All the famous people you never knew went to Warwick

Bet you didn’t know Sting studied here

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We may all be getting a little bit bored of hearing about league tables and employability, but we can’t deny it, Warwick University has produced some interesting people.

Whatever you study, it seems we have some big shoes to fill being students at Warwick.

Ruth Jones

Yes that’s right, Nessa from Gavin and Stacey studied Theatre Studies and Dramatic Arts right here in 1985-88! She is now an actress and writer, having begun her career with theatre roles at the RSC and National Theatre, before moving into film and television.

After meeting James Cordon in the ITV comedy, Fat Friends, she co-wrote and performed in Gavin and Stacey. The show was a great success and Jones has since bloomed, winning BAFTAs and British Comedy Awards. She has three step children and lives in Cardiff with her husband, producer David Peet.

Stephen Merchant

Between 1993 and 1996 he was your average Warwick Film and Literature student. Now Stephen Merchant is a writer, director and actor, perhaps best known for his appearance on The Office. It all started with his radio programme, The Steve Show while he was at Warwick. After graduating, Merchant continued making short films, writing small scale journalism and doing small stand up comedy gigs.

Following a job at London Radio Station, Xfm, Merchant became a trainee at the BBC where he worked on a number of shows. As part of a directing exercise at the BBC, Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais produced a short film called The Office which later became a hit TV sitcom. He has since appeared in An Idiot Abroad and his own stand up comedy show, Hello Ladies.

Frank Skinner

Now a comedian, actor and writer, Frank Skinner completed an MA in English Literature at Warwick in 1982. After beginning his adult life on unemployment benefit, Skinner’s first job was as an English lecturer at Halesowen College. He performed his first stand up gig in 1987, before co-writing and starring in the Channel 4 comedy variety show, Packet of Three. He went on to star and write in a number of comedy shows and even covered the 2006 FIFA World Cup by podcast, for The Times.

George Yankey

George Yankey received his PhD at Warwick in 1987. In February 2009 Yankey became Minister for Health in Ghana and CEO of Ghana Gas Company.

Baroness Valerie Amos

Baroness Valerie Amoshas has had a variety of governmental roles. Amos was also the Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission from 1989-94 then an adviser to the South African government on public service reform, human rights and employment equity.Her appointment as Secretary of State for International Development in 2003 made her the UK’s first black female Cabinet Minister. She then went on to become the head of the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and this was all after completing a degree in Sociology from 1973 to 1976 at Warwick.

Mahmoud Mohieldin

Mohieldin obtained a PhD in financial economics in 1995 from Warwick University. He is the current managing director of World Bank and former Investment Minister of Egypt.

Anne Fine, OBE

After completing a BA in history in 1968, Anne Fine went on to become an award winning fiction writer of The Diary of a Killer Cat and Madame Doubtfire and Children’s Laureate. After working in a girl’s school for a year, then as an Information Officer for Oxfam, Anne gave birth to her first daughter. With no way to get to the library, Anne began to write for her daughter and brought us some of our best-loved books.

Sally Nicholls

After graduating from Warwick with a degree in Philosophy and Literature in 2005, Sally enrolled on a Masters course at Bath Spa in Writing for Young People. While at Bath Spa she wrote Ways to Live Forever which then went on to win the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. She now lives in Oxford with her husband and son.

Sir Gus O’Donnell

O’Donnell served as the UK Cabinet Secretary between 2005 and 2011, but previously studied Economics at the University of Warwick from 1970-73. In 2002 he replaced Sir Andrew Turnbull as Permanent Secretary for The Treasury and in 2005 he again replaced Turnbull as Cabinet Secretary. Since retiring from this position, he works as a visiting professor to LSE and UCL and is a strategic adviser to the Chief Executive of the Toronto Dominion Bank.


Otherwise known as Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner,  Sting went to Warwick for a term before he dropped out. That still counts right?

Bernardo Hees

Once the CEO of Burger King and current CEO of Heinz, Hees completed an MBA at Warwick Business School. He has also worked for 3G.

Tony Wheeler

Tony and his wife, Maureen in 2008

After studying engineering at Warwick, Wheeler went on to become the founder of Lonely Planet travel guides. Tony travelled around the world with his wife, Maureen- even driving from London to Afghanistan in a broken up minivan. When they returned to England they founded Lonely Planet.

Linda Jackson

Jackson is the current CEO of Citroen, having completed an MBA at Warwick University.

Ralf Speth

CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, Speth was awarded a Doctorate of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration from Warwick. After beginning his career with BMW, he was Head of Global Operations and Vice President of Operations for the Linde Group. He then joined Ford Motor Company’s Premier Automotive group before becoming CEO of Jaguar Land Rover.