Business School Alumni
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Inspiring alumni

The Nottingham University Business School alumni community is truly amazing.

It boasts CEO's, business leaders, entrepreneurs, sports stars and even a Prime Minister!

We are very proud of all our former students and below you can read the stories of some of our inspirational alumni.

Jubilee Campus - Adrian Hayes

Molly Fong  

Molly Fong 

Chief Executive Officer of The Body Shop Malaysia (MBA 2011)

Molly achieved her Masters in Business Administration in 2011 while she was working with Rampai-Niaga Sdn Bhd., the franchise holder of The Body Shop in West Malaysia and Vietnam. In a career so far spanning more than 15 years with the company, Molly has risen from Communications Officer, when she joined in 1996, to her current post as the company’s CEO.

Body Shop International plc is a global manufacturer and retailer of naturally inspired, ethically produced beauty and cosmetic products. It’s no coincidence that Molly’s meteoric rise through the  ranks has coincided with the company’s expansion from 16 stores when she started, to some 64 stores located strategically today in major urban centres throughout the peninsula.

Molly gained a broad experience in all relevant departments of the company and became its General Manager in 2003. Four years later she led the pitch to win the franchise for Vietnam then established the business in 2009 and expanded to the 10 stores it has today in that country. She also launched the e-commerce business in 2012.

The Body Shop has a reputation internationally for its campaigning stand on many issues and Molly has developed and managed the company’s values to bring about social and environmental change in Malaysia, including her promotion of the Stop Violence Against Women campaign, in conjunction with the Women’s Aid Organisation. This campaign raised an awareness and funds over a decade of activity at a time when domestic violence was still treated as a ‘behind closed doors’ issue and battered women had no recourse.

Similarly, the Save Belum-Temenggor Forest campaign with the Malaysian Nature Society, collected a 100,000-name petition to save this 130 million-years-old forest with the result that it is no gazetted as a protected forest.

For her exceptional business acumen and the championing of her company’s campaigning stance in Malaysia, Molly was the winner of the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus 'Alumnus of the Year award 2013'.


John Timpson

John Timpson 

Chairman of Timpson (Industrial Economics 1964)

John Timpson joined the family footwear business William Timpson Limited, becoming the Director responsible for buying in 1970.

Following the acquisition of the Company by the UDS Group in 1973, he  was appointed Managing Director of William Timpson his original family business in 1975.

In 1983 John led a management buyout of the Company and eventually sold the shoe shops to a rival retailer in order to concentrate on the shoe repair and key cutting business, which has since diversified into engraving, watch repairs, dry cleaning and photo processing.

In September 1995 he acquired the 120 shop Automagic chain and in April 2003 bought Minit UK which added another 200 shoe repair shops. In June 2008 the company acquired over 40 Sainsbury concessions, trading as Persil Services, and in December 2008 bought 187 shops branded Kick and Max Spielmann. Timpson now has over 800 branches nationwide with a turnover of £150m. It is a private business wholly owned by John Timpson and his family.

Outside of the Timpson business, John is a Trustee at Uppingham School and until its merger with the NSPCC was a trustee of ChildLine. He has also been Chair of the Governors at Brookway High School, Wythenshawe, Delamere Primary School, Cheshire and Terra Nova School, Jodrell Bank.

Over a period of 29 years, John and his wife have fostered more than 80 children.

In 2000 he wrote a book ‘Dear James,’ which passes on the lessons learned in 30 years as a Chief Executive to his son. He is a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph and in high demand for speaking engagements to talk about his unique business philosophy ‘Upside-down Management.’

In 2004 John was awarded the CBE in the Birthday Honours List for Services to the Retail Sector.

 Adrian Hayes

Adrian Hayes

Record-breaking polar explorer, adventurer, and business coach (MBA 1994)
Adrian Hayes is a record-breaking polar explorer, adventurer, motivational speaker, business coach, charity fundraiser, campaigner, author, and ambassador on economic, social and environmental sustainability.

He served as a trooper with 21 Special Air Service Regiment for two years, qualifying as a Registered Emergency Medical Technician, before attending the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy and becoming an Officer in the Gurkhas.

After leaving the Army, Adrian completed an MBA at Nottingham University Business School, culminating in a very successful business career in international sales and marketing management including Regional Sales Director for the Middle East and West Asia with Airbus.

He set up his own company as a professional adventurer, speaker and business coach in 2007 and has worked with organisations worldwide, delivering team development workshops, leadership seminars, and executive coaching.

In 2007 Adrian set a Guinness World record for reaching the Earth's "3 Poles" i.e. the North Pole, South Pole and Mount Everest. He accomplished a second Guinness World record in 2009 for the Arctic’s longest unsupported kite-skiing journey, crossing the length of the Greenland. In 2011 he led a 1600 km crossing of the Arabian Desert in the trail of British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger. A documentary was broadcast by the Discovery Channel and Adrian also published ‘Footsteps of Thesiger’, a book based on his experiences.

No stranger to tragedy, in 2013 an attempt to scale the summit of K2 was aborted when an avalanche killed two fellow climbers. However, undaunted Adrian returned a year later and successfully summitted the mountain.

