Advisory Board


Aston Business School has an active Advisory Board comprised of experienced international business leaders.

The Board advises the School's senior leadership team on strategic areas in relation to learning and teaching, research, and business engagement. Several board members support specific initiatives within the School, with many board members acting as mentors to final year undergraduate students.

Advisory Board Members

Mike Bandar

Mike is a founding Partner of Turn Partners, a start-up studio focused on the acquisition, turnaround and creation of digital businesses.

Turn Partners are also behind Hopper HQ, the Instagram scheduling tool, which became profitable standalone business within 3 months and servicing clients in over 55 countries within 12 months.  Turn Partner’s also run the influencer marketing agency Real Tribe as well as a small investment portfolio.

Mike is a graduate from Aston Business School and has owned and operated businesses since the age of 15. His background is mainly within sales, marketing and startup enterprise with experience ranging from the position of Head of New Business at a global advertising agency to providing independent consultancy for clients such as PETRONAS oil.

In 2017 Mike was featured on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list to receive a British Empire Medal for ‘Services to Young Entrepreneurs in the West Midlands’.

Mike has recently been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Aston University for his contribution to Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, making him one of the youngest ever recipients of a DSc

Rob Brighouse

Rob, a Fellow of both the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institute of Directors, has over 30 years of rail experience.  He spent 9 years overseas in Australia and then Hong Kong where he was responsible for a major route upgrade on the MTR route between Kowloon and the Chinese border – the busiest mixed traffic railway in the world. In 2000 he joined Chiltern Railways and, as Projects Director, led the £600m Chiltern Railways investment programme as part of its 20-year franchise. He subsequently led the DB/MTRC bid for, and then mobilised, the London Overground railway, overseeing a 400% growth in patronage as Deputy Managing Director between 2007 & 2011.

Rob returned to Chiltern Railways in 2011 as Managing Director and has overseen the transformation which has made Chiltern Railways the leading UK on-time railway with the highest levels of customer satisfaction and revenue growth in the UK franchised railway.
At the end of 2015, having successfully commissioned the introduction of the Chiltern Railways services to Oxford, Rob left Chiltern Railways to become a Non-Executive Director on the Network Rail Board.

He is also a Director of LIFE Trust, a charity which helps support water and sanitation projects for rural communities in Africa.

Cllr Dr Barry Henley

Barry studied Chemical Engineering at UMIST. He worked for BOC in industrialgases for ten years then in 1981 he moved into the electronic security industry. He became the Marketing Director of Chubb Alarms and was responsible for many new products including radio data transmission of alarms and the first trial of electronic tagging of offenders. Chubb asked him to turn around underperforming businesses in the UK, Singapore and Australia.

Three years in Sydney allowed Barry to earn a Doctor of Business Administration studying the outcomes of corporate acquisitions. In 2000 he joined the Technology Partnership where he was the principal author of the UK Government strategy for nano-technology. He became the Chief Executive of Birmingham City University’s faculty of engineering, computer technology and media production, and was responsible for its huge expansion of support for local industries. He is a Birmingham City Councillor, and a non-executive director of the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust.

Anne-Catherine Guitard

In June 2019, Anne-Catherine joined Yncréa Hauts-de-France, the largest association of engineer schools in France (HEI-ISA-ISEN) as an International Executive Director and Director of Bordeaux and Rabat campuses.  From 2016 to 2019, she was the Director of International Operations and Relations at KEDGE Business School and Director of Undergraduate Programmes at Kedge (2013-2016).  Her previous experience includes the creation and development of an affiliate campus and as a Programme Manager at the University of Toulouse in the QLIO department (Quality Logistics and Industrial Operations). She was also responsible for International Mobility (students and staff).

Anne-Catherine obtained her Master degree in Scientific translations in English & Spanish (Renewable energies and Sustainable Development) at the University of Pau and Pays de l’Adour (UPPA) as well as a degree in Quality at IEQT (Institut Européen de la Qualité Totale).

She has worked as a Purchasing Quality Manager for Zodiac  in Toulouse as well as a reviewer of scientific articles at the University Jean-François Champollion (Neurosciences Letters 423 (2007) 29-34 Influence of base of support size on arm pointing performance and associated anticipatory postural adjustments).

Parveen Rai

Parveen has founded three successful companies that have tripled in size over the last few years and has gained a wealth of experience in the property sector.

Having previously come from a background in banking, with over 15 years’ experience, Parveen has a large amount of experience in finance and sales. Her key area of expertise is in leadership and strategic growth. As well as completing a full time MBA in 2018 Parveen has been appointed as a Non-Executive Director for AOC sport, London.

Indi Deol

Indi is the Founding Director of the UK’s largest online British Asian magazine DESIblitz which has

He’s won numerous awards and leads on advertising and strategic business growth. He also runs Aidem Digital CIC which is a Social Enterprise and digital media agency focused on delivering projects that produce a positive social return. 

Indi is Visiting Industrial Fellow of Aston Business School and thrives on utilising digital tools to solve marketing and business problems. His education and background include a strong emphasis on fashion design, and over the last 10 years he has been immersed in online media, sales and content marketing. 

In 2013 he successfully completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 businesses programme and in 2015 he went onto be selected as a finalist for the Ernst and Young Midlands Entrepreneur of the year award. 

Outside of work he enjoys going to see new places, listening to music and cinema. His life motto is no pain no gain.

Paul Williams

Paul is a Non-Executive Director of Hogg Robinson plc where he also chairs the Remuneration Committee. He is a member of the Governing Council at Aston University and member of the Audit Committee. He has just completed a six-year term as a member of the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) which advises the Prime Minister's Office on top pay in the public sector. Paul has over 35 years’ experience as a senior HR Director with NCR, Heinz,Glaxo, Rolls-Royce and Smith & Nephew - where he was also President of the subsidiary company in Japan. Paul is also Independent Chair of Trustees for Port of Tyne Defined Benefit Pension Plans.

