On parade

The University of Bath alumni blog

Update from Vivian Ching, Hong Kong Alumni Chapter

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📥  Bath, International

imageAs the External Affairs Director of the University of Bath's Hong Kong Alumni Chapter, I have always been actively involved with maximizing the exposure of the University through alumni activities in Hong Kong, enabling various opportunities to closely collaborate with the British Council. Over a year ago, I represented University of Bath in auctioning my “Question Mark” painting during the British Council Gala Dinner. The painting sold for HKD$20,000 to world-renowned UK architect Mr Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas, by which the proceeds were donated to a designated charity to help underprivileged children in Hong Kong.

To strengthen our mutual cooperation in the future, Mr Robert Ness, Director of HK British Council, invited me to attend an exclusive breakfast meeting with Sir Vernon Ellis, Chair of the British Council, at the Renaissance Harbourview Hotel on March 25th 2014. We spent a fruitful morning engaging in constructive and visionary discussion about experiences that I had as an UK alumna and how I have been able to utilize my UK education experiences in Hong Kong. Sir Vernon Ellis also shared with me his thoughts on how the creative industry has enabled the British Council to contribute to a stronger UK connection with the wider world through support for creative entrepreneurial skills development and ‘capacity-building’ initiatives. Overall, the breakfast meeting was a unique chance to directly exchange ideas with the Chair of the British Council, and I look forward to new opportunities to contribute towards enhanced intercultural dialogue between Hong Kong and the UK through the Bath HK Alumni Chapter.

Vivian Ching (MSc Management with Finance 2005)


Meeting my mentor

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📥  Bath

Final year student Ruth is taking part in our pilot mentoring programme. She writes about the experience of meeting her graduate mentor for the first time:

"I’ve only ever been on one blind date. Nervously waiting for a friend of a friend who I had been set up with, my nerves were mounting. What if I say the wrong thing? What if I’m not what they were expecting? This may be a strange comparison to make, but waiting to meet my mentor in the reception of the Hilton at Paddington station, I felt a sense of anticipation once more. Nevertheless, I was much more relieved to see my mentor Debbie wave to me across the hall than I was to meet my 6ft something date (I am 5’1” just).

"When I signed up to the mentoring programme, I was in quite a lost state to be frank. Drawing towards the end of the first term of my final year, the expectation to know what I wanted to do post-graduation had been growing. Up until now I have only known what I don’t want to do, in terms of profession. I needed clarity, a fresh take on things. Fortunately, in our first meeting Debbie lifted the fog.

"Once she knew a bit about me, I inquired as to how she thought I should go about securing a graduate job.  She paused and answered with the word choice. It’s much better to have it, she explained. Her next piece of advice also put me at ease. Mistakes, make them. Lastly she described how I should focus on the type of work I would like to do, instead of pigeonholing professions.

"Since our meeting I have been much less anxious about the fact that I don’t quite know where I’m heading, as I am now taking steps in the right direction to find out. It was so uplifting to hear Debbie’s point of view, as she has accumulated so much experience over her career. I am really grateful she has given up her time to mentor me, now I just need to fit in my homework before our next meeting (although it has already gone better than my blind date did)."

Ruth Baughan (Management 2014)


What's on YOUR playlist?

📥  Bath, On campus

The Rolling Stones – Paint it Black
House of Pain – Jump Around
S Club 7 – Reach for the Stars

Last year's Plugged in

Last year's Plugged in

Everyone seems to have one key tune that epitomises their uni days - what’s yours?

We’ve just launched ‘project Plugged In Playlist’ to shape the soundtrack of our Plugged In club night. Following our successful launch event in 2013, Plugged In will be returning to campus on Saturday 10 May, the same weekend as our Reunion.

This is an event for everyone, with a BBQ and pub quiz, followed by a club night featuring all those classic tracks that saw you through your uni years and looming deadlines…

Last year’s guest DJ - alumnus, Dave Mayo (class of 2003) - filled the dance floor with top tracks spanning five decades.

