For the latest in our What’s Your Job? series we speak to a University of Buckingham professor with a very enterprising role.
How did you decide to take up this role?
My job between 1993 and 2002 was to help state companies in Poland to become more customer oriented, prior to being privatised.
I was a UK Government know–how fund adviser, after many years working for multi-national companies and then as an international business consultant.
I did one term as a visiting lecturer at the University of Buckingham before I left for Poland.
On my return, I continued as a visiting lecturer at the university whilst continuing to run my international consultancy business.
In 2008 I was then asked to take up a full-time job as programme director of the BSc Business Enterprise Venture Creation Programme, as I had experience in the creation and growth of real businesses.
How does a normal day usually go?
I often start work at home at about 5am, as I can get things done.
I have a look on Twitter and other social media to see what opportunities there may be to attract students around the world to our enterprise education programmes.
Researchers in Sweden have found that our BSc Business Enterprise (BBE) Venture Creation Programme is the only course in the world where you can get up to £5,000 to set up your own business as an integral part of the two year BBE honours degree.
As a result, groups of students are often in my office seeking advice and updating me and the other students about their ideas for businesses and actual businesses.
Following an introduction to the Duke of York by our Vice-Chancellor Sir Anthony Seldon I could be at St James’s Palace one day with Prince Andrew for the final of his way of encouraging young entrepreneurs Pitch@Palace.
However I can also be meeting local business leaders or local people who want to start their own businesses in Buckingham, to discuss ways in which we can help them to succeed.
We will be doing more of this, in liaison with the Local Enterprise Partnerships, when our new Vinson Building for Economics and Entrepreneurship opens in the autumn.
What gives you the most job satisfaction?
When, at the end of their time with me, students realise that they have changed.
If they believe that they are starting to think like an entrepreneur, then I am sure that they will be successful, whatever they do.
The best comment I ever had was from a Northern Irish student, who told me, after one year on the course, that he knew he had changed, as he realised that “he didn’t have a comfort zone any more!”
Where do you want to be in five years time?
The University of Buckingham is building a new focal point for the campus – the £6 million Vinson Centre for Economics and Entrepreneurship.
The Buckingham Innovation and Enterprise Centre (BIEC) will be housed on two floors of the new building.
In five years’ time, with the help of colleagues and our students, I aim to have made the University of Buckingham one of the world’s leading centres for the experiential enterprise education.