City Alumni Network

Tallying it Up

Alumni Stories.

When Pravina Pindoria graduated from BSc Child Nursing in 2004, little did she know that she would later launch a start-up that would improve the work-life balance of many! Here she tells us how Tallyfy is set to change complex routine processes ‘into an easy-to-follow checklist’.

Can you tell me about your time at City?

I really enjoyed my practice placements across schools, wards and clinics at prestigious institutions in a vibrant multicultural area. There were plenty of opportunities presented to network with the brightest professionals in healthcare and education. This taught me one of the most valuable skills – the ability to communicate with and relate to anyone. The course was well balanced to enhance our critical thinking skills in the workplace to make sure we came out asking why for everything that was done in our professional life.

What happened after you graduated?

For the first 10 years, I worked at London’s leading hospitals, carried out international clinical trials abroad, and trained health care teams in rural Africa. I noticed a common pain point and decided to try and fix it by starting my own startup – Tallyfy. Tallyfy is simple, yet powerful workflow and process management software for teams who want to automate and track repetitive tasks. Tallyfy is now headquartered in the US after we received funding from Silicon Valley. Tallyfy is being used across many industries – pharmaceutical companies, universities and nonprofits to track and improve customer onboarding, implementation and approval processes, so that people can focus on their real job roles. I hope we’ll be helping people in the NHS very soon!

How did Tallyfy come about?

Throughout my journey of bedside care in hospitals, working at state-of-the-art research facilities and teaching in under-resourced areas, I noticed one common problem – bureaucracy and paperwork came in the way of professionals trying to do their job – whether it was caring for patients, training employees or innovating. All the places were using badly designed, expensive and hard to configure software and creating workarounds with excel sheets and paper forms. In an age where people had smartphones at home with user-friendly apps to make life easy, I thought this simplicity must be available at work. So, I started working on Tallyfy, an easy-to-use web application that transforms any complex distributed process into an easy-to-follow checklist, so that everyone involved in a multi-step process can see exactly what they need to do, how and by when, and also track the progress of any process in real-time from anywhere in the world, without asking anyone.

What has been the biggest challenge with regards to Tallyfy?

Not getting paid is not fun. Funding is always a challenge for most early stage startups, especially in an expensive city like London. I realised that we had to validate the idea before we even got serious funding. So in the meantime we were looking to move to wherever the cost of living was low, where there was less competition to get a business to test Tallyfy and where we could get initial seed funding. I relocated to South America and the USA, as the first funding we received was $40k from Startup Chile in Santiago, Chile and $50k Arch Grants in St. Louis, Missouri.

When we started out, we were dead set on the technology being used in healthcare, but we quickly discovered that there was a lot of red tape involved in selling to this market and that it would require a lot of patience and custom development. We found that our solution gained traction in small-medium enterprises (SME) in other industries – legal, accounting, online service businesses for customer onboarding and implementation to improve customer retention. These customers had an obvious pain point and a small sales cycle and therefore we decided to pivot to serving this SME market to get initial revenue. We planned to target healthcare at a later stage. We are even thinking about entering the enterprise market around digital transformation.

I have not practised nursing for 3 years now as running a tech startup is a full-time job. I do miss working closely with children and their families, I’m still very passionate about the field.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

I love that what we have created with Tallyfy is improving the quality of someone’s work-life by making routine work simpler and faster to do. It’s wonderful knowing Tallyfy is also creating jobs for people where getting employment is difficult.

I believe that taking a risk and being an entrepreneur has exposed me to invaluable experiences that I would not have been presented to me otherwise. I’ve been invited to international trade delegations, spoken at gender equality and minority inclusion panels and invited to share my story and hopefully encouraged those students and professionals looking to start their own business.

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

If you’ve studied for one career and ever thought you’d like to try something else, well you can! Your skills are applicable and valuable in more places than you probably realise. Never say ‘no’ to an opportunity that is presented to you. Say yes, apply for it, rejection may hurt but it’ll teach you precisely what you need to know and do to succeed the next time.

If you have an idea on a way to improve something at university or work, speak up about it, become obsessed with the idea and don’t let it go until you find a way to convince someone to join you to help you make it happen. Infect others with your ideas.

