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Alumni Newsletter

December 2015

We are delighted to announce that the Director General of the Mountbatten Institute, Dr Paul Beresford-Hill has been appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The award, which was announced by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is in recognition of Dr Beresford-Hill's work on behalf of British American Educational and Cultural Exchange and for his contribution, over many decades, to international education. Read full details.

I am sure you all join us in conveying our sincere congratulations at this tremendous achievement of Dr Paul Beresford-Hill.

December has been a busy month at the Institute and that's reflected in this issue, with an alumni re-union in Mumbai; an entrepreneur launching a new concierge business; other entrepreneurial updates and a Day in Life of who works on Blue Peter.

Elsewhere, if you think the company you are based in at the moment would be interested in hosting a Mountbatten Institute trainee in either New York or London in the near future, please contact Jo Harvey for full details.

Also, if you are a member of the March 2014 New York or London intakes and have not yet completed the short employment survey sent via email, please do this now, as we need to collect full and comprehensive employment statistics.

All that's left for this year is to wish you all a wonderful relaxing festive period however you celebrate it, and a happy, healthy New Year. We will return in January with a brand new look to celebrate the 4th birthday of our newsletter!

What does the newsletter mean to you? Help us celebrate by letting us know your thoughts!


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Alum of the month

Harleen Kaur Bedi
March 2014 - London

"Mountbatten is one of the best things that happened to me. I have learnt to be independent, made so many amazing friends and explored the city to my heart's content. I have learnt no matter how scared you are to make new moves in your life, you should definitely take that leap of faith because until you do it you won't know what great things life has in store for you."
Read full story

Entrepreneurial Alumni

Vishal Sharma (August 2011 - New York) spent his Mountbatten year at Deutsche Bank as a Product Development Analyst. After coming back to London he joined HSBC and worked in Programme and Project Management in the regulatory space for almost 3 years. However, Vishal explains how "my ambition has always been to be an entrepreneur and start my own company. I finally decided in September 2015 to take the leap to become an entrepreneur. I have co-founded Prive Butler - a concierge service which takes care of all your chores and errands whilst you are at work, for a small weekly fee. We take care of everything including house cleaning, dry cleaning and laundry, grocery shopping, sorting and posting letters or even returning unwanted items back to Amazon or any other seller, and special request items like sending gifts/flowers or arranging parties. We assign a dedicated house manager to each client who visits the client's property each week to carry out chores and errands.

I would encourage every one of you to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career path. You need to dig really deep to understand what motivates you in life, and whether you want to be your own boss. There is a lot of help out there for 'would be' entrepreneurs to get you started, including a lot of events and meetups, so I suggest you start by attending a few of these to get a feel for whether entrepreneurship is for you." Read full story.

Katie Dodd Syk (August 2008 - London) is currently a SEO Specialist at Volusion, LLC in Austin, Texas, which is about to launch a free online store builder for entrepreneurial millennials. It's for entrepreneurs who are looking to sell products online, whether in their spare time or as a full-time job. Katie immediately thought of the Mountbatten network and how this might be interesting to many of the alumni. The ecommerce platform is called Material, and is a simple, free service that users can set up quickly and easily. Its beautiful design will guide users as they grow their businesses. Read more about Material. It sounds like a good opportunity and look forward to further news next year.

Eric Strom, also (August 2008 - London), and who has featured in a previous newsletter when launching Crowd Supply, gives us the following latest update; "While we haven't raised a series A yet (hopefully in the next 6-8 months), we did raise a 1mm seed round about 5 months ago. With those funds we were able to grow a bit, and now have 6 full-time employees with potentially more on the way. With this slight growth I have (officially) become our Director of Operations and oversee most functions of the business, from crowdfunding projects to fulfilment. Here was a great piece written about us recently. We regularly ship products all over the world and now have creators coming from all over the world (Australia, India and Norway creators all launched successful campaigns in the past 4 months). Its been very rewarding to help these products get their legs and launched into the world. At its very core, crowdfunding is democratizing the way things are made, as well as what gets made. In most cases these campaigns give life to products that wouldn't exist otherwise (too risky for a bank loan or not a big enough market for a big box brand)." We hope this continues to grow, and look forward to future updates.

A Day in the life of...

