Asylum and Refugees: A View from Greece

Arts and Social Sciences News.

MariaAs the refugee crisis continues to hit Europe, and Greece in particular, former asylum worker and Greek national Maria Repouskou (MA in Global Migration, 2012) talks about her experiences:

To say 2015 has been a big year for Greece would be an understatement. A collapsing economy combined with vast numbers of asylum seekers searching for an escape from war in the Middle East arriving on Greek soil has pushed the country to the brink.

Greece is in a difficult location geographically, situated where Asia ends and Europe begins, meaning that it’s often the favoured arrival point for many travelling into Europe seeking refuge or asylum. Recently, this has meant the country has been overwhelmed with people fleeing oppression who now remain in limbo. These people are both here, and not here, unsure of what tomorrow may bring.

It is undeniable that, although this is a very topical issue, it’s also a recurring issue in Greece, only now with the added security threat. This has turned up the heat on the cauldron of fear, crisis and response and has led to the number of people granted asylum plummeting, the population becoming more fractured, and policies ever more confused.

The question of human rights is now posed against the backdrop of the security of the country that accepts the asylum seekers, adding to the already challenging question of national cohesion. The Greek population was already polarized between those with compassion fatigue, and those who don’t see it as a question of immigrant numbers or border control, but one of simple help to fellow human beings. Recently, a great number of Greeks have been moved to be part of the humanitarian aid, but this response isn’t enough. What is really needed is policy change.

Currently, the immigration and asylum policies are designed in a way that means they actually perpetuate the very problems they are meant to be combatting, and the root cause of the issues are being completely ignored.

I understand there needs to be a balance between control over borders and security and the humanitarian response, but the current security measures mean that the asylum seekers are now seen as a threat the country needs protecting from, rather than as displaced peoples requiring protection.

The border controls seem to be targeting refugees as people to be got rid of or moved on, and migration specialists support these controls, which are ultimately doomed to fail. Not looking at the root cause of the issue, only means the migration routes will change, not end the refugee crisis.

Greece lacks a coherent immigration policy, an issue in itself, which is being exacerbated by current reforms happening in a reactive fashion, without any proper agenda-setting. This means that in the aftermath of the reforms, with more people continuing to flow in, and an already cumbersome bureaucratic system,these new measures are effectively deporting people as personae non grata. All whilst assimilation and integration, and the issues arising from such influxes, are being pushed further down the agenda across the EU.

With the situation growing ever-more hostile towards refugees, morality and respect for human dignity is on the decrease, and detention centres seem to be creating the same oppression that the asylum seekers were hoping to escape. At the same time, the media is exacerbating the hostility of the Greek population, by portraying the crisis in a solely negative light.

In downtown Athens, Victoria Square has become a camping space. If you happen to pass by you can see the recent arrivals, short on medical aid and living on a paltry diet, wondering what will happen to them now. If you were there, would you pass them by?

Grievous human rights violations, inhuman and degrading treatment, terrible facilities, racial violence and inertia is the perfect storm of the worst way we can treat these vulnerable people.

The policy makers must act fast to tackle this issue from the bottom up and guarantee a safe future for the Greeks, whilst working on co-operative and sustainable policies for immigration.

This will remind us why Greece was the country that lent the word asylon to the modern world.

Maria is one of our International Alumni Ambassadors for Greece. If you live outside the UK and are interested in being  an active member of our alumni community in your home country, please visit our website for more information on how to volunteer.

Fifty year association with City

Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering News.
Students' Union booklet circa 1970 (Photo 1)

Students’ Union booklet circa 1970 (Photo 1)

Post by Dr Peter Harding

It is 50 years since my first association with City. This period coincidentally covers the time from its birth, or transformation, from Northampton College of Advanced Technology until now, when it is proposed to join the University of London. In these 50 years there has been considerable change.

A picture taken from the Students’ Union booklet circa 1970 (Photo 1) shows the view of the Thames looking east (Photo 2). Some two years ago I visited the Shard. I took a photo from a similar angle to the aerial shot. It shows the massive amount of building work that has taken place in the City and the Isle of Dogs (Photo 3).

