Ox Connect Magazine

Page 1




Focus Students

on Research &Innovation An Introducion Slough Campus New Campus Nottingham


June - August 2021

Photo of Slough campus

Dr Fayyaz Qureshi Managing Editor managing.editor@oxfordbusinesscollege.ac.uk Antonino Pilade Filmmaker - Visual Artist film@oxfordbusinesscollege.ac.uk Christopher Puzey Editor Chris.Puzey@oxfordbusinesscollege.ac.uk Kareem Ayoub Coordinator oxconnect.ed@oxfordbusinesscollege.ac.uk Alexandra Kraleva Interviewer alexandra.kraleva@oxfordbusinesscollege.ac.uk Petra Grebinisan Student Coordinator oxconnect.st@oxfordbusinesscollege.ac.uk



ollowing the successful launch of ‘OxConnect’ magazine earlier this year, it gives me great pleasure to introduce the second issue. OxConnect provides a crucial link between the College and our current students, alumni, staff, business communities and other key stakeholders. In this issue, Oxford Business College is excited to announce a number of new accreditations and partnerships, including the Business Graduate Association (BGA) and the University of West London (UWL). Our partnership with UWL – an award-winning public university with a history spanning more than 150 years – will allow our students to benefit from a wider choice of courses. It will also enable us to contribute to widening participation in higher education among individuals in our communities whose circumstances may otherwise prevent them from obtaining a university degree, helping everyone improve their lives through education. In addition, OBC will work in partnership with the University of West London to deliver the BA (Hons) degree in Business Studies with Foundation Year from November 2021. Of course, we continue to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our staff, and we mustn’t forget that this summer, our hardworking staff and students could finally spend some quality time with family and friends in the UK and abroad after months of lockdowns. Many of our staff also came together recently at OBC’s summer party and sports day event, which you can read about in this issue. As restrictions ease and we look forward to a return to

face-to-face working, teaching and learning, we are extremely proud to bring you exciting news about our two brand new state-of-the-art campuses in Slough and Nottingham. Our London-based campus in Park Royal is now also ready to welcome our new Higher National Diploma (HND) students. The College is also committed to developing its research capacity, not least because research benefits our students as well as faculty staff and business. The ethos in our growing research department – let’s grow, rise and shine together – is exactly what we want to achieve, and you can read more about the department’s current and future activities in our feature article on pages 23 and 24. At OBC, we place our students at the heart of everything we do and continue to celebrate their achievements in this issue. You can read Marla Barros’ story on page 26. In closing, I would like to thank the whole OxConnect team – our visual designer, copywriter, authors, editors, coordinators and interviewers, who continue to contribute to the magazine’s success. We hope you enjoy the content as much as the team has enjoyed putting it together. We would also like to invite you to submit your success story to feature in the next issue. As always, we welcome your feedback, so if you have any questions, suggestions or concerns, please address them to: managing.editor@oxfordbusinesscollege.ac.uk Dr Fayyaz Qureshi

17/ 18/ 19/ 21/ 23/ 25/

Memberships & Accreditations OBC partners with the University of West London

3/ 4/ 5/

Dr Padmesh Gupta ‘Your Language, Your identity’

Rena Rani Interim Principle

Diversity & Inclusion at OBC

7/ 9/ 11/ 15/

Introducing our new Slough Campus

Nottingham Profiles of new staff members

An Introduction to CSR

Celebrating professional success

Our Summer Party

Research & Innovation

How neuroscience Based methodologies can deliver new Insights to Marketers

26/ 27/ 31/

Focus on Students

Our Students Stories

Romania: our pick of the best places to visit

33/ 35/ 39/ 40/ 41/

Rest & Relaxation

Recharge to Reconnect Oxford Business College UpdateMatch

‘Sharing is caring’

Celebrating Diversity

43/ 44/ 45/ 46/

We’re so proud of our parents New HND West London Campus

Support for English learners at OBC OBC bids a fond farewell to popular members of staff


June - August 2021

Dr Padmesh Gupta

‘Your Language, Your identity’


anguage is the identity of the community that speaks it. Therefore, we should respect our native language and use it frequently. The managing director of Oxford Business College, Dr Padmesh Gupta, underlined the importance of language in his address at the 1st Hindi Literature Festival of one of India’s most premier secondary schools, the La Martinière College in Lucknow. An alumnus of the same school, Dr Gupta addressed the opening session of the College as the chief guest. He said English empowers people to become

global citizens and helps them achieve a better future. However, in this fast-changing world, tolerance and appreciation towards different languages and cultures have been growing substantially and proved benef icial. A linguist, poet of repute and a successful academic, Dr Gupta has been working to promote languages in the UK since 1990. While he has been organising conferences, symposia and training camps to promote Hindi, Oxford Business College has been imparting one of the best English Language courses under his leadership. More than 35 premiere Indian secondary schools participated in the festival. Addressing the huge number of students, teachers and literature lovers, Dr Gupta shared his interactions with students from dozens of European and Asian universities and educational institutions and elaborated on their appreciation of foreign languages, such as Hindi. La Martinière College, Lucknow, was established in 1845 following the will of the celebrated officer of British East India Company, Major General Claude Martin.

Dr Padmesh Gupta


Born in Lyon, France, General Martin allocated huge funds and estate to establish schools in Lyon, France, and Calcutta and Lucknow in India.


Rena Rani


June - August 2021

Interim Principal


Rena Rani, Interim Principle at Oxford Business College, has over ten years of experience in senior educational leadership. Here, she briefly introduces herself and her professional background, shares her first impressions of the College, and outlines her primary duties. The interview took place at OBC’s Oxford campus (George Street), where she was met by Chris Puzey and Antonino Pilade from the College. We would like to thank Ms. Rani for agreeing to take part in this interview. Could you introduce yourself and tell us about your professional background? I have worked in the education sector for over ten years in various organisations as a senior leader, both in The Midlands and London. As an educationalist, I strongly believe that students should receive the best possible learning and teaching experience, supported by excellent pastoral services, allowing them to develop holistically.

tremendous journey of service quality, and the way it supports students is fantastic, which is evident from the success stories of students. So, I joined the College to facilitate its strategic growth plan and increase opportunities for more students to engage with the College and achieve their aspirations. Could you tell us of your main duties as principal? My main duty is to collaborate with senior colleagues to deliver the strategic vision of The College. This also includes working closely with the directors to support growth, whilst ensuring students continue to benefit from an outstanding experience. In three words, how would you describe OBC based on your first impression? OBC is welcoming, friendly and ambitious.

What attracted you to the role in the first place?

Could you tell us about your experience with OBC so far?

I already knew about the College and its values to genuinely empower students to succeed in life. This desire to empower people to be the best they can be aligned with their own values and beliefs. I also know the College is on a

I have been here for two months and have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and working with not only peers but also colleagues. I look forward to meeting staff at other campuses.


Diversity & Inclusion at OBC


e’re passionate about diversity and inclusion at Oxford Business College. We believe that everyone should feel valued and respected and be able to bring their whole selves to whatever they choose to do in life. Our colleague, Chris Puzey, recently spoke with Lu Kyriacou, a fashion design graduate of St. Martin’s University in London, about how the education system can be more inclusive of transgender people.


Lu explained that understanding is an essential part of developing an inclusive environment. We can all improve our understanding by focusing on learning more about each other. There are a number of websites that share useful resources and important stories from the transgender community.

We welcome all students from different backgrounds and with different life experiences at Oxford Business College. Inclusion is about respecting and celebrating what makes us unique and what makes us … us!

For example, GLAAD (www.glaad.org), the LGBT Foundation (lgbt.foundation) and All About Trans (www.allabouttrans.org.uk).

