Alumni Newsletter

March 2015

The Solar Eclipse happened on Friday and it did get a little colder and darker for half an hour or so, but then things carried on! It's also reassuring to see how light it's getting generally in the evenings now and the spring blossom and flowers coming out to brighten things up. It's definitely time for new projects or challenges or even new jobs. In this issue there is an emphasis on entrepreneurial ventures with 2 Entrepreneurs of the Month; our Alum of the Month has published an e-book in his spare time; and a number of alumni are participating in April's London Marathon. We also have a special 20 Years On feature highlighting an alum with plenty of entrepreneurial spirit herself.

March 2014 Completion & Awards Ceremony in New York

On Thursday March 5, 2015 trainees, staff, professors and guests gathered for the March 2014 Completion Ceremony in New York at the Union League Club in Midtown Manhattan. Bagpipes started the ceremony, as is now the tradition, accompanying the procession of the Institute Directors and professors. There was a special surprise for this ceremony, as our very own Mountbatten singing group, Mountbatten Melody, sang the British and American national anthems. Mountbatten Melody was led by Nana Opoku-Agyekum, and included Abidemi Abayomi, Dami Apampa and Darlina Farinto. The group were absolutely fantastic, a seriously talented group of singers, and we were honored that they wanted to participate in the ceremony. Dr Paul Beresford-Hill handed out the awards of the evening and we congratulate the following for their extra accomplishments: Michael Rowe, Louise Magee, Nikka Munion, Roxanne Pascoe, Sheneen Ofori-Koree, Annie Metcalfe, Charles Hitchcock, Omone Djetore, Chido Mutsonziwa, Divine Rangarira, Josh Tate and Jennifer Nguyen. The valedictorian from this intake, Sagar Popat entertained the audience with a witty and thoughtful speech, imparting his own words of wisdom for his intake. After some musical interludes by opera singers, Michael Weyandt and Patrick Jones, we were honored to welcome our special guest speaker, Michael McCarry. Michael is the Executive Director of the Alliance for International Education and Cultural Exchange, based in Washington D.C. The Alliance is an advocacy group for international exchange including J-1 programs, and has been integral to ensuring that J-1 programs like Mountbatten are able to continue to do the work that we do. Michael has a fascinating career history and has spent many periods abroad, most notably 18 years with the then USIA as a Foreign Service Officer and cultural attaché. He knows the value and impact programmes like Mountbatten have on their participants and future impact on the work and lives they lead. Finally we were delighted that other guests John Shannon and Anna Titley from the St George's Society joined us. John delivered the Invocation, as he recently retired from St George's Society after nearly 20 years of service. John was the Executive Director who started the partnership with Mountbatten as a host organization back in 2001. He has seen 12 Mountbatten trainees through the programme during his tenure. We thank John for all his support not only of the Programme and the trainees. The ceremony was followed by a celebratory dinner as the intake reminisced and saw a photo slide show of their year. We wish the March 2014 intake all the success for their future!
Full photo album will be on the alumni website very soon!


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Alum of the month

Sourajit Aiyer
March 2009 - London

"As a personal interest, I also write regularly on business, economic and socio-economic topics, and have published my articles in more than 30 publications across 13 countries. Recently, I also released my 1st E-Book on India's emerging business themes."
Read full story

Forthcoming Events

Pub Quiz in New York
Wed 1 Apr 2015

The next GREAT British Pub Quiz at the Churchill in NYC is on Wednesday 1st April 2015. Please email Jo Harvey if you would like to participate.

Robert Walters Employment Registration - London
Thu 9 Apr 2015

For the March 2014 group returning to London, sign up for the Robert Walters Employment Registration Event if you need a little help getting that first post programme job.

20 Years On...

Johanna Walker (September 1995 - New York):

I originally mailed Vicki to ask if she'd include some information about the National Information Infrastructure in the alumni newsletter, but her reply started, "As it's been 20 years since you were on the Mountbatten programme..." Clearly there has been some kind of mistake, but apparently it's been a whole 2 decades since I spent a year commuting to the British American Chamber of Commerce offices on Vanderbilt Avenue on the PATH from Newport. I gave myself a short test. The question was, "Would you like to spend Monday night doing jello shots and dancing on tables in an Upper West Side bar before trotting home, showering and going straight into a fully day's work?" Ignoring Answer A. (Brilliant, I'll be there in 30) I ticked Answer B. (But I've got Midsomer Murders on the planner and there's a chicken casserole that needs eating up!). Yes, things have definitely changed.