London has been on a journey beyond anything that could be envisaged 50 years ago.





View of the Thames looking east circa 1970 (Photo 2)

View of the Thames looking east circa 1970 (Photo 2)

My first recollection of City

My first recollection of City was as Northampton College of Advanced Technology, knowing that within a few months it would become ‘The City University – TCU’. I arrived to interview  on a very cold day in December 1965. As I was early, I killed time walking around the local streets for the best part of an hour getting colder and colder. Finally I decided to enter the main building and found it beautifully warm, and wished I had the courage to enter earlier. I was taken to a part of the main building off St John’s Street, where I sat an exam. One of the questions was how you would plan a new road system to go through/around an existing town, as shown on a map. Probably nothing to do with electrical engineering but testing knowledge of systematic, thoughtful decision making! As part of the admission screening process I had already submitted an engineering/science report. I chose to write about the possibility of sending geostationary satellites into earth’s orbit. I am not sure that it was the type of answer that was expected but at least it showed that I was interested in technology. Interestingly, I later worked at the Rocket Propulsion Establishment designing an instrumentation system for testing static rocket motor firings, establishing my interest in the exciting area of rockets and satellite technology which was a hot topic in the 60’s and 70’s.

Recent view of the Thames from the Shard (Photo 3)

Recent view of the Thames from the Shard (Photo 3)

Confirmation of my place

I received confirmation of a place in January 1966, one of the first offers in my sixth form group. This indicated to me that a highly efficient administrative system was operating at the University. Concurrently with obtaining a university place I had to find an industrial sponsor for the six months work experience every year when I was not undertaking study. I settled on an offer from Eastern Electricity Board and found the training very diverse, giving me experience in many disciplines. I now realise that I had an exceptional opportunity including workshop training (where I was able to make a range of tools that I still use); work at a Power Station; manufacturers works in South Wales; planning and construction departments, commercial departments as well as working with engineers, linesmen and jointers and liaising with the public.



City of London map circa 1969 / 1970 (Photo 4)

City of London map circa 1969 / 1970 (Photo 4)


What my experience at City gave me

My experience at City gave me an education in the widest sense of the word. I not only finished my course but also appreciated the annual Gresham lectures; the chance to listen to the lunch time concerts given by the Guildhall School of Music and watch many of the shows based on NASA films about the Apollo space programme. I also became fascinated with the City of London and the student accommodation was ideally located on Bunhill Row,  which I was allocated to in my last year and so was able to explore the City at the weekends (Photo 4). The final year module on Management Studies at the Guildhall was a wonderful experience.



Peter Harding

Dr Peter Harding


50 years since

It has been fifty years since this first interest in the City and now, fifty years later, I have been able to walk around the City to discover again some of the interesting places and small passage ways and alleys that interconnect many of the streets and buildings.

As I have inferred, after working for the Eastern Electricity Board I worked at the Rocket Propulsion Establishment. Later on I moved into education and started lecturing at an FE College and also tutoring for The Open University. I then moved onto what is now known as Buckinghamshire New University. During my twenty five years at this establishment I was able to take part-time courses at City in MSc Engineering (1996) and then a PhD in Information Engineering (2007). My research gave me the opportunity to write academic papers which were published by the ICPR and my research student published by the IEEE and IEE.

I hope I have briefly shown that the changes and developments that have occurred for me have been in considerable part due to my experiences gained at the City.  I have gone from an undergraduate to an alumnus gained two additional degrees, both beyond my expectation some fifty years ago.

My advice to current students:

  1. Keep an open mind – don’t reject ideas out of hand as it is surprising where the next inspiration comes from
  2. Revert to first principle to solve or understand problems
  3. Theory and practice do agree it maybe is your model or measurements at fault
  4. Beware of excessive ‘hype’ as it can be detrimental to good science and engineering
  5. Appreciate the positive aspects of colleagues – shrink the negatives
  6. Understand how your company works and where power lies

From EMBA to New Interactions With Things

Cass Business School News, Uncategorized , .

