Hitesh Tailor was born in Kenya and educated in north London. He arrived at the then Polytechnic of the South Bank in 1975 aged just 18, with a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve. "I chose South Bank for its emphasis on the vocational and its strong links with industry", he says "I wanted to make myself employable."
Hitesh graduated with first-class honours and went on to qualify with a large accountancy firm. From Deloittes, he moved into oil-field services and then into residential property. He is now managing director of a private investment group based in central London. He specialises in residential property, with a particular focus on historic and listed buildings.
Throughout his career, Hitesh has maintained strong links with LSBU. In 1998, he established an annual prize for the best graduating Business Studies student. From 2001 to 2010 he sat on our board of governors, eventually becoming vice-chair. Then in 2011 the Hitesh Tailor annual lectures were launched.
Every year, a successful alumnus will be invited to return to LSBU and share their experiences, inspiring them in their future careers – and, of course, encouraging them to give something back. Last autumn's inaugural lecture was delivered by pioneering midwife Dame Karlene Davis.
As well as his support for LSBU, Hitesh also works with the charity Age UK. But his true passion remains education. He believes that there is more to university than academic success, important though that is. "At South Bank, I made friendships that have lasted years," he says. "And what I learned helped me develop the principles that have guided my career ever since."
Those principles are simple. Be honest and ethical. Take calculated risks. Work hard. Focus on what you do best, and do it as well as you can. Follow your passion. "People in business often make the mistake of trying to do everything," Hitesh says. "But that's not going to get you anywhere." Finally, and perhaps most importantly, he exhorts every student to, in his words, "...give something back. Don't pull the ladder up behind you."