Serenna Mackenzie

Serenna is an Aston Business School alumna, who manages one of Salesforce's largest media clients in the UK, WPP. Serenna is helping the world's largest global advertising agency put the customer at the heart of their business with the world's number one customer relationship management solution.

Before moving to Salesforce, Serenna spent five years at IBM. Starting in software sales, Serenna sold cloud technologies across Analytics, AI and Automation to clients in Local Government, Finance and Retail industries before becoming a Client Executive to a small number of Energy & Utility accounts. It was in this role, representing the breadth and depth of IBM, that Serenna found her passion for strategic account management; building meaningful relationships and collaborating with clients to leverage technology to solve complex business challenges.

Outside of work, you can probably find Serenna exploring a new city, dining out, in the yoga studio or escaping to the nearest bit of beach!

Carolyn Chapman Lees

Carolyn is the Chief Executive Officer of the Titan Partnership, a unique education network supporting more than 50 Primary and Secondary schools, FE Colleges, Private Training Providers and Universities in Birmingham.

Previous to joining Titan, Carolyn was Executive Director at the Gazelle Colleges Group, a network of 25 FE colleges focused upon wealth creation, entrepreneurship and employment as key outputs. Carolyn spearheaded national programmes for innovative student enterprise, entrepreneurial leadership and curriculum transformation and also developed and delivered design thinking, entrepreneurial mind-set and project based learning programmes across the UK.

With a cross-sector portfolio career of more than 25 years in education, training and management Carolyn has worked with companies such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Westfield London, Monsoon Accessorise and Scottish Power. In 2008 Carolyn founded TurnPoint Projects Ltd, a training company specialising in personal development and enterprise education. Carolyn’s qualifications include a BA (Hons) Leisure and Business Management, a PGCE and an MBA. Alongside her role on the Aston University Business School Advisory Board, Carolyn also sits on the Wesleyan Members Advisory Board.

Liyuan Li

Liyuan is an Expert in Organization Development of a top internet company in China, leading the change of leveraging the efficiency of the organization and its people to drive growth.

Liyuan is an Aston Business School alumna. She joined management consultancy after earning her MBA in 2011.  After Adfaith, China’s leading domestic consulting firm, she joined Deloitte, the world's largest professional organization.

The areas of Liyuan’s expertise include Strategic Planning and Group Control, Organization Design and Performance Management, Qualification Management and Leadership Development. 

Over her career, major clients included Lenovo, Bank of China, Hyundai Motors and other leading companies.

Gaurav Brahmbhatt

Gaurav Brahmbhatt is founding member of Health Care at Home India Pvt Ltd (HCAH). The business is focused on providing clinical and pharmaceutical services to patients in the comfort of their own home. More than 15 multinational pharmaceutical companies work with HCAH to support chronic patients at home through their physical and digital patient solutions. The business employs more than 1,000 people across India.

After working for about 8 years at Burton based Healthcare at Home UK (HAH), Gaurav was instrumental in putting his International Business learning of Aston into an Indian context when launching the Indian start-up.

Gaurav proudly holds prestigious Aston MBA. He is a Pharmacy graduate from the University of Pune, India. He also completed his MSc. Biotechnology from the University of Hertfordshire, UK.

Gaurav is passionate about new business creation. Conducting business across cultures and enhancing UK-India Business Tie-ups are some of his core interest areas. Entrepreneur at heart, Gaurav wants to contribute significantly in setting-up start-ups in the UK and India. He likes to support new businesses creation ideas and absolutely loves helping people wanting to build their own start-up either in the UK or in India.

Gaurav is a member of British Business Group in India and Aston Brand Ambassador. He has written a book on Pharmaceutical Management and multiple other papers. He is very keen to support the vision of Aston Business School and pursue its esteemed strategies.

Stefan Tesche

Stefan is an Aston University alumnus and holds an MBA from the Business School. As Head of Global Customer Experience at Roche, he is leading a global team of diverse, curious, and customer-centric people who are striving to make a difference for Roche and patients.

Before joining Roche, Stefan worked for over 15 years in the IT Services and Consulting industry. In his latest position at Unisys, he was leading the End-User Service Line for the EMEA region with over 50 regional and global clients. Prior to that, he was responsible for several global client engagements covering cloud computing and user services. He served as a member on the Board of Trustees at the Unisys Pension Fund Foundation in Switzerland.

Stefan is passionate about people development and innovation. He is fascinated by the impact that trust and engagement can make in creating high-performing teams across cultures.

Balraj Purewal

Balraj is an Aston University student studying for a BSc in Business & Management.  Currently in his Placement year, Balraj is working in Aston’s Students’ Union as Vice-President which specific responsibility for Student Activities. 

Some of the recent activities within Balraj’s remit, and on which he has led, include campaigns around topical issues such as hidden disabilities and mental health awareness, decolonising the curriculum and Black History Month.

Balraj is an active and committed supporter of Aston Business School having contributed to the writing of the Student Report for the School’s last EQUIS re-accreditation and as a Course Representative, sitting on the Programme Staff Student Consultative Committee. 

Balraj is an energetic, dependable and honest individual who embraces diversity and actively works for change and improvement in the lives of students and staff alike through his various extra-curricular activities and membership of numerous clubs and societies.  One such society is Enactus, a network of business leaders, academics and students who combine their entrepreneurial knowledge and skills to improve the lives of those in the local community and globally through sustainable projects.