KBS Alumni Networking Event Success

The Kent Business School in person event in London was held at etc, venues in Marble Arch on Thursday 20 October 2022 and was a hit with former students.

Over seventy former students and current staff came to our networking event to rekindle, remember and rethink with speeches and discussions from multi award winning social entrepreneur and KBS alum Dr Kush Kanodia and a panel of former students in various areas of industry to discuss the theme of ‘Purpose over Profit’. 

The night started with networking fuelled by complimentary drinks and nibbles before Zaid Mahmood, former Business and Management student and Kent Union President opened the night as compere. 

‘At KBS we are taught from day one that we have a social responsibility to make a difference, to make a change in the world through business and my role now is all about social change while still ensuring the financial sustainability of the business. KBS engrained that in my mind and it made me into the person I am today. Every interaction I’ve had in KBS, everything I have learned and every memory I have made has led to this point where I wholeheartedly believe that we have a responsibility to put purpose over profit.” 

Professor Marian Garcia was next up to the podium, where she expressed how important connection was for the Business School. ‘In this post-Covid world, connection is so important, and we are excited to provide an opportunity for former students and staff to come together to learn, network and share their memories of KBS,’ she said. 

Keynote speaker of the night was KBS alum Dr Kush Kanodia who took to the stand to reflect on his life as merchant banker turned social entrepreneur and to plant the seed of social justice, disability rights and purpose over profit. 

“I left investment banking and started to travel the world, I went to India and China and started to think about my purpose in life. Is it just to have a bigger house and bigger car, I thought that was ridiculous, I am happy with where I live and the car I drive. I wanted to create social impact, so became a social entrepreneur, developing a portfolio career focusing on heath, tech, sports and a common thread and focus on disability inclusion.”

“This led me to co-found an NGO called Choice International that focuses on improving the quality of life for disabled people in the Global South, with a predominate focus on India. I was fortunate to be selected as the last torch bearer for London 2012 Paralympic Games. Selected due to creating change and raising awareness in multiple industries for disability rights and for my ability to inspire the next generations of disabled people globally. Then I become involved with transforming some of the most significant systems in the UK for disability Inclusion, becoming a systems leader and change making…”

“My ask for you is this, if you ever find yourself around the boardroom table and you hear your inner child scream, due to you so fundamentally disagreeing with the decision. Don’t take that vow of noble silence, but have the courage and fortitude to speak truth to power. For if you don’t, the honest truth is, probably no one else will. We can make a change and I believe my story is proof of this” concluded Kush.

Kush then posed a question to our alumni panel consisting of former students Tom Hyner, Sapna Tiwari and Fabian Akaeze. 

Tom Hyner remarked: “Purpose has always been at the heart of every business, every project, every business case. What I think has changed though is how we think about and measure our purpose.” 

“There’s always a trade offs in delivering your purpose, particularly against financial and delivery considerations, so what matters is which trade offs you are willing to make and how well you understand your approaches alignment with your underlying objectives and purpose.” 

The night ended in good spirits with email swapping, QR code scanning and exchanging business cards.

This is my very, very first event and for me, I really just wanted to meet other likeminded individuals, understand other people’s journeys as well, and maybe find ways that we could work together with others,” said Sajid Varda, who studied Accounting and Finance and now works both in tech and as a film producer and runs charitable organisations. “Having graduated from KBS at the University of Kent, I’m really excited to be here and to make new friends too.” 

Tom Hyner added: ‘The best thing is definitely the community. I’m here tonight because I’ve stayed in touch with people, and it has remained a part of my career afterwards.” 

Former Business and Management student Jessica Pay added: “Having studied my course and placement through Covid it’s so nice to get out and network tonight in person.” 

We hope all of our attendees enjoyed the event as much as we did.  Please see the links for our video and reel of photos from the night – can you spot any familiar faces? 

When you graduate from Kent Business School you become part of our globally connected alumni community of more than 23,000 graduates from 87 countries. Life at KBS doesn’t stop after graduation and as part of our alumni community you benefit from free and inclusive support and networking opportunities that last a lifetime. Join in with our community today. 

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