2015-09-05 20.24.56EMBA alumnus (2014) Patrick Beraud talks about doing an Executive MBA, life after Cass and the fast-paced world of tech start-ups. He is set to launch his first platform, Bemoir, at the end of this month. Patrick is based in Melbourne.

Tell me about your time at Cass!

I studied the Executive MBA, and what I remember most are the two initiation workshops in a fire service school, which was really immersive, and the international electives in South Africa and Vietnam. Those were eyes opening and really transformed me.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about doing the Executive MBA or has just started?

I would say enjoy it while you are at it, because sometimes I look back and feel like, I wish I could re-experience some of those moments again. Although none of those moments I dream of are about submitting an assignment :=)

You’re based in Melbourne now – do you attend many Cass events?

Yes I am in where they call down-under, Melbourne, Australia. I travelled to the Monaco Alumni event in September. For me, it was an opportunity to reconnect with what an MBA has to offer. I really enjoyed meeting up with former classmates or new ones, hearing where they are now, what are they doing and how their stories have changed since they completed the MBA.

What did you go on to do after graduating from Cass?

Well, it was a roller coaster and it still is. I had a business idea well researched, so I started working on it part-time, putting the team together to launch the venture while in parallel I was working in a corporate environment. Then this year in January I moved to full time on my own venture and since then the roller coaster has been much more than anything I expected – I think the right words are, anything I could have ever imagined.

This new venture, it’s called Bemoir – what’s it all about?

Bemoir is an internet-based product using technologies such as NFC, Thinfilm and RFID to give unique digital life to physical objects. Our customers can use the platform to attach videos, photos, and audio to their prized possessions such as one-of-a-kind artwork or collectibles. By attaching thoughts and emotions to their items, our customers can increase the saleability of their products and perpetuate the product’s value.

Bemoir is a fully rich media digital platform with associated iOS and Android mobile applications. To use on a painting, for example, simply wave your smart phone over the painting that has Bemoir tag attached to it, you can reveal the story of the item, providing you a rich enhanced experience through the artist’s eye. Simply imagine walking around every artwork you come across, you can wave your phone at to discover more about it, or at a museum, or at your own family heirlooms.

Our beta platform is live and we are on track to officially launch Bemoir on Thursday 3rd December.

What’s your top tip for anyone looking to start their own business?

Settle in for the long haul, and expect everything to go wrong. But if you want to walk away from the 95%, as Jim Rohn once said, then that should be enough reason for you to start.

What’s next for you?

I have no idea – welcome to the tech startup world! But of course I will make Bemoir a success, so I still have three to five years ahead of me. We’ve given ourselves a big challenge, and that is to give everyone the power or the tools to express their individuality and uniqueness. And that is what Bemoir is for. It is to “be” and it is “moi”. So as you can see, what is next for me is to fulfil that vision. Remember we are just starting.

Finally, it’s the quick-fire question round!
Favourite place in London: East Dulwich Park
Favourite holiday destination: Portugal, from the south to the north
Dream travel destination: Croatia
Must-visit everyday website: I must visit all four at the same time, I don’t know why! They are,, and, oh and sputnik news haha!
Cheese or chocolate: Cheese anytime!

EMBA Alumnus now PR Entrepreneur

Cass Business School News, Uncategorized , .

Simon Barker Barker CommunicationsSimon Barker (EMBA, 2008) has just embarked upon the entrepreneurial life and started his own PR business, Barker Communications, based in London Bridge. We sat down to talk about going back to studying, PR and the unexpected.

Tell me about your time at Cass

First of all, I was introduced to you through Rav Roberts, who was my MBA mentor and did a great job. We’ve met up regularly since then and he’s become a good friend.

Cass was many things, including being hugely enjoyable. I’d been out of a formal learning environment since graduating from Leeds in 1992 – so it was 14 years later that I embarked on my second degree! It wasn’t difficult to get back into studying though, and it was exciting to be in a classroom environment and learning new stuff. It was great to interact with the school’s faculty and to be part of a really engaged group of colleagues, and we generated plenty of good discussions. But being back in an exam room was a bit of a shock!

