiences. Walking down the hall in July 2018, holding a degree in my hand was a milestone.

What happened after you graduated?

After graduation, it was another battle between the next steps to go for a postgraduate degree or take a break have an experience and then come back to studies.

I choose to continue with my part-time job, and start the search with graduate roles. A lot of time was spent on correcting my CV, searching for jobs, hoping to get a call for an interview. In addition, City’s Professional Liaison Unit was very helpful, and provided great insights to review my CV and give me tips on interviews.

In September 2018, I started my graduate role as a Network Planning Engineer at TATA Consulting Services, a prestigious and multinational information technology company. Thus, began the journey of my 9 to 5 working life.

How did you get into your career?

Often, getting a job means you have landed you dream job. During the journey to becoming a Network Planning Engineer, I came to realise that “I was not learning and I was not enjoying the role”. I had to decide to change my job. Do I keep the job where there is financial, job security throughout your life or do I begin to search new roles? Again, it was the process of correcting CV, waiting for interview calls, getting nervous answering those calls and having insecurities about not getting the job. Applying for jobs is quite the process – getting rejected due lack of experience or someone with better grades.

Despite searching for jobs for a few months, alongside working and producing the best work for the company, I received couple of calls. It was time to think about what I would enjoy doing for work, plus the usual aspects of financial, progress security. I landed a role with the Royal Bank of Scotland, as Technical Product Specialist. The role consists of managing stakeholders, including third party software providing internal and external vendors, across multiple time zones. I am also developing an online knowledge base of known issues/solutions to share with colleagues, customers, both locally and overseas. Furthermore, helping to re-design the CRM system to collect comprehensive triage and implementation of product support. My role is fulfilling and I enjoy what I do. The team is amazing and the support around the co-workers is fantastic. I will be continuing to grow my skills sets from communications to product life cycle management and focus on progress with the company or any opportunities that comes along.

Lastly, being visible on sites such as LinkedIn, helped me to progress in my career, do not ignore any message by recruiter, or don’t hesitate to add new people to your network. Growing you network means growing opportunities for yourself.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

The most rewarding experience is when the work you put in is being recognised and appreciated. Overcoming the challenges, set on daily basis or the unexpected.

It is also great to make an impact at work – how the business operates and how your work helped the company to achieve a certain goal.

What has been the biggest challenges to working life?

The biggest challenge was to overcome the fear of what will people think of your idea – how they might react or wondering if it is a good idea to mention or not. You should believe in yourself and express your views and points, where you feel like you have something to contribute.

Another challenge was the rejection from the jobs I applied for. Even though, rejections are part of life we often step back and let the ONE email determine who we are. So, overcoming this is a positive step – if you get rejected, apply for another one. If the role is right for you will get it.

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

I think we should all choose our own footsteps. But I would like to remind everyone, if you are graduating – you do not need to rush into accepting the first job you land. Think, will you be happy doing what the job requires, will you enjoy the job and the environment? Nothing is worth it if you are not happy where you are.

Do not be afraid to take a step back and think about the circumstances again, if you want to change your job, change it! There are plenty of opportunities around us every day. So, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone for help, someone to talk to.

Do not be disheartened, if you have not landed your dream job on the first go. Work towards it, get every experience you can and never be afraid to commit to a new challenge.

Finally, it is challenging to find a job. Make yourself visible on sites such as Linkedln – show your skills, if anyone calls you for opportunities, do not ignore the message. Even if you are not looking for the opportunities, you never know how your future and career can change. Spend time on career websites to see what is around the world, how business are working, what is in demand. However, there is so much competition around us, so just remind yourself to always be ready to take a challenge and convert failure/rejections into learning experience and constructive feedback. Each time you fail or get rejected from a job application, try to remember failure is not the opposite of success, IT IS A PART OF SUCCESS!

Do not compare your progress with others, everyone learns on their own terms.

Enjoy your time at university, take every opportunity to be a part of City. Go out with friends, after all they might be your best man or bridesmaid at your wedding!

How can the global aviation industry chart its way out of Covid-19?

Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering News.

Linus BauerThe travel and commercial airline industry has suffered considerable damage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to recently-released figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global aviation industry is set to lose US$252bn in 2020, with many airlines filing for bankruptcy and slashing up to 90 per cent of their flight capacity.

