Five UCL Alumni you wish you’d heard of…

In the first of four features, Joe Mason looks at the alumni that have slipped through the net.

alumni Features

So us UCL students are used to hearing that our alumni just don’t match up to comparable universities. Yes, Tony Blair studied at Oxford; yes George VI may have dabbled in punting at Cambridge; yes LSE seems to produce a phenomenally high number of Asian politicians (many who have very suspect human rights records).

But UCL needs to assert itself; we need to realise that our alumni isn’t solely made up of a pop band or a couple of TV comedians. In the first of four features, Joe Mason looks at the alumni that have slipped through the net.

Colin Chapman – Founded Lotus Cars
Studied: Structural Engineering (1945-49)

In 1952, Chapman founded the sports car company Lotus Cars. Initially, he ran it from his garage, but soon his extensive knowledge of aeronautical engineering led him and his team to achieve significant automotive advances. His theory is still heeded by modern F1 engineers today; ‘adding power makes you faster on the straights. Subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere’. Despite being an engineering boss, he still managed to fail his final year exams, having to come back year after to re-sit them. He should be an inspiration for any final-year Engineering students!

Nish Kankiwala – President of Burger King
Studied: Chemical Engineering (1976-79)

A reserved and private figure who seems to like blurring his own LinkedIn photos, Kankiwala worked his way up through the ranks at Unilever before becoming President of Burger King in 2005. Yes, a UCL alumnus was President of Burger King. His chemical background must explain why Burger King’s food tastes oh so good.

Catherine Novelli – Vice President of Worldwide Affairs, Apple Inc.
Studied: Law (1981-84)

Apart from her remarkably impressive job title, Novelli appears to be a remarkable specimen. Prior to working at Apple, she ‘coordinated US federal investment in over 65 countries’ and ‘negotiated most of the US’s trade agreements with Russia, China and most of Europe’. Not bad, not bad. She is now responsible for Apple’s international and American relations, heading up the largest non-technical division in the worlds richest company.

Edwin Waterhouse – Co-founder of Pricewaterhouse Accountants.
Studied Maths (1859-63)

Edwin Waterhouse founded Pricewaterhouse after deciding that his two brothers were getting too successful. One, Alfred, had successfully designed the Natural History Museum, along with a score of different buildings, whilst Theodore set up Waterhouse & Co, now Field Fisher Waterhouse, a silver circle law firm. Now one of the worlds leading accountancy firms and a member of the ‘big 4’, it appears that Edwin did his brothers proud.

Susan Ma – Apprentice Finalist
Studied: Philosophy and Economics (2007-2010)

Undeserving of such illustrious company, but notable nonetheless, Ma is the 21-year-old Managing Director of Tropic Skin Care ltd, though more famous for her role on The Apprentice, the BBC TV show starring Alan Sugar. Remembered more for her exceptionally annoying voice and childish way of speaking than her business acumen, she still managed to make it to the series finale. Despite firing her in favour of Tom Pellereau, Mr Sugar said that ‘I’ve always wanted to be involved in skincare’ and would keep in touch with Susan.