It was a full-on couple of years and there was a lot of cramming-in of work. I had a very busy role at a PR firm at the time and I was working on the MBA Monday – Saturday, including bashing the books on my one-hour commute each way into the City, but I made sure to have Sundays off (for the most part). When I finished I was sorely tempted to carry on learning – I still might pick up some of my free electives. My third child was born three months after I started the EMBA, and for at least six months after I finished two-day weekends felt like a luxury.

The location of Cass is a great asset, right in the City. It’s a brilliant calling card. When I was there the school was in the FT’s top 10 global ranking for EMBAs. Everyone felt pretty chuffed about that and the school was pleased to give us mugs to show off the achievement.

What about the EMBA trips away?

The very first weekend at the military base in Portsmouth was excellent. It was a case of being thrown in with your new colleagues who came from all across the world and just getting on with it. We went to St Petersburg in the first year, and most of us to Shanghai in the second year. Both places were fascinating and I stayed on for extra time in China.

I studied with a great bunch of people and have made some good friends from the group. Many went through difficult times during their time at Cass, with around a quarter of them losing their job due to the recession.

What was the best thing about your EMBA?

It’s hard to pull out a single best but I really felt that one of the advantages of doing an EMBA rather than a full time MBA was that most people on the course had at least 10 years’ business experience to bring to the party. I think the youngest person in my cohort was 29 when we started.

In the first year all the modules were compulsory, but it was great to be able to focus on your areas of choice in the second year. Most of my year two modules were around finance and strategy and I did my dissertation under Professor Laura Empson on branding elite tier professional services firms – and was delighted to get a distinction.

Do you attend many alumni events?

I used to go to quite a lot, but I’ve been so busy lately I’ve not managed to get to as many. I’ll definitely be making more of an effort in the future because they are a good opportunity to meet people and often learn new things.

How is your current venture going?

Doing the EMBA cemented in my mind that I wanted to do my own thing. I had been thinking about it for some time and the stars aligned making this year the right time to launch Barker Communications.

One of the reasons I enjoy PR is because it’s so influential. If you’re not knowledgeable about something yourself, or know someone well who is, then everything you know comes from what you read, hear and see, so the power of PR and editorial endorsement in particular can have a huge impact on building a client’s business and brand. It’s very rewarding to develop a portfolio of media outputs for clients, knowing that those articles will be read by many people in the client’s target audience; then reviewed online as part of the due diligence process for people or organisations looking to engage with them.

My first business trip since starting up was to Warsaw to meet a financial services company, which is now a client. I’d worked in Warsaw for a few weeks in 1998, and it’s changed hugely since then, following sustained growth through most of that time and managing to avoid recession post Lehman. Other clients include a legal services firm and Silicon Roundabout company, and I’m seeing opportunities across other areas such as consulting, energy and human capital.

My resourcing model is to use a network of highly experienced practitioners, so the pitch is that senior people do the work as well as advise, with clients receiving a better and faster outcome (and experience getting there).

What has been the most unexpected challenge in launching your own business?

To look at it another way, I always knew that it would be important to expect the unexpected and be prepared for that as much as possible. All sorts of people have been in touch and I couldn’t have predicted that I’d be doing some of the things I’m doing. It’s about keeping an open mind to opportunities, being flexible and building that into your business strategy. I never expected my first overseas trip to be to Warsaw, for example.

What’s your top tip for the communications industry?

If you want to get into this industry, be hugely interested in the media, how it works and its various channels. Clearly, social media is evolving quickly, but there is still an enormous role for traditional media because the journalists writing it are trained, experienced and masters of their craft and the demand for these people will always be there. My key places to go for information are the FT, The Economist, The Sunday Times and the Today Programme. And it might seem obvious, but in any service-based business you’ve got to be able to relate to people honestly, helpfully and directly.

What’s next?

Fundamentally, it’s about growing the business and doing great work for clients. The two are very closely linked as doing great work builds personal reputation and referral.

Finally, it’s the Quick Fire Round!

Favourite place in London: The British Museum
Favourite holiday destination: China
Must-check every day website:, the Economist Espresso app (and The Today Programme)
Dream travel destination: Pakistan
Cheese or chocolate? [long pause] Cheese

Considering a career change? Consider Teach First’s Leadership Development Programme!

Alumni Notice Board, Events.

Teach First banner

In the UK today, the link between how much your family earn and how well you do in school and in life is stronger than almost anywhere in the developed world. It doesn’t have to be this way

Teach First are a charity working to end educational inequality. They believe that inspirational teaching and leadership is key to helping every child succeed, regardless of their background. Teach First supports people like you to become revolutionary teachers on their Leadership Development Programme (LDP) in schools across England and Wales.

The LDP is a personalised two-year programme encompassing high-quality training, supportive coaching, and a PGCE qualification. You’ll retrain as a teacher in one of our partner schools, and whether or not you decide to remain in the classroom, the experience and skills you’ll gain will change your life, and theirs.

They’re looking to expand their reach and place more life-changing leaders into Early Years, primary and secondary schools throughout the UK’s poorest communities.

They are hosting a series of presentations exclusively for anyone considering changing career to join their LDP. Their employer presentations will give you the chance to find out more about teaching on the LDP, get your questions answered by their Experienced Hires team, and find out how you can apply for a place in their 2016 cohort.

Visit their website to learn more about the LDP and to book your place today.

Change career. Change lives.

Cass Alumna’s Baby Inspiration

Cass Business School News .

Deniz & Basak
Basak Sen Sasal is a Cass alumna with her own business, Snapsights, which connects parents and their babies via remote monitoring, and via The White Stork, brings the extended family into a newborn’s world in UAE’s major hospitals. She’s also married to a Cass alumnus!

What was your time like at Cass?

I studied an MSc in Management with a specialism in Strategic Management in London, and I actually met my husband whilst we were studying. He was studying for his MBA in Dubai, and we’d interacted on LinkedIn, and finally met when he came to London for an elective and the rest is history. I moved to Dubai after graduating, and he’s been here for eight years and I’ve been here for three and a half years.

What are you doing now?

I am the co-founder and manager of Snapsights, a remote monitoring system for busy parents to keep in touch with their children. We are first in the world to provide such remote in-home monitoring services. Once installed, you get your own operations centre on your laptop, tablet or phone. We also offer a weekly “Happy Moments” compilation email where all the major events of the week are distilled for you.

Where did this idea come from?

It came from my own experiences, particularly my mother, who was a successful businesswoman with a multinational company, but she missed many of my first milestones like my first step, and found that success doesn’t mean as much when you miss out on these days that never come back. In the past, they weren’t even recorded very often.

Plus, one day, on the National Gulf News there was an unfortunate story about a nanny and a baby – putting yourself in the mother’s shoes, I felt so bad that evening! My husband asked, how can technology help here? And the idea was born.

What is your top tip for anyone wanting to start their own business?

The first thing is that you need a good idea that gives value to society. It’s good to be entrepreneurial, but adding value is the most important part. Snapsights gives peace of mind to parents, its corporate users, and recently the hospitals’ patients through our newly launched the White Stork concept where we bring the newborns to the screens of the family and friends living abroad.

The second thing is that you really need determination. There are lots of ups and downs and you need to find a way to keep going despite setbacks. You really need the passion to continue as without this you’ll go nowhere – you’ve got to convince yourself first.

What is next for you?

Snapsights next step is the White Stork concept where we facilitate ‘virtual’ hospital visits to the families and friends of the patients that are all around the World. We use our high-end surveillance system to bring the newborns to the screens of families. It’s received wide coverage in Gulf News, 7Days, Time Out Dubai and more. With 90% of UAE residents actually expats, and today’s globalised world, family ties are much longer and it’s not easy or practical to visit.

For example, my grandmother is 84 years old, and when I have my first child it will be her first great grandchild, and she’s too old to travel from Istanbul, but she would love to see that child. Parents initiate and facilitate the White Stork service through the systems we set at the hospitals and then can be left alone for bonding time, resting time both for mummy and the baby and to keep the germs away as the immune system of the little ones are so weak during the first couple of days. Plans are to expand into GCC, Europe, then the USA, and we’ve already secured some funding for SnapSights. We are part of region’s biggest Investment firm, Al Tamimi Investments.

