Interview June 2015
Keen blogger Alice has a head for problem solving and if she isn’t busy writing her next online post she’s involved in various volunteer roles, as well as fitting in as much world travel as possible, all whilst carrying out her day-to-day management job!
Alice told us that ten years on from her time at Sheffield, she’s still best of friends with the people she met in her first year – so she’s extremely grateful that Sheffield met her extensive criteria when it came to choosing which university to study at!
Now the Local Engagement Lead at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (the professional body of pharmacists in GB), Alice heads up the Local Engagement Team in England, by project managing the team’s various innovative engagement activities, as well as being the project manager for the organisation’s first ‘wellbeing and CSR’ policy and programme. We spoke to Alice about establishing her career since completing her degree and her plans to run her own business in the future.
Tell us a little bit about your current role and your main responsibilities.
My current role as Local Engagement Lead at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society involves managing a remote team of four and overseeing the development and implementation of the organisation’s local stakeholder engagement strategy. I manage the team’s budget, set the strategic direction for the team, and I also support the organisation’s volunteer workforce and provide overall project management on various in-house projects, meaning I get to be involved in lots of innovative and exciting initiatives!
Did your degree help you with your career?
Definitely! The benefit of studying a broad degree like Business Management means it opens you up to a wide range of career paths. As a manager now, I can say that my degree provided me with so many tools that I use every day. When I was at University, my friends and I would always joke how Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was our favourite management theory. We joked, yet entering the workforce and working in management, I was surprised how much it actually gets brought up, especially in training sessions!
Given the nature of my role too, a basic understanding of the different business functions such as marketing, accounting and work psychology have provedn invaluable. Further to that, it was whilst I was at Sheffield University that I discovered I was dyslexic. Rather than letting it hinder my learning, I was offered so much support from the University, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
How would you sum up your experience of studying at Sheffield University Management School in one sentence?
A fantastic experience – I hated school but fell in love with studying and Business Management the moment I had my first lecture.
What do you remember most about your time at Sheffield?
Gosh, there are too many memories! One of my most memorable is probably the day we graduated. It was sad to see the end of an era but also exciting to know you had the rest of your life ahead of you and the possibilities were endless. My friends and I were celebrating before our graduation ceremony in the Union beer garden, where the sun was blazing and the mood was electric. It was the best day.
What are your plans for the future?
My next career move is to progress into coaching and consultancy, using my degree to help in these areas. One aspect of management that I enjoy is helping people to get the best out of themselves or the job, so I am keen to move into coaching. I am also a self-confessed geek and enjoy anything to do with strategy or problem solving, so a career in consultancy is looking enticing!
I have really enjoyed my time writing for my blog and for a website called lifehack.com, so I am keen to break into freelance writing too. Perhaps even penning my first book? Of course, all my writing is business or management based!
Eventually, my ultimate goal is to start my own business but I have a lot more to learn – I bought a bar with a business associate in Cambodia a few years ago (my parents live there) but after a short nine months, the business wasn’t going where we wanted it to go so I sold my half. This hasn’t deterred me though, I am just waiting for the right time again!
…And what do you like to do in your spare time?
I have a terrible habit of taking on too much so I am often told that I am trying to do too much at once! But I can’t seem to sit still! I do like writing for my blog in my spare time though, I go kick boxing (my next belt is my brown belt), I do my best to volunteer (I am currently applying to be a trustee for the mental health charity Mind), I do a lot of baking and I am also currently learning Spanish and Japanese…!
Of course, seeing my friends and family is important to me so I always make sure I have time for them as well as indulging in my passion for travel – last year alone I took nine holidays.
You can read Alice’s blog here .