Her Majesty, The Queen awards MBE to DMU Honorary Doctorate and alumna for her dedication to Diversity and Inclusion


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A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) alumna who has dedicated her personal and social time and efforts throughout her career to promoting Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) has been recognised for her commitment and appointed Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Her Majesty, The Queen in the 2020 Birthday Honours.

Dr. Bijna Kotak Dasani MBE, FRSA (36) has received the honour specifically for ‘Services to Diversity and Inclusion in Financial Services’, having spent the last 20 years championing the D&I agenda, particularly during her career in the Global Banking sector.

Bijna 2020
Dr. Bijna Kotak Dasani MBE, FRSA

“It is a humbling privilege, honour and a significant responsibility,” she said. “It will also act as a motivator to further my efforts in creating and refining tangible and measureable frameworks for advancing diversity and inclusion across financial services.”

Dr. Dasani, an Executive Director at global investment bank Morgan Stanley, graduated from De Montfort University in 2005 with a degree in Business Administration.

She later went on to study at the University of Oxford, where her postgraduate thesis examined gender parity in the C-suite within the UK financial services sector.

Since completing her studies, Dr. Dasani has become a renowned advocate for equal opportunities in the workplace, shining a light on the D&I agenda globally. She serves numerous boards including the Inclusive Companies Network, Generation Success, CIO Net, Fintech Connect and Cajigo. She co-hosted the ‘Women in Business’ television series and has featured in numerous interviews and books, to date.

“The most important factor is awareness,” she continued. "Over time, I have witnessed areas where this has lacked – be it about race, ethnicity or social mobility.

“My mother as a single parent raised three children whilst working full-time in financial services and the working world was very different then. We have (relatively new) layers of awareness, protocols and policies in the corporate world today to accommodate and support flexible working arrangements and equal opportunities. 

“I am keen to better understand assumptions about gender, social mobility and ethnicity stereotypes. There is significant evidence to suggest inclusion of diverse backgrounds leads to better outcomes in organisations. Businesses therefore do better when they truly reflect the communities, and the segments they aim to serve.”

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Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Dr. Dasani has served some the world’s largest and most prestigious corporations in the financial services sector, including Lloyds Banking Group, Deutsche Bank, State Street Global Advisors, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. She has spent a number of years between Wall Street in New York, USA and London, UK as well as in Asia.

Over the years she has been recognised internationally with a number of prestigious accolades for her dedication to close gaps and promote D&I in business.

Last month she was named in the Yahoo Finance and Involve People HERoes Top 100 Women Executives List, which identifies the top 100 women in senior roles across all industries and sectors globally, for the third consecutive year.

“DMU holds a very special place in my heart,” said Dr. Dasani. “If had not originated from Leicester, I may not have attended DMU and my journey would have been very different.

“Obtaining my undergraduate degree provided pathways into the corporate world and all subsequent opportunities that have come after my education. The university has always been supportive and helped me achieve my goals.”

Throughout her career Dr. Dasani has kept in close contact with DMU and often returns to offer inspirational guest lectures and speeches to current students. In 2018, she was appointed an Honorary Doctor in Business Administration by DMU.

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Dr. Dasani is an Honorary Doctor in Business Adminstration

“I have sought advice and counsel from DMU on many occasions,” she said. “That’s what makes it unique. Beyond my alma mater, it’s my second home. It's somewhere I know I can always seek guidance, learn and there are many members of staff and faculty I maintain contact with.”

As part of her role at Morgan Stanley, Dr. Dasani supports the firm’s D&I focus in EMEA and Asia by driving divisional diversity and inclusion activity and implementing different initiatives to build awareness.

She is also working with DMU to develop a partnership that will offer students from social mobility backgrounds the opportunity to gain professional mentoring and work experience in the investment banking world.

For enquiries, Bijna can be contacted via LinkedIn.

Dr. Dasani MBE is the latest DMU alumni to receive an honour from the Queen. She joins the likes of dance choreographer Akram Khan MBE, playwright and poet Carol Leeming MBE, video games designer David Banner MBE, portrait photographer Andy Gotts OBE, and early years education pioneer James Hempsall OBE.

Posted on Monday 12th October 2020

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