And finally, the quick fire question round:

Favourite place in London? Kensington Gardens
Favourite holiday destination? Having been in Dubai for three and a half years, and my husband for eight, we miss nature, so our last holiday to Boracay island was just what we needed.
Must-check website? Facebook for social news and LinkedIn for business news
Dream travel destination? I just watched The Martian, and with Elon Musk and his SpaceX corporation being the inspirational leader in this field, I think it’s got to be Mars.
Cheese or Chocolate? Chocolate – absolutely, and without hesitation!


Read more Cass-related blogs here.

Supporting our students to support the local community

City Future Fund, City News.

Post by Ben Butler, Student Development Manager:

Students celebrating Ada’s 100th birthday in local care home

Rida Khan, Karishma Patel and Anjorna Nanda celebrating Ada’s 100th birthday in a local care home. Their project, The Senior Citizens Venture, aims to tackles loneliness and promote the health and happiness of elderly people.

The Student Development Team has benefited tremendously from donations of both time and money from our alumni community. This has allowed us to support even more of our students through professional mentoring and enabling students with a passion for volunteering to develop their own projects.

Our Annual Report 2014 – 2015 tells you more about the work that we have been doing.

We are extremely grateful for the support we receive from the City Future Fund and will continue to develop our work so that current students are supported from the start of their time at City to the point where they too become an alumnus.

If you would like to find out more about how you can contribute to this work, please contact


Making the most of your time at City

Alumni Notice Board, City News.

London Skyline

City University London’s location in the heart of the City of London offers students a wide range of unique opportunities. Georgia Skupinski studied International Politics and Sociology at City and graduated in the summer of 2015. Here is her advice for students joining us this academic year:

Favourite area of London

I have so many favourite areas of London and they’re all so different and diverse, so make sure you explore everywhere you can. Portobello Market is fabulous on the weekend, take a hike up Primrose Hill or the Royal Greenwich Observatory for some great views. Explore the parks, most of them have boats in the summer which are really fun. The museums are free, take advantage of them. The Maritime, Imperial War and the National History museums are my personal favourites. Experience amazing food at Brick Lane market on the weekend, enter the lottery at the theatre – you may win free tickets, go for a run along the South Bank.

London is a city of opportunity, so make sure you make the most of it.

Favourite part of the City campus and place to study

My favourite part of the City campus is the College Building. It’s such a beautiful building and it holds so much history, look it up – the Great Hall was once where the Olympic Boxing was held. I love the College Common room for studying in between lectures, but I am a massive fan of the sixth floor of the library. Everyone respects the ‘silence’ rule and it’s a great place to go and focus.

If you need to do group work, the library has plenty of group study areas that you can book out. I found this really great – far better than trying to coordinate a group study or presentation in a noisy public café.

Places to go for a night out

Locally to City there is a Propaganda held on Friday and Saturday nights which is always a great night out and not too expensive. If you’re considering a more central location, there’s Tiger Tiger, Piccadilly Institute, Loop Bar and Sway – they’re always suitably busy and play everything from chart to 70’s/80’s/90’s music. Camden Koko, in fact the majority of Camden, is great for an alternative night out. If you’re over 21, Infernos in Clapham is a great night for cheesy music. There are so many places to go in London to suit everybody and I recommend the Design My Night website to find the type of night to suit you.

Places to eat

My favourite restaurant is Cafe La Divina on Upper Street, just up the road from City. It’s a great little independent Italian restaurant and the food is delicious while reasonably priced. Oblix in the Shard is also amazing – not so reasonably priced but is great for special occasions, I went there after my graduation.

Places to go for a drink

My favourite bar is either Dirty Martini in Liverpool Street or Madison which is a rooftop bar overlooking St. Paul’s. There are so many bars with great locations in London, so make sure you explore.

Coffee shops

I’m a creature of habit, so my favourite coffee shop is Starbucks, it’s consistently good everywhere I go. However they have managed to bag themselves so many great locations around the City, my favourite being the one in St Katherine Docks overlooked by Tower Bridge. You can sit there and watch the boats go in and out, it’s a really lovely location.

