City Alumni Network

Category Archives: Spotlight

SPOTLIGHT: Denys Volkov (Business and Politics, 2003


Our alumni are really amazing and we want to share their achievements with the world! In the SPOTLIGHT this month is Alumni Ambassador Denys Volkov (Business and Politics, 2003).

Can you tell me about your time at City?

I completed a B.A. (Hons.) degree accredited by City, University of London through Witan International College in Reading. It was an amazing experience studying in the U.K. after moving from Ukraine where I grew up. I had amazing professors, instructors and staff. I stayed at Mansfield Hall where I met a lot of British and international students. I am thankful for this opportunity which prepared me for my life today. A special thank you to Professor James Algie for his mentorship during my studies.

What happened after you graduated?

I moved to Canada to complete my Master of Public Administration Degree at the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg.

After I graduated, I was offered a job at the City Clerk’s Office at the City of Winnipeg. I am thankful for the opportunity to start my career with some great people in that office before moving on to the Mayor’s Office where I worked for over 6 years.

What is a typical day at your current workplace like?

As Director of Advocacy and Communications for the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, I work with Mayors and Council members from across the province to advance interests of municipalities. I regularly meet with Ministers and departmental staff to negotiate best deals possible for municipalities – from funding arrangements to changes in various acts and legislation.  

 What was it like to move to Canada?

Canada has a great reputation around the world. I knew about hockey and cold weather in Canada before I moved; however, I didn’t know how wonderful people are. I live in the province which is known as “Friendly Manitoba”. I’ve met some of the friendliest people in the world here!

Is that why you stayed?

Canada and Manitoba offer one of the best immigration and settlement programs in the world, so combined with a great job offer from The City of Winnipeg I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to live and work anywhere else.

You were recently nominated for CBC Manitoba’s Future 40 under 40 – how did it feel to be nominated?

I felt honoured to be nominated! I appreciate the support and trust put in me by my nominator, my close friend and former boss Sherwood Armbruster who inspires me every day. It’s a privilege to be nominated and share a small part of my story.

What has been the biggest challenge for you?

After moving from Britain to Canada I had to establish my life, complete my studies, find a career. I feel I have overcome my challenge, but not without some amazing friends I met along the way.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

Meeting amazing people in my line of work.

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

Believe in yourself. I couldn’t have ever imagined while living in Ukraine that I’d one day be working in government relations in Canada. Life is full of surprises!


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

What is your favourite place in London: Notting Hill Gate. It’s central, beautiful and unique.

What is your favourite holiday destination: Japan!

Which website do you check every day: I check multiple websites every day – from checking my email to staying on top of domestic and international news.

What is your dream travel destination: I’d love to go back to Japan.

Do you prefer cheese or chocolate: Chocolate for sure.

SPOTLIGHT: Dr Chee Ching Chan, (Professional Legal Skills, 2016)


Our alumni are really amazing and we want to share their achievements with the world! In the SPOTLIGHT this month is Dr Chee Ching Chan, (Professional Legal Skills, 2016).

Dr Chee Ching Chan chose The City Law School to study for the Bar Professional Training Course, after working for six years as a surgical doctor.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Dr. Chee Ching Chan and I come from Malaysia. I studied two courses at The City Law School: the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) from 2015 to 2016 and the LLM in Professional Legal Skills. Upon completing my BPTC, I was called to the Bar and I was admitted as a member of the The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in July 2016.

I was inspired to become a lawyer when I was a fourth year medical student at University of Edinburgh. My inspiration came from Edinburgh alumnus Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I graduated from the University of Edinburgh gaining a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) in 2006. After working for six years as a surgical doctor, I decided to pursue my career in law starting with the three year law degree.

Why did you choose to study the BPTC at The City Law School?

I chose to study the BPTC at The City Law School for three main reasons. Firstly, I know that The City Law School has a team of professors and lecturers who are experienced in providing Bar training. Its history as a legal education provider went all the way back to when it was called The Inns of Court School of Law. Some of the lecturers are also practising barristers who provided insight to the real legal world. During my BPTC, I benefited greatly from the support of the lecturers in preparing for the BPTC centralised assessments and the professors and lecturers from City gave me a lot of guidance on the methods to study as well as the topics that I should focus and pay attention to. This showed their understanding of the system based on their vast experience.

Secondly, the school is located at the most strategic location as it can be, either legally or socially. I stayed at a student accommodation just within 10 minutes walking distance away from the school which meant that I could go utilise The City Law School library on a daily basis. Furthermore, all the Inns are located within close proximity from The City Law School. I could just walk and arrive home within 10 minutes after dining at Lincoln’s Inn. The High Court and many chambers are also around the corner. When I did my mini-pupillage at 42 Bedford Row, I literally just needed to walk below 10 minutes to arrive at the chambers.