I was always the quietest and most shy person in class, I learned to network later in life. I’d say – learn to network from a young age, pull out your hand, smile and just ask a simple question. You’ll be surprised where it takes you. Always, always follow up with and stay connected with people you meet even if it’s to say ‘nice to meet you’, you never know when they could be helpful to you later in life. Surround yourself with people from different ages, backgrounds, interests and skills – great attributes from all these groups will rub off on you.

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

Favourite place in London: Brick Lane
Favourite holiday destination: Elqui Valley, Chile
Must-check everyday  website: LinkedIn and Mixpanel (it’s for geeky user analytics)
Dream travel destination: China
Cheese or chocolate: Dark chocolate please




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…


Cass Alumni Social Media Round-Up 2016

Cass Business School News.

It’s been a busy year for everyone, so we’ve created a whistlestop tour of our 2016 social media posts, so you can get the year’s best bits all in one place.

Read more #Cassat50 interviews here.

And finally, here are some things you could have won!

Sorry – all these competitions are now closed.

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.

2016 Research Round-Up

Cass Business School News, City News, Health Sciences News, Law News, Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering News.

City, University of London produces high quality research on an incredibly broad range of topics. We have put together a quick overview of some of the top research stories from the Insitution in 2016. For all the latest news please go to the Research homepage.

Inspired by Airbnb

airbnb sign

We all know when a new business comes along and disrupts the status quo, but how do they do it? Cass PhD student Tatiana Mikhalkina and Professor Laure Cabantous have had their research “How do innovative business models become the exemplars for a new category of firm?” published in Business Model Innovation: How Iconic Business Models Emerge. This explores how a new company emerges and the power of iconic business models. Read article.

More excuses to keep playing video games

ps3 controller

Stop feeling guilty about how much time you spend with your PS4 or Xbox. Dr Irene Scopelliti from Cass Business School has published research on decision-making bias and the use of video games. The paper, published in Policy Insights in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, explored ways to improve upon traditional methods of training designed to reduce bias and improve people’s decision-making ability. The research team developed two interactive computer games to test whether they might substantially reduce game players’ susceptibility to cognitive biases. Full text.

Online dating in The Independent

man with smartphone

The saying goes “there’s plenty of fish in the sea” – but what if the fish send you unwanted explicit messages? Laura Thompson, a PhD student from the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism, tackles just that and has had her research published in The Independent. The feature explores the issue of why some people choose to send graphic images to other website users without consent and looks at how different genders interact on dating websites and how this links to offensive or insulting behaviour. More details.

A better measure of obesity?

waist measuring

If you’ve ever worried about your BMI, it’s time to give that up and measure your waist-to-height (WHtR) instead. Dr Margaret Ashwell, Senior Visiting Fellow at Cass Business School and her colleague Sigrid Gibson, have proposed this new measure in BMJ Open. The research found that 35% of adults judged to be OK using the current measure were found to have higher levels of some cardio metabolic risk factors when using the waist-to-height ratio (WHtR). These risk factors can be early indicators of health problems including diabetes, heart disease or stroke. Full information

Cancer costs keep adding up even after a decade

operating theatre

The cost of cancer treatment on the NHS is a hot topic, and new research from Dr Mauro Laudicella and Dr Brendan Walsh at City, University of London shows that even a decade on, cancer survivors cost the NHS in England five times more than someone without the disease. This study was commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support and published in the British Journal of Cancer and it reveals that hospital care for the average patient diagnosed with the four most common cancers (breast, colorectal, prostate or lung cancer) costs the NHS in England £10,000 in their first year of diagnosis – but nine years on is still costing £2,000 a year. Academics from Imperial College London also contributed to the report. Continue reading.

UK creativity on the up

coloured lights

If you’re looking to get in to the creative industries, the UK outperforms the US and Canada. Professor Andy Pratt, Director of the Centre for Culture and the Creative Industries at City, University of London, was part of the team behind a report for the charity Nesta titled “Creative Economy Employment in the US, Canada and the UK”. The research showed that employment in the UK creative economy grew at 4.7 per cent per annum on average, between 2011 and 2013 – faster than the US (3.1 per cent). Read on.

High praise for gender balance research


Leading figures from the BBC, Sky, Channel 4, ITV and Channel 5 joined politicians in praising City research into gender imbalance on the country’s top news programmes. Professor Lis Howell is running an ongoing study of the proportion of women experts, reporters and presenters in news programmes. This issue was discussed at the Women on Air conference, which highlighted the lack of women on television and the radio. More here.

Augmented reality

computer simulated augmented reality

Augmented reality can now help you choose wine by overlaying information on the bottle, and is opening the door for brand new ways to enhance online shopping. Professor Ko de Ruyter, Professor of Marketing at Cass Business School, said, “Companies such as IKEA, L’Oreal, and BMW have already added AR applications to their frontline service delivery.” The team’s research shows that adding AR into retail systems could reverse deep-rooted consumer dynamics and helps the customer to make choices that are more consistent with their personal goals. Fast-forward to the future.

Taking your phone to bed causes harmless blindness

man in bed with phone

Have you experienced that temporary blindness from spending too much time using smartphones in bed? A new study by academics from City University London, Moorfields Eye Hospital, King’s College London, and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, seeks to raise awareness for physicians and reduce costly investigations, while also reassuring patients. Although ‘temporary blindness’ sounds alarming, the experience is completely harmless, and not confined to smartphone use, but due to the wide use of smartphones in bed, has been most commonly observed in connection with them. Read on.

Malnutrition and obesity on the rise

apple with world map

The 2016 Global Nutrition Report was Co-Chaired by Professor Corinna Hawkes of the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London, and it reveals insufficient progress in the fight against all forms of malnutrition. Forty Four per cent of countries with data available (57 out of 129 countries) now experience very serious levels of undernutrition as well as overweight and obese adults. Despite good progress in some countries, the world is off track to reduce and reverse this trend. Professor Hawkes said “One in 12 people globally have diabetes now, and nearly two billion people are obese or overweight. We must stem the tide.” Find out more.

Gender stereotypes strong in infants

boy with car

What have you got for the little kids in your life this Christmas? Something ‘gender appropriate’, or something that breaks those stereotypes? A new study from academics at City University London and UCL found that children as young as 9 months-old prefer to play with toys specific to their own gender, according to the research in Infant and Child Development. The paper found that in a familiar nursery environment significant sex differences were evident at an earlier age than gendered identity is usually demonstrated. It continues that boys and girls follow different developmental patterns with respect to selection of gender-typed toys due to both biological and developmental-environmental differences. Continue reading.

How easily can you spot an online lie?


Spotting an online lie is now easier than ever thanks to a team of academics who have designed an algorithm that can detect lies in emails. The research team from Cass, Westminster Business School and Catholic University of Louvain developed the algorithm by identifying linguistic cues of deception found within online communications such as emails. The full paper, ‘Untangling a Web of Lies: Exploring Automated Detection of Deception in Computer-Mediated Communication’ is published in the Journal of Management Information Systems. Read further.

Men still dominate sports journalism


Despite some high-profile female sports presenters arriving on our screens in the past decade, the story is not the same throughout sports journalism. Professor Suzanne Franks, Head of the Department of Journalism, highlights why the number of women working on the sports desks of UK national newspapers has not improved over recent decades. The study, by academics at City, University of London and the University of Huddersfield, asked journalists why there were not enough women in the field and found aspects of the modern media climate could be hindering progress. The findings were published in the US journal Media Report to Women and built on their previous study which was conducted after the 2012 Olympic Games. Find out more.

Worldwide attention for City economist

mutual funds headline

The Wall Street Journal cited a research paper co-authored by a City economist which showed a link between national monetary policy changes and decisions by investors to withdraw their money from investment funds. Professor Gabriel Montes-Rojas is one of three academics behind a study that found that sudden actions by central banks, such as the US Federal Reserve, can have significant effects on the behaviour of investors and this can result in financial instability in bond and equity markets. Continue this article.

Virtual reality world helps stroke recovery

screenshot of programme

Impaired speech and language following a stroke has profound consequences for quality of life. The effects on personal and social relationships are particularly devastating, with loss of friends commonly reported. New research shows a virtual reality world called EVA Park can help, according to a paper published in PLOS ONE by academics at City, University of London. It shows the potential for technology to play an important role in improving the everyday lives of people with aphasia, which is a language disorder affecting about one third of stroke survivors. Further details.

Men 25% more likely to get a payrise

money v gender

The gender pay gap has been big news in 2016, and this report from Cass Business School, the University of Warwick and the University of Wisconsin is helping to shed light on why it persists. The paper confronts the previous theories, which have all been based on reasons why women might be reluctant to ask for an increase in their pay packet. Co-author Dr Amanda Goodall at Cass Business School said “Ours is the first proper test of the reticent-female theory, and the evidence doesn’t stand up.” In fact, their report shows that females do ask for payrises, but are less likely to get them than men. Keep reading.

Cass leads the call for financial reform

number crunching exec

A Cass Business School report for New City Agenda says that Britain’s financial regulators must change to avoid sleepwalking into another financial crisis that will have a devastating effect on our economy and political system, and that crucial changes made following the 2008 economic crash are already being watered down. Get the details here.

Boko Haram’s media strategies studied

map showing Nigeria

Reserach from Dr Abdullahi Tasiu Abubakar shows how the changing media strategy of Boko Haram reflects their change from a peaceful movement in 2002 into a violent insurgency of 15,000 fighters. Published in a chapter of Africa’s Media Image in the 21st Century and based on interviews with individuals who have had first-hand dealings with Boko Haram, the research found that the organisation rose to notoriety through their long-standing commitment to self-promotion, barbaric activities, effective communication with journalists and the western media’s “obsession” with jihad-related stories. More information.

Chinese M&A in the UK

handshake with UK and China flags

Cass has published innovative research into Chinese M&A market, focussing on acquisitions from China to the UK from 2012 to mid-2016. During this time Chinese companies began making frequent acquisitions in the UK. With the growth of Chinese outbound M&A activities and their foreign direct investment (FDI) becoming increasingly important to the world’s economy, the research is both timely and useful in examining whether these investments create value to shareholders of the acquiring firms and which factors will drive performance. Continue reading this arcticle.

#Cassat50: Dr Brian Shegar, 1979

#Cassat50, Alumni Stories.

brianDr Brian Shegar studied BSc Banking and International Finance, 1978 followed by MSc Finance, 1979. He has since gone on to work in international banking, and currently lives and works in Singapore.

Why did you come to Cass?

It wasn’t Cass then! It was the Centre for Banking and International Finance, which was an independent centre (not a faculty) that was part of the City University and not the Business School. The Centre was initially headed by Professor Geoff Woods and after a year it was taken on by the Lord Brian Griffiths (then Professor). He was from the LSE and was noted for an important monograph about competition in the UK banking industry. Back then there were only four clearing banks; an oligopoly that badly needed competition!

The BSc (Hons) in Banking and International Finance attracted a large number of applicants due to the close linkages between the City University and the City of London – the world’s largest international financial centre. I was attracted to apply for this course arising from Singapore’s aspirations to be an international financial centre coupled with my interest in this area.

Back in those days, we were competing in the rankings with the likes of Loughborough and Bangor in Wales – but no one was as bold and as visionary as we were! Also we were close to the City and could tap in to City’s expertise and prestigious institutions. Since the degree it was founded by economists, it initially had a strong weightage on economics and a lesser focus on finance. However this evolved over the years into a well-defined and structured programme.

What was your experience of studying at Cass?

There were 24 in our maiden cohort, from all over the world. I came from Singapore, there were other international students from Malaysia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, South Africa and elsewhere. It was great to be a small and cosy group and we were close to our lecturers, some of whom are still around eg Professor Roy Batchelor, Kate Phylaktis.

It was an enjoyable experience. We had most of our lectures at Gloucester Annex where the centre was based and some lectures in the main University at St. John Street. The only problem with the programme is that it was misleading in its title as Banking & International Finance, because it was mainly economics! After graduating I had not really been exposed to finance proper so I enrolled at the Business School (CUBS as it was then) and did the MSc Finance – which was quite specialised.

I graduated in 1978 from my BSc and I missed the Mais prize by one mark! Then I obtained a fees scholarship for my MSc thanks to JF Chown & Company, a leading international financial and tax consultant based in the city. I was introduced to JF Chown by Professor Brian Griffith and I have been in contact with my sponsor ever since! It was a good programme and we studied accounting and finance, insurance, operational science, corporate strategy and portfolio management. Again we were a small group, this time based largely at Lionel Denny House, at the Business School before it moved to the Barbican.

It was a full one-year programme and I graduated in 1979. We had lectures and exams followed by a thesis. Upon graduation I have had a little bit of contact with lecturers and fellow students. However what is truly impressive is to witness the phenomenal growth of CUBS into Cass Business School which is recognised as one of the leading centres for Business and Management Education in the UK. Additionally the linkages with the City have been further enhanced.

What is your favourite memory from your time at Cass?

The degree convocation at City University back then was a great ceremony in the Guildhall – totally unforgettable. It was a small University and we had an intimate convocation ceremony in one of the most historic buildings in the country. We were called one by one and had to kneel in front of the Lord Mayor of London who was the Chancellor and he would hood us personally. So my Bachelor’s convocation ceremony was certainly a highlight, although I was unable to attend the graduation for my Masters convocation.

On the whole, University for me was about the people. To be honest, the University was based in a pretty run down building in St. John Street. Gloucester Annex, which is where the Centre for Banking & Finance was located, resembled a converted warehouse office building. Back then Angel Islington was pretty depressed and not a very nice part of town, unlike today – it has become a trendy and upmarket location. London itself is an amazingly interesting and multi-cultural society with a rich history. Within London, the City with its one square mile of financial institutions from all over the world had a certain aura that mesmerized me as a banking student.

How did studying at Cass change your life?

In Singapore, after my A’ Levels, it was compulsory to do two and a half years’ military service, so I was older than the rest of the cohort by two years, and I think that made me more mature. This exposure to life after schooling helped, and it was good to not go straight to University. Coming to London to study after military service was an expensive proposition but it was a great way to learn banking & finance. And with hindsight, it was the best thing that I did!

My whole London experience changed my life because I was part of the ecosystem in London and could take advantage of it. I did some internship in the City and was exposed to some of the brightest people I have met. The depth and breadth in the City is awesome and it is the world’s leading financial centre. It moulded my future and passion and interest in the profession of banking and international finance.

My degrees launched my career – thanks to the learning, the exposure and the experience. I started at Midland Bank and Samuel Montagu in international and merchant banking largely in the Asia Pacific region where I worked for 15 years. Subsequently I established a Regional Branch of Nedbank covering the South East and South Asian. Then I moved out of banking to run a hedge fund, following which I returned to banking to establish the regional office of Emirates NBD in Singapore, covering the Asia Pacific Region.

Meet the Principal

Alumni Stories, Health Sciences News.

 michael-blog-photoAn Adult Nursing graduate, Mike Sonny is now at the helm of London Waterloo Academy. We asked the former health professional what life is like in the Principal’s Office.

Can you tell me about your time at City?

I graduated in 2004 with a PG Diploma in Adult Nursing. The lectures were informative, interactive, well-structured, challenging and fun at the same time. We had plenty of opportunities to practice in clinical placements thanks to the faculty. I loved the engagement of academic literature, research and the science of nursing.

All in all, this course was an amazing experience, particularly having to attend lectures in various locations around the city. Not easy at times but it was like an adventure locating the various sites.

What happened after you graduated?

I went into clinical practice and a turn of events took me into teaching in Further Education and Higher Education (FE/HE) colleges – I was actually headhunted! Whilst at City, I had always had this feeling that I would end up in the teaching, research and training UK workforce.

From lecturing, I became Director of Studies for several years. In 2007, I was appointed Principal of London College of Management. I had also obtained an MSc in Public Service Management from the London South Bank University, and so the desire to combine management and leadership was irresistible for me.

During that year I was also invited to Bangladesh by the UK awarding body OTHM, to launch their flagship qualification (Level 4-7 QCF). That success led to my being conferred a Fellowship, followed by another whilst Head of Establishment of Scott’s College

In 2009, I held the position of Associate Professor – Marketing Research at Schiller International University, London, before they relocated back to Florida, USA. Since 2010, I have settled down as the Principal / CEO of London Waterloo Academy; providing education and training to the UK workforce in Dental Nursing, Health and Social Care, Management, Airline Cabin Crew, languages and Corporate Training.

What was the transition from teacher to principal like?

I was actually headhunted again for the position of Principal. For me, the transition was challenging but I had to get stuck in because I was already the Director of Studies across the FE/HE College and leading a team of lecturers and other staff members. This involves upholding quality assurance, leading institutional accreditations, maintaining standards, international student recruitment and maintaining Home Office regulatory requirements.

What has been the biggest challenge?

Keeping up with the breath of regulatory changes across the HE/FE sector has to be my biggest challenge e.g. upholding and maintaining institutional accreditation from regulators like (QAA, BAC, ASIC, ISI, Home Office) all of whom continue to have an impact on leading higher education in the UK. Another huge challenge is maintaining student satisfaction, achievements, retention and funding.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

I would say student satisfaction and achievement. I was again privileged to participate in our 2016 Graduation ceremony and I was moved when children of our graduating students came up to me and requested to wear my graduating hat.

