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MBA alumnus shares his views on future challenges

Chris Banks CBE
8 October 2010

Last week Aston Business School welcomed back onto campus one of its most successful MBA alumni.  Chris Banks CBE is Founder of Big Thoughts, the food and drink business he set up to lead a management buy-out from The Coca-Cola Company early in 2001.

Chris was previously Managing Director of Coca-Cola Great Britain and before that he was with Grand Met (now Diageo), Allied Domecq, HP Bulmer, Mars and ACNielsen.

Chris is currently Chairman of Directgov, the Government organisation harnessing digital technology to reform the delivery of public services. Chris is also Chair of the Public Chairs’ Forum (PCF), a network for Chairs of public bodies whose aim is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of public services in the United Kingdom.

Chris returned to Aston Business School to record a video interview as part of the ABS Alumni Network – Big Interview series. In his interview Chris talks about his time on the MBA at Aston Business School and his career journey since including the story of how he founded Big Thoughts.  Chris also gives his views on the challenges facing public sector organisations, the need to continue investment in training and how business can support young people during challenging times.


Chris was a founding member and subsequently Chair of the Learning and Skills Council, responsible for an annual investment of £12.6 Billion of public money in improving the skills of young people and adults in England. He was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004 (Consumer Products, London), in recognition of the success of Big Thoughts and was made a CBE for services to young people and the unemployed in the 2003 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Speaking about his visit to Aston Chris said he had been “stunned by the transformation that has taken place over the years”.  Commenting on what he had seen in the Business School Chris remarked at the facilities which he said in his opinion “match the best in the world.” 

To view the videos from our alumni interview with Chris please visit the Aston Business School YouTube Channel

More information about the MBA at Aston Business school

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research