Hidden gems around campus

Tinseltown – I don’t know anyone who hasn’t ended up there at 3am after a heavy night of revision. It’s a short walk from Northampton Square, it’s open until really late and you can eat all the American diner food your heart desires. Nando’s in Angel is also great as City students get 20% off.

There are plenty of great places in Angel to eat – definitely take a walk down Camden Passage and Exmouth Market, both are really close to the University.

Advice for new students starting in September

Your time at University isn’t just about what you learn academically, it’s about you whole personal experience from learning to do your laundry, making new friends, dealing with personal issues and setbacks, to striking the work/social balance. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t get it right the first, second or even third time – you will eventually.

Don’t hesitate to ask for support, go and see your personal tutor or the nurse, mental health nurse if you can feel yourself slipping. University life can be a massive change and City is here to support you.

The careers service is amazing, make sure you use it. I didn’t in my first year so I ended up cramming a million appointments into my last two years.

It’s never too early to start thinking about your future post-City. Think about filling out your summers with internships, you’ll thank yourself when you’re applying for full-time employment or further study after University. Also, see what part-time employment City has to offer. Unitemps and the Ambassador schemes have been a lifesaver for me financially and I’ve really enjoyed myself.

I have absolutely loved my time at City. Your time here goes so fast and I believe that is because I have enjoyed it so much. City promotes such a friendly environment and everyone is very welcoming. As soon as I saw Northampton Square I fell in love and I am sure you will too. I have a lot to thank City for and I hope that you are able to share the same experience.

Meeting new people and make friends

The best way to make friends is to completely throw yourself into everything and attend every event that you can find. Don’t worry if you haven’t found someone to go with, the chances are that the majority of people there won’t know anyone either.

You can also join a sports club or society. You’ll find people here that you have things in common with and that’s a great way to bond. I also recommend the Ambassador Scheme again, as I have made so many friends through this.

Post by Nicola Ranson, Communications Officer

Cass Alumna Wins Prestigious “The Lawyer” Award

Cass Business School News , .

susan cooperCongratulations to CEO and founder of Accutrainee and Cass alumna Susan Cooper (EMBA 2010) on winning “Most Innovative Collaboration with In-House Legal Teams” at The Lawyer Business Leadership Awards 2015.

Accutrainee bridges the gap between graduates, the provision of training contracts and the legal profession, both law firms and in-house legal teams by providing training contracts and then seconding out the trainees. They took on their first trainees in July 2012 after a lengthy process with the legal regulatory body, which was necessary to approve their completely novel approach.

This idea came about when Susan was writing her dissertation on oursourcing in the legal industry. She found junior-level work was being outsourced to India, South Africa and a host of other places that could do the work for cheaper, and also that the limited number of training contracts on offer was leading to cohorts of graduates with no opportunities.

Until Accutrainee was launched, two-year training contracts with a law firm (or in-house legal team) were the only way of getting the required two years of on-the-job training to become a solicitor. This meant, and still means, that competition is fierce, and applications for these jobs can sometimes number over 1,000.

In addition, during the recession, many legal firms cut many of their training contracts, making it even harder to move from being a graduate to gaining a training place.

At the same time, in-house legal teams found their budgets squeezed, meaning that senior lawyers ended up doing more junior work. Add to this that it’s historically been very difficult for them to offer training contracts in general, because without a dedicated legal HR team the applications can soon become overwhelming.

Accutrainee brings one neat and elegant solution to all these problems, offering trainees a route into the profession. They offer the training contracts and then second them to law firms and in-house legal teams, whilst maintaining responsibility for the trainee’s development and regulatory requirements. Secondment could be for six months at four different places, a year each at a firm and an in-house team, or two years at a single firm. This means that trainees typically get a wider breadth of experience, and the companies benefit from the junior post. It’s an idea that seeks to alleviate the inefficiencies and regulatory burden of the traditional route, as well as some of the costs, to make this process work better for everyone involved.

This solution has proved particularly useful for in-house legal teams, who are now freed up to use their senior lawyers more strategically, overseeing the junior roles, with that trainee also gaining valuable experience. It’s easy to see why they won this award!

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