Linus Bauer (Air Transport Management, 2019) is an outstanding City alumnus, Managing Consultant at Bauer Aviation Advisory, and a Visiting Lecturer on the MSc Air Transport Management programme.

We caught up with him to ask about his perspectives on the future of commercial aviation.

CitySTEM Newsletter: Passengers still have a not unreasonable degree of anxiety about flying, even if they are wearing masks while travelling on aeroplanes and would have completed pre-boarding temperature checks. What further measures can airlines take to lessen their concerns?

Linus Bauer: Health and safety will become an ever-present factor because fear and trust will be the two emotions at the forefront of people’s minds when planning a trip. In the past two weeks we have witnessed new air rage triggers: Airlines breaking their promise to keep middle seats empty; and passengers failing to take precautions by not observing social distancing. Airlines need to be more transparent and confident in communicating social distancing protocol, especially so in the era of social media. Passengers are demanding to be informed through video messaging what airlines are doing to make travel safe for everyone – from preventive measures onboard and special cleaning processes, right through to minute-by-minute changes to flight schedules, etc. Such activities would certainly lessen the fears of health-conscious passengers and those in the 50+ age bracket. When people do not feel that an airline adequately respects their health and safety, they will quickly find one that does!

CSN: With the ever-deepening crisis in global aviation and major airlines filing for bankruptcy, is government assistance the only option?

LB: For a large group of major airlines across the globe, government assistance is the only option for their survival. In Germany for instance, the reinvestment of stabilization funds with special loan schemes from the previous global financial crisis offers the best solution for German stock corporations like flag carrier Lufthansa.

CSN: With current low oil prices and the correspondingly low demand for travel, will airfares become more affordable for travellers?

LB: Due to the fuel hedging activities at the end of 2019, the majority of airlines will, unfortunately, not benefit from the low oil prices at the moment. Airlines have been reporting massive losses in fuel hedging as fuel prices have plunged. The market-to-market losses from surplus hedges also arose because capacity cuts resulting from COVID-19 have meant that the fuel consumption needs of airlines will be lower than previously anticipated in the next fiscal years. Coming over to the demand side, the airline industry will suffer less demand in the next three years.
Due to technological advantages (e.g. video-conferencing) and economic recession (bankruptcies of companies), business travel will be limited to meet essential needs and a portion of business travel may never return (5-8% reduction in the medium-term). Those events (capacity cuts, reduction in demand and higher fuel costs than anticipated) will contribute to an increase in air fares in the medium-term. However, we may expect cheaper air fares for a limited time period at the very beginning, and methods will be devised to stimulate traffic and demand during the recovery phase.

CSN: Are there any specific geographical areas or travel markets of the world better prepared to return to normality?

LB: Normality is not likely to return before 2023. That said, I believe that countries like Australia and New Zealand have a geographical advantage and have done a great job of cementing links between themselves during this pandemic. A Trans-Tasman travel ‘bubble‘ will be established as soon as it is safe to allow flights between both countries. If it works well, they may consider inviting the Pacific islands and Singapore to join it. This model could prove to be a good example for the rest of the world to kickstart travel between countries on a step-by-step basis.

CSN: Will the airline industry be changed for the better? Given the role that government and private finance may contribute toward the restructuring of airlines, could COVID-19 force already poorly managed airlines to become more efficient?

LB: Every single crisis leads to new opportunities to improve things. What were viewed as the errors of the past can now be rectified. After receiving a wake-up call from this crisis, much more attention will be paid to issues like sustainability and the environment, leading to higher operational efficiency for the future.

CSN: How will the pandemic affect the pilot training pipeline?

LB: Pilots, flight attendants and gate agents are the groups most directly impacted by the sharp drop-off in passenger demand since the pandemic swept across the globe and essentially halted air travel for millions of people. The COVID-19 crisis has transformed the worldwide shortage of pilots into a surplus of them. The current crisis has changed everything, including carriers furloughing pilots by the thousands due to the deep cut in capacity for the next three years.

This interview was conducted as part of the CitySTEM Newsletter June 2020. If you completed your degree at City’s School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering and would like to receive the CitySTEM newsletter, please ensure we have your correct contact details by using this form

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