Every year, I see the smile and gratitude from students, parents, friends and families as they graduate. That’s rewarding for me. It means that the Academy under my leadership has added value to their lives and that we have enabled them to achieve what they set out to do when they joined the institution. I most also mention the wonderful and fantastic colleagues I work with.

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

It’s difficult to say. For me, it is to enjoy doing what you love. Be flexible and adaptable to changing times in your skills and training. This is inevitable due to external factors beyond one’s control. Finally, I pray a lot. That’s what has kept me going.


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

Favourite place in London:  The view from Waterloo Bridge in either direction
Favourite holiday destination:   Disneyland Paris
Must-check everyday website: Any one my email throws up
Dream travel destination:  Island beach
Cheese or chocolate: Chocolate for me



Purified Innovation

Alumni Stories, Cass Business School News.

img_6212uTereza Drimalova studied BSc Business Studies with specialism in Marketing, 2016 and she’s already launching her own company, AquaQube! She skyped the Alumni Office from the Czech Republic to chat about how it happened so fast.

Tell me about your time at Cass!

I came to Cass for BSc Business Studies with specialism in Marketing but I was only at Cass for my first and third years. The middle year I spent in Spain at the IE Business School, which was also a great experience. I actually chose Cass because the style of education was different to the one at home [in the Czech Republic]. Here it’s much more practical and even more career-orientated in the sense that during your studies you meet future employers, and it’s great for practical experience and internships. I really enjoyed that – usually here [in the Czech Republic] people finish studying and then start looking for something practical so that’s quite a difference.

Do you have a favourite memory?

I would say that the favourite memory for me was the very first week I was there. I was part of the pre-sessional maths week and got to know all the people in the group very well. We were with the same group all the time and most of my friends, my best friends, are from this group! I was quite surprised by how big a difference this made.

What did you do next?

It was actually during the last term of University that I started AquaQube, my company. We started to develop and produce the product and to talk to potential customers. It was pretty cool that I had the chance to apply lots of things I learned at Cass so soon. In our new product development class we even worked on similar projects – in our AquaQube team we had people who had already developed products on the technical side but didn’t really have any insights from the consumer – that was the point of view I brought.

So what exactly is AquaQube?

It’s an innovative and efficient (we don’t know of any more efficient competing devices) water purification device for homes. It was developed based on research from industrial water purification, and there it’s become clear that, although the technology exists, hormones and pesticides are not going to be eliminated from the water any time soon. For that to happen, it would need Government investment, and nobody wants to do it – there is no immediate harm from these being in the water and so they are not pushed to do it.

But I wanted to bring consumers this better quality water, and the only way to do that is to bring AquaQube in to homes by selling directly to customers. Our product is particularly suitable for pregnant women and parents with small children, so those who really need to take more care of their lifestyle and water quality. It’s also for people following a healthy lifestyle or who are interested in ecology. It’s very much an ecological solution as it’s the only water purifier on the market that really destroys the impurities in the water rather than just filters them. So by cleaning your own water with AquaQube you’re also cleaning the environment around you.

aquaqube-logo-website-black aquaqube-main-view-with-bottle-inside team-photo

And you’re launching your crowdfunding?

Yes, we are launching a Kickstarter campaign on the 17th November.

What’s been the biggest challenge?

I might sound quite weird but I would say the biggest challenge has been to be brave enough to go to customers and spread the word around the world. You’re working for a year and you think your product is the best it can possibly be, so it’s quite scary to really let all the people comment on it! Thankfully, I’ve had really good and positive feedback so far, but you still sometimes think about how people will react and that uncertainly is a challenge. With friends and family, even if they think it’s not good, they say things in a nice way, but people can be harsh.

What advice would you give someone looking to follow in your footsteps?

You have to find the right people to co-operate with because they need to have the same focus as you and be hardworking and expert in their area. In the beginning everything is little, the number of people is really small, and so you need everyone to be as great and as hard working as possible. It might seem like there’s not that much work at the start, but you need even a name, a logo, a website and more! So you need someone to rely on and maybe even someone you don’t have to manage, someone proactive and able to do things on their own.

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

Favourite place in London: Primrose Hill
Favourite holiday destination: Philippines
Must-check every day website: Currently I check the AquaQube website and AquaQube Facebook page about 20 times a day!
Dream travel destination: Cuba
Cheese or chocolate: Difficult! But cheese!

