Student Intranet

The 2018 Cass Essay Competition

Cass is highly internationalised and multiculturalism is present in everything we do. We wanted to know how you, the students, experience this multicultural environment: what role it plays in your group work, how it frames your learning, your employment opportunities, and especially how it impacts your well-being.

The Cass Student Essay Competition gives you voice and freedom to articulate where you come from, where you are going, and how multiculturalism shapes you on a daily basis. Ultimately, understanding and hearing your voice is the first step in creating a more empathetic and compassionate environment where you can realise your dreams for the future.

In its first edition in 2018, 26 of your co-students of 19 nationalities and from 10 degrees submitted essays. These were then judged by a panel including Professor Marianne Lewis, Dean of Cass, Professor Andre Spicer, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Dr Sarah Wood, Co-Founder and Chair of Unruly and Laura Di Giuseppe, Brand Manager at HarperCollins. Here are some pictures from our awards ceremony.

Take a look at our winners, finalists, and special mentions below, we hope they inspire you.

2018 winners

Aadit Shah

Aadit Shah “'Where are you from?'
I know it’s often asked with genuine curiosity, but it’s probably the toughest question to answer when you don’t really know, especially when it depends on who’s asking the question. If it’s an international student then I’m British, if it’s a local student then I’m Indian. My identity depends on you, understand my confusion?”

Read Aadit's full winning essay.

Daniela Chen

London post box“There is a room full of people I do not know. I see blonde, black and red hairs. Hijabs and kippahs steal my attention. Lipsticks and ties are flashing in front of me. It is such a diverse mix that it seems like a box full of odd socks. We are conscious of that, however, there is no running away at this point. To be open is the first thing London teaches you. And so, I do.”

Read Daniela's full essay.

Taylor Block

Taylor Block“My name is Taylor and I possess cultural biases. Like an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, the first step to recovery lies in admitting the problem. Writing this feels almost freeing, and the past six months in London have taught me that to acknowledge one’s biases is to admit not only the humanity in us all but a desire to evolve.”

Read Taylor's full essay.

2018 finalists

Mkhuzo Mbazima

Mkhuzo Mbazima“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”
"These were the parting words of wisdom I received upon my departure from South Africa. I was embarking on a journey to fulfil a dream of mine, one in which I will be standing on the greatest platform from which to begin building the career I envision for myself. This Masters at Cass was the final rung on the ladder to that dream.”

Read Mkhuzo's full essay..

Alnura Belyalova

Alnura Belyalova“So here I was, a seventeen-year-old girl with unbelievably high expectations and colourful dreams all on my own in a different country. I had an insane journey ahead of me that would be full of new knowledge, new friendships, new relationships and some drama of course (we can’t go without it); but most importantly I was about to go on a journey of self-discovery that if did not change me completely, it definitely shaped who I am today.”

Read Alnura's full essay.


“Our viewpoints varied on a number of topics, from politics to writing style. An additional challenge was the fact that each of us had a different native language. Through intimate group work, I have learned that I am not only stubborn, but also impatient. I have had to learn to communicate in a clear and concise fashion.”

Read the full essay.

2018 special mentions

Patricia Abujamra Vasto

Patricia Abujamra Vasto “Moving to London not only gave me new ingredients for my fruit salads, it gave me new ingredients for my life. My new friends were from around the world, some from France, Romania, Italy, Hong Kong, South Africa, to name a few. Each one different from one another, with their own cultural backgrounds, and even if from the same country still distinct. My first few weeks in London were anxiety ridden. Not necessarily in a bad way, but all the new stimuli-being in a new place, meeting an immense amount of people, not knowing who I would actually end up being friends with or who would end up as a simple acquaintance made me go a bit crazy.”

Read Patricia's full essay.


Alnura Belyakova “As a bi-national person, I always felt kind of trapped in between. In between countries, in between cultures, in between lives. This is why I decided to study in a completely different country, somewhere new, somewhere where I could rediscover and reinvent myself.”

Read the full essay.

Sinan Jarrad

Sinan Jarrad“As a society, we should preach for people to feel comfortable in their own skin. Only when that is achieved, we can stop judging others to hide our own insecurities. Always remember that life comes at you the way you perceive it, you can own very fundamental things in life yet feel that you have the world in between your hands by being positive and grateful. There is always room to make the best out of what you have.”

Read Sinan's full essay.