Diversity and inclusion are essential for us as a higher education institution. It’s also important in the corporate world, and we want to make sure that all of our students have access to the information that will help them to ensure their own businesses are inclusive and diverse.

Take some time to read up about the experiences of the transgender community, and you can begin to help us build a more inclusive environment.

You can watch Lu’s interview with Chris on the Oxford Business College YouTube channel here


Introducing our new Slough Campus


y the time you read this, our striking new campus in Slough will have already welcomed its first cohort of students for the new BA in Business Studies with Foundation Year (awarded by the University of West London - UWL). Slough is located in the historic county of Berkshire just 20 miles West of Central London and boasts a rich industrial and commercial history. The opening of the Great Western Railway in 1838 and the SloughEstate in the early 1900s sparked a substantial commercial expansion in the town. Military investment during the First and Second World Wars supported further growth.


Currently, plans are being drawn up to redevelop the centre completely. The regeneration project will see the construction of brand new homes, offices and shopping facilities. Slough also has one of the youngest populations of any large urban centre in the UK and in 2019 was named one of the most productive areas of the country. The employment website Glassdoor has named Slough the best place to live and work three years running, so it’s no surprise that the town is home to a large number of major multinational companies such as SAP, O2, Procter & Gamble, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). With easy access to both central London and Britain’s

busiest airport (Heathrow) by road and rail, it’s clear to see why Slough is such a popular location for international businesses seeking global access without the London price tag. We’re very excited to be joining the growing number of organisations calling Slough their home. Slough also has plenty to offer in terms of leisure and entertainment facilities – green space, cultural events, as well as all the essential amenities you’d expect. What’s more, Slough is only a short distance from historic Windsor Castle, one of Queen Elizabeth II’s weekend residences and home to British kings and

queens for over 1,000 years. OBC’s campus is ideally situated a stone’s throw away from local shops, bars, and restaurants in the town centre. It features state-of-the art computer labs, a student common room, free WIFI and spacious classrooms equipped with the latest interactive technology, such as smart boards and digital projectors, providing a quality working and learning environment for staff and students alike. Would you like to learn more about Oxford Business College’s new Slough campus? Keep an eye on our website



Nottingham Campus


e’re excited to let you know that we have also recently launched a new campus in Nottingham, the East Midlands city famous for its connections with the legend of Robin Hood. Our Nottingham campus is our most northerly location and accompanies our other campuses in Oxford, London and Slough. Opening our doors in Nottingham is an exciting opportunity that will allow us to support even more students. Nottingham is the ideal location for an OBC campus. Located around 128 miles north of London, the city has a history that stretches back almost a millennium. Nottingham castle is thought to have been constructed in 1068 and, by the 15th century the city was at the heart of a thriving export industry. During the 1800s, Nottingham expanded rapidly with the industrial revolution, becoming an international centre for the trade of lace. Although the city’s textiles industry slowed down during

the post war years, Nottingham has since experienced urban growth and regeneration. Looking ahead to the future, Nottingham has plans to become the UK’s first carbon neutral city by 2028 as well as to become a national centre for digital technology and is targeting an ecosystem of entrepreneurialism and innovation. Nottingham’s Robin Hood connections are well known, while it’s also a famous city for music and art. Students attending our new campus will have everything they need on their doorstep, including vibrant nightlife, thriving leisure industry and plenty of things to see and do. A city that’s on the rise, we’re thrilled to be part of Nottingham’s next chapter in commercial development. We will bring you further developments from Nottingham, and all our campuses, in the next issue of OxConnect. In the meantime, If you’d like more information on our new campuses, follow us on social media and stay tuned to our website,



June - August 2021

Profiles of new staff members sion at Oxford Business College. Chris Puzey& inclu

Jessica Chandrakumar


A to the Co-Heads of Admission and an Admissions officer at Oxford Business College. Jessica lives in London and will soon graduate from Brunel University with a BSc in Financial Mathematics. Jessica is an expert on all things related to numbers


and has experience working with data-driven software, including VBA Excel, Matlab and SPSS. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music and watching animations. Jessica brings attention to detail and excellence in numbers to our admissions team.


June - August 2021


xecutive PA to Oxford Business College’s Director of Research and Quality Assurance, Dr Fayyaz Qureshi, Chris brings international excellence to his role at the College. While studying at the University of Sheffield, he took on international placements in Poland and Spain, giving him the opportunity to learn Polish and Spanish to a high level. As a result, Chris graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and Spanish and a Master’s degree in International Political Economy. Chris has worked for both national and multinational companies in a variety of roles. Most recently, he worked in the recruitment industry. He also has experience of teaching politics to undergraduates and the English language to international students. Chris’ passion for languages knows no bounds: as well as taking proficiency exams in Polish and Spanish, he’s also learning Italian and German in his spare time and plans to take the Institute of Linguists’ Diploma in Translation in the not-too-distant future. Chris’ strong understanding of international politics, business and language is a huge plus for our team at Oxford Business College. We believe in supporting students from around the world to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams, and Chris is making an important contribution to that goal. We wish him a warm welcome, witamy, bienvenido, benvenuto and willkommen to the team!

Jathusa Ravichandran


athursa, an Academic and Admissions Assistant at Oxford Business College, graduated with a degree in Mathematics With Statistics from King’s College London. At present, she is pursuing Masters in Data Analytics MSc at Queen Mary University and worked as a

content writer and tutor. Jathursa is an important colleague at OBC, supporting our students and academic team to make sure everyone at the College can fulfil their potential. Thank you to Jathursa for all your hard work!



June - August 2021

Dr Aljoša Šestanović Research Associate


ljoša is a business expert with extensive experience in the financial sector.


During the past eight years, he has held the rank of Associate Professor, teaching on a range of subjects including corporate finance, financial statement analysis, company appraisals, cost-benefit analysis, financial accounting and management accounting. In 2014, he was appointed a court expert witness on finance and accounting matters. He is also a member of the CFA Institute, a CFA Chartholder and an investment advisor and broker licensed in Croatia. Alongside his professional work, Aljoša regularly contributes to the academic literature on the financial industry. He edited the Croatian version of the seminal textbook Fundamentals of Financial Management by Van-Horne and Wachowicz. He has also worked on a range of other publications that provide valuable insights into the financial sector. In his spare time, Aljoša enjoys playing classical guitar. We’re hugely grateful to have him as a member of our faculty at Oxford Business College. When it comes to bringing his expertise in business finance, Aljoša hits all the right notes!


Dr Katarina Sokić

June - August 2021

Research Associate


atarina brings a high degree of legal expertise to our faculty.

She’s spent the past nine years teaching in a higher education setting, conducting courses on a range of legal subjects, including human resource management, psychology of personality and organisation, company law and labour law. Katarina has passed the bar and notary exam. She also conducts scientific research and is well versed in business psychology. Outside of work, Katarina volunteers for an association that supports people with mental disabilities. She also enjoys spending her spare time among nature. Katarina’s evergreen expertise in legal and psychological subjects is a huge boost to the faculty at Oxford Business College. We welcome her on board!


An Introduction to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)



ustainability and social responsibility are vital for all businesses, and we’re taking them both seriously here at Oxford Business College.

Climate change continues to be an important factor for all of us. Increasing global temperatures, rising sea levels and more extreme weather patterns are just a few of the many challenges we face if we don’t play our part in lowering emissions. Other global issues are also on our minds. Challenging inequality, promoting diversity, and supporting the health and wellbeing of people across the world are all top priorities. Tackling hunger and poverty are also important to us. At Oxford Business College, we recognise that corporate growth needs to be sustainable and socially responsible. That’s why we’ve embedded the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) into our long-term strategy, covering every aspect of our organisation. The UN’s SDG’s were created in 2015 by the General Assembly as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and serve as a blueprint for a better, more sustainable future for everyone. Although some of the development goals are more relevant to OBC than others, we’ve created a list of actions that we are taking. These include: reducing energy use in our buildings by installing motion-sensor lights; promoting car sharing among our students and staff; providing equality of opportunity for all; widening participation in higher education and working with local charities, including our very own ‘OxFoodbank’, to name but a few examples. We have also created a method of checking and evidencing how we are progressing. We want Oxford Business College to lead the way on sustainability and corporate social responsibility. As a growing teaching institution guiding the business leaders of tomorrow, we recognise the important contribution we can make to these vital causes. In fact, our ongoing efforts to become a more responsible and sustainable organisation were recently rewarded with the CSR-A bronze award, which you can read about on the following page. To find out more, go to www.oxfordbusinesscollege. ac.uk/corporate-social-responsibility. We would also encourage you to read more about the UN General Assembly’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) here



June - August 2021

ps s i h s r n e o i b t a t i d Mem e cr c A &


e’re proud to let you know that Oxford Business College is being recognised by leading institutions in the fields of business and education. For us, it’s not just about receiving awards and accolades. Recognition is confirmation that we’re taking the right actions to ensure our students receive the best education possible. It’s about being a socially responsible business and an accomplished educational establishment. Here are just a few of the recognitions we’ve recently received. PRME Here are just a few of the recognitions we’ve recently received. PRME We’ve signed up for the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). PRME works closely with the UN Global Compact, a pact encouraging businesses to be socially responsible and sustainable. As a signatory, we will champion the importance of sustainability in the way we work and teach. Business Graduates Association (BGA) OBC has been accepted as a Bronze Member of the Business Graduates Association (BGA). As part of our membership, OBC students benefit from a number of BGA services, including access to the organisation’s Career Development Centre, discounts and offers, events and webinars. BGA also offers free membership to our students. For more information, speak to your tutor. Matrix Accreditation We’ve achieved the Matrix Quality Standard, an award that recognises our information, guidance and advice services. The accreditation confirms the work we’ve put in to offer high quality support for students in terms of their learning, career and life goals. Corporate Social Responsibility Accreditation (CSR-A) OBC is now a CSR accredited (CSR-A) organisation (bronze). The award recognises four key pillars of social responsibility – the environment, workplace, community and philanthropy. We’re proud to have prioritised each of these pillars as we continue to grow, and as part of our application for the award, a donation has been made to a nominated charity.

In parternship with



OBC partners with the University of West London


e’re proud to work with all our university partners and awarding bodies. It means our students can access a wider choice of quality courses while studying at any one of our four campuses conveniently located across the UK. It therefore, gives us great pleasure to announce a new partnership alliance with the University of West London – a successful public research university committed to providing quality higher education to a diverse student population. The University of West London (UWL) obtained university status in 1992 but has a distinguished history dating back to 1860, when the Lady Byron School was founded. It later became the Ealing College of Higher Education and was re-named the University of West London in 2010. The university now comprises eight schools, including the Claude Littner Business School. Dubbed ‘the career university’, UWL prides itself on preparing students for the modern workplace and remains one of the UK’s top institutions in terms of graduate employability. UWL has also performed consistently well in national rankings and league tables. The 2021 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide placed UWL in the top third of UK universities, so we are incredibly honoured to have been granted the opportunity to work with such a

June - August 2021

well-respected institution. Initially, Oxford Business College will work in conjunction with the University of West London to deliver the new BA (Hons) degree course in Business Studies with Foundation Year. OBC strives to make higher education available to all by considering each application on its own merits and offering flexible class schedules. Our partnership with UWL is another step towards this goal. Successful students will be awarded a Bachelor’s degree from the best modern university in London*, thereby enhancing their career prospects and even preparing them for postgraduate study. If you’re interested in applying for the BA in Business Studies with Foundation Year (awarded by UWL), you can find more information on our website. We encourage you to apply for our January 2022 intake, even if you don’t meet the formal entry requirements – we also consider relevant work experience and treat each applicant on an individual basis. The foundation year will prepare you for the degree course the following year. *Guardian University League Tables 2021



June - August 2021

Celebrating professional success: our new HEA fellows


e are incredibly proud to announce that two members of our academic staff have recently been granted Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), reflecting their commitment to professionalism in learning and teaching in higher education. Below, Dr Susan Akinwalere and Shifan Razick from OBC, share with us what this important achievement means to them.

Dr Susan Akinwalere


btaining the status of Fellow of the Higher Education Academy has been a massive achievement for me. It consolidates and enhances my personal development and is evidence of professional practice in my higher education career. I am passionate about teaching and learning. Obtaining this ‘Fellow’ status demonstrates my commitment to teaching, learning and the student experience. It has provided me with an opportunity to engage in a


practical process that encourages research, reflection and development. Over time, while applying for jobs in higher institutions, I realised that employers across the higher education sector increasingly seek fellowship as a condition of appointment and promotion. Therefore, I felt the need to bolster my career as a lecturer by obtaining my Fellowship (FHEA). I feel immensely proud of this achievement.


Shifan Razick


am delighted to announce that I have been conferred with the Fellowship of Higher Education Academy. The process started two months ago when I slowly started building my 3000-word reflection. In fact, the biggest challenges were to find examples that correctly referred to descriptors and areas of activity related to higher education. Despite the challenges, the process had been very useful due to the requirement to reflect on best practices in relation to the planning of learning activities, giving feedback to learners, and continuous professional development.

June - August 2021

I would like to encourage my colleagues to start the application process early by identifying their fellowship level by clicking the ‘fellowship category tool’ on the Advance HE website. Notably, I would like to thank Oxford Business College for motivating and encouraging me to submit my application promptly. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Dr Fayyaz, who provided timely feedback, and OBC heads of programmes for sponsoring my application. Finally, as an OBC team member, I am happy to provide any guidance and support for colleagues who are planning to apply for their HEA membership.


Our Summer Party



BC is on a mission to conquer the world of education, and not even the pernicious aftermath of COVID can stand in its way. In fact, OBC is now beyond a noticeable growth spurt, signing new partnerships, establishing new campuses, employing new staff and enrolling more students for its many bespoke courses. In order to commemorate all its awards and nominations for numerous categories, from excellence in education to student support, the college held a Hawaiian-themed summer party in the picturesque village of Iffley, a quiet suburb of Oxford, whose leafy streets are lined with old cottages and traditional pubs. The chosen venue was a delightful outdoor Indian restaurant, which resonated with high-pitched salutations, chuckles and elbow nudges as we met for the first time in person after months of virtual interaction; others laughed and sang along with Phil the singer, who blended in with his Hawaiian haku lei, while others put on their dancing shoes and danced the evening away. The master of ceremonies, Diana Munoz, presided over the outdoor entertainment with an array of quizzes and games whilst encouraging the rest of the staff to take part in karaoke, with the very talented Puja and Unai as lead singers, not

to mention our very own man with a guitar, Dr Alozie, zealously cajoled by party specialist Hamim. After much jovial and carefree merriment, everyone was treated to an exquisite display of Indian cuisine, which tickled everyone’s taste buds. Birthdays were also celebrated on the day as lecturers Salman and Ademola blew out their candles and made a wish. However, there was an even bigger cake, cut by the jolly hands of Asim, Puja, Murray, Amanat and Luke, to celebrate OBC’s many accomplishments, such as the launch of OxConnect, our new magazine and brain child of Dr Fayyaz; the newly established ‘Ox’brands; the many awards for excellence in education and, last but by no means least, the Midas touch of Mr Sarwar, whose three years at the helm have transformed the business vision of the college into a formidable success story. Dr Gupta graced everyone with his stage protagonism and delivered heartfelt speeches as he proudly stood with Mr Sarwar by his side, promising prosperity and unstoppable growth. The summer party was a joyous and happy occasion with many reasons to celebrate and be proud of belonging to the OBC family, and the memories remain captured in Antonino’s creative lens.


Research & Innovation at OBC Let’s Grow, Rise and Shine Together Research is an opportunity for us to discover and evaluate new ideas, knowledge and theories. It can have wider societal and economic impacts, which is why it’s important for researchers to share the results of their endeavours, usually by publishing their papers in peerreviewed academic journals.

At OBC, the primary aim of our budding research department is to enable and continuously promote a culture of research across the College and our wider research communities to “grow, rise and shine together’. We believe that OBC can set itself apart from its competitors in the private sector and achieve research

On these pages, we bring you a number of exciting updates about the department’s current and future plans based on these four key pillars: (1) publications; (2) initiatives/projects; (3) partnerships and (4) conferences/events.

ls na s) ur r jo ape oks ed d p Bo ew r h vi wa rc -re A ea er lty es pe cu R n Fa and si l le ua ks tic nn oo ar A db ch ng n ar di Ha se clu Re (in

There are a number of other reasons why it’s beneficial for higher educational institutions like OBC to engage in research activities. It not only promotes excellence among faculty members, which in turn improves the quality of teaching and what students learn, but students who engage in research projects develop their analytical and critical thinking skills and are better prepared for their future careers. Research also has a longer-term impact on students, as textbooks and other key academic resources are often informed by the latest research. Finally, research can lead to more investment by institutions in state-of-the-art technologies.

excellence by increasing its research output (publications), engaging in projects and initiatives in collaboration with our partner organisations and hosting both national and international research conferences, the first of which is due to take place next year (see further details below).

Publications in peer-reviewed journals


ur leading researchers have already begun to publish in peer-reviewed academic journals. We also launched the Annual Faculty Awards earlier this year to encourage, develop and support our early career researchers in particular, with prizes for the best two papers (£5,000 and £3,000). Research associates from OBC chose to write papers on a number of different topics related to private higher education, and the research papers are now in the final stages of completion. For example, Dr Aljoša Šestanović and Dr Mahnaaz Siddiqui’s empirical research addresses the challenges faced by mature students as they balance study with other commitments, such as work and family. Dr Šestanović said, “I hope our research will contribute to a better understanding of the particular requirements of mature students and provide guidance for colleges and universities to better serve their needs”. Tayyaba Zia was excited to collaborate with Dr Hedda Martina Šola on their research paper investigating the extent to which social media influences

Books As well as publishing our research in peer-reviewed journals, OBC also plans to launch two handbooks as well as two research books in early 2022. The handbooks are entitled Learning & Teaching in Private Higher Education and Leadership & Management in Higher Education. For news on these forthcoming releases, keep an eye on our website!


students’ choice of college and study programme. Tayyaba’s post-graduate research centres on the factors affecting consumer choice. She told us that, “the Faculty Awards were an opportunity to conduct empirical research on the effectiveness of social media and to what extent it influences students’ (as consumers) key choices”. For Dr Susan Nwadinachi, the Covid-19 pandemic was the trigger for her paper on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in higher education. She argues that the pandemic has provided a unique opportunity for colleges and universities to further explore the potential benefits of ‘AI’.

Partnerships - Insitute for Neuromarketing (Zagreb)


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ar ke t



he Institute for Neuromarketing, based in Zagreb, Croatia, under the directorship of Dr Hedda Martina Šola, specialises in scientific and development research in the field of neuromarketing and consumer neuroscience. Our on-going partnership with them helps us to better understand the needs and wishes of customers (including our students) through the application of neuroscientific methodology and technology. Services provided to OBC include: neuroadvertising, neurobranding and neurodesign.

New Initiative – THRICE

E arch in Pra ry and Rese



ctice (THR

arlier this year, we launched a new student-led initiative called ‘THRICE’, which stands for Theory and Research in Practice. The aim of the initiative is to provide small, local businesses with solutions to their key problems (free of charge) and to embed theory and research into the problem-solving process. This will give our students an opportunity to implement their learning by applying the latest theoretically-informed research to real business problems. The scheme will also allow the College to expand its reach to our local business communities. Stay tuned for further updates as we implement this new initiative across all our campuses!

In t Th ern at e Hi i gh Cha ona er llen l C Ed ge on uc s & fer e at ion Pro nce in spe : Pa ct kis s fo ta n r Conferences Tayyaba Zia, a Research Associate at OBC, recently participated in an online conference hosted by ON Research (the research platform of the EU Business School) examining the challenges and prospects of business education post-Covid 19. Tayyaba’s paper, coauthored by Dr Fayyaz Qureshi and Sarwar Khawaja, examined mature students’ satsfaction with online learning during the pandemic. The research informed OBC’s approach to helping mature students get the most out of their learning, and you can read the full paper here. We are also proud to announce that we plan to host our own international conference next year on the theme of Challenges and Prospects for Higher Education in

Pakistan. Despite some recent improvements, the higher education system in Pakistan remains beset by structural/ organisational issues, affecting the quality of education and the country’s position in global rankings. OBC will invite prominent leaders and dignitaries from Pakistan as well as renowned scholars in the field of higher education to be our guests at the forthcoming conference. The research papers presented during the conference will be reviewed by an expert panel of judges, and the prize fund will be up to Pak Rs 2,200,000, with Rs 1,000,000 (approx. £4,300) for first place. Further details, including the date and location of the conference, will be circulated soon - keep an eye on our website and the next issue of OxConnect for updates!


How neuroscience-based methodologies can deliver new insights to marketers


e’re proud to announce that Dr Hedda, Senior Lecturer at OBC and Director of the Institute of Neuromarketing (Zagreb), will present her latest research at the First ‘CIRCUL-A-BILITY’ Conference in Sustainable Food Packaging in September. The conference takes place within Aarhus University’s CIRCUL-A-BILITY ‘COST’ Action (European Cooperation in Science and Technology). The CIRCUL-A-BILITY reseach network comprises more than 200 researchers from over 40 different countries. Food packaging is not only practical in the sense that it protects the contents and keeps it fresh, but there is also an urgent need to improve the sustainability and circularity of food packaging and minimise waste. Of course, there is the element of consumer interaction to consider as well, which is precisely where Dr Hedda has made an important contribution to research. Thanks to technological advancements, neuromarketing can offer valuable insights into how consumers react – and are subconsciously influenced by what they see and read. Dr Hedda’s research employed two key neuromarketing techniques (electroencephalography (or EEGs) and eye-tracking) to understand consumer response to Imunoalfa’s packaging design. Dr Hedda said that, “the insights gained using neuroscience-based methodologies are much more fruitful compared to traditional market research techniques that rely on focus groups and surveys. Our study demonstrated that, to glean valuable insights into product packaging design, relying on a single neuroscientific sensor is enough. I’m happy and proud that our research has been selected to be presented at the FIRST CIRCUL-A-BILITY CONFERENCE, which will be held from 26th - 29th September 2021. After the conference, we plan to submit our research findings to the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture to make a scientific contribution to this field of inquiry“.



Student success stories Marla Barros


n this edition of OxConnect, we continue to recognise our students’ achievements and celebrate their successes. We begin with Marla Barros, who is the owner of ‘O Português’ – a restaurant and café in Reading serving a wide selection of delicious, authentic Portuguese food and drink. OxConnect’s very own student coordinator, Petra Grebinisan, and visual artist, Antonino Pilade, recently caught up with Marla to talk about her restaurant and where she hopes to take the business in the future. Marla was student president at Oxford Business College for two years running and is currently in her third year of a four-year Business Management course. Marla’s initial idea was to start a business that combined a restaurant, café and bar, giving her customers the option to either enjoy a delicious, authentic Portuguese meal with family or friends or just pop in for a coffee and perhaps a tasty Portuguese pastry, such as a pastel de nata (a delicious Portuguese custard tart sprinkled with cinnamon) or a bola de Berlim (a custard-filled doughnut). There is also a licensed bar on the premises – perfect for those who want to enjoy a drink with their meal or share conversation with friends over a glass of wine or cocktail.

June - August 2021

Marla feels very proud when she sees how her business has grown and how many people now work for her. Her ambition is to open a new restaurant in London, but she told us that there is still a lot of work to be done. When we asked her what success looked like to her, Marla invited us back to O Português in five years’ time. She couldn’t stop smiling from ear to ear when she told us that, “I still have a long way to go. For people to accomplish their dreams, they need to be resilient, especially being students, it is challenging. But if people are persistent, it is possible. You need to want it!” It is certainly no secret that hard work, combined with a lot of determination, can help us achieve even our most ambitious goals. Marla is an extraordinary woman who, whenever she’s struggling, always look back on the first three years of her student journey at OBC and looks forward to graduating next year.

This year has been extremely challenging for everyone, and many businesses have struggled during the pandemic, but O Português’ comfortable outside seating area meant that people could still enjoy a meal, or just a glass of wine, when only outdoor service was permitted. Marla also likes to bring the local community together and hosts different events each month. She plans to hold a red-carpet event for charity in the near future and will donate all the profits to the NHS as a thank you for their work on the frontline during the pandemic.



June - August 2021

Carmen A. Ciutuza


armen is 21 and settled in the UK two years ago. She is currently working towards a Business Management degree here at Oxford Business College. Carmen is very outgoing and enjoys spending quality time with friends and family. Her experience at OBC has been great so far. She has learned about business, how to be a good listener, how to help people and how to improve her communication skills. In fact, Carmen wanted to be a class representative so that she could help her classmates and improve communication between the students and teachers. She told us that having the opportunity to meet so many new people has been amazing and thinks that every teacher at OBC has something valuable to offer their students. Carmen admits that she is a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to work, and she always does her best to achieve good results. Carmen likes to get involved in student life as


much as possible: she is the Secretary of the Student President, which she views as an excellent opportunity to encourage better communication between students and teachers. For Carmen, being a good student means being committed, being able to manage your time and staying enthusiastic about studying. She has come to learn that students need to gain experience within the area they have chosen as future graduates of the College, so she wants to do more volunteer work and become involved in training programs to obtain more ‘hands-on’ experience. However, the most useful experiences for her would involve working with people to learn more about communication. After completing her degree, Carmen believes that the most important thing is to find a job in your chosen field that you’ll enjoy. She believes that her future is bright and full of exciting opportunities.


Luis Fernandes


urrounded by many students who have returned to face-to-face classes, Luis Fernandes shared with us his remarkable story about work, family and starting at a new college. Luis is originally from Brazil and came to the UK 15 years ago. Currently, he works at the BMW plant on the production line. He recently applied to be a line supervisor and passed all the tests. His goal is to get promoted and make significant gains in his chosen career. For this to happen, he first needs to get a degree, which is one of the reasons he chose to study at Oxford Business College. Without this course, employers would not even consider him for a promotion. He told us that, “I need to study to grow up, to get a better position in the company”. His advice for others is to invest in yourself, which is never a waste of time or money. He said one shouldn’t get frustrated or despondent just because you are older or have a family and think that your time has already passed - there is always time, and we are always learning. Of course, there is a lot of competition out there for good jobs, but without a good education, a degree and knowledge, we as employees are out of the market and do not have a chance. “I did not know it was so important in the UK to have a diploma,” Luis told us. “Because back in Brazil, it’s not as important to have a


June - August 2021

diploma; people do not treat you any differently as long as you are good at what you do. But here in the UK, people treat you differently if you have a certificate, especially large organisations. At OBC, Luis appreciates the tutors and the level of support the College offers students. Of course, It is not always easy to manage study with other commitments in life, such as a family. He struggles sometimes with motivation, but he always finds a way to stay focussed on his goals and, right now, his main goal is to graduate. Luis believes that blended learning will help many people. He is bringing up a 2-year-old daughter, which can certainly be challenging at times. He understands how important it is to spend time with her as well. Having to studying, work and look after his family all at the same time can be very demanding and takes its toll. However, Luis told us that the tutors teach time management skills, and learning takes place at weekends. “We all put a lot of effort into our studies, but it is worth it, and you notice the difference when you make the effort”, he said. Luis is also part of a local church community, and he told us that, when he tells people that he is studying for a degree, it earns him additional respect, which is a great feeling.



June - August 2021

Toader Grad


oader Grad is 23 and came to the UK in 2020. Having worked in a warehouse and in the construction industry, he decided to take the plunge and begin studying at Oxford Business College. Toader chose to study at this College because he believes it provides the right environment for his long-term plans. He started working in construction when he was a small boy thanks to his father and would love to start his own company one day. His dream is to run his own company renting machinery to construction sites. If that doesn’t work out, there’s always Plan B: to start a recruitment agency for people who need to find a job but don’t know how to make the right connections. In his opinion, many people have the right skills, but they still struggle to find work. He knows that some people focus more on working than searching for the a job because they don’t always know where to go. Toader believes that teamwork and communication are both essential skills for the business world and being able to work effectively with your colleagues can help many people. His motivation is himself; he is a hard-working person who has worked in many different places and always tries to be responsible and manage his time well. His self-development, empathy towards others and his current studies reassure him that he is on the right path. Toader wants to help himself by helping others.


He believes in people and that makes his relationships and connections with people much stronger. This is how a business should work, in his experience. Toader believes that he is a true leader when it comes to taking care of employees and what they need – good mental health, motivation and training, for instance. Talented managers and leaders are both critical in business. While a manager is more focused on the tasks in hand, organising and controlling, a leader will always be able to show them a better way to do the job and to keep people motivated. Their satisfaction comes from helping, supporting and inspiring their staff. Reading as much as possible has helped Toader with his self-development. He wants to travel the world in order to gain inspiration for his songs because he is also a budding rapper. He is a singer and likes to write poetry, which helps him to compose raps. Toader also likes spending time alone because it allows him to reflect on what he needs to do, and what he needs to improve. His advice would be that you can do anything you set your mind to but to focus on developing a good attitude and finding solutions to problems, rather than finding excuses not to do something; “if you do this, you will succeed!” he told us.


Gabriel Tintoiu


abriel Tintoiu shares his story as a businessman and how he overcame some challenges as a student at OBC. With no previous experience, he had difficulties managing his finances and understanding the business structure required to be successful. Howeve, with the help of our exceptional tutors and the knowledge gained during his first year as a student, he now understands the fundamental attributes of an organisation. Gabriel’s business is Rado Chauffeurs Ltd, which offers executive and corporate travel to groups and individual clients by providing them with a wide range of luxury vehicles to suit their needs. Whilst on the road as a chauffeur, Gabriel has been able to develop his customer service and driving skills. For him, time is money, and time is a very precious resource. He is a devoted and hardworking person with big plans. He is also confident that he will be able to grow his business and be more successful in the future. By putting his knowledge into practice, he has become more confident with his business and being able to work in different departments, such as accounting, marketing and finance. From his own experience, it is a blending of different experiences. His advice is to try to deal with unpleasant feelings like depression or anxiety, to get to know ourselves, because this is the only way we can succeed - by finding a balance, a source of

June - August 2021

motivation in life that can move us forward. It is complicated running a business and attending college at the same time. He talked about how he learns about time management on the course and how we need to prioritise and manage our responsibilities. In theory, it sounds easy, but in practice, it can be more complex and unpredictable. Nevertheless, Gabriel always tried his best and never gives up because he understands how important it is to have a degree and gain knowledge about running a successful business. Gabriel told us that, “if people discover what they need and want, this can motivate them and help them achieve their goals. The most important thing is your health, your education and spending time with your family. Of course, money is an essential tool that helps you to make your dreams come true, but we should always realise what is most important and that money comes and goes. At the moment, Gabriel’s priority is to learn more about time management because he tells us that it takes time and practice to master this particular skill. To find out more about Gabriel’s business, go to: www.rado-chauffeurs.com



June - August 2021

Romania: our pick of the best places to visit


omania, in South-East Europe, is a country with a rich and varied heritage.

Visitors can explore historic castles, fortresses, wooden and painted churches as well as the Danube Delta. A country full of culture, here are a few of the amazing places you can visit. Dracula – Bran Castle (Brasov) Romania is famous for its castles, many perched on spectacular rocky hilltops with incredible vistas. One such example is Bran Castle, which is widely associated with Bram Stoker’s famous novel ‘Dracula’. The link is tenuous – it’s the only castle in the Transylvania region that matches Stoker’s description of Dracula’s home but, nevertheless, it’s an amazing sight to see, especially if you’re a fan of gothic architecture. To find out more, visit www.bran-castle.com Danube Delta (City- Tulcea) The Danube is one of Europe’s longest rivers. A natural wonder, its delta covers an area of more than 4000 square kilometres, with over 3000 sq km. situated within Romania. It’s home to a wide array of bird species, making it ideal for bird watchers. Plus, it’s a great place for water sports and walks. Peles Castle (Sinaia) It may look like it belongs in a fairytale, but Peles Castle is very much real. The castle is located near the village of


Bran Castle (Brasov)

Sinaia in the Carpathian Mountains. It was constructed in the late 1800s for King Carol I and is owned today by the Romanian Royal Family. You can take a guided tour, which includes a walk around the castle’s famous rooms and museum. Voronet Monastery (Gura Humorului) This medieval building is one of Romania’s famous painted monasteries. Established in 1488 by Stephen the Great, the construction of the building was completed in just under four months. Sometimes referred to as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the East’, Voronet Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Palace of the Parliament (People’s House), Bucharest The seat of Government in Romania, the Palace of the Parliament, also known as the People’s House, is the world’s largest administrative building. 700 architects worked on the design of the building, which has over 1000 rooms. The Palace is also said to be one of the heaviest buildings in the world and sinks 6mm each year as a result! Members of the public can take a tour to view this fascinating building up close and in person. Transfagarasan Highway (between Sibiu and Brasov) Named ‘the best driving road in the world’ by Top Gear, the Tranfagarasan Highway is also one of the highest, with an elevation of over 2000 metres. Built as a strategic military road in the 1970s, the Highway connects Transylvania with Wallachia. Rent a car and enjoy the ride, and the views!


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Salina Turda (Turda) Medieval town of Sibiu (Sibiu) A truly historic place, Sibiu is a must visit. In 2007, it was the European Capital of Culture along with Luxembourg. The centre of the town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, while away from the centre, there are plenty of museums, art galleries and other cultural places of interest to visit. Salina Turda (Turda) A fascinating insight into Romania’s industry, Salina Turda is a salt mine that’s been open to tourists since 1992. Described by Business Insider as one of the top 25 hidden gems in the world that are worth the trek, Salina Turda

is also a site for halotherapy, a form of alternative therapy using salt. Culture Palace (Iasi) Home to four major museums and known as the Moldavia National Museum Complex, the Culture Palace is a must-see. The museums cover art, history, culture as well as science and technology. The building itself is also a site of national historical interest. Planning to visit Romania? What’s on your list of places to visit? We’d love to know!



Rest and Relaxation


ur faculty and students work incredibly hard, but everyone needs a break now and then. Breaks help to reduce the risk of burnout. Plus, they help us all to maintain a better work-life balance.

Here’s how some of our team spent their time off this year.



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Dr Fayyaz Qureshi, joined by friends and family, took a well-deserved break in the British seaside town of Whitstable, in Kent. In the mid 18th-century, Whitstable became a popular resort town for rest and relaxation. Passengers would board boats in London and sail down the Thames for time away from busy city life.

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Dr Fayyaz later took advantage of the August bank holiday to visit Woburn Safari Park, a drivethrough experience home to over 1000 animals. Chris Puzey spent a week with family in Delamere Forest, Cheshire, at the end of August. Delamere is the largest woodland in England and is ideal for calm, peaceful walks among a huge variety of trees and wildlife. Chris and his family later took a trip to sample the beautiful Dorset coastline. Ayaz Kazi spent some quality family time in Scotland, visting Glasgow, a major cultural hub, and venturing



further afield into the stunning Scottish Highlands.

,D ach n Be




June - August 2021

Recharge to Reconnect


olidays, both summer and winter, have always been very exciting for me. The opportunity after months and months of hard work to disconnect from everyday life and connect to new places and people always brings me so much joy. This time, after nearly two years without travelling due to COVID-19, I decided to return to my motherland, Bulgaria, to experience once again the nearly-forgotten taste of ‘Shopska salad’ and the feeling of sand under my feet. The first place that I visited was the sea capital of Bulgaria, Varna, and then the beautiful seaside resort of Saints Constantine and Elena. The resort is located only 8km from Varna and is easily accessible by car, bus or taxi. I spent seven magical days there, and I did my best not to miss any sunrise or sunshine. I enjoyed every minute under the sun. After the restful week that I spent at the resort, I travelled to my beautiful hometown, Rousse. The city is located alongside the Danube river. If you’re planning a visit during the summer, please ensure that you bring mosquito spray - it’s a total must-have. I am afraid that, otherwise, you will not be able to enjoy your rakia, a traditional Bulgarian drink. My hometown is known as ‘little Vienna’ on account of its stunning architecture that dates back to the beginning of the 21st century. I would throughly reccomend a day trip to Rousse if you plan to spend your holiday in Bulgaria. Don’t miss out on a walk along the Danube river and try the fresh fish that local restaurants offer. ‘Recharge to reconnect’ is my motto for the new academic year.


Alexandra Kraleva


June - August 2021


Summer Sports Day Match Report

Mr Sarwar Khawaja with his family


rigadier Rajapaksha from the Sri Lankan High Commission was the guest of honour as Oxford Business College and welcomed the Sri Lankan Cavaliers to the beautiful West Ilsley Cricket Club for the first OBC Summer Sports Day on Sunday, 1st August. Before the cricket commenced, Mr Sarwar Khawaja announced the award of two OBC scholarships for developing young cricketers, one from Sri Lanka and one from the UK. On the field, the crowd was treated to some glorious strokes played from the Sri Lankan Cavaliers, who batted first and scored 211 from 35 overs. Top bowlers from OBC included Raj, Ajay with his mystery spin and Ali Khawaja, son of Sarwar, who shared the bowling honours. Shifan and Salvena were outstanding in the field. During the interval, teams and spectators were treated to a delicious Sri Lankan buffet prepared by Cavalier and OBC BNU student Aruna. The brigadier was introduced to both teams by captains Irshad for OBC and OBC HND student Sandun for the Cavaliers. The brigadier spoke of Sri Lanka’s passion for cricket within their community and heartily welcomed the announcement of the scholarships. He also pledged to bring back a team from the High Commission to play OBC in the future. During the OBC innings, there was some great late-order striking by OBC’s Luke with 22 not out, but the college finished 5 runs short (under d/l method). OBC’s cause was not helped by a controversial umpiring decision to remove the dangerous opener, Dr Gupta, who, according to photographic evidence, was clearly not out - it should have been declared a no-ball on grounds of height! On a sun-filled evening, the barbeque, masterminded by Raj and tennis, organised by Dr Alozie, completed a great day. Thanks to the Cavaliers, the West Ilsley Cricket Club, the Sri Lankan High Commission and all the staff, students, friends and families who attended the event. Thanks also go to Diana and Bandara for establishing the relationship with the Sri Lankan High Commision. David Brook


Salvena Hussain

Prankit Gupta with his fiancée

Dr Padmesh Gupta

Dr Alaoma Alozie with his wife, Mercy

Shifan Razick



June - August 2021

Oxford Business College Updates on OxFoodbank

Deepa Chauhan from Burnt Oak Community Food Bank and ‘SAFA’ (Skills, Advice, Food, Aid)

OBC staff members


arlier this year we launched a new charitable operation, OxFoodbank. Since it started, the charity has grown rapidly and is making a big difference. After launching from our West London campus, OxFoodbank has extended its work to Coventry, where we plan to launch a new Oxford Business College campus. The team recently distributed 50 food packs in the Coventry area, which particularly benefited the local Burundi community. Back in London, more than 150 food packs have been distributed in West and North London. The vital work at our Park Royal campus continues, with the team meeting on Saturdays from 12pm to 2pm. OxFoodbank has also been working with


other charities to support Afghan refugees. The collective project is providing assistance and outreach to those who arrived in the UK as part of the unprecedented evacuations from Afghanistan, which began in August. The charity is also looking ahead to its next goals, which include distributing food packs in Oxford and Slough, where two further OBC campuses are located. We’d like to thank all of our staff and students for their time supporting this initiative. If you’d like to volunteer or get involved, please send an e-mail to charity@oxfordbusinesscollege.ac.uk


‘Sharing is caring’

Above: David Brook and his friend Parker


s an award-winning business college, we pride ourselves on the calibre of our staff, best described as multi-cultural, multinational and multi-lingual. Aside from lecturing, many of them have numerous hobbies, from singing and playing musical instruments tofootball and cricket. However, one thing the majority have in common is their love for pets, some of which have travelled the world with them, following their master from post to post and proving to be an integral part of the family unit. Our valued students also understand the companionship brought by their pets as they juggle their busy life schedules with their degree and yet still find time to care for their beloved family member. Many have brought solace and joy to them during these unprecedented times forced


June - August 2021

Below: Diana and her son Andreas with Conor

on us all by the Covid-19 pandemic. At Oxford Business College, we understand that pets are part of our lives and our families. They not only provide us with companionship but also emotional support. They reduce our levels of stress, anxiety and depression and help us to increase our social activities, such as encouraging exercise to improve our cardiovascular health. Caring for an animal can help children grow up more secure and active by adding to their self-esteem and emotional development. Embracing a philanthropist mindset, Oxford Business College has donated to a few animal charities and has also taken part in a number of them, amongst many other types of charities. We continuously strive to make the world a better place, not just for our families, but also for our valued students.



June - August 2021

Celebrating Diversity at OBC


iversity is important to all of us at Oxford Business College. We don’t just believe in celebrating our diversity - we also believe in inclusion. Inclusion is about making everyone at the College feel a sense of belonging. Wherever you’re from, whatever your background, we want you to feel included in everything we do. That’s why we’re continuing our focus on diversity in this edition of OxConnect. We want to hear the voices and experiences of everyone at OBC. By hearing each other, we can begin to better understand each other. When we hear each other, we communicate with each other. This feature is all about communication, inclusion and diversity. Would you like to contribute? Let us know your story.

Luke Murgatroyd Head of English & Welfare / (Co-)Head of Admissions


y career has taken me through a varied number of roles but over the last 25 years has always been in education. Starting as an EFL Tutor, I taught first in Turkey (Istanbul) for two years in the early ‘90s before returning to the UK (Oxford) to do my teaching Diploma - an ELF qualification equivalent to Level 7 (Masters). I then moved to Spain (Girona) with my family where I set up and ran my own language school while designing and teaching the English component of the Business Master’s course at the University of Girona. I then returned to the UK (Oxford) as a Director of Studies and then Principal of a language and tutorial college. I did that for 12 years before joining OBC and, apart from oversight of ‘Teaching and Learning’, ‘Management’ and ‘CPD and Welfare’, it also involved annual guest teaching at a number of universities and sixth form colleges in Japan (Tokyo). In addition to this, I have travelled to Russia, Germany, Thailand, China, the UAE and Kazakhstan marketing and promoting the English language and UK education. At OBC, as Head of English and Head of Welfare, I focus on supporting our Foundation students, both pre-enrolment and during their first year, which is a key strength of this department and one of two links to my third role: Co-Head of Admissions. The other link is the testing and interviewing of potential Foundation students for their language and academic suitability for the course.



Namees Ibrahim


June - August 2021

Module Leader / Lecturer


joined Oxford Business College in September 2019, and I find that OBC is an iconic academic environment to share our excellent practices. It is a home for knowledge, innovation and inspiration.

I obtained my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, and my Masters, an MBA in Finance, from the University of Leicester. I have been lecturing and managing business studies and finance programmes since October 2003 in London. I led the business studies department effectively and attained the highest achievement and success rates. I also have vast experience working with UK awarding bodies; universities and quality assurance agencies, such as Pearson (Edexcel); HND & HNC programmes; ACCA; the Institute of Leadership Management( ILM); the University of London business degree programmes; City & Guilds, and so forth. I am interested in research on sustaining corporate growth and development through effective use of financial resources and technology. My teaching areas are related to management accounting; leading and managing change; organisational behaviour; leadership and management; strategic marketing; managing financial resources; the global business environment; business accounting, and financial decision-making. I have proven my ability to innovate and implement a wide range of effective teaching and learning strategies for diverse learners from more than 55 nationalities. I strongly believe in learner-centred teaching strategies where all learners are engaged and academically motivated.

Amaratuvshin Bayarmagnai Marketing Officer


was born into a banker’s family, mixed with a nomadic life with grandparents on my mother’s side. I grew up herding livestock through high mountains and in the vast open steppe in Rashaant Sum, Mongolia. I have lived through changes in the Mongolian language, from Uigurjin Mongol script to Russian Cyrillic script, and through political changes from communism to democracy. I followed in the footsteps of my father and grandfather (Polar Star Awardee in Finance) and graduated with a BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) from the National University of Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar) in 2006. During the BBA, I completed an internship at the Ministry of Finance and conducted consumer surveys at MMCG Consulting Group. In a fast-moving world, Mongolia began to develop quickly. It was at this time that I decided to move to Japan to become a research student at Tohoku University in Sendai – the third oldest and one of the most prestigious universities in Japan. I admired Japanese students’ study and work ethic and their egoless attitudes. Right before I come to UK, I happened to experience one of Japan’s worst earthquake disasters, with a magnitude 9 at its epicentre in Sendai. Witnessing the power of mother nature and the way the Japanese people handled the situation was amazing. A tsunami was so close to us, and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station explosion was just 47 km away. Despite the disasters, which cost 20,000 people their lives, Japan remained in operation. The country kept working on damaged roads during constant shaking. Conscious about nature, I graduated with an MBA, developing a plastic recycling business model at Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2013. I then studied an ACCA course at the London School of Business and Finance between 2013 and 2016. I became a qualified accountant in 2021 (AAT Level 3) and a member of the ACCA – Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Prior to joining OBC as a Marketing Officer, I worked as an accounts assistant in two different companies (PSEV and KBM), where I gained invaluable professional experience. I’m incredibly lucky to be part of a global team here at OBC. The lecturers, staff and students come from all corners of the globe. This diverse and relaxing yet challenging culture attracted me the most. I enjoy working with ambitious, bright colleagues. Interacting with people after lockdown continues to bring me joy. Most importantly, I enjoy seeing students thrive at the College. I am happy to be part of their journey.



June - August 2021

"We’re so proud of our parents"

Some of our students with their children


ur students at OBC learn many important skills along their educational journey, but there is one skill most of them have already mastered: parenting. Our students put their families first; in fact, one of the main reasons why they want to further their education is to advance their careers and obtain better jobs with more opportunities, possibilities for growth and higher salaries - and all of this to better their lifestyles, not just for themselves but also for their children’s futures, to provide them with things they themselves were deprived of as children.

business, OBC is delighted to help them pursue their venture. OBC students show how proud they are of their children by talking incessantly of their progress at school, or boasting about their sporting achievements; some students might even let their tutor catch a glimpse of them on camera during online classes and, although the child smiles timidly, the parent will be beaming from ear to ear.

Juggling higher education and bringing up a family, as well as coping with long working hours, can prove to be a daunting task for the students. In fact, not only are they acquiring new knowledge throughout the course, and in many cases a new language, they also have to learn to manage their time and family responsibilities, and this is where OBC is committed to supporting students.

Some of the student stories were not so simple, as many had to leave their children behind when coming to the UK in search of a new life. This is the ultimate sacrifice - many months, and in some cases even years, of hard work and loneliness just to gather the funds to bring their children here for a better life. But they are survivors, and their love for their children is what drives them to achieve their goals.

The support offered includes flexible timetables, extracurricular workshops, help with IT problems, careers advice and, for those who have expressed an idea in a

We are proud of our students. We know they are going places, and we can see how hard they work, all for the love of their children.


New HND Magazine


June - August 2021

West London Campus


xford Business College’s West London campus is now welcoming new students joining our Higher National Diploma (HND) in Business course. The HND in Business course is a two year programme designed to give students practical skills and a deep understanding of business. Graduates of the course can take their learning into the workplace or progress on to further study via a degree top-up. We offer the course through flexible, blended learning classes. This means tuition takes place through a mix of in-person and online sessions, with availability on weekends and weekdays. The HND in Business course consists of two learning days a week, one day of in-person classes and one day of online classes.

Our HND in Business programme is awarded by Pearson in partnership with USP College and is taught by our expert faculty. OBC’s tutors are professionals with extensive experience of the business world. Would you like to join a HND in Business course? You can begin this programme at our West London campus in Park Royal in January 2022. By joining a HND in Business course, you can improve your employability, learn valuable business skills and take your professional development into your own hands. Check out our website



June - August 2021

Support for English Learners


nglish is the world’s most widely-spoken language, with around one in five people using English to communicate on a daily basis. To get the most out of your courses at the College, as well as to make personal and professional contacts, it is essential to have a good command of English, both in terms of your speaking and writing abilities and being able to comprehend other people’s spoken and written English. Online English


At Oxford Business College, we offer English support from the very beginning of your learning journey. Foundation applicants who are unsuccessful at interview stage are offered free, twice-weekly online English classes with qualified, experienced English teachers to help them reach the required standard. The College runs two courses: beginners’ classes take place on Monday and Wednesday evenings and at weekends, while pre-intermediate learners study with us either on Wednesday and Friday mornings or Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Learners respond well to the flexibility of OBC’s online English learning programme, with courses consistently achieving over 95% positive feedback from attendees. Many of those who subsequently pass at interview stage continue to attend English classes, recognising the importance of further improving their skills.

General English As well as offering online classes for Foundation applicants, the college provides face-to-face General English classes. The classes take place twice-weekly on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and at weekends. Before joining the course, students take an online test to ensure they are placed at the right level. General English is available at a discounted rate of £5 per week. However, for students taking the first steps on their learning journey, classes are offered free of charge thanks to the College’s Access to English programme, paid for by the College’s benefactor. Each class is preceded by our English Language Club, an informal session offering learners opportunities to ‘warm up’ their English skills. Each course runs for 30 weeks and is divided into five terms of six-weeks, following which, on request, students can receive a certificate of attendance showing their level. While General English classes are open to anybody, many of those who study with us go on to enrol on OBC business courses, either at Foundation or HND level, underlining the importance of English in learners’ academic and professional journeys. For more information abour our various English classes, please visit out website.


June - August 2021

OBC bids a fond farewell to popular members of staff


nai Ledesma Gorostizaga was the Student Welfare and Marketing Officer at OBC. Like many of our students, he came to the UK without being able to speak English and without a degree. But with plenty of hard work and determination to do something better in life, he achieved many things, as you will read below. Throughout his career, Unai has achieved a track record of accomplishment in providing marketing campaigns with the right product, for the right people and at the right time. He obtained most of his strategic knowledge from a degree in Business and Marketing Management at Oxford Brookes University. With guidance from OBC’s directors (Mr Sarwar Khawaja and Dr Padmesh Gupta), in addition to the Head of Academics (Mr Murray Cooper) and the Head of Programmes (Mr Asim Riaz), he proudly led OBC to achieve the Best Independent Higher Education (IHE) Establishment award in 2020. The College has also been nominated for the award for four consecutive years. Since Unai took over the marketing department alongside visual content creator Antonino Pilade, they achieved the best social media performance across all UK colleges nine times in the last twelve months, according to Edurank.net. Thanks to this, Unai was

nominated as a Rising Star at the Heist Awards. He has always said that, during his time at OBC, he learned from the best and, without them, he would not have been able to accomplish the results he did. Unai recently left OBC to fulfil his dream of creating content about financial happiness for his YouTube channel “New in Britain”, where he focuses on finance but also includes other topics that help achieve happiness, including learning, health, commitment and emotion. We wish him all the best, and we hope to see him back at the college soon.

After a week or so, she received a phone call asking for an interview: “I went along and had a brilliant interview with Asim. A couple of days later, I was offered a position as receptionist, with the hope of developing further after a period time in the company. Unlike many bosses, Asim saw a shine in me, and invested his time helping me to develop the skills needed for corporate life”, she told us. Hannah encountered many challenges along the way and told us that it wasn’t always easy: “there were many new skills I needed to gain, such as using Excel and international communication. I learned these skills with his guidance”.


anna Fox decided to join OBC to begin a career outside of retail. Before joining Oxford Business College she had been working in retail stores for a couple of years but decided that it was not a career path she wanted to pursue. Hannah saw a position going for PA to the Director and applied.

Hannah also told us that, had she not had such a brilliant mentor, she wouldn’t be in the position she’s in today in accountancy. Her decision to move forward in her career was taken with a heavy heart. However, she felt that it was the right decision in terms of her future career plans to be in a completely finance-focussed role. Hannah said that she will always miss OBC because, over the year and 8 months she was working with us, she formed a family and lifelong connections that will never be forgotten.



hank you for joining us for the second edition of OxConnect. We hope you found the information exciting, insightful and useful.

What did you think? We’d certainly appreciate your feedback! If you’d like to work with us on future editions of OxConnect, please let us know. We’re always happy to hear from you. In the meantime, remember to stay safe, look out for others and, most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy life! We’re here to help you reach your full potential, and we’re excited to be part of your journey. Thank you again for reading OxConnect. We look forward to bringing you the third edition in the new year! Oxford Business College 65 George St. Oxford OX1 2BQ +44 (0) 1865791908 enquiries@oxfordbusinesscollege.ac.uk www.oxfordbusinesscollege.ac.uk

Photos & graphics by Antonino Pilade

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