Support AquaQube’s Kickstarter campaign here.

Finding Your Future

Careers, Cass Business School News.

e9ad9fee9d0bc73e0b2c055eb0b268ce_xlMira Rutter (MSc Banking and International Finance) is a career, personal growth and wellbeing coach with her own coaching practice Rutter Coaching. We recently spoke about her own career transitions and have been allowed to publish extracts from her blogs.


So, you have spent some time asking yourself various questions about what makes you happy, what activities make you lose track of time, what you are naturally good at, what makes you feel great about yourself, who you want to help and what causes you strongly believe in. You also now have an understanding of your values and what you need in order to feel fulfilled in your career and live your life with purpose. (If you haven’t, then check out our 7 Steps to Finding Your Passion guide.)

So what now?

Now, it’s about chasing your dreams or perhaps if you haven’t fully identified what it is you want to be doing, it’s about taking some actions to define it clearly and then chase it.

Remember that famous Benjamin Franklin quote, ‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’? It’s about committing to making a change and a difference to how you live your life, whether it’s a small or a major change that you are looking to make. It’s about taking actions and saying ‘no’ to the status quo and remaining complacent and saying ‘yes’ to having focus and determination.

At the end of the day, if you are following your passions you are optimising your life because you are spending more of your time doing what you love and you are fulfilling your potential. And who doesn’t want to be doing that?!

Read more on Mira’s blog >>


When you wake up on a working day, do you think to yourself ‘I’m so looking forward to today and all the exciting things the day ahead will bring?’

These days we’re all being urged to ‘find our passion’ but what if we don’t know what it is or how to find it? Or perhaps we know what it is but we don’t know to go on about following it? We’re expected to take control of our careers, but often with minimal resources or support.

In our busy lives, the days, weeks, and months fly by and it’s very easy to find ourselves on a career path determined by others or by circumstances. That job offer or project that came along and is now a career. We get stuck where we are and can end up feeling uninspired and lacking motivation. I’ve been there myself and I know what it’s like.

And the one thing we never get around to doing is taking a step back and asking ourselves ‘What do I really want to be doing?’ ‘What will make me jump out of bed with joy every day, even on a Monday morning?’

Last week, Simon and I delivered a very engaging and interactive workshop at Barclays HQ in London as part of their Careers Week. What we found was that people didn’t know what questions to ask themselves to help them find out what they are passionate about and how they can gain that invaluable insight about themselves. We also saw on our social media that people wanted to know more about how to find their passion. So, I want to use this blog to help you to take that step back and explore what motivates you, what’s really important to you and what you are passionate about.

Passion. What is it to you?

First of all, take a moment to think about what feeling passionate about your work means to you.

Your passion is the reason you wake up in the morning, and just the thought of it can keep you up late with excitement although preferably not too late. It can also be a quieter feeling of satisfaction, knowing you’re living life on your terms.

What are the benefits?

Have you ever wondered what difference will feeling passionate about your work make to you? What about to your family, to your company and to society?

I personally know how scary it can be when you feel like your life has no purpose or direction but finding your passion can change all that.

Finding your passion is like finding your personal road map. When you find your passion you feel happy, fulfilled, work doesn’t really feel like work, your relationships with your family and colleagues improve and many more… And you are so much clearer about in what direction you are heading and what steps to take.

Read more on Mira’s blog >>


It’s Work-Life Balance week. Hurray! I guess it says it all that if we’ve had to dedicate a national week to it.

Do you feel overwhelmed and overstretched by constantly having to juggle a demanding job and various personal commitments? Are you frequently stressed, exhausted and struggling to fit everything in? You are definitely not alone.

In our hectic, 100 miles per hour lives, we often get pulled from pillar to post, drown in detail, more is expected from us and we demand more of ourselves. As a result, we tend to forget to get off the hamster wheel and take a break to think of what it is we really want, and why.

What is work-life balance anyway?

Let’s pause for a moment and think what having work-life balance means to you. What would an ideal week would look like to you? How much time would you dedicate to work? How much time would you dedicate to your family? How about to yourself – downtime, personal development time? What about your hobbies and interests? How about exercising?

I truly believe that leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle is the key to feeling happy, energetic and fulfilled.

There are a lot of things that depend on others, but there is a lot that can be determined by us. So, it’s important to focus on what you can control and influence. Even if that sometimes is ‘just’ your mindset.

Read more on Mira’s blog >>

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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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