Finally, The City Law School provided me with the opportunity to convert my BPTC into an LLM. The City’s LLM in Professional Legal Skills allowed me the chance to focus on an area of professional legal practice of my choice. In my case, I focused on the procedural law of medical negligence, specifically on whether medical expert witnesses are required to be accredited.

What did you enjoy most about studying at City?

I most enjoyed attending Professor Stuart Sime’s Civil Litigation Large Group Session. It was stimulating to have a professor so keen standing and talking in front of me showing his years of knowledge. The content was undeniably heavy but Professor Sime gave us hope and courage, tips and techniques that made me believe it was possible to pass the examinations and do well in it. Furthermore, City has about 300 BPTC students in each intake and I am glad that I met many talented people from all walks of life during my BPTC at City.

My most unforgettable experience will be jogging around the City of London. Due to the fact that I stayed near The City Law School, I could jog and visit places like St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Eye, Big Ben and etc. They are all within 30-minute jogging distance. It is really a once-of-a-lifetime experience for me to jog pass so many well-known landmarks.

What did you do after completing the BPTC? What are you doing now?

I successfully passed the BPTC in my first attempt and I had been graded as Very Competent (VC). I obtained full marks for my BPTC Civil Litigation MCQ (50/50) and 44.5/50 for my BPTC Civil Litigation SAQ, which gave me an overall result of 95/100 (Outstanding) in Civil Litigation. After completing the BPTC, I enrolled into The City Law School’s LLM in Bar Professional Training as a continuation of the BPTC. I have strong interest in the area of medical negligence and I therefore approached Dr. Evelyn Pollock as my supervisor for my LLM in Professional Legal Skills. She was approachable, kind and provided me a lot of guidance throughout the tough six months. I wrote a 20,000-word dissertation at the end of the course entitled “Should medical experts be accredited?” and I obtained my Master’s degree with Commendation. This was my third Master’s degree (Master of Science in Surgical Sciences, Master of Sciences in Medical Sciences, Master of Laws in Professional Legal Skills).

Currently, I am undergoing my pupillage in Messrs Raja, Darryl and Loh (RDL) in Malaysia. My main area of practice is in the field of medical negligence because my Master, Puan Maidzuira Mohammed is a partner in RDL who mainly practises in the field of medical negligence defending doctors. Upon completing my pupillage, I will then be admitted into the High Court of Malaya and become a full-fledged advocate and solicitor.

Do you have any advice or tips for anyone who wants to study the BPTC and/or choose The City Law School?

When I was studying BPTC, I made a sensible timetable for myself and I followed it strictly. I attended all Large Group Sessions (LGSs) and Small Group Sessions (SGSs). For all the centralised assessments (Civil Litigation, Criminal Litigation and Ethics), I made my own mind maps and notes during preparation for SGSs. My study advice would be to study consistently and try to cover every topic at least once, then try to study smart by focusing on certain topics and memorise the key concepts on those important topics. However, to know which topics are more important than other topics, I had to pay attention during LGSs and SGSs.
The City Law School was my first choice to study the BPTC. If you want to meet well-known professors and lecturers, want to meet interesting people and make more friends, want to get more exposure on the practical sides of the legal world and want to see more of the City of London, The City Law School will be the place for you to study your BPTC. In my opinion, it is a structured programme and City’s supportive teaching staff are the gems of The City Law School.

SPOTLIGHT: Gemma Leigh Roberts, (Organisational Psychology, 2008)


Our alumni are really amazing and we want to share their achievements with the world! In the SPOTLIGHT this month is Gemma Leigh Roberts, (Organisational Psychology, 2008).

Tell me about your time at City!

I absolutely loved my time at City. I did an MSc in Organisational Psychology and it was a brilliant Masters. I almost accepted a place at Surrey University, but when I came to the interview I knew without a doubt I was going to City if I got an offer.

The MSc was a really good mix of teaching and real life professional studies. Lots of practicing occupational psychologists came in to talk to us about how the theories and practices we were learning about apply in the real consulting world. I really enjoyed it.

Without that year at City, I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing now. It probably was the moment where I realized what areas I wanted to work in. What’s quite amusing is I remember reading about the coaching and positive psychology modules before they started and I was really skeptical, but now I’m basically a coaching psychologist and use positive psychology in my work all the time!

But before that, you were a consultant?

