HPD HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
ENGINEERING A BETTER FUTURE
EXCLUSIVE WITH QINETIQ’S HEAD OF RESOURCES
WALK THE TALK? COFFEE WITH DELOITTE’S HEAD OF RECRUITMENT
ONE IS COMPLIMENTARY, THE OTHER DEROGATORY; WHY?
theo-logy HPD EXCLUSIVE
PLUS GRADUATE POSITIONS AT BANK OF AMERICA TEACH FIRST BAKER & MCKENZIE KPMG
EXPLORING THE MIND OF BRITAIN’S MOST INFLUENTIAL ENTREPRENEUR
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FASHION NIGHT OUT CULTURE SOCIETY BOOKS FILMS
For Him & Her Opportunity shot The rise of vegetarianism Playas & Hoes Good Reading Lights, Camera, Inaction
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EDUCATION The Eduation Factory; They are teaching us; but is it what we want? TIM JANES Engineering a better future; an insight into what Engineering students need to know SARAH SHILLINGFORD Can you Walk the Talk? Partner at Deloitte tells us what she looks for in graduates DEBATE Proactive or Provided; a look at what a University education should be providing besides theory BACKSTAGE A road less travelled FIRST PERSON COLUMN An example set by the President of the Aldwych Group on how students should become politically active
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LETTERS FROM READERS
LEADERSHIP Leadership vs Management FEATURE Lunch with Patricia Hewitt on Nature vs Nurture MAIN FEATURE Theo-logy; The study of Theo Paphitis OUTDOOR Classic walks; where to find breath taking silence
TO OUR READERS
Executive Editor: Dr. Sachin Nandha Managing Editor: Vinay Trivedi Simon Hull Copy Editor: Aashish Parmar Creative Director: Ravi Agravat Media & Photography: Bipin Anand Make up Artist: Dishita Solanki Web Master: Onwell Banne Print: Peter Soars Publisher: Lucas Sage Contributor: Bhavisha Patel Advertising: Zima Parmar
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TO OUR READERS
Paradigm shifts tHOSE at BRITISH universities deserve an excellent education. But they also need an attitude, a fire in their belly to achieve and aspire; to create a different future built on a different set of foundations from all previous generations. The 21st Century will need leaders in every aspect of life that approach every problem from a new paradigm. The stimulus for this shift is where HPD finds its purpose. 21st September 2009; HPD launched its inaugural edition at the Russell Group of British universities. Four months down the line, and the magazine has taken itself in a new direction, veering between graduate recruitment and young urbanite lifestyle. From online only, we are now in print too; yes indeed that’s contrary to how it normally works. HPD will ruffle a few feathers through its editorial content, and shake the publications market targeting ‘trend setting metropolitans’; HPD will set a new precedence when it comes to challenging the status quo. Ardent detractors of ours will always argue that we need to be simply telling our readers what they need to be doing, or wearing, or watching, or thinking in order to be successful. But I’ve always argued against the condescending tone of such magazines; our readers are intelligent, bright and aspirational individuals, deserving of a publication that matches their mindset and ambitions. From the Playas & Hoes to the mind of Theo Paphitis, each of our writer’s sets about challenging the mind of our reader, asking questions and putting forward his or her opinion, ready for analysis. If an article has a reader swearing at an inanimate page, cursing the very ideas contained within, or laughing and applauding every sentence as if someone has opened their brain and written out their thoughts, then either way, we have done our job. We are not in the business of preaching; rather we are in the business of exploring ideas. The Human section of our magazine explores the very psychology of student life, looking at fashion, reading, and night’s out in a way that explores beyond banality. The Potential segment could easily have been about how great Theo Paphitis is; rather we look at his psychology, and critique a man probably not used to being challenged all that often. And our Development section could just
learning.life. SPRING 2010
as easily have been pulled out of any other graduate magazine, with simple bullet points about what to do and not to do in an interview. But through interviewing the trendsetters of various employment sectors; from Sarah Shillingford at Deloitte, to Tim Janes at QinetiQ, we get the ‘down low’ from the people who matter. The next generation of leaders does not need to be told what to do, but given the chance to explore and think for themselves. And if in a couple of months the postman leaves a mound of letters complaining, or congratulating my team and I, then we have achieved what we set out to do.
Vinay Trivedi, managing editor
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hy HPD W In science and IT based professions the theory learnt at University is imperative, however for business and finance, I’d have to say I agree with the editor and go one step further: a university degree is a must, no recruiter will take you seriously without it but now there are so many more opportunities such as open degrees through the top 10 universities, which enable you to gain that crucial work experience whilst studying... if only I had been sign posted this way before going to university, who knows how far my career may have been fast tracked! Bethany Partridge The challenges faced by today’s generation of graduates is certainly one far from the one I experienced. Today’s young people have greater competition for the few remaining jobs, and with the system churning out a greater number of homogenous workers, the skills that separate them from their peers will certainly have the greatest impact when it comes to acquiring that special job. Caroline Northcroft
Falling Short On Values
In response to your article Falling Short on Values, I find the views of the author to be quite one-sided. Although I am not going to refute that some employees switch between jobs for a higher wage to fuel a better lifestyle, many of my peers (including myself) have moved for other, non-monetary reasons, which is not accounted for in the piece. Working in a large firm does provide you with a fine opportunity to learn, but it also gives you a chance to see if working for a multi-national is what you want. I know many friends who became tired of the fast and hectic pace of life in London, and have moved to smaller cities to work; others have found their opportunity to grow and ‘climb-the-corporateladder’ by going to work for smaller firms where chances to succeed and be recognised are greater. Although there is some truth in the content, Falling Short on Values has a very negative tone, which I do not believe is very helpful. Michelle Rigby Congratulations on a wonderfully accurate portrayal of the effects of money and greed on professionals. I can quite safely say that the attitudes described by the writer accurately portray the psychology of greed that inhibits so many of my col-
learning.life. SPRING 2010
leagues. I too am not exempt from this, as I have on occasion thought about applying for other roles that will give me a higher wage. Money is the driving force in today’s society, and it’s not something we can ignore. Those who have worked in the financial sector will know how much of a competitive game it is, and the need to earn more is only fuelled by our desire to have more. When somebody drives in with a new Porsche, I know there are pangs of jealousy throughout the office. I know many of my colleagues have no real interest in finance; they only hope it will make them rich. Many of them delude themselves by saying they’ll quit when they have enough money, but enough money seems to be a perpetually moving target. My colleagues will continue to chase money as long as we value it as the currency of success, and as the piece pointed out, greed will lead us to only fulfilling immediate pleasures, without any thought for long term happiness. A great read. Trevor George
Attitude – the difference
The vast amount of students and graduates do not know what skills and the type of attitude are required in order to excel in a corporate career – I agree with this. Although I believe the firm, for whom graduates will be working, should provide the necessary training to optimise the productivity of each new employee. Rather than expect the student or graduate to know what the firm is expecting of them, informing them would allow students and graduates to determine whether that particular corporate career is right for them and hence develop their attitude and skills accordingly. Mitesh Patel, Ernst & Young The insight on attitude you provide is invaluable. As a second year student, I now know the areas which I need to develop in order to perform best in my desired career. Universities simply do not prepare you for industry in terms of experience, and so it’s no wonder there is such a huge turnover of gradu-
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Too Hot or Too Cold?
ates every year. If all graduates and students knew the firm’s expectations I suspect there would be less vacancies and fewer applications. Michael Walker
Prof. George Thomson: Endocrinologist and Director for Education
May I congratulate you on your wonderful ‘Exclusive Report’ with Prof. George Thomson. As a doctor myself, I can wholly relate and defend the views argued within the article, especially on the morally draining atmosphere that swamps our hospitals. Saying this however, I think it is time that the medical professional be put back in charge of our wards. I think medics reading this magazine can count their lucky stars that by the time they graduate, the wards will be back in the hands of doctors. Dr. Simon Jones
Forgetting is the new normal
Practical and motivating - as a final year Law Undergraduate Student I found the article Forgetting is the new normal most valuable particularly for my exams. The amount of theory we must memorise is immense and applying the five steps to building memory enabled me to feel fresher thus enhancing my performance. HPD should feature more articles with these tangible tips for students. Ellen Mathews
As a traveller myself, I could totally relate to the adventures of Traversing Travesty. What I was most shocked about though was the amount of skills that were picked up on the journey, which I had never personally realised. On reflection, I now understand the benefits of backpacking adventures. However, I must question the author’s comment about “being scared” if you choose not to travel alone. I have experienced both solo travelling and with friends, and I did not travel with them because I was afraid. Rather, I found that travelling with friends allows you to explore your relationships with one another, as well as having someone to share the experience with. I found it rather condescending that the author felt that those of us who sometimes choose to travel with friends are somewhat less adventurous than those who go it alone. Alan Palmer
A psychometric test at best, can give a superficial overview of a personality. Though Too Hot, Too Cold began to outline this, I felt the article could have gone a little deeper into the negative aspect of psychometrics. I also felt the article, as informing as it was, wasn’t critical enough of how recruiters claim that they want graduates with a wide array of personalities, when the fact is they are looking for a certain type of person, not the one who is most qualified or skilled for it. Having outlined the reasons for why psychometrics are so limiting, the article then didn’t put the final nail in the coffin; rather it seemed to defend the use of psychometrics. I for one would have preferred to see a more damning editorial of psychometric tests. Martha Haynes Prof. Menski’s interview was the highlight of HPD. He has inspired me to look further into becoming a solicitor. In fact, along with James Reed and Lynn Johansen, these three individuals have meant a complete change in direction for my future. I certainly didn’t realise that Clifford Chance recruited over 50% of their graduate intake from other disciplines – quite a revelation. The insights of Prof. Menski certainly show that broadness of knowledge and character are much valued traits. Aman Khan
Hyperinflation of Qualifications:
The degree truly has had its day; strange that as the value of a degree drops, so does the quantity of qualifications sold online! The fact that so many of our state and public schools are now pushing the brightest students towards a broader and academically more rigorous International Baccalaureate shows how little the academic world now values our traditional qualifications. I’m sure that in a few years from now getting a 2:1 will be as common as getting 2-for-1 pizza offers through your letter box. David Webb
Top Universities Guide I found the Top Universities Guide extremely in-
sightful. In particular, the way universities market themselves based upon The Times ‘good university’ guide, but can we really expect any better from these institutions when we are placing them in a competitive market where commercial targets seem to override their academic aims? The Americanisation of our educational establishments means that so many top universities are now inclined to focus on reaching financial targets, with institutions more intent on balance sheets rather than broadening horizons. Robert Mitchell HAVE YOUR SAY E-mail us at email@example.com, or post a letter to the Editor, Human Potential Development, 2 Vantage Park, High View Close, Leciester, LE4 9LJ. Please include a day time telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space or clarity.
learning.life. SPRING 2010
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FASHION: for him
“The question is not what you look at but what you see”
Henry David Thoreau – Philosopher, Poet and Author
The psychology of dress is paramount in making the right impressions, especially for those looking to make headway in the corporate world. BHAV PATEL , founder of Fragile Earth, an ethical fashion label shares her insight. Thoreau’s quote reminds me of the difference between ‘what is’ and ‘what seems’. Fashion is all about ‘what seems’. A particular look or style adds to the image you want to give. Through classic tailoring of key pieces and an understanding of how to unlock self confidence through self image, one can significantly improve performance whether you are in an interview, business meeting, networking dinner, or simply in the office. Navy Pinstripe Trouser £185 by Jaegar
Metal Branded Leather Belt £51.37 by Calvin Klein
Falling Dot Tie £50 by Jaegar
Formal Shirt £69 by Reiss
Vintage Constellation Chronometer Watch 1306.33 euro by Omega
Grey Sterling Silver Oval Stripe Cufflinks £95 by Paul Smith
Taylor Overcoat £250 by Reiss
Twill Trousers £175 by Jaegar
Shawl Collar Twil Jacket £375 by Jaegar
White Stretch Shirt £80 by Jaegar
Silver Satin Oval Cufflink £25 by Simon Carter
Pallett Shoes £65 by Aldo
Raven Tie £25 by French Connection
Black Classic Laptop Flapover £109.99 by Tripp
The focus for menswear has been a twist to the conventional black tailoring by using navy at its heart. The subtlety gives an air of confidence and attention to detail. Taking the time to construct a well thought out combination allows you to reflect organisation in your role, through the organisation of your appearance.
Boss Black Bracelet Watch £187.29 by Hugo Boss
learning.life. SPRING 2010
HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
FASHION: for her
Our women’s wear combination is centred on femininity, yet with the use of sharp colours and cuts, the air of softness is broken, and instead a more confident and assertive woman is unleashed. With some minor changes each combination is perfect for evening networking dinners.
