Alumni

Samet Akyüz has been working as an investment consultant in Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (Invest in Turkey) for over 5 years. Before hat, he worked as a foreign trade specialist in the Ministry of Economy and in private sector. First, he completed an MBA program at Atilim University in Turkey and then gained an MSc degree in International Business and Development at Birkbeck, University of London. His dissertation was on the spillover effects of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the manufacturing sector and it particularly focused on Multinational Enterprises (MNE) – related factors which affect technology spillover processes in backward linkages. His dissertation, “How do MNE-related factors affect technology spillovers in backward linkages in Turkish manufacturing sector?” has been added to the “Best Dissertations Database” for the Department of Management, Birkbeck, University of London.


Olayinka Bandele is a development economist, specializing in trade and private sector development. She is a trade advisor for an inter-governmental organization providing advisory services to middle income and low-income economies in Africa, Caribbean and Asia Pacific countries. She holds a BA (Hons) in economics from the University of Sussex, an MSc in development economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, and recently completed the MSc International Business and Development at Birkbeck College. Her dissertation entitled ‘How may innovation policies and the length of cycle of technologies determine the ability of developing states to achieve technological leapfrogging?’ explores the process of economic transformation, focusing on patents as a proxy for improved technological know-how. Olayinka started her career as an Overseas Development Institute fellow, stationed in Namibia, and has undertaken progressively responsible roles in development in her career. She is the 2018 Best Overall Post-graduate Student in International Business/Management awarded by the Department of Management at Birkbeck. Read an abstract of her MSc dissertation (.pdf)


Abeer Danish is a Saudi Diplomat with the rank of (First Secretary), working in The Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Jeddah Branch. Her current position is, A Supervisor of Women Section in the Department of Administration and Finance. Abeer graduated with BA in European Languages (English Literature) King Abdul-Aziz University (1996). She worked as an English teacher in Saudi Arabia for (8 years). Abeer came to work in the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London (2004). She started her master degree in Birkbeck College (2008). Her dissertation was about female entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia – she investigated the opportunities and challenges for businesswomen involved with small businesses in Jeddah. An article based on her dissertation was published in the International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship in 2009. It has been very widely cited.


Guangchi Duong is an experienced professional working in the Finance industry. He holds a BSc in Business Studies and completed an MSc in Management with International Business at Birkbeck University of London.  His dissertation “Is online and remote working affecting how we share knowledge and information within the workplace?” focused on the analysis of current trends in knowledge management in comparison to the early part of the 21st century. It has been added to the “Best Dissertations Database” for the Department of Management at Birkbeck, University of London.”


Din Ćatić (@dincatic) works in the Business Development team in Siemens’ Global Centre of Competence for Cities. He manages specific KPIs for worldwide sales opportunities and conducts urban market intelligence studies on selected growth markets. He holds a BSc in Materials Engineering from UCLA and an MSc in Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Birkbeck, University of London. His dissertation, “Entrepreneurship in the Circular Economy: Towards innovative business models” focused on new business models that companies and startups can adopt in their transition to a circular economy. His interests include cleantech, blockchain, smart cities and creating lasting impacts on how we deal with the nexus of energy, food and water through technology management and sustainable design. Dissertation Abstract (.pdf)


Ali Hashem is the COO & Co-Founder of DeskNinjas a Co-working office provider in London, it has a grow network of spaces for professionals, start-ups & freelancers. He was previously a management consultant working on projects in Government Infrastructure, Renewable Energy, Hospitality and Social Enterprise sectors. He is interested in how Government policy impacts and promotes innovation & entrepreneurship. He was elected in 2014 as a Local Government Councillor in London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham & became its Deputy Mayor for 2014/15, supporting businesses to thrive in the area.



Glyn Hawkins
studied MSc Business Innovation with e-commerce. His dissertation ‘Digital Business Models for Museums – engaging users to build online value’ looked at whether cultural institutions could learn from other sectors such as news publishing to create value and income online and how this could be achieved. He applied his findings to the Imperial War Museums in London, which helped to frame the dissertation question, and generated some interesting business models for them.

Glyn’s main career has been in commercial design consultancy. A Masters from the Royal College of Art was followed by work in commercial interior design and the creation of his own retail design consultancy with major clients such as Sainsbury’s and Boots. This was followed by a period in the not-for-profit sector where he learned and applied strategies for fundraising. He came to Birkbeck to enhance these skills with strategies from digital businesses. Dissertation Abstract (.pdf)


Karoline Hecker has more than 10 years’ experience in three different countries. As eLearning Advisor she currently promotes and supports the development and use of learning and information technologies across Roehampton University’s collaborative partnerships and franchises. In addition, Karoline is a research assistant at Middlesex University and is part of an exciting research project on conscious business carried out in partnership with Peopleistic, an international team of consultants with a particular interest in consciousness in business. Furthermore, she has been pursuing a variety of freelance activities in the travel and tourism sector. Karoline has worked in Higher Education for several years in different capacities. She has also gained substantial experience in international development, project and key account management as well as HR in the start-up, transport, charity and education sectors. Karoline is currently looking for a new challenge in Asia and is the recipient of the 2015 Best Overall International Postgraduate Student prize awarded by the Department of Management, School of Business, Economics and Informatics. Linkedin. Dissertation Abstract (.pdf)


Lauren Heffer works at a bank as a business consultant with experience managing change and transformation projects within the financial services and automotive industries. She holds a BA in Applied Economics from the University of Portsmouth and completed a MSc in Management with Business Innovation at Birkbeck. Her dissertation looked at the use of connected car technology and the opportunity for a new disruptive value proposition to emerge. Her interests include social innovation; customer centric transformations and smart cities. Dissertation Abstract (.pdf)


George Hunter graduated from Birkbeck University with an MSc in Business Innovation having previously completed an MA in Business Management from the University of Westminster. He is currently Director of Sales at Coltraco Ultrasonics, a UK manufacturer providing specialist ultrasonic technologies, primarily in safety applications, and exporting to 120 countries worldwide. Also heavily involved in the Research & Development projects and having engaged with numerous government business grants, George’s dissertation explored alternative methods for delivering government business support in a more efficient, tangible and quantifiable method.


Matthew Jayes, MSc, MA, BA (Hons), completed research for the dissertation required as part of MSc Creative Industries (Management) at Birkbeck in 2016, developing a bespoke case study based on a Participatory Design game. Kindly hosted by Stephen St. Kitchen, British Film Institute (BFI), London, peer participant valuation (PPV) and new business models were explored in the context of human food interaction (HFI). Matthew continues to work for the School of Business, Economics and Informatics at Birkbeck, University of London in the areas of digital interaction, enterprise, internationalisation and partnerships.


Karen Jensen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology and English Philology from the University of Göttingen and a MSc in Creative Industries (Management) from the Department of Management, Birkbeck. Her dissertation “Mapping corporate sponsorship of theatres -from philanthropy to business investment” focused on sponsorship as a valuable component of business strategies. Her research interests include the relationship between business and culture and innovation in the creative industries. Currently she is working for a travel trade association.


Matthew Johnson completed an MSc in Business Innovation at Birkbeck where his dissertation focused on the impacts of initial public offerings on firm innovation. He works with early stage, technology driven businesses to help them get investment ready and connect with venture capital and angel investors. He is the author of CIMR Working Paper Number 22.


Danae Le Jeannic is an Msc business Innovation graduate from Birkbeck University with a specialisation in International Technology Management. After graduating with a Master in Economics & Management in Paris (2013), she cames to London to improve her English: she worked as Events Executive and after a two years break, returned to academic study and chose to follow a Masters in Innovation (2015). Her dissertation was about the relationship between startups and large firms in multi-corporate incubators; she investigated the large firms strategy, the power balance in the relationship and the inter-firm adaptation. She is now looking for challenging opportunities in Management Consulting in London.


Gisela Mann is an alumnae of Birkbeck College with a specialization in International Business. She is interested in researching Global Value Chains, Modular Production Networks and the International Theory of the Firm. More specifically, her master’s thesis was focused on the modern development of transaction cost theory as an explicator for the growth of the firm. After a break in academic study, she returned to Birkbeck College to continue her study in the field of International Business under the supportive watch of Dr. Paz Estrella Tolentino. She is delighted to be asked to submit her thesis to the Centre for Innovation Management Research. Dissertation Abstract (.pdf)


Salvador Mazzochi is an experienced professional who has worked in the Telecommunications Industry for more than 8 years. He is a Telecommunications Engineer from a recognized University in Venezuela and holds a MSc in Management with Business Innovation from Birkbeck College, University of London. He has deep interest on how innovation is able to transform a business idea from a blackboard in a garage into a successful enterprise. He has developed a framework to help companies measure the impact on innovation when two or more businesses get involve into Mergers and Acquisitions. His Dissertation “The impact of Mergers and Acquisitions on innovation: a new framework for analysis” has been added to the CIMR ‘Best Dissertations Database’ for the Department of Management, Birkbeck, University of London.


Robert Mitkow completed his MRes degree in Business Innovation with E-Business at Birkbeck in 2016. His dissertation, entitled “Digital Disruption in The US Retail Sector: The Case of Amazon and Evidence From Business Innovation Theory” analysed the possible extent of digital disruption in the US retail sector and identified a number of market strategies that organisations could use in order to maximise their disruptive potential. Robert’s research interests lie in the areas of digital disruption, innovation systems, competitiveness, as well as business model innovation and stem from his varied practical experience in digital marketing. He has spent the past couple of years studying and working in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, and currently works as a SEO Account Manager at a leading global media agency, managing organic search strategy for a some of the world’s best known brands. Dissertation Abstract (.pdf)


Fernanda Garcia Onions completed an MSC in Business Innovation with International Technology Management in 2012 from the School of Business, Economics, and Informatics, Birkbeck. Her thesis title is “How do MNEs face barriers and challenges to develop and sustain international competitive advantage in order to prevail in the global competition and generate innovation? A specific case study of Glaxo Smith Klein in Brazil.” During her MSc study, she was part of the UKNOW project, which emphasized on innovation, working on the influences of rules, norms, and standards on knowledge exchange. In addition, between 2000 and 2009 Fernanda was the Intellectual Property Rights Manager for the Brazilian Ministry of Health, FIOCRUZ, working on few technology transfer agreements between UK and Brazil, she highlights the main ones being the license related to dengue disease from the Spin-Off Oxcitec (Oxford University) and the technology transfer of Insulin, from INDAR an Ukraine Institute.

Prior to joining Birkbeck Fernanda received and MBA in Entrepreneurship from The University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Fernanda developed her career further working for the one of the five leading UK-headquartered law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer the same time when she also managed to complete an MSC in IP Management from the Queen Mary University. Fernanda has converted her Brazilian Law Degree at BPP Law school, and now she works for the NHS Trust CNWL as a Senior Contract Manager as well as managing Onions & Blossoms Gourmet Social enterprise, a company she created to deliver change in the society.


Melina Padayachy is an Innovation Strategy Consultant. After completing the MSc in Innovation Management and Technology Policy at Birkbeck in 2006, she worked as an independent Analyst for a Strategy Consultancy, generating strategic insights for blue chip companies. She has recently developed a framework to help companies find and bring new ideas to market and has published her work in a small book entitled the Innovator’s Method: Bringing New Ideas To Markets. Currently, she works with start-ups to help them bring their ideas to market and she is interested in pursuing her research in the fields of entrepreneurship and innovation. Website


Luis Puchades Vigar works as a Technology Analyst for the Financial Times, a global innovative financial news organisation. In the last five years, he has worked for several leading companies and acquired a valuable expertise in business, market and industry innovation. Luis lives and breathes technology. Early on, he has collaborated with a young entrepreneur to help him to implement innovative processes and develop a business sustainability. This rewarding experience motivated Luis to complete an MSc in Business Innovation and E-business and to investigate how companies can adapt and innovate in constantly changing environments. Dissertation Abstract (.pdf)


Dr. Fadil Sahiti’s research interests are in the area of entrepreneurship. Supervised by professor H. Lawton Smith (BBK) and S. Radosevic (UCL) in 2015 he has defended thesis on: Factors that enable and constrain the growth of firms: the case of Kosovo. The research activities involve application of various theoretical frameworks including the neo-Schumpeterian perspective used to examine the impact of firm dynamics on the growth of firms, the resource-based theory and managerial practices approach applied to explore factors that internally influence the growth of firms, and growth diagnostics theory used to examine the impact of external factors on the growth of firms. In addition, Fadil’s research interests lie in the field of firm innovation processes, exploring issues of social conditions that enable or constrain the emergence of innovative firms in low-income countries.


Pasquale Senese is an experienced professional working full‐time in the Oil and Gas Industry. He holds an MSc/MEng in Chemical Engineering from the University of Naples and a MSc in Management from Birkbeck College, University of London.He co-authored academic paper in the fields of hydrogen production (Turco, M., Bagnasco, G., Cammarano, C., Senese, P., Costantino, U., & Sisani, M. (2007). Cu/ZnO/Al 2 O 3 catalysts for oxidative steam reforming of methanol: the role of Cu and the dispersing oxide matrix. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 77(1), 46-57). His Dissertation “Does the economic crisis affect firms’ innovative behaviours? Evidence from the oil and gas industry” has been added to the CIMR ‘Best Dissertations Database’ for the Department of Management, Birkbeck, University of London. Dissertation Abstract (.pdf)


Evelina Stoyanova is an MSc Management graduate from Birkbeck University (2015) with deep interests in startup accelerators, innovative companies and entrepreneurship. Her dissertation was supervised by Professor Helen Lawton Smith and was devoted to the effectiveness of the Bethnal Green Ventures startup accelerator. Her research aimed to identify the positives and negatives of their accelerator programme and to give recommendations for improvement. Evelina also holds a BSc degree in Dental Technology and has two years of professional experience as a dental technician employing cutting edge 3D technologies for designing and manufacturing dental crowns. She also speaks Spanish and has lived and studied at Carlos III University of Madrid where she advanced her academic knowledge in the fields of management and business administration. Dissertation Abstract (.pdf)


Ellen Siu is the Senior Operation Officer for Research in the School of Cancer and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine at King’s College London.  She oversees the School’s research support, fostering research excellence and innovation.  She first completed a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Architecture at Cardiff University and then recently gained a Master of Science in Management at Birkbeck, University of London.  She graduated with Distinction and won the ‘Overall Best Student (Business/Management)’ award.

Her dissertation “Interorganisational collaboration: Academic Health Science Centre- A Case Study on King’s Health Partnership” examines the inter-institutional university-hospital collaboration phenomenon in King’s Health Partnership, ​in a rich translational research context.  The research is informed by her own practice as a university administrator as well as interviews and observations with ​Principal Investigators and researchers across different institutions.  Her dissertation has been added to the “Best Dissertations Database” for the Department of Management, Birkbeck, University of London. She is the author of CIMR Working Paper Number 40.


Daniel Weerawardena is Birkbeck graduate (2016) with an MSc in Management with Business Innovation. He has a strong interests in technology, networks of innovation and social capital. His dissertation titled “Overcoming Barriers in Music Creation: Motivations, Diversity and Investing into Social Capital” examines the importance of social capital in the context of achieving success as a music creator, and has been added to Birkbeck’s “Best Dissertations Database”. He also has an MEng in Civil Engineering from Imperial College London and currently works within the music industry for ‘PRS for Music’, a royalty collecting society for songwriters, composers and music publishers. He continues to explore opportunities to build on his business experience and entrepreneurial ability.


Waraporn Yangsap completed a PhD in Management from School of Business, Economics and Informatics, Birkbeck. Her thesis title is “Firms’ use of intellectual property (IP) exchange in the context of their open innovation strategies” During her PhD study, she was part of the UKNOW project, which emphasised on innovation, working on the influences of rules, norms and standards on knowledge exchange. She was also a sessional lecture for Management Studies from 2009-2014 at Department of Management, School of Business, Economics and Informatics, Birkbeck. In addition, she attended WIPO Summer School of Intellectual Property, WIPO Worldwide Academy in Geneva, Switzerland in 2008. Prior joining Birkbeck, She received her MSc in Public Polices for Science, Technology and Innovation from SPRU, University of Sussex. Waraporn’s research focuses on the IP exchange and open innovation strategies in ICT sector.