Category Archives: Alumni Notice Board

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.

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

The University’s brand new gym and sports centre, CitySport, is in its final stages of completion and will open on 2nd February 2015.

Alumni Notice Board, City News.

City Uni Sports Hall extended 02

The centre on Goswell Road will serve students, staff, the local community and of course, you our alumni, who will be eligible for special membership rates.

There is a gym split over two floors, fitted with the most sophisticated fitness equipment available today. The centre will be the hub for all University sports, with a large competition hall for team games, and studios for fitness and wellbeing classes.

For a virtual tour and more information on the facilities and membership, please visit the website.

If you have photos from your own time playing sport at City, please share them with us! Email or send hard copies (which we are happy to return) to Alumni Relations Office, City University London, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB.

Businesses and social enterprises looking for a competitive edge in UX (User Experience) technologies read on!

Alumni Notice Board.


A funding opportunity has arisen to work with academic experts at City University London for the purpose of developing novel user experience (UX) technologies.

Details on opportunity:
Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, is currently investing up to £1m in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) projects to encourage new, enhanced forms of interaction between computing systems and the people who use them. Collaborative proposals may address technologies which sense information about the user, or those that improve specific types of experience, such as mobile and wearable devices.

What is Knowledge Transfer Partnerships?
KTP is a prestigious UK-wide funding programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within universities. A KTP project serves to meet a core strategic need and often delivers significant increased profitability as a direct result of the partnership through improved quality and operations, increased sales and access to new markets. KTP projects last anywhere between 6 months to 3 years in length and employ a full-time graduate to work at the business premises. Furthermore, half a day a week, every week, of an academic’s time is contributed to the project.

Who would this opportunity benefit? 
Small or large businesses and social enterprises looking for a competitive edge in UX, but that don’t necessarily have in-house expertise in this area.

Why work with City University London?
Our Centre for Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Design is now London’s largest HCI-related research group, with over 20 academic and research staff, delivering world-leading research focusing particularly on the application of UX in the creative and healthcare industries.

For an informal discussion please contact Amy Bilton, KTP Manager:, 0207 040 5145.

Further details about the funding call are also available here.

Get free eye tests, contact lens fittings, aftercare and 20% off new designer glasses, all while supporting our 3rd year Optometry students.

Alumni Notice Board, Health Sciences News.

City Optometry77City’s newly refurbished Fight for Sight Clinic offers free sight tests, contact lens fittings and aftercare. The clinic recently joined forces with Topcon, a manufacturer of optical equipment for ophthalmology and surveying, putting it at the forefront of developments in eye care technology.

As well as a standard eye test, you will receive a check for underlying health conditions such as diabetes and glaucoma using a state-of-the-art OCT camera which takes a digital photograph and 3D cross-sectional scan of the back of the eye.

Not only will you receive a thorough eye examination, your support will enable our Optometry students to continue to develop their clinical skills.

As a City alumnus you are also entitled to a discount of up to 20% off a complete pair of glasses (frames and lenses) including a range of exclusive designer styles.

To book your appointment please call 020 7040 8338 or email

City University London, Fight for Sight Optometry Clinic, 7-9 Bath Street, London EC1V 9LF. Closest tube station: Old Street

Alumnus Profile – Keith Armstrong (PhD Adhesion Science and Technology, 1991)

Alumni Notice Board , .

Keith in a Piper Tomahawk aircraft, 1990

Keith Armstrong, who is now 83, graduated twice from City’s Chemistry Department. In 1978, at the age of 47, he was awarded an MSc in Adhesion Science and in 1991 a PhD in Adhesion Science and Technology. His professional experience and long years in the aircraft industry allowed him to write his book: Care and Repair of Advanced Composites. The book offers an in-depth look at the principal materials and processes involved in manufacturing, inspecting and repairing advanced composite aircraft structures as well as structures in the automotive, marine, railway, sporting goods and wind power generation industries. The book has sold nearly 3,000 copies.

A long career in the aircraft industry

His career within the aircraft industry started at a very early age. Keith made model aeroplanes till he left school and then became an apprentice at Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd, Weybridge, a British aircraft engineering conglomerate that produced a whole suite of military products. He also served for three years as a Technical Officer in the RAF, from 1955, in lieu of National Service where he operated Vickers Valiants our first “V” Bombers.

British Airways (BA) employed him in 1967 as Development Engineer in the Structures Group, a job that offered him the opportunity to research, study and develop composite materials including light weight carbon-fibre which has been used for commercial aviation ever since.

Keith also obtained a private pilot’s licence that he used for his job as part of the BA Flying Club and took him to places like Hamburg and France. He logged 420 hours in his log book and piloted about 500 landings.

BA allowed Keith to study at City University London one day a week. He was later invited to submit a Thesis for a PhD on research work he did at BA on adhesives for aircraft repairs. On retirement from BA as a Principal Development Engineer he designed composite repairs for Monarch Airlines at Luton and also delivered a training course for personnel there and for other companies.

Writing a book to collect his work experience

Keith decided to write his book: Care and Repair of Advanced Composites while he was retiring and working part-time. The book was written with training purposes in mind according to Armstrong. “My degrees from City were very helpful in getting lecturing work after I retired from BA.” he says.

Keith’s book is a worldwide reference for repair technicians and design engineers in both aerospace and non-aerospace industries. Chapters include: Introduction to composites and care of composite parts, materials, handling and storage, manufacturing techniques, original design criteria, safety and environment, repair techniques and many other relevant areas of expertise.

Finally, on a more personal basis, Keith was involved with the BA Christian Fellowship for 24 years and has been involved in Methodist Churches all his life. He also enjoys family history, which he finds very interesting.

In conversation with Leo Castellanos, Cass alumnus and Co-founder of

Alumni Notice Board, Cass Business School News , , .


Cass Business School was the perfect location to meet Leonardo Castellanos, Executive MBA alumnus who graduated in 2009. He told us about his entrepreneurial journey and business plans.

Leonardo, who is originally from Venezuela, arrived in the UK back in 2002. He was already working for Price Waterhouse Coopers, a big consultancy firm. In 2007 he decided to start his MBA at Cass Business School because he was really keen on making a change in his career. He said “Half way through the MBA I decided that I had enough of consulting for big firms. I have been doing it for nine years and, you know, I had a good career, it was a great school. I really thought that at the end of the day what I achieved, could have been achieved by someone else, it was just another project. That’s why I decided that I really wanted to go and head into entrepreneurship and venture capital, and started working within that space.”

How was the experience of working and studying at the same time?

“It’s a challenge, it was a part-time MBA and it’s obviously a huge commitment to have a full-time job and do well in your studies. There is course work, exams and your family. Your social life suffers quite a lot, but in the end is a commitment that you know that you’re making and it’s for a certain period of time, and so you just have to go through with it.” and Leonardo’s role during its development.

A few months after Castellanos finished the MBA, he co-founded his start-up called, a price comparison website. He and his partner Alfredo Ramirez, also a Cass alumnus and originally from Peru, followed a successful model in the UK and developed it for the Latin American (LATAM) region.

“We agreed to the fact that Latin America had a huge potential and we wanted to tap into that. Obviously it was a personal project and, you know, we both had bills to pay, in my case, I had a student debt to repay as well, so we couldn’t just forget about all of it and follow that route. We had to keep our jobs while working on the idea” he said. After a few hard-working months they finally launched in Peru in 2010.

Leonardo’s role has always been developing the business and, most importantly, finding investment to keep it growing. He says “Alfredo’s skills and mine were complementary. His background is in technology so he was in charge of developing the websites, and mine were in accounting and finances so I took charge of the business and money raising strategy. In 2012 we started working on an expansion model and by March 2013 we raised a small round of over half a million dollars” This big achievement allowed them to expand their business to four new countries including Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Argentina.

What’s the future of comparison sites?

Castellanos knows that competition is inevitable, but according to him has the biggest foothold in Latin America and will lead in the years to come. “We have two competitors we worry about. They are in two or three countries where we have presence in, but we certainly believe that, like in the UK, there will be room for four or five big companies aggregating for national products and we want to be really leading that pack” he said.

What are your business expansion plans?

“We will certainly be looking, not in the next 12 months, but in the next 24 to launch in specific regions within LATAM. That may include the Hispanic states of the US. We are seriously considering launching in places like Florida, California, New Mexico and Texas. There is also the idea of launching in my own country, Venezuela, which we are not doing due to the lack of clarity to do business, but we believe that that would be a good market to be working in. There are other smaller countries that are also presenting a good opportunity, but it’s a matter of focus. We really want to consolidate in the countries we already are. Doing what we are doing well and then go beyond that.”

What are the “must have” qualities of an entrepreneur?

Leo-Castellanos-at-Cass“Being an entrepreneur is about working with people, in my view. You have to try to be good at many things, but not try to excel at everything because it is impossible. I think that recognising things that you don’t have and assigning it to others and being resilient is very important. Sometimes, you have to be quite stubborn and always follow what you think is a good opportunity. Also, make sure that you bring people together and create a vision that they will follow.”

We finished our conversation talking about the Cass Entrepreneurs Network (CEN) and the very important role it plays at facilitating a forum where entrepreneurs can meet investors and connect with potential partners.

Leonardo said: “I think the next step for CEN is to facilitate the connexion between Cass alumni and Cass students that are passionate about entrepreneurship and also to provide a little more support. I think that it’s important to drive that community spirit and I am very sure that people like me, and another people that have been to Cass are happy to contribute to that.”

Find out more about Leonardo’s business:

Journalism alumna Iona Craig wins prestigious award

Alumni Notice Board, Arts and Social Sciences News.



Iona Craig, BA Journalism 2010, is an independent journalist based in Sana’a, Yemen where she has been working as the Times Yemen correspondent since 2010. She has recently won the Frontline Club 2014 award, Print category, for her work in the region. The Frontline Club Awards seek to recognise new emerging talents and established names who have shown integrity, courage and independent spirit in their work.

Meet Iona

Iona used to work in the horse racing industry, riding and training racehorses in the UK, Australia and Ireland.  After thirteen years she left the world of jumping and racing behind her to return to the UK where she studied her degree at City in addition to studying Arabic for two years part-time.

According to her blog, since her graduation Iona has worked for: BBC Newsnight (in 2008), the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (2010), GCap Media (now Global Radio 2007-2008), Bloomberg News (2010) and gained valuable experience with the Sunday Times after winning the Tom Walker Trust Award in 2009.

In October 2010 she moved to Sana’a, Yemen and worked as an editor and then managing editor for The Yemen Times. Due to growing demand as Yemen’s revolution began she left the Yemen Times in February 2011 to concentrate on freelance work.

Iona’s work in Yemen

Craig has covered America’s covert war in Yemen for four years. Her investigation into a US drone attack that left 12 civilians dead, took her to travel undercover to the strike site six days after the bombing of a wedding convoy in remote central Yemen.

The Frontline Club describes her work:

“A story that it takes courage and careful preparation to report given the danger of kidnapping in Yemen. But it is important that people on the ground verify who is being hit by drones – otherwise the story is left to propagandists.

Iona Craig has done this convincingly in the sort of story that only a reporter who knows a country well can do.”

Iona has been back as a guest lecturer at City University London, spoken at the British Yemeni Society and Chatham House. She has also carried out workshops and training for journalists in both Yemen and the UK.

Learn more about Iona’s work.

The Annual Alumni Gathering Monaco 2014

Alumni Notice Board, Cass Business School News.


Around 200 Cass alumni and their guests from Europe and places as far away as Ghana, South Africa, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Dubai came together in September for the 4th Annual Gathering in Monaco. The weekend provided the ideal opportunity to network with old friends and make new acquaintances.

The opening evening was held on the terrace of the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, hosted by Cass alumnus Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Sir Stelios was delighted to have been able to host this event and hoped that he will inspire others to give back. €6,000 was raised that evening though the honesty bar towards the Monaco Bursary that will be awarded to a Cass student in financial need.

On the Saturday morning Cass alumni and their guests had the privilege of listening to Sir Malcom Williamson reflect on his 55 year career in the City, which was most insightful and inspirational and covered his hugely successful career in the financial services industry. The talk provoked a number of thoughtful questions from the audience during a Q&A session managed by fellow Cass alumnus Robert Legget.

For those interested in Art and Culture, participants were provided with complimentary tickets to the Grimaldi Forum and many visited this outstanding attraction on the Saturday afternoon.

On Saturday evening a cocktail and barbeque party was hosted by Cass alumnus Lutz Strangemann, CEO of Land Union at his stunning private residence overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The evening not only provided a great opportunity to network but also raised €2,850 and a further £90 through the sale of raffle tickets. All proceeds will contribute towards the Monaco Bursary. The raffle was drawn by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Paul Curran and the winning prizes, generously donated by Cass alumni included a weekend for two in Berlin, a chance to watch cricket at the world famous Lord’s, the Home of Cricket and dinner with Professor Steve Haberman, Dean of Cass Business School.

On Sunday morning Cass alumni and their guests had an opportunity to visit the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.

The Alumni Gathering in Monaco was yet another successful get-together for those who hold Cass close to their hearts in a spectacular setting by the Mediterranean Sea that provided an outstanding opportunity for alumni of the Business School to network and learn more about the progress of the School.

Were you there? Visit our photo galleries below.

The French Tarte Flambée is in London to stay!

Alumni Notice Board, Cass Business School News , , .

Matthias Gilles, Olympia de Proyart and Jules Couten are three BSc Business Studies alumni who are following the same ambition: making the traditional Tarte Flambée recipe an exclusive dish for Londoners.

Working on an entrepreneurial project at City University London made them realise the potential of making this dish a profitable and fully branded business and so they founded Flambée, a pop-up style restaurant.

We met them to have a quick chat about their current plans for their business, entrepreneurial experience, and also to ask them a bit more about their time at City.

Meeting the Flambée team

From left Matthias, Olympia and Jules

From left Matthias, Olympia and Jules

Matt grew up in Alsace, Northern France. He is also a qualified optician and has always been fascinated by entrepreneurship. Olympia was born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland. She is very social, loves art, fashion, food, seeing her friends and going out, but also hates to fail, and Jules is from Paris and he really enjoys anything to do with finance.

Tell us about Flambée

Flambée originally started as a Uni project, Matt says: “When I moved to London, the Tarte Flambée was nowhere to be seen and I had the idea of opening a restaurant selling this dish exclusively.”

“When we were asked to create a fictitious business as well as a business plan and financial statements as part of one of our classes, we thought about this idea. While working on the business plan we realised that the margins could be as high as 80% and we therefore decided to give it a go.”

The team started catering at private events, first through friends, and then trading at Brick Lane Market and Camden Lock Market and have more recently been at Old Street Terrace on Old Street roundabout and Canary Wharf.

When asked about the uniqueness of their tarte’s recipe, Matt told us that as it was a very special one, they would keep it secret! But we still managed to get an answer. They described their recipe as a modern version using some “trendy” ingredients such as smoked salmon or pulled pork, and still keeping its authentic flavour. Fancy a test? Then you will have to visit their next pop-up location!

What are your current plans for the business?

“We are writing a formal business plan in order to evaluate its real potential to be opened as a restaurant” says Olympia. “While we do it, we are still trading on markets, and we will be launching in our new location in Shoreditch, from October 8th, the pub is called “Catch” and it’s located on 22 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8DA. We will be there Wednesday-Friday from 6:00pm – 10:00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 4:00pm – 10:00pm.”

What has been your experience like as entrepreneurs?

At first, we all thought that running a business would be less hard work than a 9-5 job, but then we realised that it becomes the main part of your live and it also brings its challenges, Matt says.

The main challenge, according to him, is having and making enough money to carry on. He had to look for a part-time job when they reduced their trading days and, on a personal basis, his social life suffered as all the activities of running a business are very time consuming.

Olympia, on the other hand, thinks that getting on very well with team members, and listening to each other has helped them to work as a unit. She also emphasises that truly believing in the project is key when the challenges arrive. Jules also adds that having people skills and considering all the stakeholders involved in a project is important.

Why Cass?

They all agree that Cass Business School’s excellent reputation played a key role when choosing a place to study, and also coming to London was a great opportunity to develop their language skills as well as being closer to ‘home’ as Jules explains: “I really wanted to go away from France so I had two possible countries where to study: the UK and Canada. As I wanted to be closer to my family I chose the UK.”

On the experience and benefits of studying the degree, each of them has their own point of view:

“I think my degree gave me some skills I will definitely be able to use when working on the venture as a whole. I think it also enabled me to have a better understanding of the business/finance world which again would have an impact on the decisions I would make regarding my own business. However, I do believe you are born an entrepreneur and do not become one. Entrepreneurship is a passion more than a job.” Matt

“The accounting lessons helped me, as well as the branding and marketing ones. But I think that I really acquired the skills required to be an entrepreneur while conducting our project. I definitely learnt much more in the three months I was being an entrepreneur than during the whole degree!” Olympia

“The degree focused on big ventures and finance and not that much on small companies, but I still think that it helped me to be more open minded and accept that people have different goals in life.” Jules

Don’t forget to visit Flambee’s new pop-up location!

Where: Catch, 22 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8DA. From Wednesday 8th October
Time: Wednesday-Friday from 6:00pm-10:00pm and Saturday & Sunday from 4:00pm-10:00pm.