Meet the Warwick MBA Class of 2018

Some of the MBA students in the Class of 2018 at Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom

A class portrait rarely captures the spirit of a class. Scrunched together, students are a distant wave of studied smiles and proper postures. Explore deeper and you’ll find the passions and values – the courageous acts and daily commitments – that truly defines who that class is.

At Warwick Business School, that spirit is defined by an embrace, a desire to take on risk, adventure, opportunity, and responsibility. Take Dan Boardman-Weston. Rather than heading off to college after prep school, the Derbyshire native pursued a path left traveled. At 18, he joined BRI Wealth Management, a leading wealth management firm in Meriden. Starting at the bottom, he clawed his way to being a head of portfolio management in just four years.


Think that’s gutsy? Meet Andrew Bayne, a company commander in the British Army who has served in hotspots like Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans. Then again, Bayne’s life could be equally dangerous in Australia, where he would parachute into the bay outside the Sydney Opera House for training. However, no military drill could prepare him for the ultimate test of adaptability: running a concert for 5,000 Afghans featuring Farhad Darya. “He is a huge star in Afghanistan and President Hamid Karzai was also attending, so there was a great deal of pressure that it went well,” he explains.

Bayne isn’t the only citizen of the world in Warwick’s MBA Class of 2018. Before she arrived in Coventry, Tanja Alsheimer was an archaeologist who managed architectural surveys of Egyptian tombs in the Valley of the Kings. That was something that Azad Aafo could only dream of doing as a child. Born in Syria, he admits that he was “denied all basic rights like traveling abroad, employment and even speaking my native language.” That didn’t stop him. He became a “reading machine,” eventually mastering three languages and traveling to 14 nations. This fall, he landed in Warwick Business School, where he has found a home in a small yet highly diverse and gifted cohort.

“Coming from a rather diverse background myself into one with over 30 nationalities, I was unsure how I would fit in,” he admits. “Looking back now, I feel one of my biggest accomplishments has been fitting seamlessly into this group. I feel this holds real value for me; not just this year, but for the rest of my career as I now have group of lifelong friends that I can lean on for advice, guidance and opportunities.”

Warwick Business School


Ana Paschoini, an attorney from Brazil, chose Warwick because it was a place where “they make you feel essential.” However, it is also a place where everyone in the 79 member class is essential. It is a carefully-constructed class, one whose unique backgrounds and personalities enrich the experience. Paschoni herself is a whirlwind of bounce and stamina, describes herself as a “Communicative, Collaborative, Practical, Persistent, Passionate, Proactive, Crazy for challenges and problem-solving, Hands-on, Good-Humour, Chocolateholic.” Perhaps she’ll meet her match in Nurul Nashwar binti Mohd Taib, a Malaysian marathoner and “energizer bunny who was born to transform challenges into growth and never quit.” At the same time, Ahmad Nasyami Mihat personifies the essence of the class: “I believe in the power of dreams and always hungry for new adventures in life.”

You won’t find many drab wallflowers in this class. Paschoini has authored a children’s book. Mihat keeps nine peacocks as pets. Nur Atiqah Abdul Mutalib, a proud mom and corporate strategist, is a certified wedding cake baker and decorator. And Sun Kwon will easily fit into the c-suite someday – she boasts an 11 handicap!

True to the class’ adventurous spirit, Tariq Arafa has “sky-dived from 10,000 feet in Mauritius, bungy-jumped off Auckland Harbour Bridge and climbed to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge.” However, Oriana Rubaina Sequeira, a Goldman Sachs manager who has visited 25 countries, is certain to give him a run for his money. “I’ve dabbled in fun activities like riding an ostrich and stroking a leopard in South Africa, hot air ballooning in Turkey, attending a cooking class in Cambodia, parasailing and snorkeling in Thailand,” she says.

Sequeira rarely shies away from a challenge either. Just three months into her Goldman Sachs career, she was tapped over more senior peers to run an operational migration from the Hong Kong to Bangalore office…including training. Arthur Bernardes do Amaral, a marketing executive from Brazil, spearheaded Samsung’s marketing efforts in eight Central American and Caribbean markets during the 2016 Rio Olympics. Speaking of marketing success, Mihat’s efforts as head of advertising, promotions, and public relations at Honda Malaysia led to the company becoming the country’s “most preferred international car brand.”


Overall, the Class of 2018 arrives in the green belt with a 661 median GMAT, with scores ranging from 580-720. 93% of the class hails from outside the United Kingdom, a percentage on par with Oxford and Cambridge. In addition, the class includes 35% women, a number that beats out top flight international programs like INSEAD, IE Business School, IESE, HEC Paris, and IMD. Even more, it represents an 11% improvement over the 2017 Class.

Karen Barker, director of  recruitment and marketing at Warwick Business School

Academically, engineering majors comprise a quarter of the class. Combined, management and business accounted for another quarter, with accounting, finance, and economics representing 15%. Like many programs, the largest number of incoming Warwick students come from finance – to the tune of 18.2% of this class. Tech is also well-represented at 15.6%, followed by consulting (11.7%), petroleum and energy (10.4%), government (7.8%), and manufacturing and non-profit (5.2% each).

Warwick may be small, but it houses big ambitions. The school’s London digs are a testament to that. In 2014, Warwick opened a campus in The Shard, an iconic 95 story glass spire that towers over the London Bridge. Here, Warwick houses its executive MBA program. An hour train ride from Warwick, the Shard acts as the proverbial “downtown campus.” Thanks to the program’s popularity, says Karen Barker, the school’s director of recruitment and marketing, the program is about to break out of its 17th floor confinement in 2018.


“It has gone so well, that we have agreed to extend our space into the 13th floor. It will expand our footprint there by 50 percent and we can now accommodate the expansion of our executive programme.”

That’s not the only big news coming out of Warwick. Traditionally, the school has offered a 15 month program, where MBA students can choose an international exchange to programs like the University of Chicago (Booth) and the University of Michigan (Ross). In addition, students spend a week overseas studying at a partner program. However, Barker notes, the school intends to amplify its global strengths in the coming years.

“We will be giving our full-time MBAs the chance to travel to more places around the world as part of their MBA,” she says. They already get a trip to Vancouver but in the future they will also be able to choose from a city in China – hopefully Shanghai – and a city in Europe. The idea is that they will be able to compare and contrast a sector, such as the digital economy, in different countries and cultures as part of the Managing in a New World module.”

Go to page 2 to see in-depth profiles of incoming Warwick MBA students.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.