Signature Tailored Jacket £180 by Karen Millen
Signature Tailored Skirt £99 by Karen Millen
Signature Tailored Trousers, £110 by Karen Millen
Vintage De Ville Sterling Silver Bracelet Watch 2088.90 euro by Omega
Leys Shoes £60 by Aldo
Self Stripe Shirt £99 by Karen Millen
Pleated Silk Blouse £250 Jaeger
Folded Silk T-Shirt £89.95 by Karen Millen
Tassel Belt £176 by Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti
Knotted Skirt £99 Karen Millen
Faceted Bangle Watch £149 by Diesel
Watch 183.63 euro by Michael Kors
Herringbone Peg Leg Trousers £45 Warehouse
Jensen Shoes £75 by Dune
Edison Shoes £350 by Kurt Geiger
learning.life. SPRING 2010
Denim jacket with jersey hood - £50.00 Check shirt - £28.00 Jeans - £38.00 Straw trilby - £12.00
Summer/Spring ‘10 www.warehouse.co.uk
Join in, stand out. If you could really make a difference, would you? If you could change childrenâ€™s lives, would you? If you could inspire and lead them to achieve their potential, would you? And if doing all this changed your own future too, the real question is why wouldnâ€™t you?
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HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
Opportunity shot R A V I AG R A VAT (20), reads Management at the London School of Economics
& Political Science. He is also an Entrepreneur running a publishing business turning over £100,000 and growing rapidly. Ravi writes with a straight bat, he tells us how it is, and where he finds the extra time to run such a successful business.
appeared on Family Fortunes that asked “Name something associated with university” you can almost guarantee that drinking and partying will be two of the highest point giving answers. A student is no longer stereotyped as a geeky, politically active know-it-all with an answer for everything, reading Marx and Nietzsche and debating into the late hours of the night. Rather students have become infamous for drinking excessively. Nobody is expecting any better from students, least of all students themselves. Since becoming a ‘journalist’ and having the opportunity to interview many successful young men and women in business, politics and professional sports, I found a striking, yet in hindsight, obvious correlation between binge drinking at university, and post-university success. Indeed, this isn’t a quantitative piece of scientific research; but qualitative it certainly is. I found that those with the potential to go far do so not because of their potential per se, but because of their ability to turn that potential into something real, which obviously takes time. And where do they make up that time? By deciding to forgo a night of binge drinking in favour of doing something productive. Many readers may immediately question this statement as sacrilege to all that is good about being a student. But this was the choice made by those who have gone onto become very successful in the post university world. Whether you’re successful or not in life, bars and pubs will always be there, but the opportunity to learn the skills needed will not. What can you really learn about yourself or others on a night out, except maybe that you and Bacardi don’t really mix. But the reality is that there is little to add to your repertoire of skills from a night out. On the other hand those who are members of student societies (many of you already are) – they usually volunteer their time to further their sociIF A QUESTION
Getting ready: Pre-night out drinks:
Dancing in a club:
2 hours 3 hours
Staggering home with a half-eaten kebab:
Lying in bed with a hangover:
Realising you’ve wasted your potential:
ety, as well as develop the skills and networks they will need for later life. Most of these society members also go on nights out, but rather than waste the majority of their night by getting completely hammered, they ensure that they make the most of their night without sacrificing their lectures the next morning. On the weekends when they can afford to spend a bit more of their night out they will, but notice that they never sacrifice the opportunities that university is really about – building the skills, whether they be academic or not, that will benefit them for the rest of their professional lives. For those who are to flick to the next article without pausing for a second thought, all the best, I’m sure Dave the barman will console you many years from now with that extra pint to help you forget the pains caused by the death of your potential. For those drunk on aspiration and ambition, open up another bottle of opportunity, and I’ll drink to your successes. Yes, indeed, I am demanding of myself, and maybe of you too, my fellow students, but I was asked how I find the extra time and energy to do apparently so much. I just told you.
learning.life. SPRING 2010
HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
The rise of
vegetarianism Millions of people around the world are becoming vegetarian, and whether people like it or not, the rise of vegetarianism is inevitable. SIMON HULL investigates why. across British universities were polled about their diets, and at first glance nothing unusual comes out; but on closer examination amongst all the fries, burgers and pizzas, something rather subtle was noticed – more young people than ever before have adopted a vegetarian diet. In fact our poll showed 23% of students had given up red meat altogether, and 12% had become completely vegetarian, in the last 5 years. Ones initial gut instinct is to look at all the possible variables such as religion, ethnicity, and foreign nationalities and so on. Initially we expected to find an increase of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist students who usually have a vegetarian diet; next we thought that a disproportionate number of Indian nationals (from Gujarat) may have been polled, as they too mostly have a non carnivorous diet; but not so. In fact proportionately far fewer minorities, foreign nationals and people of non JudoChristian faiths were polled. Statistics show that British people are adopting a vegetarian diet. A survey done by the Vegetarian Society in 2001, showed that nine out of ten canteens now had vegetarian options, compared with only five out of ten in 1992. Another report by Ginsters, the pie and pastry manufacturer indicated that they had experienced an 8% drop on average on their meat items, and were advised “to move with the trend of the British public by offering a greater variety of vegetarian products”. When we dig through others polls, and from other developed nations including the United States and France similar trends emerge. What’s going on? We asked Su Taylor, of the Vegetarian Society of Britain what constitutes a vegetarian diet; “A vegetarian is someone living on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with or without the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacea, or slaughter by-products.” Vegetarianism is nothing new. Humans throughout history and across geography have consumed vegetarian diets, either out of some religious or cultural practice, or simply because meat was not viable. Around the 4th century BC, in India, Gauta-
FIVE THOUSAND STUDENTS
ma Buddha, a Hindu Prince who renounced the world and on whom modern day Buddhism is based, seems to have been the first person to spread a philosophical idea of maintaining a vegetarian diet. He was a reformer. He set out to change the predominately meat-eating Indian population. To this day India remains the most vegetarian nation on the planet with some 600 million adherents. Most of these are vegetarian on religious grounds, underpinned by the ideas of reformers such as Buddha, Mahavir (founder of Jainism) and later on with the likes of Narayana (founder of the Swaminarayan movement). But there is something anew happening all over the world to make vegetarianism inevitable for many of us – the global economy. Jonathan Davis, of DEFRA, the government agency which looks after the interests of farmers, tells us that basic economic pressure is making it near impossible to sustain the levels of meat production for a growing human population. Meat prices are rising. In 2006 Braising Steak cost £4.95, and at today’s price of £7.12, you’re paying 31 percent more. This rise in meat prices is only going to get steeper. The basic economic pressures go something like this: to feed a growing meat eating affluent population more meat needs to be produced, hence more livestock are needed. To sustain a higher level of livestock, farmers need feed – mostly wheat, barley, soybean and corn. To grow this extra volume of produce, more land needs to be deforested and cultivated, using more pesticides. Not only is deforestation disastrous for us all, but with a growing human population in third world Africa, for whom meat is a real luxury, grains become their staple diet, hence even more land is required to feed both the human and livestock populations. The extra livestock needed to sustain meat consumption produces other environmental problems such as extra methane, processing of animal waste, and housing them. With the rise of environmentalism and animal welfare in the developed nations putting extra pressure on livestock farmers to treat their animals humanely meaning extra grazing
land, larger housing space and so on, all only adds to the cost. After all of this, the cost of slaughter and transportation is on the increase as the days of cheap energy are truly coming to an end. Simply put, eating meat is grossly uneconomical, and the economies of scale dictate that most humans in the near future will begin to see meat as a luxury and hence consumption will fall as prices increase. Farmers have responded to record high wheat prices by sending their livestock to slaughter early to reduce costs, but thereby reducing the quality of meats produced. John Hope, who runs one of the largest pig farms in the country says, “It’s now far too expensive to rear livestock, and with profit margins shrinking every year, this is something that I would never encourage my children to do. This is a fool’s game.” Even though the economies of scale look grim for the late-night chicken franchises that have been making a handsome profit on the back of cheap meat for years (and financially broke students), I find it hard to believe that people in the UK, and young people at that, are eating less meat due to price alone. So I delved further into the matter. When asking countless participants of the poll who preferred a vegetarian diet, I found that most didn’t come from religious or cultural backgrounds that actively promoted vegetarianism. As a matter of fact, most were the first amongst their peer group and families to have stopped consuming meat. When asked why, the answer was nearly always the same: “it’s unethical”. Most rationalised their arguments for vegetarianism on the foundations laid out by environmentalists, and animal welfare activists. I found that many young people
An aerial shot taken above Muara, Paraguay. In recent decades increasing chunks of rural land have been bought up and turned over to exportorientated soy cultivation.
are becoming empathetic towards animals. Dr. Sachin Nandha, a specialist in human behaviour at the Institute for Global Change, reckons that as the population becomes increasingly sophisticated in its thinking due to long standing affluence and education, it becomes apt at seeing the world from another angle. “Free thinking”, says Dr. Nandha, “leads to philosophising or moralising everyday situations, and even historically consuming meats has never been particularly strong on the moral platform.” So what are the moral arguments put forward by these new breeds of vegetarians? I challenged Professor Peter Singer, a senior academic at Princeton University, and a vegetarian, what the central arguments are for refraining oneself from a meat diet. He spoke for over thirty minutes in one burst, and I was too overwhelmed to probe further. The gist of what he said went something like this: “begin with the question, ‘when is it justifiable to kill?’ Then make a list of situations when you think it is justifiable, and he assured me that any well balanced human being will not have killing to eat pleasurable dishes on his or her list. Bar survival, when is it right to kill another living thing?” Regardless of whether I agree with the Professor or not, his arguments were alluding to empathy. And empathy is something that arises out of knowledge and experience. I can’t quite empathise with a chicken when I’m shopping at Marks & Spencer, but when I saw Hugh’s Chicken Run on Channel Four, a documentary on chicken factories, my heart certainly ached because I could suddenly feel, and my empathy would have been even stronger if I was actually at a slaughter house. But putting empathy aside, it seems inevitable that the rise of vegetarianism is going to happen. With it certain changes are more likely to happen. We’ll become more creative with the way we cook vegetables and lentils. We’ll borrow aspects of Indian, Chinese, Mexican and Cuban cooking techniques to make our own dishes more enjoyable. We’ll learn how to balance a vegetarian diet to ensure sound health, and the uptake of nutrients. In the UK these changes are already well on the way, and now France and the United States are following suit. What makes this an important topic to watch is that our dietary change has a direct impact on every aspect of our society – our countryside, our shopping habits, our food bills, and even the odours of our houses change pending on what we cook. What’s more is that this change is being led by the next generation and seems to be growing organically without any coherent campaign of vested interest groups promoting one diet. The future seems vegetarian. The only question is how we will, as a society, adapt to these changes.
learning.life. SPRING 2010
HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
Playas & Hoes Both are titles given to men and women who mirror sexual behaviour, yet one is complementary, while the other is derogatory. Why? SANVIK VIRJI explores.
the 20th year of Hip Hop’s ascendency into mainstream British culture with its certain terminology and associated connotations, which were quickly adopted by teenagers. These teenagers have now matured into adults who are doctors, solicitors, barristers, teachers, engineers, business owners and so on, most of whom have grown out of using such terminology, yet the connotations still prevail in their psychology. Up and down schools, colleges and universities, men are given the title of ‘Playa’ deriving from the word player. The word is contextual. A man is a ‘Playa’ when he has multiple sexual relationships with women, all of whom he has little emotional connection with. A ‘Playa’ usually has lots of women surrounding him, someone who is an alpha male, and draws his sense of worth from the amount of sexual conquests he has achieved. Other men usually bestow the title as a mark of status, and something which they no doubt aspire for. So, to be titled a ‘Playa’ is something of achievement, glory, and marks a sense of great self worth. Women too it seems, use the word ‘Playa’ and recognise the alpha male who is crowned as such, even though they perceive any man labelled as ‘Playa’ with great caution. Women on the other hand, who have multiple sexual relationships with men are labelled as ‘Hoes’ deriving from the word whore – and we all know what that means. ‘Hoes’ is clearly a derogatory title, something which can be assigned to a woman by both male and female peers. What is it about a woman having many sexual encounters with men that makes the whole act degrading, while for a man to mirror the behaviour makes him a hero among peers? There is something rather brutish at the heart of this – it reeks of male dominance, and double standards. I can’t help but think it must have something to do with the very act of having sex without much emotional energy having been invested. Sex, in itself, we all know. We understand the courtship people go through before, during, and after. But the very act of a man penetrating a woman appears to be emotionally charged to make a man feel dominant, in control, and almost conquering. He feels as if he has reached the deepest part of a woman. He has exclusive access that no other has had, and the level of intimacy reached feeds the male ego. R.D. Laing, the controversial, yet decorated British psychologist said that for a woman, sexual interHIS JUNE MARKS
course can be summed up by words such as giving, allowing, and satisfying (the man). For a man sexual intercourse is gratifying, satisfying (for himself) and powerful. What Laing lures to is the idea that the very act of sex, conditions our psychology. It is the physical act of a woman allowing exclusive access to her most intimate space, and the man having earned the access to that very intimate space that creates the psychological difference, and thereby our use of language as ‘Playas’ and ‘Hoes’. So when a woman gives many men access to her most intimate regions – two things occur simultaneously; firstly, men no longer value gaining access, as many before them, and many after them will have the same access; and secondly for the woman, the man no longer commands the same level of emotional intimacy due to many before him, and many after him having access to her. Due to the physical difference experienced during sex, men and women have evolved a completely different psychological state of mind, which represents our attitudes towards promiscuity. We call promiscuous men ‘Playas’ conjuring up images of players playing the field, scoring many goals, touch downs, and so on; whereas promiscuous women are labelled ‘Hoes’ conjuring up images of whores who sell their body for money. The rules are different for men and women because they seem to be playing different games, by the physical difference that occurs during sex. So it seems that language is a mere shadow of the psychological, which is affected by the physical. Women cannot imitate men in their promiscuity, nor does it seem they should. As for men, one can say that a woman becomes more attractive and worthy of respect the more she remains exclusive, maybe even elusive (sexually speaking). So what does this mean for equality between the sexes? Well, in all honesty I don’t really know and furthermore, I don’t think anyone else does either. What I can be sure of is that there is a weird sort of equality being promoted to men and women aged between 18 and 30. This equality suggests that language such as ‘Playas’ and ‘Hoes’ is evidence that society is still sexist at its root, and only when men and women are tagged equally will society be fair. If we understand the physical and psychological states that men and women go through, which are fundamentally different in nature, then we can begin to understand that language is not something we need to get hung up on. So even though the term ‘Hoe’ reeks of male dominance and double standards, there is clearly something psychological that takes precedence. We know that promiscuity in all its forms is degenerating for society, but it seems that due to the difference in psyches men are applauded, whereas women are taunted. It’s paramount then for women to understand that this equality which proclaims that a woman should be able to act just like a man is dangerously flawed because it neglects the psychological. After everything is said and done, it seems as if we arrive at a simple truth. Men and women are different, our language reflects that difference, and it’s vital that we create an equality which considers this difference – women need not become men, but rather become good at playing their own game, because if they come and play a man’s game, on a man’s terms, there will only ever be one winner.
learning.life. SPRING 2010
HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
A good book is to the mind what a pole is to Ivy Changing our attitude towards books is what young proffessionals need to know. SANVIK VIRJI reports do it. Some of us are ardent readers, others (who are probably not reading this article), like my father, can’t go two pages into a book without giving into the overwhelming arrival of the dream fairy. Reading to these people is a sure way to a quick snooze. Nevertheless a poll conducted in 2007 by the BBC, found that 63 percent of the 32 percent who actually read books thought reading was more important than making love. The UK is a polarised society when it comes to reading. Most people don’t read. Of those that do, over half are zealot readers. It’s Joseph Addison who is often paraphrased as saying “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”. Aye Joe, how right you are. But I think reading is more than this, much more. I like to think that “good reading is to the mind what a pole is to Ivy”. To understand what I’m alluding to, we have to look a little closer at what reading is. Reading is the translation of a series of symbols and shapes (letters and grammar) which represent ideas that spawned out of the writer’s imagination – intellectual or otherwise. A good writer is acknowledged for his or her ability to convey ideas through these symbols and shapes pending on the translation of the text by readers. So, from this paradigm, reading is the art of interpreting a writer’s ideas, images, experiences, and emotions, while simultaneously making them our own. The writer’s ideas become our own. His or her emotions are experienced by us. His view of the world becomes are own. Reading is powerful. It has the ability to change our realities. It has the ability to influence the way we think, the way we experience our own ideas, emotions, and images. Where I think good reading comes to the fore is through the ideas of Dr. Sachin Nandha, a specialist in a new area of psycho – philosophical research, dubbed as ‘Potential Development’. The mind, he tells us, is organic; made up of the physical neural networks, which compose the brain, as well as something more subtle – what he calls ideas. Ideas in our consciousness drive the process of creating neural networks. Reading influences our ideas, hence affects the direction in which our brain physically develops. If anyone has experienced the growth of READING. WE ALL
Journeys Through The Rabbit Hole - Sanvik Virji
ivy, especially English ivy, you’ll know that it grows rapidly, and can cover almost anything, often causing great damage to brickwork on buildings. Ivy is often controlled by regular pruning as well as giving it a direction in which to grow. By doing these two simple things, ivy can be beautiful, without it, it quickly becomes wild and damaging. “Our brain is such. Our consciousness is such”, says Sachin Nandha. Good reading gives direction to our thinking. Life does the pruning. Both aspects combined allow us to manage our own thinking to produce what we consciously want, whereas without such exposure, our thinking, no matter how intelligent becomes wild, scattered, and in the long run damaging, thereby losing it’s beauty. So I thought I’d share my good reading with you. Before that I thought you should know, statistically which books cannot be completed by even the ardent readers: 0% Vernon God Little, DBC Pierre Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling Ulysses, James Joyce Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis De Bernieres The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky
What’s striking and rather alarming is that The Alchemist has less than 100 pages! Personally, I read the book in a day, and continued to think about it for weeks afterwards. I was sixteen then. Needless to say then that The Alchemist is a good read; a short abstract piece of fiction about following one’s own dream, and how the universe conspires to make pure dreams come true. I found the entire book metaphorical, and if one can get past the imagery, the underlying ideas are truly brilliant. A similar book to The Alchemist is Celes-
tine Prophecy, by James Redfield. A larger book, often found in what I call the ‘condescending section’ – self help in most book stores. You don’t need to be looking for help to read this book. I found it to be an excellent read while at university. I was gripped by it. It’s an incredible piece of fiction, something which stretches the imagination. The book is metaphorical in its essence, which tries to communicate the subtle idea, that there might be more going on in our internal world than we often think. It explores the idea of an interconnected world, whereby energy binds all life together, and how this energy can be harnessed by individuals to create coincidences, which help us flourish. Then there is The Life of Pi, another work of fiction by Yann Martel, the winner of the Booker Prize. The Life of Pi explores what isolation can do to us, how our deepest values can be compromised when it comes to staying alive, and how a deep understanding can be formed between a boy and a Bengal Tiger. Wonderfully written, witty, and at times gruesome – an excellent stretch of the imagination. It’s one of those books you can start reading on a Saturday morning, stay under a blanket, drink lots of tea, and every now and then take a breather to reflect on the aspects of human nature explored in the book. Keeping in line with the tigers theme, The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga is a story narrated in the form of letters to the President of China, just before he is due to visit India. It tells a story of two Indias; the dark and the light. It shows how entrepreneurialism in a capitalist India is embedded in something dark and brutish. It describes the hopelessness of India’s poor, as well as the grotesque prejudices of the rich. It shows the realities of a culture steeped in spirituality, and simultaneously bent on hardnosed materialism. Aravind Adiga is an excellent writer, and most certainly has a talent for writing lucidly. To genuinely grasp his book, one has to know India, and have experienced the contradictions of the place, nevertheless, a must read for all. If we’re talking about good reading then
nothing is better than The Dialogue with Death, by Rohit Mehta, an interpretation of the mammoth intellectual works of Aurobindo. In my opinion, the original works of Aurobindo make Shakespearian insights look trivial, but are desperately inaccessible to the untrained reader. The Dialogue with Death makes it accessible via interpretation. The book is an exploration of a poem called Savatri, which looks to explore life and death, and the problem of separation as experienced by humans. It deals with the realms of consciousness, and whether it is possible to gain any insight into what death is. This is a book like none I’ve ever read. It took me a full year to read and keeps me returning to it. It’s a book that has a haunting truth at its heart. Not for the faint hearted, and be prepared to receive only the amount you put in! Another marathon read is The Lord of the Rings by JR Tolkien – and who hasn’t heard of this?! I often find people watching the three films and feeling as if they have grasped Tolkien’s masterpiece; I can assure those who feel this that you haven’t. The book is far more detailed; the characters have more depth, history and a complementary mystery surrounding each one. Tolkien took 25 years to write it, and after reading the first hundred pages, one appreciates this. He has created a world, even a language like no other. If you can get past the first few hundred pages, it’s an incredible read, even if you’ve seen the films. The book tackles morality, human nature, consumerism, love, greed, effects of power on men, and of course conquering adversity. The Hungry Spirit by Charles Handy is an altogether different kind of animal – a gentler, less demanding beast, yet well worth spending several Sunday afternoons on. He is a lucid writer when it comes to education and economic reform. Charles Handy looks to explore the limitations of the free market and why two thirds of the world trade cannot be managed by 500 corporations who are answerable to no one (except shareholders). For any budding LSE free market capitalist who wants to be challenged; and excellent ammunition for the SOAS bunch who understand the limits of the market. While on the point of bashing the current US centric worldview which dictates all our lives, Noam Chomsky’s Necessary Illusions is an incredible insight into forms of mind control deployed on Western democratic societies by their own governments and corporate institutions. Chomsky dismantles the idea of ‘free press’ and ‘independent media’ through quoting statistics, striking logic, and commonsense. His most illuminating thought is that of the monstrous institution. Even though journalists attempt to report with integrity, the system is such that any noble journalist will not be heard. Enjoy.
learning.life. SPRING 2010
HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
Lights, Camera, Inaction The popularity and artistic merit of cinema seems to have taken two very different routes. BOBBY CHARLES looks at an industry booming in revenue, but lacking in artistic depth. Motion pictures are the single largest art industry in the world. If we were in the renaissance, Martin Scorsese would be Leonardo Da Vinci, Stanley Kubrick would be as loved as Michelangelo and Satyjit Ray would be as lauded as Hugo van der Goes. When we visit the Louvre in Paris, or think about any world famous painting, we think of these great, critically acclaimed artists. Yet those movies that seemed to be most critically acclaimed also seem to be those that do not make it to the top of the boxoffice charts. Raging Bull, now widely considered one of the finest movies of all time, was not a box office smash in the way many had hoped. In recent years, only The Departed and Slumdog Millionaire have been both box office smashes and films with serious depth. The film is no longer regarded as an art form in the way other art is, yet it is an amalgamation of so many art forms, so one could consider it to be the ultimate art form. Fine art (such as that of Da Vinci) and now photography, is considered to be a wonderful expression of human emotion and ideas. Poetry, prose or any form of literature, whether spoken or read, has always been considered as intellectual medium. Classical music has always been considered the music of the thinker. And the film is the amalgamation of images, words and music; hence logic would dictate that the film should be the ultimate thinkers’ exploration! My desire has always been to see movies being appreciated for everything they have, whether good or bad. A thinking movie does not have to be one that is also boring. Take The Dark Knight as a perfect example. It was loved by the critics and
audiences alike for its exciting car chases and dramatic climax, and for the wonderful acting of all, especially Heath Ledger’s deliciously destructive portrayal of nihilism and anarchy, personified by his Joker. Yet, there is so much more to the movie. The finale is a wonderful depiction of Game Theory at play, and many have noted the allegory of the battle between the Christian God and the Devil for the soul of the good one (Jesus), here seen as the battle between Batman and The Joker for Harvey Dent. The movie brings into question the need for a positive image to be maintained in order for society to have stability, and that self-sacrifice can be necessary for the greater good, as Batman takes the blame for Dent’s death rather than reveal the truth, simply because the people of Gotham needed a saviour. There are very few modern films that I feel allow the audience to push their mind further, with the market seemingly moving towards more sensual seeking films. There are films out there that I feel do push your mind, and I’m sure there are many films that I have not seen that will continue to do so, but as long as thrills are the pick of the day, lack of marketing may mean that I’ll never get the chance to see them. However, I have included a list of movies which, although not always comfortable or easy to watch, will make your mind boggle: Being John Malkovich: A man finds a portal into the mind of actor John Malkovich, and what follows is a wonderful and sometimes surreal look at what, or who, really controls the mind of an individual.
From left: Final redemption for Penn and Sarandon in Dead Man Walking; angelic Audrey lightens up the lives of Montmartre in Amelié; the wonder of snow never ceases to amaze Rani Mukerji and Amitabh Bachchan in Black; Choi Min-Sik is a man on a mission (and in need of a haircut) in Oldboy
learning.life. SPRING 2010
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HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
With a twist ending better than the
Sixth Sense’s, this movie will seem like so many oth-
ers until it shocks you at the end, making you consider the darker side of infatuation and lust. Many people I know hate the movie for reasons they know not why; I adore the film’s ability to look at the introspection of one man as he attempts to rediscover himself, and finds something very different.
Amelié: Though the subtext involves a shy waitress as she brightens the lives of others whilst trying to hide her own desperate isolation (hardly It’s a Wonderful Life), the sweetness of Amelié lies Yann Tiersen’s beautiful piano pieces and Audrey Tautou’s naivety. Jeunet’s whimsical tale is set in a dreamlike Montmartre, Paris, mixing soft slapstick with heart wrenching romance; a movie that takes several viewings just to see the many genres blended together.
Black: Whilst the structure and themes of Indian cinema are alien to many in the West, they are adored in many developing nations. Black is a bleak and yet brilliant film that is Indian in so many ways, and the antithesis of Bollywood in so many more. The retelling of the Helen Keller story is reset in India, with the story being more than a triumphant struggle over a disability. The film shows us how lonely even the most dynamic of individuals are, and the relationship between that of a student and teacher, especially when the tables are turned. Dead Man Walking: Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon star in this true-life portrayal of a murderer and a nun’s efforts to make him repent his sins. The film looks at the discrimination of those who work with death row prisoners, and explores if repenting is enough to show that you truly have accepted your debt to society, or whether a like-for-like attitude is fair and just. The Legend of Baggar Vance: A film clouded in controversy, the depiction of Will Smith’s magical caddy to Matt Damon’s self-destructive golfer is both a sweet portrayal of redemption and a beautiful look at Eastern philosophy through the medium of golf. The thinly veiled names allude to the Hindu text Bhagvad Gita, and the movie gently leads the
viewer through an exploration into the spiritual subtext of a sacred script. No Country for Old Men: Three men, one bag of money, all on the hunt for one another. A perfect depiction of chance and free-will. On the one hand, the cat-and-mouse chase story of Llewelyn Moss and Anton Chigurh will at first lead you to cheer for one man, ultimately to realise that out of all the characters he has the least principles, whether they be positive or negative. However, it’s Tommy Lee Jones’ portrayal of Ed Tom Bell (note the similarity between the pronunciation of Anton and Ed Tom throughout the movie) that truly captures the pessimistic views of the old as they begrudgingly try to manoeuvre their way through the modern world whilst constantly holding on to the past. The Man from Earth: Not a major motion picture; not a star in sight; not particularly well written, directed, acted, or produced. Yet it’s simple concept of a man having lived for 14,000 years to the modern day and his explanations of his survival and life with his intellectual cohorts, is the driving force behind the movie, leaving us to ponder firstly whether our views of humanities’ evolution match that of his, and secondly (and more enjoyably), what if we could live for thousands of years.
Some of the greatest films, including
Schindler’s List and Raging Bull, are shot in black
and white, yet will never be seen by an entire generation because “they look old.” The banality of the Fast and Furious series will continue to haunt me, because girls in very little clothing and guys driving expensive cars and drifting around corners sell. I am not advocating that we leave these movies out, for they do serve a purpose when needed, but we seem to be continuing down a path which I fear will lead us to losing an art form that can offer so much, yet it is being pushed into a route where we will only watch it if we don’t need to think. As the great Walt Disney once said: “Of all our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” That may still be true, Mr. Disney, but the messages don’t seem to be worth it anymore.
From left: David Lee Smith is The Man from Earth; Will Smith gives Matt Damon a hand in The Legend of Baggar Vance; Javier Bardem’s principled sociopath adds a sense of morbid humour to proceedings in No Country for Old Men; Cusack, Keener & Diaz peer into the mind of a certain Mr J Malkovich
learning.life. SPRING 2010
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POTENTIAL Leadership Sells; Management Tells; and other differences between the two
obsession; something that humanity has had for a long time indeed. Humans have an innate tendency to follow, to believe, to search for messiahs and saviours. All actors who have played roles of the leader in our history, either benevolent, like the Buddha, or plain mad, like Hitler, had millions of followers. The oldest written script found in the Rig Veda, the holiest of holies for Hindus, mentions the notion of good leadership some 3500 years ago. In recent times, maybe over a few centuries management has come into sharp focus in human awareness. Quite literally hundreds of books and thousands of papers have been written, with every writer attempting to unknot the two, and make better sense of both. Some have done a better job at untangling than others. Those that have done a better job have done so because they didnâ€™t bother unknotting the two in the first
LEADERSHIP IS AN
Theo Paphitis: Entrepreneur p.36
Patricia Hewitt: ex-Secretary for Health p.32
Leadership place. I compare it to a man seeing what appears like two strings knotted together. He spends a lifetime unknotting them, only to discover that when he finally separated the two, both disintegrated into nothing. Leadership and management have always existed; both have been in wedlock ever since one came into existence. One is nothing without the other. Both are aspects of the other. And yet, after all their commonality, there are differences. History, through military campaigns, political revolutions, religious institutions and economic pioneers has taught us that leadership is meaningless without the management to actually make an idea, or vision, a proper reality. Likewise, we know that management void of leadership does exist. One only needs to take a walk down any corridor in most firms, especially local government to know this, but only in the form of a tedious bureaucrat, too
Sarah Shillingford: Graduate Recruitment Partner, Deloitte p.54
Tim Janes: Head of Global Resourcing, QinetiQ p.46
vs management bent on following procedure rather than achieving growth and progress. Differences go something like this: Leaders inspire; management instruct. Leaders influence; management control. Leaders sell; management tell. Leaders are usually pioneers; managers are process driven. Leaders have followers or believers, whereas, management has workers. Leaders always see room for change; managers merely enact whatâ€™s already there. Leaders ask the question what is right; managers only focus on being right. For years thinkers have sought to bring the two together; to find that invisible thread between the two that keeps them together. From our studies of history, it seems as though there need not be a unifying force; rather both co-existed with a need for the other. The early half of the 21st Century is going to re-
quire leadership potential that is completely different to that of the late 20th Century. This new, radical leadership will be required in business, in government, in schools, but most importantly in our families. Nowhere else is there such a shortage of leadership as in our families, which as Rebecca Hagelin of the New York Times points out, â€œis the bedrock of a societyâ€?. If families are another human institution, which is uniquely designed to rear offspring and to integrate new members with society, then surely the breakdown of the family unit would have a significant impact on babies. What does it tell us about the leaders and managers of family units if their institution fails and is consequently liquidated, i.e. through a divorce? Does it show that the family unit is out of date and no longer necessary as some suggest; or could it be that most family units have poor leadership at its helm?
learning.life. l e a rS nP Ri InNgG. l2 i0 f1 e0 . SPRING 2010
HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
LEADERSHIP: PATRICIA HEWITT
Nature vs. Nurture
The ex-Secretary for Health shares her early experiences of leadership, and signposts us to skills we should be nurturing.
’ve met many charming politicians, but none quite as charming as Patricia Hewitt. The ex-Health Secretary’s soft gaze through her thick glasses, coupled with her Cheshire-like smile is quite disarming. Within a few minutes of her arriving all our preconceived nerves were gone, which makes talking to Patricia Hewitt not only easy, but also rather unstructured. I’ve always found that a few nerves and formality is always good to get what you want, but in Patricia’s case that went out of the window. This may explain why her office is so spartan like. It’s situated in the rugged quarter of Leicester called Frog Island. It’s a working class neighbourhood, with Victorian and Edwardian buildings, which once housed great hosiery mills that are now mostly desolate, with specs of industry remaining. As you approach her office, you could be forgiven to think that you’ve come to the wrong place. With the recent expenses scandal raging through Westminster like a wild bush fire, you only need to see the frugal state of her constituency office to realise that her integrity is sound. Once inside, one almost feels colder inside than out. The reception area reminded me of what an old soviet bureaucrat’s office would have looked like. It was dull and grey, with dated decor throughout. After a few minutes of waiting, the door to Patricia’s box opened, and we were allowed access to one of the most influential people within British politics throughout the last decade. Upon seeing the private office that resembled a closet, we emptied it of its only major content, namely, a wobbly table. Upon taking our respective seats, she pulled out her rucksack, something you’d expect a teenage school girl to have had, and rather charmingly asked whether we’d mind if she had her lunch as we interviewed her. She then pulled out her cheese and ploughman sandwich and had lunch. She revealed her childhood vividly as she took small bites of her sandwich. Patricia, 60, tells us that she was incredibly short sighted, which for many years went unnoticed, with teachers and parents thinking of her as
learning.life. SPRING 2010
being clumsy, inattentive, and generally aloof. The truth was, to say it in her own words, “[she] was as blind as a bat”. Not surprisingly she describes her early education as “dark”. She was equally forthcoming with the difficulties she faced as a child growing up, how she lacked confidence, she was shy and awkward, not very good at making friends and hopeless at sport. But she liked to read, mainly because she could actually see the words up close. She was clearly bright. Her parents desperately wanted to give their eldest daughter a fantastic education. Her father, a senior Australian civil servant, went to Newham College Cambridge, while Patricia was still in high school to find out how she should apply at Newham, and what would be required of her. No prizes then for guessing where Patricia went to university. She came over to England to read English Literature in the late 60’s. She describes those days as being able to get away with being unfocused about careers. She studied English simply because she enjoyed it.
“Coming second was simply not enough” It was at Cambridge that Patricia came into her own. She is a self proclaimed campaigner. She was involved with the anti-Vietnam war movement, as well as the aboriginal land rights campaign in Australia. At Cambridge, she led the movement to have all the men’s colleges made available for women too. At that time Cambridge was a
segregated affair with only three all women’s colleges available. The male to female ratio at the time was 9 to 1, which did her no harm whatsoever when it came to getting attention from the opposite sex. Nevertheless, she showed an appetite even now, as she spoke about how strongly she wanted to bring equality to women. Her passion just radiates out, and as she spoke I could see her passion being transmitted to everyone around her. She speaks softly, with her cool intense blue eyes displaying her conviction. She is easy to listen to, and shows all the tell-tale signs of an experienced political leader. It was there on display, for anyone to see, why she had become an incredibly successful Politician. She had fantastic interpersonal ability. I could imagine her making someone she intensely disagreed with feel relaxed, while subtly and succinctly communicating her arguments. One shouldn’t think it’s all smiles and charm with Patricia. She was also assertive. She wanted to dictate the course of the interview, and she misread several of my attempts at re-directing it. She had a message, and she was bent on having it delivered her way. She was assertive; never aggressive. She had that rare skill to push for what she wants, while remaining careful and sensitive to her environment. We liked her style. It was effective. As she spoke of her campaigning during her Cambridge days, we could all sense that she drew great satisfaction from winning; a trait that every successful leader has. For her, coming second or making an attempt to change societal values was simply not enough. She would relentlessly pursue her campaign until she got her way, or was intellectually convinced to do otherwise. Her attitude and determination was on display, and felt as
vibrant at 60, as it must have been when she was 20. The world clearly hasn’t dampened Mrs Hewitt. Needless to point out that Patricia was successful in having the men’s colleges at Cambridge open up for women. Another successful campaign she embarked on at Cambridge was altering the drop dead final exams with a supplementary dissertation for all final year students. In the late 60’s these were radical ideas. One simply couldn’t come to Cambridge and be a revolting student, and point out that the curriculum needed improvement. She organised hundreds of students, petitioned, lobbied sympathetic academics, and even organised a meeting, cloak and daggers style between sympathisers and students. The curriculum at Cambridge was changed. While changing the world at Cambridge, Patricia also acted as a freelance journalist for several newspapers in Australia, which she thoroughly enjoyed and felt that this could be a career. Patricia openly tells us that campaigning at Cambridge laid the foundations for her successful political career. She learnt how to build alliances, formulate demand for change, how to create effective campaigns, and ultimately influence. Thirty minutes into the interview we’d all realised that Patricia had cultivated extraordinary leadership skills by simply becoming active as a student. She has inadvertently become an ideal case study for other ambitious students to learn from. And just like many bright able graduates, Patricia too didn’t know what she wanted post a Cambridge education. She had consciously decided not to follow her mother into academia, or her father into the civil service. She didn’t have an appetite for the corporate life either.
She moved to London, and began work at Age Concern as a secretary, and later became their Press Officer. It was as a Press Officer that she ran into politics. She opposed a bill proposed by the then Conservative Party on the rights of women’s pensions. She worked the campaign efficiently and became involved in the women’s rights circles. She went onto join Liberty (back then called National Council for Civil Liberties), and became their General Secretary. Her rise was nothing short of rapid. She ran and executed several high profile campaigns earning her deserved recognition as one to watch out for. She later joined the Labour Party and was assigned a safe seat in Leicester West, which has been her constituency ever since. It’s clear that Patricia’s university days make easy reading for the career she’s gone onto have. The bottom line is that she is a classic fusion of hard work, with passion to network and get things done, as well as being charming, an excellent organiser, and an assertive leader. I don’t believe for a moment she was born with such leadership traits. Rather she has consciously nurtured her skills and utilised them efficiently. As mere mortals, it’s important to remember that the future is there to be created. All the entrepreneurial, social and political leaders we have interviewed show a remarkable tendency to focus, achieve, and influence people around them. There is no reason why these traits can’t be developed by us too while at university, or early in our careers. What’s required is passion with a tinge of vision in people to deliver a brighter future for themselves and others at large. With these two prerequisites there is no reason to think that leadership is pure nature. If Patricia is anything to go by, then leadership is purely nurture.
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theo-logy Theo-logy: (Pronounced: θi: əʊ - ləʊdʒi) n. the study of Theo.
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s i sat in the waiting area in a colourful and bustling office, I couldn’t help but notice the room was not in keeping with the image of the man I was about to meet; flowers and fish tanks did not represent a man considered to be one of the most intimidating and successful entrepreneurs in the country today. A man who has saved businesses, increased turnovers by almost 900% and had the trophy to the old Division Two Championship at the foot of his bed. He is thought of as one of the most fearsome Dragons on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, renowned for his ability to pierce right into the heart of finances and see the true financial opportunities of any new product. There and then, it seemed almost clear to me that Theo wasn’t your archetypal entrepreneur; from first appearances (and by that I mean on television), he has all the hall marks of an entrepreneur – quick with numbers, assertive and not one likely to take ‘a lot of crap’. He appeared to be someone who didn’t like having his time wasted by those who weren’t prepared for him. People like these normally have huge offices with hundreds of drones working for them, catering to their every need. They have mahogany tables and luxurious recliner chairs. Sitting in a room with a brightly coloured fish tank behind me, I began to have the impression that this meeting was going to veer rapidly away from my expectations.
Caroline, his assistant came to see us. A commotion was taking place in another office; “another day at the office,” I thought, not thinking it had anything to do with us. However, it soon transpired that we may have been the focus, and the kindly assistant returned to timidly explain a double booking had been made, and that the interview may be dramatically shorter than originally intended. Dramatically actually doesn’t fully describe the chaos that ensued, both literally in terms of our plans and in terms of the thoughts in my head. I had meticulously planned a 40 minute interview – I was now getting 20 minutes. Theo Paphitis arrived and greeted us, fully aware of the constraints we were under. Yet his friendly demeanour and quip that “[we’d] brought an entire army!” with regards to our equipment made everyone feel slightly more relaxed. As Caroline went off to make arrangements for us, Theo made conversation before excusing himself to conduct a bit of business. His office kept in line with the diversity that was prevalent throughout. No large table or leather covered chairs; his table was made from the tail of a small aircraft, his sofa from a bath tub and his chairs were old shopping trolleys. He clearly was proud of what Dragons’ Den had provided, and wasn’t afraid to show it off. We started our interview on an abstract note, wanting to know what his highest highs were as well as his rock bottom
lows. “There are hundreds of happy moments that pass us by when they happen, and thousands of sad moments that only truly have an effect once the initial effect has gone,” he says. He does not give any specific moments of sadness, indicating that this was something for him and him alone, but was ready to explore the happier moments. Indeed, he supplied an abstract answer to an abstract question, while maintaining the ‘Mr Paphitis’ veneer. He mentioned the regulars (family, business) but seemed to hold a special place in his heart for Millwall’s FA Cup final appearance and winning the old Division Two under his Chairmanship, even having the trophy at the foot of his bed. The signs were beginning to show that Theo valued more than just his own personal successes. I wanted to really get to the bottom of his mindset for business, but was weary that many business men do not like giving their secrets away. But he was quick to dismiss such a notion as being irrelevant. With a relaxed open body posture, he bluntly claimed “Why would anyone want to be like me, and do things like me? There’s only one me, and I’m him. Your chances of succeeding by being like me are useless while I’m still around!” It was a great little moment to see the philosophy of a man who staunchly believed in what he was saying – whether right or wrong. But I also knew his belief in analysing mistakes, and I wasn’t going to back down without truly delving into his psyche. I reworded my question and asked again what his psychology was, and he paused with a little smile. “Analyse and assess everything. I do it morning, noon and night. Mistakes will occur, but you can reduce that the more you learn.” From the entire statement, the word ‘learn’ seemed to stand out more than any other. Theo is a learner – he himself has acknowledged that it was his own desire to learn and be inquisitive that gave him the ability to rise so rapidly. He was always analysing, always looking for the hidden opportunity. When something went well, he learnt from it. When something went wrong, he definitely learnt from it. It was this mentality that ensured that he didn’t make the same mistakes twice. “Fear of Failure Must Never Be A Reason Not To Try Something” Theo does not have a fear of making mistakes. Mistakes to him are a hidden opportunity to learn again. And once he’s learnt, he immediately applies himself. But despite not fearing failure, that doesn’t mean that Theo takes risk off-the-cuff. I was intrigued how a man could afford to start a family and a business at the tender age of 23. From my own experience of other 23-year olds (and I’m included in this!), they would never consider a serious relationship, let alone the prospects of a family. Starting a business while starting a family would be like mixing oil and water – they simply don’t mix. Yet Theo, once quoted as saying “I’m the most conservative man you’ll ever meet”, qualifies his decision by putting a small (or rather large) word in front of risk: CALCULATED. “Calculate the risk. Always, always calculate the risk. If you want pure risk, the thrill of not knowing what’s going to happen, then go to a casino, go to a bookie. Put a tenner on
roulette or on the 3:10 at Epsom – that’s being risky. But then accept that you’ve got the same odds as everyone else. Not me. Why would I want the same odds as anyone else? I don’t. I want better odds than anyone.” Theo had demonstrated that he minimised the risks when he decided to embark upon this journey that others would have thought couldn’t be achieved. The confidence, almost borderline arrogance with which he spoke alluded to his determination to succeed. The competitiveness in his language only further went to underline his psychology as a man who knew that if he wanted to make it, it would involve being, and knowing more than the competition. “In a casino, if I start calculating and controlling the variables, it’s called cheating – in business, it’s called preparation and evaluation. I always do my homework before I sit the tests that I’m going to face, and this gives me the chance to succeed.” “But surely if everyone did their homework and strived as hard as you, then your odds would be diminished?” I fired back. He gave a wry smile, and said softly “Of course they could; but they don’t. The average Joe doesn’t like risk, doesn’t make him feel safe. I’m not a huge fan of the unknown either, but by taking calculated risks, I know that I can reduce the risk of the unknown. I’m not overawed by danger, because danger is something that I can calculate in business.” As we spoke, I could still see the passion burning in his eyes for what he was doing. It seemed as if stopping was not an option he wanted to take. Yet Theo has always spoken about knowing when to let go of a business when he’s taken it as far he can, rather than clinging on to it through some selfindulgent need to possess his creation. With all the success that he has had, my natural curiosity lead me to question whether, after all these years, he had reached his peak. “At the age of 50, not a chance!” He exclaims. “Not at least in my opinion. I don’t know if this is my peak, there’s only one person who knows that (pointing upwards to the unmentioned figure, someone whose name was not said but
“Why would you want to be like me?” whose influence was felt). Right now, I feel as if there’s still so much for me to do, for me to explore. This entire planet is full of opportunities for business that I have no idea about, and I’ve got to search the globe to find them.” This indication of restlessness was something that seemed to be more than a statement; even as we spoke, I kept getting the feeling that I should have asked if he preferred to have done the interview walking! “Are you the type who get’s restless quite easily? And do you think this is something that’s accelerated your growth in business?”
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“Me, I’ve got ants in my pants! I can’t bear to sit at home and just watch TV, as much as I love it. I’d rather be down the gym, watching TV and jogging, with my mobile on hands-free so I can answer any business calls – I like to have two, three things going on at once.” I was partly relieved that I didn’t ask him to change venue – I couldn’t see this interview going as well on the rowing machine. “Standing still is going backwards as far as I’m concerned. There’s no such thing as being stagnant. That’s just another way of saying ‘I can’t move forward’. I get bored too easily; I want to be moving, doing things and experiencing change – that’s the fun part of life, seeing new things.” The words he expressed could never match the passion in his voice; Theo had been on the move for 35 years, and since his first entrepreneurial adventure as a tuck-shop vendor he hadn’t stopped.
continue to live on after their body ceases to be. “I don’t care what people think of me after I’m gone,” he says bluntly. The response takes me back a bit. “We’re all going to die; you, me, Bob on the street, all of us. There have been far greater men than me who have spent their mortal life trying to live forever through their name, but for me, there’s only one life I’m going to live, and that’s mine. Call me selfish if you want, but I’ve got this one chance, no dress rehearsal, to make of it what I will. And that’s why I am the way I am. Change means more experiences. Risk means greater opportunities. After I’m gone, who cares what people think of me – I won’t be around. While I’m here, I’m going to make the most of it, because after this, who knows.” As I concluded the interview the photography team got to work. I began to reflect on the answers Theo had given. It was becoming quite clear to me that here was a man who had thought a lot about philosophy, especially nihilism (a branch of moral philosophy which argues that life is without objective, meaning or purpose). Maybe not consciously going out to find books on nihilism, Theo still seemed to display the traits of a man who seemed to care very little about the impact of his actions, living his life according to his own standards. I am not an exponent of this philosophy, my own personal thoughts are that my actions today lay the routes (though not permanent, but nevertheless still significant) for those who follow me. But his nihilistic philosophy gave a very interesting insight into his determination to succeed. I wonder if Theo’s passion for calculated risk and business growth comes from the fact that he has wiped the slate clean of any meaning to his own life, and therefore all that’s left is empty space – and so he has decided to fill it with whatever he believes makes him happy today. The problem I find is that this leads to inherent unintended self indulgence, where we demote others to a secondary level. Shouldn’t rich powerful business leaders carry greater burden for the welfare of all? He talked to us, interested in what we had planned for this edition. “I certainly haven’t seen anything like this out there,” he quipped, simultaneously getting ready for a big function he had that evening. He left, thanking us for coming to see him, before rushing off to his next appointment. Theo’s final message still resonated with me as we left – we have one chance to make the most of it, because after that, who knows. Theo, Mr. Paphitis, that bloke off Dragons’ Den – whatever moniker that people have for him, it was quite clear that the philosopher-entrepreneur wasn’t something that was considered before. Here’s hoping that this interview changed that – not revolution by asking the same questions as others, but evolution, by exploring what hadn’t been explored.
“I’m a firm believer in evolution, not revolution” “I love change!” He enthused, “it excites me. I’m not one of those who say ‘I’ve got 20 years experience in my job.’ No you haven’t! You’ve been working in the same job for twenty years, and in my eyes, that’s not having twenty years experience, that having the same year after year after year after year. That’s the same year, twenty times! I’m a firm believer in evolution, not revolution. Even if the changes are small, you’re still moving forward. It’s like the old adage of the tortoise and the hare – you’d rather be making slow but steady progress than racing ahead and then not moving at all.” Theo’s belief that you should continue moving led me to question his strategy for business, and for life. “Being constantly on the move may lead to you wandering aimlessly,” I say, “so you must have some strategy to ensure you move in a direction?” “Of course, but it’s not set in stone. I let opportunity dictate my strategies. I once tried to sit in the bath and think up a strategy, and do you know what happened? I got shrivelled up. It’s not going to be some eureka moment when it all falls together, certainly not for me. I advance by doing, and you can think all you want, but your brain isn’t going to move you forward, it’s your feet. You need to be doing, to progress; at least that’s how I see it.” We are all going to die...
I wanted to end the interview in the same vain as it had started – not looking at Theo the entrepreneur, or Theo the Dragon, but Theo the man, the thinker that had clearly emerged. Many leaders, whether they are world athletic or industry, want to leave behind a legacy, and a name that will
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Watch the full video interview at www.YourHPD.com
HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
Classic walks Five classic walks in the UK where one’s mind can access “Wittgenstein’s silence”. Z I M A P E T ROV (24), Junior Partner, Institute for Global Change UK, reminices Ludwig Wittgenstein, the audacious Cambridge don in 1919 released a book called the Tractatus, in which he made claim to seven statements about the world. These seven statements were meant to be the only things we could know with any certainty about the world. It was his seventh and final statement which has spiralled its way to the level of mysticism, and profound insight into all that is. His seventh statement read, “What we cannot speak of we must pass over in silence”. By this, one can postulate that Wittgenstein points to a world that we can only know in experience, yet never speak of. In these walks that I share, I found the ‘silence’ Wittgenstein recommends. I had inexplicable experiences at each one.
Pen-y-Fan, Brecon Beacons This is the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons; breath taking during summer months with clear blue skies, and rolling peaks one after another. In spring you’ll see snow on the peaks. This is a landscape out of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. But be prepared for this walk. The weather is untrustworthy. In the summer months hundreds of walkers descend on the peak with its razor sharp ridge to one side, where streams will have to be crossed, so waterproofs are a must. At the peak, it’s simply surreal to stare into the open panoramic space and allow the ‘silence’ to find you.
Hilbre Island, North West England A surreal island, with abundant wild life; an island that can be completely submerged pending on what time of the day it is. In low tide, you can simply walk across to the island, and during high tide be prepared for a wet boat ride. Simply unique.
Scafell Pike, Cumbria England’s highest peak is one of Wainwright’s favoured walks. A challenging walk for those not used to hiking. The entire walk has views that are incomprehensible. A must do for anyone who enjoys a challenge. I try and climb to its peak at least once every year, and the top never fails to inspire and provide space to contemplate on all the impossible possibilities out there!
Ross-on-Wye to Symonds Yat, South Wales This is not strictly a walk, though it can be, but far better to hire a kayak and paddle downstream. Best time of the year is early spring or late summer when the crowds have left, and the water levels are waist high. With clear waters below you (for most parts) this is a seriously relaxing drift downstream. Plenty of silences on offer, with gorgeous pubs along the way where you can park your kayak, eat an extended lunch, paddle a little further, or simply allow the current to take you. Like all the others, waterproofs are a must.
Portwrinkle, Cornwall A beautiful sleepy fishing village, which is surrounded by isolated bays, and walkways taking you to nearby towns via cliff edge views of the sea. A popular spot for surfers, but be warned, if you’re looking for “Wittgenstein’s silence” then the summer periods are best avoided. One can walk for miles and miles with the crashing waves as your only companions. I take my entire team for a weekend away, once a year and the location is always the same – Portwrinkle.
learning.life. SPRING 2010
The Education Factory Millions of students are chruned out of our education system every year, but are they being educated? Plato, a Greek philosopher in the 4th century BC wrote that education must have a ‘telos’; an end in mind; an end that allows each individual to flourish in his or her unique way. To flourish, he meant to find ‘eudemon’, that’s happiness to you and I. Education for Plato was about equipping each person with the right knowledge, and skills so that they would have a shot at finding happiness. What’s the ‘telos’ of our education? Why are we studying, accumulating thousands of pounds worth of debt? Where will it take us, or more importantly where do we want to take our education? We spend most of our early lives going through the education system. Quite literally tens of thousands of young people are going through an identical process. This is mass education. We are the products in this system; you are it; I am it; ones that may have gone a little wrong, but near enough what was intended. And just as any mass produced good, we too are made in a factory. A factory where blank three year olds (indeed, I’m assuming the idea of table rasa) are supplied, and after a minimum of thirteen years on the conveyor belt, they are tested for quality called GCSE’s to mark them as approved, or are encouraged to carry on down the conveyor belt to get a free upgrade. Quite literally schooling is a factory – enlightening, totally necessary, and a useful one, but nevertheless, it remains a factory. Mass produced goods are the output of all factories, the schooling system is no different. We are all mass produced, give and take small variations. Just as on any conveyor belt flexibility is in short supply, and so any great variation in the production process is not a viable option. I also realised the schooling system had similar issues to that of industry – there are suppliers of raw material (in this case human beings), factory floor workers (we have teachers), a process (we have a curriculum), tight quality control (we have examinations now even for six year olds), different conveyor belts for slight variations (we have options for 14 year olds and we distinguish the better products from the rest) and the products must be pushed onto a customer (an employer) once quality control approve it as suitable. What is the point of our education fac-
tory? It’s here that Plato’s issue with a ‘telos’ comes into play. This is an instrumentalist approach, something which Plato deplored because it neglected the spirit of living, the human aspects of life, love, death, pleasure and happiness. Most people spend the best part of a quarter century in this factory because they believe that it’ll lead them to a better job or vocation. The government too wants this. It’s what mass education is. It’s a medium to supply industry, commerce, the free market with educated material (labour) so as to drive the economy even further. All products, including you and I, are going to be shipped off to a company or organisation, which would use us for their own ends. In return we would be paid, given a pension, praised and given the opportunity to progress within the hierarchy of the firm. The ‘telos’, the end goal of our mass education factory is to serve the economy. You and I are mere commodities to be traded within the market. Adam Smith was right. The law of supply and demand would come to rule all aspects of our existence. Is this how we want to be valued? Surely, every person has an innate talent, a talent that if nurtured would bring us Plato’s ‘eudemon’, even if the market doesn’t quite value it. Ultimately, we want to cultivate the skills and talents that will bring us maximum happiness – well, what are those skills? One thing is for sure; it will not be found or nurtured in the education factory. What is the alternative? Is there an alternative? I certainly believe there is an alternative. The solution is a non-instrumentalist way of looking at our education. Education must focus on living a Platonic view of lifelong learning. Thinkers such as Ken Robinson, ex-professor at the London School of Economics, now in California has been proactively working with the powers that be on developing and exploring new ways of educating a population to live, not merely work. The problem seems to be that there is no appetite in our society for great educational revolution. And there lies the greatest threat to our standing in the world – the Romans lost their appetite to reform; as did the Greeks before them; and so it seems with us – educationally speaking!
ILLUSTRATION: KAMAL NANDHA
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MANAGEMENT: TIM JANES
ENGINEERING A BETTER FUTURE
Tim Janes is Head of Global Resourcing for QinetiQ. He speaks of how ultimately it’s down to each person to show academic excellence, as well as practical experience, even if university doesn’t provide the latter. He signposts us to what an engineering student should be developing while at university.
ooking around at the scenery that was before me, it would have seemed more probable that I was in Tolkien’s Shire, rather than heading towards the site of one of Britain’s biggest defence firms, and the MoD’s ‘go-to-guys’ for the latest technology. The small, picturesque town of Malvern lay at its foot; a civil parish more suited for Last of the Summer Wine, rather than the location of a technological lair more akin with scenes from James Bond. QinetiQ is one of United Kingdom’s (and worlds’) leading engineering firms. They are responsible, whether jointly or independently, for some of the greatest technological leaps in history. In the 1980’s the company worked in conjunction with CERN for the development of a little known technological advancement called the internet. Tim Janes is the man responsible for the 7000-strong work force that drives the company forward. As we drove into the site, there seemed to be an air of substance-over-style that was reflected in every building and person we met, and Tim was no different. See him on the street and you probably wouldn’t take a second look. But listen to him talk, and you could be there for days, exploring the mind of a man who is both a leading figure at the firm, and could arc weld with the best of them. Tim’s humble beginnings started with an electronic engineering apprenticeship with the MoD (graduating as the best apprentice in his class), leading to a career that has seen him become a project manager, team leader and now Head of Global Resourcing for QinetiQ’s work both in the UK and in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Tim is a man who knows the importance of first impressions; I had only ever spoken to him on the phone prior to our interview, and a man in his position could quite easily send down an assistant to greet us, and show us where to go. As we parked up he walked over to us, beaming and holding
out a friendly handshake. A lesson for any budding corporate leader – there should always be time for basic human warmth in business – something that the city will need to remind itself as it loses its grip on the country’s economy. He took us to his office, all the while keeping us engaged by switching from the history surrounding QinetiQ to the history of Malvern itself, his depth of knowledge seeming to know no end. As we set up to prepare for our interview, he spoke candidly about his travel experiences, firstly Malaysia, and then Peru, and about his next escapade to China. His love for photography meant that our interview was now running late as he and our photographer discussed the various pros and cons of camera lenses (something which I could only smile and nod along to, wondering what the difference was between seemingly two identical lenses). “You must have had some real highs and lows that have made a lasting impression on you,” I ask, following his explanation of the various engineering and non-engineering roles that he has had. “I guess the lows were the highs now if I look back!” he laughs. “The training we received was extremely in-depth, and as a young man, energetic to be trying a variety of things, I guess doing things in such detail would have been a bit of a turn off. But now I look back, the depth at which they taught us, and I mean literally from first principles, meant that I could practically break down any problem and solve. And it’s something which will never leave me. The apprenticeship meant that I was learning both the theory and the practical at the same time and to the same level of intensity.” He smiles for a moment slipping away to a memory that clearly has stayed with him all these years. “I remember when we spent five complete days wiring a particular project, and all it took was the instructor to take one look, take out his pliers and cut right through. ‘Do it again, lad!’ was all he said, but that was enough for me to appreciate the importance of
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HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
meticulousness. You can spend ten hours or a hundred hours doing something, but you need to get the accuracy spot on if you want to move forward.” The past decade has seen a slump in the interest and acknowledgement of the apprenticeship as means of education. Compared to its well regarded cousin, the degree, the apprenticeship took a backseat to the more theoretical qualification, a policy central to New Labour’s approach on education. As foreign policy and ‘regime change’ took centre stage in Tony Blair’s mind in the latter years of his premiership, the apprenticeship has slowly snuck back, and with the likes of Sir Alan Sugar seeming to give the apprenticeship more credibility, it is now again being viewed as an ideal alternative for those less inclined to learn the ‘pen-n-paper’ way. And judging Tim, an apprenticeship is nothing to sneeze at! Tim in his own right spoke very highly of the level of learning he received whilst on his own apprenticeship, even alluding to the broadness of talent it has given him, such was the depth and practicality of it. QinetiQ themselves have recently re-introduced apprenticeships, and from the manner in which Tim spoke about them, it wouldn’t surprise me if he had spearheaded the whole thing. For all the benefits of an apprenticeship, the level of theoretical understanding isn’t quite the same as that for a degree; on the flip side, it can quite easily be argued that the level of practical understanding in degrees is lacking. It seems as if the love child of these two disparate teaching methods may be the ideal structure of learning engineering. Tim, despite being an apprentice himself, did not seem to agree. “I guess that there just isn’t the time,” he says, “certainly not the time to do it to the depth that I studied at. But then look at the wealth of knowledge these engineers are coming out with these days. They have to learn so much, I guess the time isn’t there to be doing a mix of both. If you did, it would give you broadness, but not the depth that the current market demands.” The argument for intense focus versus generalised broadness has long been debated throughout academic institutions across the land. Academics, by their very nature, would prefer it if every module was studied to the depth that academia did. On the other hand, the industries which employ the graduates have on the whole generally favoured broadness, preferring to train a graduate once they have joined a firm. While many industries have favoured a more general approach, Clifford Chance, the biggest law firm in the world, allocates only half of its graduate scheme places to Law students, with the other half coming from as diverse fields as Mathematics and Music. Engineering seems to have gone on a different path. Students now study to greater depth than ever before. Tim attributes this to the demands of the market. However, the problem still remains that students then do not have the practical diversity of knowledge and experience. For Tim, the solution is with the students themselves. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, you need to know it all. Maybe university won’t give you that, but then it’s up to the individual to go out there and get that broadness of experience.” An obvious statement for a man who has experi-
enced the complete spectrum of the engineering industry, nonetheless Tim’s career seems a testament to that fact. It however can be argued that universities need to provide practical hands-on experience on a more regular basis. Tim’s retort is based upon the principle that universities don’t have the resources to manage that. In previous conversations he has spoke ardently about students needing to show proactiveness and tenacity, qualities he personally holds in high regard. Money makes the world go round... Students have often been accused of not understanding the realities of money, and the way in which finances work. Indeed this criticism mostly comes from empty-pocketed parents, still wondering how a year’s student loan can wither away in a matter of months! From my own experiences, it seems as if students are at polar opposites, with some indulging their interest in finances by undertaking specific modules or even entire degrees based upon commerce. Others do their utmost to avoid it, although not a strict fact, it has been rumoured that many students have picked up disciplines in the arts, or natural sciences to avoid any notion of finance. For Tim, these ends must come closer together if students, regardless of their chosen field of specialism, are to be successful in the real world outside of academia. “All workers need to understand the economics of reality, or business acumen, or whatever you want to call it.
“It’s up to the individual to go out there and get that broadness of experience” And the more senior you are, the more important it is. If you want to move up the ranks, you must be aware of costs at all stages” he continued. The supply chain is something that has become a fact of life in business. Thousands of graduates that embark upon their professional careers each year become part of the same process that Tim, I and millions of others are already part of. Whether you are internal or external facing (industry jargon implying whether you primarily focus on clients or your colleagues), you are supplying a given service or product to someone, based upon a set of requirements, including but not limited to time, resource, location and cost. Simply this, if you want a successful career, be prepared to understand finance. When you’ve finished changing, you’re finished The engineering market is one that faces many challenges. Technological advances mean that engineers can never really be too sure of what is ahead of them. “Sometimes
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HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
I think it’s moving too fast for us to even take advantage of,” Tim bluntly says, “sometimes I think if we had a baseline technology that allowed us to solve today’s problems instead of working on tomorrow’s, we might be better off. But then, we need to progress, as some tasks aren’t being started today for today, they’re starting today to prepare for tomorrow.” His detailed explanation of how it can take months, years or even decades on certain defence projects makes me think about the scale in which these projects are being planned. I think back to my own student days, when I hadn’t even planned my night out, never mind what I was doing in a
“It doesn’t matter how old you are, you need to know it all” year’s time, let alone ten. And with technology moving at the rapid pace that Tim described, my immediate thoughts were how students would cope with this. “Have acceptance of change. Essential. Almost a sin if you don’t. There’s an old proverb that goes ‘Change is our only constant’. Humans are animals of routine; we get comfortable in our lives and don’t really like change because it brings up too many negative questions”, says Tim. There is an old belief that only man can stop his own progression, and it’s the negativity in his mind that will be the factor at play. “Am I good enough?”, “What if I get it wrong?” and “I’ll get fired if I mess this up!” are questions that hold us back from being brave enough to push forward. “You need to encompass change, and embrace it, and be prepared to move forward,” says Tim, “otherwise you’re going to be left behind.” Do universities prepare graduates with this appreciation for change? Universities have to be able to prepare students for an uncertain tomorrow, with more than the ability to perform complex calculations, or analyse pertinent pieces of prose, seems limited at best, and nonexistent at worst. Tim’s own response was very “look-out-for-number-one” and whether through political belief, or simply life experience, he was clear on his opinions as to who held the responsibility. “I suppose the university may have some responsibility, but the way I see it, who’s going to benefit at the end of the day from it? The student. And there’s an old ten word phrase that goes: ‘IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME.’ I live by that. You need to look after yourself at the end of the day, because no one else should. And I know that students think it’s going to be hard and extra work for them, but then they will reap the benefits of that.” The openness with which Tim discusses competition makes me think about the impact that other competitors could have on an individual. In the late 1980’s the engineering
industry was introduced to CAD (Computer-Aided Design), a technological milestone for the trade. Bringing about a step change in the way engineering firms worked and employed its staff. CAD was lauded for its ability to make companies more efficient and streamline. But it also brought about mass downsizing (or redundancies), as drafters, those responsible for technical drawings, were surplus to requirements, and many are concerned that we have come full circle, with a generation of engineers finding their skills made redundant as machines take over. Tim, of course, is fully aware of this, and his frankness is remarkable, being that he may be responsible for organising many of these changes. “But of course, all firms will downsize, in all industries, throughout the world. Once you and I find a product that will do something for us that will save us time and energy (and so money), we will want to buy that product. And firms are no different. Remember what I said, it’s all about cost. Computers can continue for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They don’t sleep, take holidays, have bad moods or complain. They just do. And so why wouldn’t a firm want to invest in technology that’s going to make the processes it has more efficient. It would be against common sense to do so.” Tim’s opinions may alienate many, with many considering it to be extremely cold faced. Looking out for our fellow man is an argument brought to the table by those who feel technology sometimes comes at the price of human happiness. Many throughout history, in particular Gandhi, the Indian political leader who out manoeuvred an Empire to win India’s independence, has spoken out against technology and machinery being used to replace a workforce. He argued that it devalues human life, and makes each human desperate to compete and fight against one another for survival. Gandhian economics suggests that machines should only be introduced so as to reduce toil, not the man. And where technology leaps forward, the replaced workforce should be retrained and utilised in an altogether more productive manner. His economics drew no distinction between economics and ethics. Any economic initiative that hurts the populace of a nation is simply wrong. Tim had clearly set his stall out as to where his loyalties lay. He openly explained how some jobs would be lost; but for every lost job, another was being created somewhere (and not necessarily at QinetiQ). And without an acceptance for change, and a willingness to embrace it, to learn a new skill needed for the moment, being left behind was the only option. As he said: “If you want it, go get it.” It would have been interesting had Gandhi been there too. The discussion would have been truly explorative. Nevertheless, Tim points out the realities of the system that every graduate should know. A better future The impact of foreign students and those skilledworkers from abroad has long been the subject of debate, en-
thusiasm, and in the case of certain far-right political groups, racism. Many feel that it would hinder British citizens and the British economy, others feel that in a global market it is a by product that encourages growth and development. Tim’s mindset is that of the latter. He firmly believes that allowing talent, regardless of where in the world they come from, is only for the benefit of firms and the economy. Firms want the brightest, and if that means they come from the wilderness of outer Mongolia rather than the urban sprawl of London, then so be it. I ask what British students then need to do in order to be as good as any engineer in the world. Tim’s response is one that has been deliberated by many academics and industry leaders – the globalisation of the English language. “Because English seems to be the world’s lingua franca, we as a nation aren’t receptive to learning new languages. You only have to go on holiday to see a British tourist trying to find an English speaker rather than have an attempt at the native tongue. But if you knew a foreign language, you could quite easily work anywhere in the world.” English being demanded as the international language of the world is slowly dropping and the projected next set of global super powers are not predominantly Englishspeaking nations. Even India, who for a decade fell into cultural disarray as the youth took up speaking English as a sign of modernity, are now reverting back to Hindi, while China, Brazil and Russia aren’t keen to let go of their own tongues. With the economic trend heading towards the east, and some argue, also to Latin America, the demand for speakers of Hindi, Mandarin and Spanish is on the increase. And in a world where international trade barriers are slowly being removed and globalisation has become the buzz word, knowing several languages will be another invaluable asset. As our time came to an end, I wanted to explore one last area with Tim; the falling number of students studying engineering. In fact, the sciences and engineering disciplines have on average seen a drop in figures for students wanting to study them. “I guess what we have to explore is why these students are not studying these disciplines. I’m not sure what the real reason is, but it’s certainly something that needs to be explored. I guess we as an industry need to then be able to adapt to this if we want to progress.” Any economist will tell you that rising demand and falling supply will naturally lead to an increase in wages for engineers. A huge plus for them! But on the flipside, there is a serious risk that the quality of engineers could also drop. Tim, however, is confident that this won’t occur. “QinetiQ, and our competitors, will always have certain procedures and processes in place to ensure this never happens. With the universities help, we will always get the same calibre of candidate.” My brain suddenly thinks back to a fact I read that said, due to the influences of TV shows like Scrubs and House, there are more students who apply for medicine. I explain my theory to Tim, who can only laugh at the thought of having a TV show featuring a more debonair, suave engineer. We discuss the impact of shows like Scrubs and CSI (which has also lead to an
increase in the number of applicants for Forensic Criminology) and how they represent the more glamorous and exciting nature of their respective industries. “I’m sure these industries are exciting, but I also know that they can be extremely tedious and repetitive. And engineering is no different. Many will have preconceptions of engineering being a boring, numbers-related trade, but we also create a lot of technology that people think is part of a spy movie. But the reality is, without an engineer, James Bond wouldn’t have any gadgets to bring down the world’s bad guys. Saying that, I’m sure if Brad Pitt starred in a show where he was the most sophisticated engineer in the world, engineering faculties across the land will suddenly find one or two more applications in their in-trays!” The interview ended on a note from a classic Anthony Robins motivational lecture. After a minute in pure silence, thinking about the most important piece of advice for an upcoming budding engineer, he simply says “To be hungry for knowledge. To be innovative and inventive. This is what firms want, and if you can give it to them, then it’s a match made in heaven.”
Five pieces of advice for any budFive pieces of advice for any budding engineer ding engineer on developing practical on developing practical experience: experience: 1.
Go and work at a garage, for free if you have to. The experience of working hands-on will help you appreciate basic engineering concepts.
Get a summer job at a scrap yard and spend the summer breaking things. This way you can begin to understand what joint-tear-outs are and what buckling actually looks like.
Build your own PC. It goes without saying, but understanding basic rules of electronics and circuitry will take you a long way.
Find out and volunteer at amateur racing venues and help race drivers fix up their cars in a race environment. Spend one summer doing this. It’ll teach the importance of working under pressure. Additionally you’ll see firsthand how extreme loads can cause rapid wear and tear on mechanical parts.
Attend technology fairs, conferences, and any gathering of engineers that you are allowed in. Once there you can network, show your passion and tenacity, and begin to live like an actual engineer.
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QinetiQ people are open, imaginative and agile enough to blend all kinds of inspiration. Their heads are a constant whirl of influences, issues and inklings. They brim over with bubbling, frothy genius and we give them the colleagues, technology, facilities and support to turn hair-brained hunches into actual, bona fide, whirring, buzzing, chugging solutions. Incredible, ground-breaking solutions to seemingly impossible problems. Inspiration is nothing without consummation. If youâ€™re a science, engineering or technology graduate whoâ€™s full of ideas and driven enough to see them through, apply online at www.QinetiQgraduates.co.uk/hpd
Opportunity awaits Are you looking for options that will open new doors? Would you like to develop valuable skills? Do you want to be part of a collaborative team culture that brings out the best in you? Step forward at www.deloitte.co.uk/graduates www.deloitte.co.uk/graduates ÂŠ 2010 Deloitte LLP. All rights reserved.
MANAGEMENT: SARAH SHILLINGFORD
Can you walk the talk? An interview with Sarah Shillingford, graduate Partner at Deloitte, the worldâ€™s second largest accounting firm, tells us why in an industry full of numbers and figures, interpersonal skills are so important.
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HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
eloitte’s London headquarters are impressive. Walking through their pine panelled corridors one could quickly see why they are so renowned in the glossy world of accountancy and financial services. 20 years ago a place like that would have immediately conjured up images of emotionless, pale suited old men, focused on nothing more than ensuring that the numbers made sense, all the variables were taken into consideration, and all assets and liabilities were accounted for. Interpersonal skills aren’t tax deductible; hence they had no place in an accounting firm. Not anymore, says Sarah Shillingford. Sarah is responsible for ensuring that the second largest accounting firm in the world continuously recruits the most able staff to ensure Deloitte’s position at the top table. Sarah’s position is clearly one that will have a major say in the position of the firm for years to come. In my experience, people with that sort of influence are always hardnosed, firm, rigid and sometimes borderline terrifying. Sarah is the antithesis of what I had presumed. A relatively small woman, she nonetheless carried a presence that was confident, assertive, yet non-threatening. Her demeanour was welcoming and friendly. Her red jacket and softly spoken manner could have just as easily been that of a primary school teacher, but something about her made it clear that she was a person carrying the weights of responsibility and know-how, and when it came to talking about graduates, she articulated her views without much hesitation, from what appeared like years of experience.
The uni years Sarah is no Oxbridge buff, having studied Maths and Economics at Bristol instead. It became bluntly obvious within moments that she had a warm persona, something which can be rather disarming. Sarah is bright, well balanced and determined. These aptitudes are there to be seen by anyone sensitive enough to take note, but there was more to her. Sarah spoke lucidly about her time at university. How did she spend her days at university, and was there anything she did beyond getting a degree that may have given her an extra edge in becoming as successful as she has done? The answer is maybe. She was an active student, just like so many other Directors, and Corporate leaders we’ve interviewed. Sarah used her time to have fun, and she made no attempt to hide the fact that she did many of the things that students at university do. Interestingly, as she made the point, one got the distinct impression that she could still visualise some of her misdemeanours to this day. Of course, she never told us what they were. She did however, tell us that she joined societies, became a committee member, organised events, and genuinely got a lot out of doing so. It wasn’t something she was doing to mindlessly put on her CV. “You can always spot someone who joined a society simply because they thought it’d come across well, and not because they genuinely enjoy working for them; those who enjoy what they do will no doubt
learn a lot more, and we’re looking for people who have learnt something useful. All societies will teach you that, you just need to be willing to learn the skills, not the reputation,” she says. Another point she alluded to, which is deemed important for a graduate to possess is a certain amount of independence. In asking about her university days, she makes it clear that moving away from home was something that had given her more than freedom. “Being away from home allows you that level of independence and self-reliance that you need when you start your professional career,” she says, “even though you have an impulse to spend like mad and turn your student loan into one huge party!” Yes indeed, she has an understated sense of humour. ‘The touchy feely stuff’ The most valuable trait she developed during her early years was interpersonal skills. Being able to speak with a diverse range of people is something which she feels is a must. “Dealing with people is undoubtedly one of the most important, if not the most important skill in the business world,” she reiterates. She goes on to explain that interpersonal skills are what allows you to fully understand the business that you are working in, the type of client that you are dealing with, or the way to handle those around you; they may be your colleague, your secretary or your manager. To get what you require to complete your job, you need to be able to get the best out of your team. “You have to know how to speak to both the CEO and the guy running the warehouse, because your job may entail getting information from them both, and neither is going to have all the answers for you. Those lower down will certainly have a better idea of how things are running on the ground than the CEO, but then will he or she be the person who will tell you about the running of the entire firm?” she goes onto explain. As we move through the interview, she explains that building skills is only one part of the process in developing yourself; the other part is effectively putting them into practice. “I would highly recommend that students have some sort of practical experience of working in an environment where they can develop and build other aptitudes. I myself worked in an accounting firm in the summer between my second and third year.” “Is this something that you yourself decided to go out and seek, or were you shown the way by your university?” we asked. “It was a bit of both really. The careers service certainly helped by giving me a list of places that were willing to take students on, but after that, it was all down to me. Students nowadays are even luckier that they have the Internet, which gives them so much more opportunity. But they need that level of pro-activeness in them to get a placement that will help them.” “Would you say that only working in an accounting firm or any firm related to your industry is paramount?”
“Not at all. It’s certainly one of the best places, but anywhere you work can help you to develop skills if you know how to apply yourself properly. Whether it is in a large firm, a small factory, or teaching English abroad, if you can pick up the right skills and develop certain qualities, then this will be reflected in you. In any environment, you will be dealing with people, and interpersonal skills will be relevant no matter where you work. It’s all about applying that and being able to demonstrate in your interview that you used each experience to add value to yourself.” Building personal capacity is something that Sarah clearly values. She says that “if Deloitte’s graduate intake was based purely on academic achievement then they would fill their positions many times over.” But it’s the extras that they are looking for. The ability to speak to a variety of people and to have no fear in making mistakes, but be willing to learn from them is something that they yearn for in graduates. She is very enthusiastic about people having this wide range of skills, and says “if someone can display these competencies in their interview, then it will put them in good stead. Even those who sometimes can’t join many societies because they’re captain of the rugby team should be able to demonstrate the skills they have. But they can’t just put down ‘captain of the rugby team’ and expect that to be enough. They have to show how being captain helped them to develop skills such as influence, leadership, communication, conflict resolution, the list is endless! Like I said before, regardless of the perception of the role, if you can actively show how those skills you picked up in that environment will benefit you in the work place, then you’ve got a real good chance of impressing the interviewer.” Essential advice As our interview begins to come to its conclusion, we ask her for the one piece of advice that she would give to graduates and those in their final year at university. And with a dry sense of humour that has been underlying the entire interview, she smiles and says: “well, if a third year asked me, then I would firstly say it’s a bit late to be having this conversation!” Everyone in the room laughs, but we knew exactly what she meant. “You need to have an idea of where you want to be in your first year, at the latest, preferably being clear in your head by the time you finish college. That way you can begin to develop all the right attributes for your career well in advance. Your CV is something that you build over time, and that probably starts when you’re still in secondary school. You need to add to it as you go along, not rush it and think the interviewer won’t know. Remember, most of these guys have been doing it for years and years, and they know how to spot the cons!”, she concludes. After the interview ended, we spoke with her privately about what the aim of HPD is, and what we do as a whole. Sarah is keen and attentive, and makes us feel comfortable in speaking about our goals. It’s clear that everything she mentions in her interview is something that she lives by every day, and it’s clear to see why she has reached the lofty position she has.
After all, the person in charge of hiring the next crop of graduates for the second largest accounting firm in the world has told you what they want, and whilst many can talk the talk, or even walk the walk, but you really only take notice of those who have walked the talk.
“You just need to be willing to learn the skills, not the reputation” 57
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Proactive or Provided?
The benefits of joining a society have been well documented, but should students or universities shoulder the responsibility when it comes to developing key skills?
during Fresher’s Week and you’ll see the same sight – rows and rows of tables filled to the brim with pens, notepads, funny little fridge magnets and possibly Pot Noodles, ready to be given away to anyone who joins up. Wideeyed first years, wandering aimlessly through the crowds are interspersed with crafty and knowing regulars, coming back year on year to stock up on a semesters supply of writing utensils. The vast majority of these students will never return to a single event held, and simply delete the hundreds of emails sent to their inbox reminding them of the next monthly meeting held. But a few of these students will become active members, contributing to the development of their society whilst simultaneously building a horde of skills that they can use in later life. I think we can all appreciate that joining a society or volunteering your time in some way adds tremendous benefits, but clearly some students would rather spend time dancing their opportunities away. So should universities incentivise students to get involved with developing campus life, or should they simply be left to their own initiative? We asked two active students, Sophie Johnson, reading English at Durham, and Ian Freestone, reading Management at UCL, on their views.
Visit any university
Proactive: Sophie Johnson
I was an active member of my department’s society, something which I took on as a responsibility from the off. I knew that being a part of a society would develop so much in me, and was continuously encouraged by relatives to do so, especially since some had benefitted significantly from chairing societies during their own time at university. I remember a cousin always telling me that “it’ll make you better than the competition!” and that’s the way I’ve always thought of it. Of
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course, there are so many advantages that it provided to my department and fellow students, but I was aware of the impact it would have for me personally when applying for jobs. This is a competitive society that we live in, and if there is competition for jobs, then I like the idea that my effort to run a society will put me above others who won’t have bothered. I feel that the firms I applied to would acknowledge the fact that I have shown initiative. If universities begin to provide these opportunities for those who otherwise would not, then these individuals will never learn that the real world doesn’t work like that. Competition is part of our society, it’s the way our economy works, and in order to drive it forward society needs competition to separate those who can drive from those who just walk. I know that I sound like a callous capitalist, but I think that competition does drive me to be better, which can only be positive for all parties involved. Having these opportunities provided by the university and being coerced into taking on responsibility firstly means that there will be many of my peers who are joining societies that they don’t really want to. Involvement in something without any passion or heart is going to be negative for the student and the society. The student won’t tangibly pick up skills as well as he or she could, and the society has a halfhearted volunteer. Universities do enough in my eyes to give students a chance; students need to show passion to develop themselves – we can’t be spoon fed all our lives.
Provided: Ian Freestone
I love being a part of a society. It gives me the chance to develop so many skills that I know I’m going to need in the future. Having already completed my sandwich-year and working in the professional environment, I know how much companies value the skills that I had, and how I’ve developed skills since
Straight talking from KPMG. Graduate Programmes All degree disciplines When it comes to what we do, thereâ€™s no need for spin. We offer audit, tax and advisory services to everyone from oil companies to music gurus. And when you join us, youâ€™ll do the same. Simple really. For more straight talking, visit www.kpmg.co.uk/careers
HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
I’ve been on my placement. All I kept hearing from managers whilst I was there was “We wish more students had these skills” and “universities need to push for skills development as part of any degree”. I know that firms have to spend huge amounts training their staff, much of which could be reduced if undergraduates were taught these skills at university. Many courses have assessments where students have to give presentations, but no student is ever taught how to give them properly, which I discovered is essential in industry. Many will argue that the university shouldn’t be wasting its money and resources on something that the students should be providing for themselves, and it’s economically ethical to create competition to find the best students. But what about the university’s own economic incentives? Surely they want to be considered the best for their education? And aren’t these vital skills education in itself? If a company, say Goldman Sachs, feels that a particular university is giving its students the skills that Goldman Sachs values, then they may begin to fund or sponsor them, in the same way that Oxbridge colleges are currently supported. This, I believe, is the perfect win-win situation for all. A university is defined as an institution of higher learning, and with a better level of education, demand for places is sure to increase. I think as a society we should go as far as implementing this throughout all universities. The government should make it compulsory, as it acts in the nation’s interest. My two pence worth: Our two passionate contributors certainly put forward convincing arguments, and although I have been accused in the past for siding too quickly with a particular argument for a topic, in this case, I truly am stuck in the middle. I can see that competition is an essential component in the economy; the question is: Who is the competition essential for? Both the individual student and the academic institution would benefit; many would argue “Who does it benefit more?” Yet the only thought running around my head is “Where is the beneficial middle ground?” I suspect this debate is far from resolved. The argument of responsibility is something that could be perpetually debated back and forth. But the one point that Sophie and Ian do both agree on is the need to be a part of a society; developing skills in order to fulfil your potential in the future.
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Are you online yet? Visit the HPD website to find up to date news and advice on everything from graduate recruitment to the latest technology, aspirational talks to interesting reads. You’ll find:
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HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
A road less travelled... D R SAC H I N NANDHA looks
back at the origins of HPD magazine and how the founding graduates convinced him to lend them £60,000. NOVEMBER 2008. TWO of my students approached me under the pretence of a casual chat over coffee, which soon transpired to be a passionate monologue about how there was a gap in magazines targeting university students. One, Vinay was at the University of Manchester studying Mathematics, while the other, Ravi was reading Management at LSE. Their proposal was this magazine that you’re reading. The problem was they had no money, nor did they have a platform to get started. Having duped me into hearing them out, they went onto convince me over the coming months that I should invest in them – I did; £60,000 worth. Today, we have what you’re reading – an aspirational graduate lifestyle magazine direct mailed to 10,000 readers, emailed to 50,000 web surfers across the best academic institutions. Investing time, money and sanity into a new project has taken Ravi and Vinay to places they had never dreamed of. They have spent nights living off takeaway pizzas and coffee. They have had meetings with some of the leading entrepreneurs and business minds in the country. They have travelled to London more times than they care to remember and stopped off at enough service stations to last a lifetime. Even as I type this, they are planning a trip to the States to interview Professor Thurman at Columbia University and whose daughter is the muse for a certain Mr. Tarantino. To have reached such dizzying heights so quickly will give anybody a rush, and I think their veins are at bursting point! But through it all, they have remained grounded with a little help and guidance. The impact of the first magazine was phenomenal, and led to our decision to release this second edition as a print magazine. The editorial and design teams have excelled themselves beyond all recognition. The first edition challenged the psychology of students’; this edition will challenge the psychology of tomorrow’s leaders. I know that HPD will generate real interest from graduates, universities and employers, as well as brands targeting tomorrow’s high net worth individuals. Growing the magazine will certainly be
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a challenge for Vinay & Ravi, which I believe gives them the impetus to drive to London for the umpteenth time, to keep pushing with distributers, bank managers, advertising agencies and the like. For those of you familiar with the works of Robert Frost, all the graduates at HPD have taken the road less travelled, and it has made all the difference.
Multiplying your potential
“It’s exactly how I wanted my career to develop. I’m working in a global, multi-cultural setting, on high quality deals with blue-chip clients, and all within a welcoming and supportive environment. It’s about helping me to develop my experience and enabling me to be the best lawyer I can be.” Emily Carlisle, Associate, Corporate Do you want to multiply your potential? www.multiplyingyourpotential.co.uk
Study Stateside The Polymath Foundation
The Polymath foundation offers full & part scholarships to 20 British nationals hoping to study in America for a Doctorate at an Ivy League university. The Ivy League are some of the best universities in the world, they comprise of : Princeton University Harvard University Cornell University Yale University Brown University Dartmouth College University of Pennsylvania Columbia University
31st July 2010
To apply please submit your interest via a CV and your research proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Institute for Global Change is an integrated research organisation specialising in understanding people. Politically independent, we promote our research through reports, briefings, events and training courses. The Institute runs and manages The Polymath Foundation through endowments.
HUMAN POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
Politcally active E M M A N U E L AKPAN-INWANG (24) is the President of the
Aldwych Group, a watchdog of the Students’ Unions at the Russell Group of UK universities. Emmanuel is at London School of Economics and Political Science, reading Sociology. Nigerian born; Emmanuel has lived in London from the age of three. I BECAME INVOLVED in student politics whilst at college doing my A-Levels. I studied in an environment where conflict between various ethnic groups often spilled over into violence and I always felt that more could have been done to bring these disparate groups together. I had two choices: complain and wait for somebody to do something or take action myself. My desire to see change naturally led to the latter, and I promptly joined the students’ union, believing this would provide a forum in which I could speak out and encourage others to act. By working in partnership with the college and facilitating dialogue amongst students we managed to radically turn things around in a short space of time. The London School of Economics and Political Science Students’ Union was drastically different. Not only is it one of the oldest student unions in the country, it is often considered to be the most politically active. I became heavily involved in my second year as a student, yet despite its reputation, I always thought that the Union could be so much more. I felt that I could add much value to the Union, and decided to dedicate a year to being fully committed. As the newly elected Education and Welfare Officer, I quickly realised that I had my work cut out. The Union was in great need of structural reform and modernisation; our team was committed to bringing it into the 21st Century. Through a difficult staff restructure, and an ambitious programme of governance reform, our team of four managed to turn things around in little under a year. We have now reasserted our position as an innovative students’ union. I also had the privilege of being one of the few officers to be re-elected to serve for another year. My experience of reforming the Union meant that I entered my second term with a great degree of knowledge about students’ unions and the higher education sector in general. I then went on to be elected chair of the Aldwych group, the Students’ Unions of Russell Group Universities, on a manifesto of reform, change and innovation. In many ways the Aldwych group bears many simi-
learning.life. SPRING 2010
larities to a students’ union. We act as a watchdog of the Russell Group and advocate on behalf of its students. Naturally we find ourselves at odds in a number of areas, yet we continue to spearhead the Group on key issues such as widening participation in higher education, a key concern to both of us. I have often been referred to as an aspirational individual on account of my background compared with my achievements, but I’ve always viewed myself as merely someone who encourages others to aspire to greater things. My greatest asset has always been viewing myself as my only competitor, for it is only I who can stop myself achieving what I dream.
The London School of Economics and Political Science’s main entrance
Published on Mar 19, 2010