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Category Archives: Alumni Notice Board

Exercising Ethically

Alumni Notice Board, Alumni Stories, Cass Business School News.

In the dawn of the paper straw and the reusable coffee cup, it’s no surprise that Gareth Evans (MBA, 2017) and his business partner Joe Lines, saw a gap in the market for truly sustainable, high performing, ethical activewear. Here Gareth tells the story of his new venture Peak+Flow; activewear that is kind to the earth but tough enough for your weekly HITT session.

Can you tell me about your time at Cass?

When I decided to study an MBA, I had a very clear goal of leaving my career in sales, and wanted to develop a deeper understanding of how businesses work. I didn’t know what field I wanted to move into precisely, but I felt that an MBA would help me to explore my options.

Cass Business School ticked all the right boxes for me due to its excellent London location, which was near my work and home. Plus, the fact that it offered an Executive MBA programme allowed me to fit study around my busy work schedule.

What happened after you graduated?

The day I handed in my Business Mastery Project, my company changed my role, so I achieved my aim of getting out of sales on the very day I finished the programme; a brilliant return on my investment.

Since then I have, along with my business partner, gone on to grow a consulting practice and also to launch a new sustainable activewear company, Peak+Flow.

How did Peak+Flow come about?

Gareth and Joe


Peak+Flow was born out of three simple realisations which developed over time:

Most activewear was created using materials that were damaging to the planet. Our options were to either buy from established brands who occasionally pay lip-service to sustainability, or end up with hessian-type clothing which didn’t perform.

Secondly, we saw activewear as a category being dragged increasingly towards fast-fashion: resulting in clothing that was over logo-ed, over-designed and released faster than necessary to the consumer. Not everyone wants to walk around advertising a brand in fluorescent yellow.

Lastly, we spent time researching brands and companies manufacturing activewear and found a lack of transparency and purpose. We believe many consumers see through the gigantic advertising budgets and would like to see a company delivering on values that people care deeply about.

The result of these was both of us asking how would you build a company that would ethically create sustainable clothing.

What has been the biggest challenge?

We knew when we set out it was going to be very challenging, and it still is.

While sustainability and ethical manufacturing are being discussed more and more today, when we started out two years ago it wasn’t so common. It was a challenge trying to find suppliers and partners that met the standards required, while we are selves were trying to establish our principles at the same time as learning about the industry. Quality and function have always been paramount but equal to sustainability and ethical production.

It is challenging as a new business to find partners that will work with you, and you multiply that when your demands surpass that of nearly everyone in the industry.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

Seeing the response that people have had to the brand, both online and at the trade shows we have done. Hearing people tell us that this is what they have been waiting for is very rewarding after a 2-year journey.

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

It is going to take longer than you think, and that is ok.

Enjoy the journey and realise that no one wants it to go as quickly as you do.


Peak+Flow is currently fundraising via Kickstarter. To find out more and support the cause, please visit:

You can also follow them on Instagram: @peakandflow


New Year’s Honours list 2018

Alumni Notice Board.

Congratulations to the following alumni who have all been named in the New Year’s Honours list 2018:

Mr Raymond J Long
Programme Director Department for Work and Pensions
MSc Business Systems Analysis and Design 1989
Companion of the Order of the Bath – For services to Government and the Public Sector.

Mrs Elizabeth L Dymond
Finance Director, Charity for Civil Servants
PG Dip Charity Accounting and Financial Management 2015
Commanders of the Order of the British Empire – For public service

Dr Susan Hampshire
Honorary Doctor of Letters 1984
Commander of the Order of the British Empire – Actress. For services to Drama and to charity.

Mr Robert Swannell
Chairman UK Government Investments
Bar Vocational Course 1976
Commanders of the Order of the British Empire – For services to the Public, Retail and Financial Sectors.

Mr Anthony E Timpson
Former Conservative Member of Parliament for Crewe and Nantwich, House of Commons (former Minister of State for Children and Families)
Professional Legal Skills 1998
Commanders of the Order of the British Empire – For public and parliamentary service.

Professor Alan J Giles
Non-Executive Director Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
Cass – Visiting Professor
Order of the British Empire – For services to UK Business and the Economy

Dr Mehool H Sanghrajka MBE
Managing Director, Jarvis-Mpc Systems Limited
BSc Business Computing Systems 1989
Member of the British Empire – For services to the Jain Faith and Education

Mr Harry Bibring
MSc Manufacturing Technology 1975
Medallist of the Order of the British Empire – For services to Holocaust Education.

Ms Sabrina Francis
Social Media Officer, City, University of London
Member of the British Empire – For services to the University of London.

Sir Andrew Parmley
Member, Guildhall Members’ Room
Hon DSc Honorary Master of Science 2017
Knight Batchelor – Lately Lord Mayor of London. For services to Music, Education and Civic Engagement.

Image credit:

City Alumni 2017 Round-up

Alumni Notice Board.

From Journalism at 40 to the official opening of City’s new main entrance, we’ve collated 10 of the best social media posts of 2017, capturing some of our most exciting occasions this year:

The official opening of the new entrance


1951 Nostalgia


Our THELMA nomination


UK oldest man


Journalism at 40




Alumni Stories


NYC student send-off


City Magazine 2017


Alumni Masterclasses

Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2017

Alumni Notice Board.

Congratulations to the following alumni who have all been named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2017

Mr Nicholas P Baldwin

Chairman, Office for Nuclear Regulation,

BSc Mechanical Engineering 1975

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

For services to Nuclear Safety and Security and to the charitable sector.


Ms Anna M Richardson

Research Officer, The Home Office (Hampshire)

MSc Advanced Social Research Methods 2000

Officer of the Order of the British Empire

For services to Drugs and Alcohol Evidence-based Policy.


Mr Adrian B Turpin

Director, Wigtown Book Festival

PG Dip Periodical Journalism 1992

Officers of the Order of the British Empire

For services to Literature and the Economy in Wigtownshire.


Dame Stephanie Shirley

DSc Honorary Doctor of Science 1999

Companion of Honour

For services to the IT Industry and Philanthropy.


Dame Beryl Grey

DL Honorary Doctor of Letters 1974

Companions of Honour

For services to Dance.


Sir Mark J Boleat

Chairman, Link Scheme Ltd

Knight Bachelor

For services to the Financial Services Industry and to Local Government in London.


Sir John Low

Chief Executive Charities Aid Foundation

Member of Council

Knights Bachelor

For charitable services.


Image credit:

British Council Study UK Alumni Awards 2017

Alumni Notice Board.

Congratulations to the following alumni who have won a British Council Study UK Alumni Award:


Professional Achievement Award: Sherif Hefni (PG Dip. Professional Legal Skills, 2010)


Entrepreneurial Award: Mary-Ann Ooi Suan Kim (Bar Vocational Course, 2007)

Read more about Mary-Ann.


Professional Achievement Award: Dr Jorge Sigal Sefchovich (PhD Music, 2003)


Image credit: @StudyUK.BritishCouncil

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:

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…


Seeing It All

Alumni Notice Board, Alumni Stories.

irene-ctoriIrene Ctori has been an undergrad student, a postgrad student, a doctoral student and is now a lecturer at City University. How’s that for student satisfaction? We met Irene to find out why City was the only place for her.

Tell me about your time at City?
I started at City in 1991 when the Optometry course was taught in the Dame Alice Own building. I only visited the main building for the student union and my maths class. I was quite academically focused and so I kept my head down but my best memory was during my third year. Third year optometry students are given the opportunity to work with real patients and I remember thinking ‘Oh my goodness! I’m really doing this!’

I didn’t have a computer so throughout my course I hand wrote everything, including my dissertation. It was around 10,000 words. Someone then typed it up for me. And nothing was available online at the time, so we had to look at lots of books and buy them too.

What happened after you gradated the first time?
I was invited to do a PhD but I said no because I wanted to practice my trade. I practiced until 2008, including working at Vision Express, then at Whipps Cross University Hospital.

In 2008 I picked up where I left off. I started my MSc and was really enjoying my time at City but I wanted to be involved in the teaching, so I became a clinical tutor for third year students. That led to becoming more involved with teaching first and second years – all whilst juggling being a mum and still working at the hospital.

So what happened after your second graduation?
After graduating again I knew I wanted to do teaching and research full time. After being awarded a scholarship from City I did my PhD and became a full time lecturer last year.

What’s being a lecturer like?
I love being a lecturer. I really enjoy being able to bring my clinical experience into my lectures and using technology in my teaching. The students enjoy it too. And I’m colleagues with people who lectured me. Ron Douglas is one of them – I used to be scared of him but he’s lovely! I’ve also turned into my personal tutor. She used to walk around the lab telling us to have ‘good housekeeping’. I do that now – it’s like when you become your parents!

How has Optometry at City changed?
We don’t handwrite everything now!

What has been the biggest challenge throughout your time at City?
Lecturer posts are not easy to come by. Not many institutions teach optometry. And I wanted to teach at City because I’m happy here. Getting funding for a PhD was not easy either. And juggling everything during my masters was a challenging time.

What has been the most rewarding experience?
Completing my PhD was a real highlight. But getting the lecturer post – that’s what I was aiming for.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
Just do it. Put your mind to it. Keep going with it and work hard. Be benevolent and have self-belief.

Finally, it’s the quick fire question round!

Favourite place in London: Islington
Favourite holiday: Cyprus
Must check website:
Dream Holiday: Amalfi Coast, Italy
Cheese or Chocolate: Both!

Weavee-ing Your Future Career

Alumni Notice Board, Alumni Stories, City News, Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering News.

DSC_1105In 2015 James Grant completed a BSc in Computer Science with Games Technology. He acquired not only a 2.1, but also three years of professional experience. It gave him the ‘edge [he] needed to build Weavee. Weavee is a career platform that doesn’t just help people to get the job they want, it helps them to discover what they can do. Here James tells us how his time at City equipped him to build the platform of the future.

Can you tell me about your time at City?

The defining part of my time at City University was undertaking the Professional Pathway scheme, a scheme that gave me the chance to gain three years work experience in addition to my degree. The professional pathway has informed all I do now.

At the start of the scheme, I joined the web development team at City University for a year, which is where I learned most of the web skills I have today. I then moved on to a new role with Euromoney in my second year, where I set up and ran a graduate scheme later progressing on to a startup called Bar Pass for four months and onto a contract with BOAT international for five months. My final placement was with Hays recruitment for five months.

Because of the various positions I held, I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I left university. I wanted to build a business.

How did the idea for Weavee come about?

I was originally building a social network for my dissertation and during that time I considered the idea of scaling it outside of a university, however after pitching the idea at several startup communities it was clear that there is more to building a business than having an idea.

Throughout the employment process I found I was always facing the same process; put my CV in as many places as possible and hope that a job suiting my skills came up. It became increasingly harder even though my skills were developing. I figured that if I was having problems with an expanding CV, what was happening to the emerging talent just leaving University?

It was only during my time at Hays, where I was positioned inside the recruitment system that I considered the ineffective way recruitment agencies work. With UK recruitment agencies costing businesses an average of £4,000 per placement and successful appointment taking approximately three months, there is a lot of room for improvement. The situation won’t get better unless someone does something.

What has been the biggest challenge with regards to Weavee?

In the short time that I have been working on Weavee (a mere nine months!), I have learned so much. The constant challenge hasn’t been the creation of the business; instead, it was being able to reach the right people able to advance the business.

At each stage, I have had to choose between building the business and networking. The former has taken priority and now each networking event is an opportunity for me to share Weavee’s progress to try to gain support. So far this strategy seems to work!

What has been the most rewarding experience?

To see how my actions have influenced others is really rewarding – we have some of the stories up on our Weavee blog.

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

Building a startup is tough. I wouldn’t suggest doing it unless you have some work experience and also a holistic understanding of the problem you are looking to solve. Having experienced first hand (and from various perspectives) the situation I am solving, I can understand the problems each person might face. This means I am better equipped to solve the problem in a balanced way. Only through experiencing the situation can you better understand why the situation exists, be able to appeal to stakeholders and solve the problems they have.

Finally, it’s the quick fire question round!

Favourite place in London:  St Paul’s
Favourite holiday destination:  Florida
Must-check every day website:
Dream travel destination:  Outer space
Cheese or chocolate: Cheese

If you would like to find out more about Weavee or get involved with their latest project WeaVR, please visit or connect with James via LinkedIn.





Finding a Passion; Lost in the City

Alumni Notice Board, Alumni Stories, City News.

Journalism graduate (1986) turned professional photographer, Nicholas Sack has just released his new photo book ‘Lost in the City’. Here he tells us what led him to photography and the concept behind his latest book.

Can you tell me about your time at City?

I had edited the student newspaper whilst I was an undergraduate at Aston University. When I came to City in 1985 the Journalism Department was in a building on the corner of Skinner Street, on the floor above music rehearsal rooms. The sounds would intermingle – the clatter of manual typewriters and the tinkling of pianos – to create a symphony for Olivetti and Bechstein.

Our shorthand teacher was the legendary Harry Butler, who had written the definitive guide to Teeline and helped to decode Samuel Pepys’ own personal shorthand. He was a fearsome character; woe betide any student arriving even 15 seconds late for his lesson. Young women wept with frustration, but we all passed our 100 words-per-minute test at the end of the year.

What happened after you graduated?

I was already photographing for trade magazines between lectures. Photography was my hobby and when I graduated I decided to make a real go of it, to make it my living. I worked as a freelance for 30 years: mainly corporate commissions, portraits of the movers and shakers of commerce and industry in their working environments. This formality was spiced with more colourful assignments: record covers, outdoor clothes in Arctic Sweden, and the redevelopment of London’s docklands in the 1980s for construction and business magazines. I no longer accept commissions, and instead continue my personal projects for exhibitions and books. ‘Uncommon Ground’ was published in 2004, and here now is ‘Lost in the City’.

How did the idea for ‘Lost in the City’ come about?

I live close to central London and have been photographing in the Square Mile for 30 years. I was first struck by the collision of architecture – a Wren church slap-bang next to a tower of glass and steel – and I soon became interested in the office workers in the streets and alleys. Even in crowds they can appear isolated and estranged, scurrying from work-station to sandwich bar beneath overpowering buildings.

In my pictures I avoid tourist landmarks, words on fascias, slogans and logos: I aim to capture a state of other-worldliness, where figures seem strangely dislocated. The camera reveals surprising details: in a frozen moment the alpha-males marching along past the Bank of England have their heels on the pavement and toes pointing upward in a balletic pose.

bank of england

Last year I decided it was time to edit these thousands of pictures for a book, and Martin Usborne at Hoxton Mini Press was keen to publish it. He immediately saw a film-noir quality in these photos – Iain Sinclair notes a connection with Hitchcock in his introduction – and Martin rejected any pictures that included people smiling or looking happy. The City is a serious place; there is a sexual tension in some of these pictures, too.

What has been the biggest challenge with regards to ‘Lost in the City’?

It was a challenge to whittle down the pictures for a book of just 60 images. The editing was a collaboration with the publisher and the designer. We didn’t always agree, but I think we each brought creative ideas to the final selection.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

Well, I was thrilled when Iain accepted our invitation to write the intro because he has been a literary hero of mine for many years. And it was nice to have a piece in the Observer when the book was launched. I am interested in book design and printing; I involved myself in all the stages of production and learned a lot. I shoot on film, so scans were made of my prints, then tweaked for the book printers in China: the ability to control minute details is fascinating. For example, to enhance local contrast in one particular image we zoomed in on the computer and darkened the shin of a woman walking on the opposite side of the street.

But really, the most rewarding experiences are out there in the streets, taking the pictures. When everything coheres in the viewfinder – the people, the buildings, the street furniture, the shadows – you feel a surge of adrenaline and press the button.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?

Photography is a most fascinating medium: it’s both cerebral and emotional. I think the best way to understand and learn about pictures is to look at the masters – in books, at exhibitions, and in the Print Room at the V&A, where you consult the catalogue, fill in a slip, and prints by the photographer of your choice are delivered to your desk. This is where I gained a visual education, by studying the great American photographers like Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, Harry Callahan and Henry Wessel. What gives a photograph its power to move the emotions? Is it the subject? The composition? The tones or colours? Searching for the answer is a wonderful exploration.

Finally, it’s the quick fire question round!
Favourite place in London: The Black Friar pub: ornate art nouveau interior and good beer.
Favourite holiday destination: Chicago, a slightly old-fashioned American city.
Must-check every day website: Charlton Athletic Football Club. I’ve been a suffering supporter for 51 years.
Dream travel destination: San Francisco, for the topography of hills and bays.
Cheese or chocolate: Say ‘Cheese’!


Lost in the City by Nicholas Sack is published by Hoxton Mini Press in standard and collector’s editions. 


Header image: © Timothy Cooke

All other images: © Nicholas Sack

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