But it's not just me. The New York of 1995 was a different one from now. The Twin Towers dominated the skyline, especially from Newport. Rudy Giuliani's zero-tolerance clean-up had just begun, and even central areas such as 42nd Street were unsafe after dark. Not everyone's office had access to the Internet (we used an America Online dial up) and the only Kardashian anyone had heard of was Robert, who was incredibly famous due to sitting next to OJ Simpson in a televised trial that obsessed the nation. Similarly, the Mountbatten programme of 1995 was a very different creature to the MBA-bestowing, degree-requiring, multiple-location, graduate-fair-visiting behemoth of today. The key requirement in the early 90s was a good typing speed and recruitment mainly took place through secretarial colleges and PA recruitment agency Angela Mortimer... Read Full Story.

Entrepreneurial Alumni

Charlie Pountney (September 2009 - New York):

What your company is/does, and your role in it?
Bottle & Bean is a craft beer and speciality coffee subscription service. We offer a monthly discovery experience to help people uncover new craft beers and speciality coffees from UK independent producers. Every month we feature a different craft brewery and coffee roaster. We send you 12 beers, 3 coffees, or both from these producers and invite all subscribers to attend a live beer and coffee tasting in the second week of each month. These tastings are streamed live direct to your laptop, mobile or device. This gives you the chance to understand more about the products and meet the artisan producers who make them.

What inspired you to set it up?
I started getting really interested in craft beer around 2012. My epiphany moment came during the Super Bowl where I picked up some beer to enjoy at home in front of the game with some friends. On this occasion the beer tasted like nothing I had had before. I thought, why doesn't all beer taste as good as this! Unbeknownst to me, the beer I bought was actually Punk IPA brewed by Scottish Brewery Brew Dog. I started searching for this experience again and the more I got into drinking great beer, the more I was inspired by the stories of the small, artisan brewers taking on the might and size of the international brewing conglomerates. Until this point I was unaware that the beers I had drunk (with gusto) during my time on Mountbatten in New York had been 'sticking to the big guys' since way back in the 1980's. Beers like Sierra Nevada, Anchor Steam and Sam Adams. I wanted to make sure people were aware that truly great beer exists, to encourage people see through the marketing gimmicks and give them access to these special brews. The UK is still along way behind the United States in its appreciation of craft brewing. Hopefully I can take inspiration from the positivity, go-get-em attitude and David vs Goliath success stories which I experienced during my time in New York, to continue my pledge to help people 'drink brighter'. Read Full Story.

Bottle & Bean is also offering any Mountbatten alumni a 10% discount off any of their products or services. Add the code mbalumni to the cart when you are checking out.

Jennifer Coatesworth (May 2005 - New York) is the owner of the Yummy Cupcake Company. Here she gives an account of its inception through to present day:

I can honestly say that Yummy Cupcake Company started with no grand plan in mind! I returned to the Lake District from New York and the Mountbatten Programme in May 2006 having completed a year with Citigroup Asset Management and Legg Mason. I initially started back in rural Cumbria, I began to notice the lack of cupcakes, something that was really beginning to take off in NYC at the time.

Temporarily living back with my parents, I began to experiment and it wasn't long before it became obvious that I had a far greater passion for baking than for spreadsheets and databases. Inspired by the "can do" attitude of New Yorkers (and the Crumbs cupcakes we enjoyed in the office for birthdays), I tested cakes on my family and by October 2006 I had launched Yummy Cupcake Company on a local market stall. When the first market was a sell out and with my first wedding commission booked, I decided not to continue with the job interviews!" Read Full Story.

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Fundraising Alumni

Chris Chilton (March 2013 - New York): " I can't believe it's a year since I finished the Mountbatten New York programme. I had a fantastic year living and working in the USA, met some great people and had quite a few adventures along the way, including finishing off visiting all 50 states - an amazing experience.

I am now living in London and working at UBS, who offered me a job here based on my internship with them in New York. Living in London has allowed me the opportunity to run the 2015 London Marathon, so on 26th April I will be running proudly for St John Ambulance, which provides first aid coverage and training all over the UK and worldwide. Any sponsorship to help me reach my goal of £1,800 for St John would be very much appreciated! Thanks!.

Alexander Maidwell, Kimberly Barr and Louise Greenall (August 2012 - New York) are also running the London Marathon on Sunday 26th April and are fundraising for Age UK. They have chosen to support Age UK in the hope they can help the charity to continue their invaluable work in providing companionship, advice and support to millions of people facing later life alone.

Please visit their just giving pages and support them:


In London, British Interactive Media Association are looking for a Membership Executive; Bain & Gray are currently recruiting for a number of PA/Administrative roles; and Praxis Executive, which is owned by an alum, is seeking a Graduate Sales/Business Development. To find out about these and all other current vacancies, please go to our alumni website.

New York Programme Alumni should contact Vicki McCordall and London Programme Alumni should contact Jo Harvey.

Jo Harvey:
Vicki McCordall: