RARE  RISINGSTARS 2014 The UK’s Top 10 Black Students
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Thanks from the Managing Director

Raphael Mokades
This is the sixth year of Rare Rising Stars. Each year our awards grow bigger and stronger and each year the stories of our Stars seem to grow more remarkable. I am very, very proud that yet again our list contains a wide variety of people with extraordinary histories as well as incredible achievements in a wide range of fields.

I am immensely grateful to our three sponsors, Barclays, Slaughter and May, and Thomson Reuters. Without the backing of these three world-class firms, there would be no Rare Rising Stars awards. Their commitment to the project is testament to how seriously they take talent and how obsessed they are with getting the best people, wherever they come from.

I also want to thank our brilliant editor, Carlton McFarlane. Carlton did a LOT of things before coming to Rare. He�s managed a busy Nando�s in Leeds. He�s run music festivals in Croatia. He�s worked as a delivery driver, in a greengrocer�s, and for an AV hire company. He got a First class undergraduate degree, and a Masters, and speaks five languages. He also had absolutely no experience of publishing or journalism before this year. But sometimes you have to look at someone�s track record, and my view was, given how good he is at everything else, he�d make a brilliant editor of Rare Rising Stars. I make lots of bad decisions, but I was right on this one!

This year the buzzword at Rare has been contextualisation. Ever since I started Rare in 2005 I have been aware that achievements are gained not in a vacuum, but in context. The same set of A Level grades, for example, can be unremarkable at one school and completely exceptional at another. The research we published six months ago built on this basic insight and proposed, for the first time, a more data-driven way of contextualising achievement. We are proud of that research and proud that we are now able to be more precise and thorough in assessing context.

Nothing illustrates the importance of context better than the story of this year�s number one Star. I will let you read Kenny�s story for yourself (on page 18). But let me say this: in all the years of running Rare and Rare Rising Stars, I do not remember ever feeling so humbled as I did when I first understood what this young man had been through to get where he is today.

Raphael Mokades
Managing Director