AZB Mumbai promotes Hufriz Wadia and Suharsh Sinha as partners

AZB & Partners has promoted banking counsel Hufriz Wadia and insolvency consultant Suharsh Sinha as partners in its Mumbai office.

Wadia had joined AZB around a year ago as a counsel from Kochhar & Co in Chennai.

The 2002 KC Law College graduate had worked in Dubai as a banking lawyer at law firm Al Tamimi & Co for five years, before returning to India, joining Juris Corp in Chennai. In January 2014, she had joined Kochhar in Chennai.

Sinha has been with AZB as a consultant since September 2016, having joined from the Reserve Bank of India and the Bankruptcy Law Reform Committee (BLRC), for both of which he’d been working as a consultant for a year.

The NLSIU Bangalore graduate, who also holds a masters in in law and finance from Oxford University (2014-15), an Wharton Business and Law LLM from the University of Pennsylvania (2011-12), and has completed an Indian School of bridge programme in business (2008).

Between 2008 and 2009, he had worked at McKinsey & Co as a business analyst, followed by more than five years at Linklaters in London until 2014.

Their promotions took effect on 1 October 2018.

In April, AZB’s Delhi partnership promoted five to partner, while in March 2018, AZB Mumbai promoted a total of four.


Oxford and Cambridge top the list of best universities in the world

The UK is still home to the top two universities in the world, according to the 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Oxford University is on top for the third consecutive year, while Cambridge keeps its second best position for the second year in a row.

However, UK is no longer the second most-represented nation in the rankings. Despite the UK having 98 institutions in the full list of 1,258, it loses its spot to Japan which claims 103 positions. The UK does however retain its status as second most-represented in the top 200.

The US’s Stanford University completes the top three, maintaining it position from last year. The US still leads the way as most-represented with 172 institutions in the list.

This year’s ranking see the University of Dundee and Royal Holloway slipping out of the global 200.

China’s new top university, Tsinghua, claims 25th spot, and overtakes the UK’s LSE for, which falls one spot to 26, and the University of Edinburgh which drops from joint 27 to 29.

There are a number of climbers in the UK, with University College London rising two spots to number 14, and the University of Warwick scaling 12 places to joint 79th.

The University of Birmingham jumps 25 positions to joint 116, while the University of Aberdeen leaps 27 positions to 158th.

Phil Baty, editorial director of the global rankings, said: ‘We see some individual stars in the UK this year, but the broader national data story is really one of stagnation and modest decline, with the UK taking a minor hit to its research reputation.

‘We can only speculate at this stage as to any connection with Brexit, the risk, however, to the UK’s reputation and research capabilities from its separation with Europe is very real.

‘The ground-breaking work of UK universities mustn’t be undermined by complacency and politicking.

‘To ensure they continue to thrive on the global stage, positive immigration and investment policies are crucial.

They must be free to attract and retain the very best international talent and international students post-Brexit, and they must be protected from cuts, the flow of research funding and academic talent mustn’t be impacted.

Social Mob PHOTO

Advisory firms dominate top employers list for social mobility

The list, published by the Social Mobility Foundation, revealed that three-quarters of the employers it surveyed considered social diversity a priority. Last year it was led by accounting company Grant Thornton, which this year was ranked second.

The Social Mobility Employer Index ranks UK employers on actions they are taking to make roles open to candidates from all backgrounds, after previous research has shown that people from more affluent backgrounds tend to take a disproportionate number of the best jobs.

Recent research from the Sutton Trust found that only about a fifth of children of low-income families went on to become high earners. It also found that almost three-quarters of the children of graduates in the UK went to university – compared with a fifth of children from low-income families.

The Foundation discovered that around three-quarters (74%) of respondents feel clients care about the socio-economic diversity of their workforce, with similar proportions saying the same of race (77%) and gender (86%).

More than half ask new employees whether or not their parents went to university or the type of school they attended. Thirty percent ask whether or not candidates were eligible for free school meals.

Its research also showed that employers’ focus on elite Oxbridge and Russell Group universities to source talent is waning – the percentage of visits made to Russell Group institutions this year was 56%, compared to 70% last year. Oxford and Cambridge are still visited more than 75 universities combined, however.

The top 10 employers ranked in the index (below) was dominated by professional services and law firms:

  • Grant Thornton UK
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
  • Deloitte
  • PwC
  • EY
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Civil Service Fast Stream and Early Talent
  • Baker McKenzie

More than four in 10 employers now analyse their recruitment processes to see where those from lower socio-economic groups may be falling through the gaps, said the Social Mobility Foundation.

“Blind” CVs are in common use – one in four now remove the candidate’s name from the application or screening stage, while one in five remove the name of their university to avoid bias creeping into shortlisting decisions.

However, despite improvements, the Foundation discovered there were still obstacles to overcome: five in 10 hires in government departments and agencies are from Russell Group universities, and this rose to eight in 10 in law firms. Some law firms hired more than 90% of staff from this group of universities, even where only half of their applicants had studied there.

Around one in eight (16%) employees who considered themselves working class felt they needed to hide their class background in the workplace, the Index found.

David Johnston, the Social Mobility Foundation’s chief executive, said: “We can really see organisations taking a whole host of actions to try and ensure that they have a diverse workforce in terms of socio-economic background as well as in terms of gender and race; they in turn are benefiting from accessing a much wider talent pool than they have traditionally recruited from.”

Alan Milburn, former chair of the Social Mobility Commission, said that the results reflected a “mood for change” in the nation. “[Employers] are making these changes both because they see the social need to do so and because they recognise the business benefit that greater diversity can bring.”

The Social Mobility Employer Index is a voluntary survey that assesses employers across seven areas, including the work they do with young people, their recruitment and selection processes and how people from lower income backgrounds progress within their organisations.

More than 100 employers from 18 sectors, collectively employing over one million people, entered this year.