Adrian is an ambassador for organisations and charities that support economic, social and environmental sustainability. He regularly speaks, writes and campaigns on issues such as population, food and water security, climate change, global economics, and conflict resolution.

He still finds time to compete in ironman triathlons, is a two-time UAE fitness challenge champion and a keen rock climber, runner, cyclist and swimmer, and occasionally plays in a rock band.

In 2014 Adrian was conferred the University's 'Alumni Laureate Special Excellence Award'.




Jolyon Palmer

Jolyon Palmer

2014 GP2 World Champion (Management Studies 2012)

At just 24 years of age Jolyon has already accomplished more than most will in a whole lifetime. He has been involved in the ultra-competitive world of motor racing since the age of 13, progressing with great success through different categories from karts and saloon cars to a variety of single seater formula.

In 2009, Jolyon competed in the FIA Formula Two Championship and finished runner up in the points table in just his second season aged 19. In 2011 he made his debut in the prestigious GP2 series. Improving his position in the drivers’ standings each season, he became GP2 World Champion in 2014, dominating the title with a succession of brilliant drives and a record-breaking points haul. A feeder to the F1 World Championship, Jolyon follows in the illustrious footsteps of household names such as Nico Rosberg, and Lewis Hamilton.

What makes Jolyon truly extraordinary is that he achieved much of this while still a student at Nottingham University Business School. Despite significant international travel and a punishing schedule of testing; practising; qualifying; and racing, Jolyon successfully graduated in 2012.

Joyon's dream was realised in 2014 when he got his first taste of a Formula One car test driving for the Force India team. In 2015 Jolyon signed as reserve driver for Lotus F1. Impressive pre-season testing and Free Practice sessions resulted in being offered a full time drive with Lotus for 2016.

Jolyon was the 2014 the Guild of Motoring Writers Driver of the Year chosen by a panel of eminent motorsport journalists - previous winners include Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher. He also collected the prestigious British Racing Drivers' Club Fairfield Trophy and was runner-up at the Autosport Awards British Competition Driver of the Year, only losing out to current F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton.

The application of natural talent combined with an unquenchable passion, huge resolve, tenacity and an exceptional work ethic make Jolyon an inspiring role model for all young people. He was conferred the University's 'Alumni Laureate Recent Graduate Award' in 2015.


Laura Popa

Laura Popa

Founder of the Nottingham Romanian Alumni Association (Corporate Strategy and Governance 2011)

Bubbly alumna Laura Popa’s tireless work as an ERASMUS Ambassador has inspired hundreds of University students to break out of their comfort zones and experience the benefits of spending time studying in another country for themselves.

Laura's first taste of ERASMUS was receiving mobility funding to study at Istanbul University in 2008-9. This proved to be a seminal experience and while in Turkey she founded the Turkish branch of the League of Romanian Students Abroad (LSRS) offering support and advice to Romanian students going to Turkey to study.

In 2012 Laura was chosen as the ERASMUS Ambassador of Romania at the European Commission. As part of her role she has been in touch with educational systems across the world and delivered presentations in all the main Universities in Romania about studying abroad. She founded an non-governmental organisation called Erasmus Student Network (ESN) Romania, dealing with incoming students and offering advice about their stay in Romania.

During her time at Nottingham, Laura was heavily involved in the Romanian Society, organising events in the University and bringing together many international students interested in Romanian culture and history. In 2013 she set up the University's first ever Romanian Alumni Association which helps Romanian alumni (and alumni from neighbouring countries) stay connected with each other and with the institution.

Laura currently works for the healthcare and pharmaceuticals company Novartis group.


Tony Scholes

Tony Scholes 

Chief Executive of Stoke City Football Club (Industrial Economics 1987)

After graduating Tony spent nine years working for professional services provider KPMG in Nottingham.

Having maintained a passionate interest in sports - football in particular - Tony jumped at the opportunity to join Preston North End as Chief Executive in 1996 where he stayed until 2002. During this time he appointed David Moyes as Manager and the Club went from struggling League 2 side to genuine Championship contenders.

In 2002 Tony set up his own company 'Total Gaming Solutions Ltd' which he ran successfully until 2004 before becoming Chief Executive of Stoke City Football Club. 

Under Tony's leadership, Stoke City have become one of Premiership football's most stable and respected clubs. Having not participated in top-flight football for twenty-three years, Stoke gained promotion to the Premier League in 2008 where they have consistently punched above their weight, never finishing lower than fourteenth. The Club were FA Cup Runners-up in 2011 and qualified for the 2011-21 UEFA Europa League where they qualified for the knockout stages.

Tony is actively involved in the running and organisation of English football. He serves on the Professional Football Negotiating Committee, Premier League Youth Development Committee and FA Council and was formerly Director of Football League. He is also Director of Lancashire Lynx Rugby League Football Club and serves on the Rugby League Council.




Alumni Relations

Nottingham University Business School
South Building
Jubilee Campus
Nottingham NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0)115 823 2491