After I graduated I went to work for an insurance broker doing more of the strategy stuff – helping to find the right solution for the business by understanding what it was they wanted to develop and then bringing in practitioners with the right skills. I left there and started doing lots of leadership and development work and that’s where the consultancy work started. I did a big leadership project for BP and then a leadership and career development project for HSBC after that. I enjoyed what I was doing but eventually felt like I’d gotten to where I want to be in my career but it wasn’t really feeling right. I realized I still wanted to work in different organisations but in a specific way – helping people become more resilient and happier in the workplace. I wanted to give people a new way of thinking or a new perspective.

Tell me about the ‘Resilience Edge’?

So first I started to consider what is resilience. I did lots of research. Lots and lots of research. What became clear is resilience is about high performance and it’s a mindset, it’s really about dealing with challenges and using these challenges as a catalyst to thrive in the future. It’s all a learning experience, a growing experience, you can change the way you think about things, you can change your perspective and use it to get further ahead.

Then I had to think about how I get this out to people – how do I create something where people think the framework or program makes total sense for them? That’s how the Resilience Edge program came about. The final step was creating something commercial – something that people can apply and actually see results with. We want people to use this framework to see a tangible difference in their lives.

So what have you learned from starting your own business?

Networking: I clearly remember one of the professors on our course talking about how you find work in the real world. She told us to ‘look around the room now because this is your network. This is how you’re going to find most of your work’. And now fast forward 8 years and we do hear about work and jobs. For example, one of my alumni friends put me in contact with a company that’s looking to run some resilience for executives. You don’t realise at the time that you’re actually building a network without knowing it, and in some ways that’s quite nice because you’re not going out seeking people to build that network, to get something out of them, you’re naturally building a network that will help you in your career in the future. And vice versa, you get to help other people.

People to partner with: Try and find people and associations that align with what you’re doing. It might be that they have a group of people that would benefit from what you’re doing – then offer them a free webinar to further expand your network. I think partnering is really important.

Creating new material: You have to keep creating webinars, keep creating guides or ebooks or blogs, you’ve got to keep creating content that is interesting for people. And to do that you’ve also got to know who your target audience are.

Find your niche: Think about your audience, find your niche and just get as deep into it as you can, learn about it as much as you can, develop it, and then talk about it as much you can.

But don’t speak unless you have something to say: It’s so hard when you start because you know you need to get your name out there and build a brand, but you don’t really know what to say. What tends to happen is you either end up not telling people about what you’re up to, or your end up saying something (anything!) that actually isn’t that interesting and people don’t want to hear. Either way, people are turned off. When you’re creating materials and content it’s very important to think about who you’re speaking to, and what they’d want to hear. If you don’t know what to say yet, hold off until you do – it will help you to build a strong brand in the future.

Read other people’s blogs:  Read articles on LinkedIn and collect things you like. It will help you figure out your style as well. You can’t write for everyone, you can’t create programs for everyone. So it’s got to sound like you, it’s got to be you. So if you collect things you like, then you’ll start to use some of those same techniques as well and you’ll attract the right audience for you.

And last thing, patience – you have to have so much patience.

So what has been the biggest challenge?

Getting it out there and getting the business going. It’s never going to be harder than it is at the start. You’re constantly striving to get somewhere and people will say no all the time or they’ll ignore you. It gets easier, but I still experience it. Even now.

At the same time you’ve got that little doubt in the back of your mind – should I be doing this? How long should I try this for? When is the right time to give up? How long do I give myself? If you’re ever going to start a business you’re going to have to learn to be resilient. There are days, where it’s absolutely amazing, you’re on top of the world, something fabulous has come through and the next day there’s a massive crash because something has fallen through. And more so than anything else I’ve ever done, the highs and lows are insane. When it’s high and things are going well, it’s all because of you. You’ve created something, you’ve achieved something and it’s an amazing feeling, but when it’s low and things aren’t going well and you’re struggling to get the business where it needs to be – which happens for all entrepreneurs when they start – that’s on you as well.

So I 100% have to practice what I preach otherwise I wouldn’t still be here.

Has it been worth it?

Yes, helping people and them saying ‘that’s great, I can actually apply what you’re teaching me and it’s made a difference to my life’ is fantastic. Actually making a difference and helping people achieve more – that’s the highlight for me.

What’s next?

We’re creating a career coaching network that will apply to people that want to achieve more in their careers, or make a career or lifestyle change – at each and every stage of their career journey. It’s going to be practical (think tools, tips, advice and guidance) and personal – relevant to each individual and their unique career journey. It’ll be launching soon.

So do check out the website or get in contact with me because there’s lots of stuff we do around resilience and career development, not just for organisations but for individuals as well. And there’s some really cool stuff still to come…

To find out more about the Resilience Edge visit:

SPOTLIGHT: Maureen McIntosh, (Counselling Psychology, 2014)



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.

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