This year we’re opening up the playlist to YOU! If you have a favourite tune from your time at Bath that would entice you on to the dance floor and (heaven forbid) get you ‘reaching for the stars’ – let us know!

Watch out for our Plugged In posts on the University of Bath Alumni Facebook page to put in a song request or two...

Join the conversation on Twitter to share the top tracks from your time at Bath using the hashtag: #PluggedInBath. Alternatively, email your requests to the Alumni Relations team at alumni@bath.ac.uk

The playlist for this event is in your hands – we look forward to hearing your requests soon!

Feedback from 2013:

"... once people got on the dance floor, there was no stopping us. Great fun." Kate (class of 1998).

"I went to Plugged In with a friend from halls and wasn’t sure what to expect – but we were soon on the dance floor like no time had passed since we graduated! I found that I had a friend or a story in common with everyone who I spoke to (and even a room in halls! A fellow NH 9.25-er). We left altogether jubilant in a much bigger group than the one we’d arrived in, and went on to check out those old haunts in town to round off a great evening." Jo (class of 2009).

By Clare Baars, Alumni Relations events team, University of Bath


One for the tree?

📥  Bath

Thanks to Sarah for sharing her experience of the last alumni event of 2013 - a bauble-blowing extravaganza at Bath Aqua Glass - and best wishes for the new year from all of us in the Alumni Relations team:

Bath Aqua Glass 2013

How could I resist the alumni invitation to come and make a Christmas bauble? – a chance to meet other alumni, in Bath at Christmas (how pretty!) AND do some glass blowing? Now that’s a very special combination.

We – a happy group of alumni from a range of years and faculties - were warmly welcomed into Bath Aqua Glass by Clare, Jo and Paola from the alumni team, and enjoyed juice, mulled wine and mince pies as we chatted, listened to the introduction by Aqua Glass' Adrian, and watched the skilled teamwork of Laura and Will shaping the molten glass into beautiful objects. Then it was our turn to have a go!

In turn we chose the colour of our bauble-to-be, then blew gently into the long metal rod, slowly expanding the blob of extremely hot glass at the other end. The bauble was then deftly popped off the rod into a tray of heat-resistant chips where Laura added the clear glass hanging loop. Each proud maker posed for a photo with their treasure (who’s yours for?) – before it cooled slowly overnight, ready for engraving and posting the next day. I don’t know what wish the others blew into their bauble, but mine was to do more of this sort of thing!

See all the photos from the Bath Aqua Glass events.

Sarah Sparke (PhD 2013)


A great night in Mexico

📥  International

MBA alumna Yadira Contreras writes about the Bath alumni community in Mexico:

Since I left Bath (around 4 years ago), I try to attend to every event organized by the University in Mexico. There isn’t a Mexican Alumni Chapter; I thought it was because the Bath community in Mexico was very, very small.

Happily, during the recent Alumni Reception held in Mexico City, I realized that the Bath community in Mexico is bigger than expected and growing every year. It was a great night; not only for meeting new people but also to catching up and reconnect with people I had meet on previous Bath events and also with University. I love to hear people are doing great and moreover when they are interested in helping others with their careers.

I reckon that the Bath Alumni Relations team does a great job keeping in touch with small alumni communities all over the world. Currently, with their support, the local alumni are working on establishing a Mexican Alumni Chapter and making the Torre Mayor our regular venue in Mexico City.

I strongly recommend staying in touch with the Alumni Relations team and attending their events - as much as possible - you will always meet great people.

Yadira Contreras (MBA 2009)


Making connections - from Chippenham to China


📥  International

Maths graduate Neil Langmead moved to Beijing in July 2013 for work. He recently attended our alumni networking event in Beijing, which is part of our China Connect programme:

For us, the University of Bath has been so much more than a place of study and learning. My wife Abby and I met at University back in 1997, and since then, in various parts of the world, the University community has been a support network and a place where we have found both friendship and encouragement.

After leaving Bath, we stayed close by, working in the city and living near Chippenham, before relocating to Munich in Germany, and then Zürich in Switzerland. We connected with the Bath Zürich Alumni Chapter in Switzerland during our time there, making friends and meeting people who had spent time at the University.

Since moving to Beijing last July, it has been a delight to find a ready-made community of people from Bath out here to connect with and forge new relationships with. They have helped us with the moving in and settling in period that you always have when moving to a new country and adjusting to a new way of life. The benefit of having studied at Bath is that you meet people from all over the world - and that is definitely true here in China - people come from all walks of life and backgrounds.

The alumni community provides a very valuable source of advice, help and assistance. I would encourage you to join your local alumni group if one exists. If one doesn't exist, then start one so that others can benefit!

At the China Connect event in Beijing it was great to reminisce with others about the University and also see how Bath is progressively developing its international relationships and profiles.

We will always be grateful for the start given to us by being at the University of Bath, and we look forward to making new friends in this wonderful, diverse and exciting city.

Neil Langmead (BSc Mathematics 1998)


Alumni networks thriving in Singapore and Malaysia

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📥  International, On campus

I recently returned from Singapore and Malaysia as part of a delegation led by the Vice-Chancellor to discuss partnerships and collaborations with several universities and major corporations, and an important part of the trip was to meet our local alumni.

We held two receptions: the first in Singapore, at the Raffles Hotel, which gathered 70 Bath alumni and guests. This was the biggest alumni gathering we’ve ever had in Singapore, nearly one in five of all the graduates who live there came along. The Vice-Chancellor updated everyone on the successes of recent years, along with the capital investment on campus, and encouraged them to act as ambassadors for the University, stressing that our alumni are our best advocates.

It was particularly pleasing to be able to welcome alumni representatives from our newest university partnerships, Stellenbosch and Ohio State universities. Joany Mouton, a Stellenbosch alumna, wrote afterwards: “Thank you for the invitation. We had a wonderful evening getting to know more about Bath University and meeting your faculty members and alumni. The function was very well organized and we felt honored to attend. We are very happy and proud that Bath University picked Stellenbosch University to be their partner. I am sure this will be a very successful partnership.”

We then moved on to Kuala Lumpur where, again, our alumni reception was the largest ever in the country. Nearly 100 of our 1,400 graduates based in Malaysia came along to the JWMarriott Hotel, including Bath graduates who had completed the MBA in association with the Malaysian Institute of Management, a programme which ran for many years until 2000.

The President of the Malaysian Alumni Chapter, Professor Datuk Mohamed Salleh (PhD Biological Sciences,1980, Honorary DSc 2012) opened proceedings, welcoming the Vice-Chancellor on behalf of the community, who then spoke about the University’s long relationship with the country. Students have come from Malaysia to study at Bath since the University received its Royal Charter in 1966, and today, almost 200 Malaysian students attend the University, making our links with Malaysia ever stronger.

We were delighted to be joined by representatives from the British High Commission, including one of our own, Nick Cain (MSc International Development 2005). Comments since the evening have included: “Thanks to the University's effort in doing this. This is the right thing to do to maintain the good name and reputation of the University, to increase the image profile of the alumni and the students. Looking forward for the next reception. Please keep in touch.”


“It was a very nice gathering. Active discussion, and I met my course mate after more than a decade - great reunion. I listened with interest to the development in University of Bath, how the University has grown and successful in many areas as shown by the continued high ranking. Thank you for organizing the gathering.”

Along with individual meetings outside the receptions, we got to meet nearly 200 graduates over the week, and it was clear to all of us that the University retains a special place in our graduates’ affections, that our recent successes bring them enormous pride, and that the graduate community act as ambassadors for the institution and also stand ready to greet visiting academic or fellow alumni travellers. All in all, the Bath network is thriving in SE Asia.

See photos from Singapore and Malaysia.

Gavin Maggs is Director of Development & Alumni Relations at the University of Bath