Sarah Crandon (March 2007 - New York), graduate of University of Reading, currently works as Gallery PA on the longest running Children's programme in the world, 'Blue Peter'. Sarah describes how "no two days at work are ever the same. Our live weekly programme is broadcast every Thursday at 5pm, but our studio day kicks off at around 9am with a Production Meeting with the presenters and core studio team. We read through the script, watch the location films which are going out in that day's show and make any tweaks or changes before we head back to the studio to begin the rehearsals.

As Gallery PA I sit between the Producer and the Director in the 'gallery', as well as working with them in the planning stages throughout the week. In studio it's my job to get the show on air, keep it on time, and make sure the crew and presenters all know where we are in the show and how long we have left on each item. Each segment is timed to precision and has a set duration. If one item runs over it's allocated time, which often happens in a live show, the producer and I quickly discuss where we can make up this time so we don't fall off air! We have a strict 28 minute time-slot which we have to fit to the second, so a lot of quick mental maths is needed! If we have a band or singer on, I will also work with the director and call all the camera shots - it might look simple but each shot is timed with the music so it can be pretty fast!

A day in the studio flies by and after each item has been rehearsed multiple times to make sure the content and timings are right, it's time for our Dress Rehearsal at 4pm. We treat this exactly as if it's the real thing and is a good opportunity to iron out any last minute changes. Dress Rehearsal over, we have just 30 minutes before we go live. There's a hurried meeting with our Executive Producer, who has been watching the programme from another room and gives his last minute notes. I then head back to the gallery to talk to 'Network' (the people controlling the whole channel's schedule) and confirm our exact 'on air' time. At 5pm I count us on air and we're broadcasting live to the nation! It's a really busy and fast paced day, and lots of things can change at the last minute, but it's incredibly exciting and we always have great guests and interviews. 28 minutes might sound quite a long time, but it speeds by.

The rest of the week I spend coordinating the upcoming shows. I book all of the crew and guests and have to find weird and wonderful ways to get strange items and props to and from studio in time and on budget. I love the weekly build up to each programme and the variety of the show is amazing. One week we might have the latest pop band in performing live, the next there's a complicated science experiment that refuses to work in rehearsals and the next a presenter is abseiling down the side of the studios with the Royal Marines, live! After work you'll usually find me either catching up with friends over dinner, or running and blogging. I'm running my fourth marathon in Manchester in April -it's a good way to release the stress of a busy studio day!"

Alumni Reunion in Mumbai

When Gary Ball, our Deputy Director General was in India last month, there were 2 events in Mumbai which were attended by our Indian alumni; a reunion for alumni in Mumbai and a UK India Business Council event introducing Mountbatten to the British business community in India where three of our alumni - Kanika Khurana (August 2012 - London), Ishan Kukade (March 2013 - London) and Neha Kalra (March 2011 - New York) - spoke about their experiences.

Universities in the Spotlight

The University of Reading has been providing great candidates for the programme for a number of years now including our Day in Life of this month Sarah Crandon (March 2007 - New York), and interestingly our Day in Life of from last month, Annabelle Cuthbert (March 2009 - New York) who is currently working for Hogarth, an international marketing implementation agency back in Manhattan and is "living the dream".

Also, after a successful run on the UK universities recruitment front over the last 3 months, our recruitment campaign continues into the New Year with a presence at Manchester Metropolitan University Accountancy, Finance and Economics Networking Cafe on Tuesday 16th February 1.30 - 5pm. If you are interested in assisting our team, please get in touch with Vicki.

Check out our upcoming recruitment events. If you would like to assist with any of them, please contact Vicki as soon as possible.


There is a great opportunity at the World Cocoa Foundation, which is looking to employ a Monitoring & Evaluation Consultant for a 12 month contract from January 2016. World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) is a non-profit foundation of the global chocolate and cocoa industry, which promotes a sustainable cocoa economy through economic and social development and environmental conservation in cocoa growing communities in West Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. WCF works with its members to create unique public-private partnerships that support cocoa sustainability throughout the entire cocoa value chain, from small holder farmers to improvements in cocoa quality and value-addition. The right candidate recruited could be based in any of a number of different locations including:- Washington D.C. USA; Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire; Accra, Ghana; Paris, France; Geneva or Zurich, Switzerland; Amsterdam, Netherlands or London, England.

This is an exciting opportunity, and you can view the full details and how to apply on our alumni website.

Jo Harvey:
Vicki McCordall: