Promoting a sense of community for excellence

I would like to start the second semester with a warm welcome back to all of our students. It’s always an exciting time of year as our community returns to work and study and a lively atmosphere returns to the Management School building.

Following its introduction last year, I’m delighted to announce that the Dean’s List is going from strength to strength and it was particularly satisfying to welcome some of last year’s winners to our Advisory Board dinner last November.  There are now new pathways open to all undergraduate students and I look forward to welcoming more excellent students in the future onto the list.

Professor David OglethorpeThere are three strands to the Dean’s List. The first is open to final year undergraduate and MSc students. The other two form the Level 1 and 2 Pathways to the Dean’s List and are a great way for first and second year undergraduates to start preparing themselves to apply for the Dean’s List in their final year.

Unlike traditional Deans’ Lists which focus solely on academic attainment, our Dean’s List rewards excellence in relation to the School’s mission of promoting social responsibility and producing highly employable graduates. The award adds to our growing alumni community who take our values to heart and help to make a positive impact in society.

Along with achieving a high academic standard (a high 2:1 or above), eligible final year students are invited to demonstrate how they display a sustained positive impact on organisations or society and how they are developing their own employability skills and expertise. The deadline is 19 April 2019 and all eligible applicants will need to complete an online application.  The rewards of being on the Dean’s List include personal references from the Dean, invitations to Advisory Board events, and exposure to the School’s wider external business and organisational networks.

For first and second year undergraduate students we have introduced Pathways to the Dean’s List. This new initiative means that first and second year students can begin to build a portfolio and start to develop their skills and understanding of the values of the Dean’s List. The deadline for entry for both levels of Pathway to the Dean’s List is Friday 29 March 2019.

Dean’s List winners with the Dean, Prof David Oglethorpe.

Full details of the award criteria and the new pathways can be found on on our website. I wish the very best of luck to all applicants!

Building a strong student community at SUMS is very important to me. This is why we have invested over £1 million in upgrading facilities for our PhD students. The Doctoral Research Centre, located on Northumberland Road, has been designed to provide an exceptionally high-quality environment for our students. This is a tangible example of our commitment to continually improving the student experience and enables us to live up to the exacting standards expected of a Triple Crown Accredited institution.

The renovation includes new, flexible working environments which aim to foster a sense of collegiality and build a strong sense of community among the next generation of researchers. The centre opened at the end of January and I look forward to welcoming you through its doors soon.

Listening is an important part of building a community. It is the time of year when we are given the opportunity to listen to final year undergraduates’ honest feedback on their time in the School through the National Student Survey. The NSS is a conduit that leads to important changes and improvements for future cohorts of students.

The survey is open now to final year undergraduate students, your responses will remain strictly anonymous, and it only takes about ten minutes to complete – find out more here.

I wish you every success throughout this semester and look forward to receiving your feedback and many excellent Dean’s List applications.

Prof David Oglethorpe

Dean, Sheffield University Management School

Introducing: The Dean’s List

It’s my first blog entry of 2018 and so I would like to start by wishing a warm welcome back to all of our students as we enter the second semester. It’s wonderful seeing the buzz and lively atmosphere of the Courtyard Café reappear, as cheery faces can be seen catching-up over a muffin and a flat white! There’s certainly a palpable sense of enthusiasm around the place, which is truly infectious.

This sense of pride and optimism within the School is Professor David Oglethorpewholly justified. The successes achieved by SUMS, particularly towards the latter part of 2017, with re-accreditation’s from both EQUIS and AACSB, means we’ve now held Triple Crown accreditation status since 2012. We maintain our position within the top-tier of globally renowned Management Schools, which makes me immensely proud, of course.

It was along the theme of celebrating excellence that I decided to create a new award for our rising stars and future alumni.  It’s called The Dean’s List.

Traditionally, a Dean’s list is all about Grade Point Average – but we wanted to go further.

We wanted to create an award that enables our students to think more widely about our Mission and Vision, explaining how they are displaying social responsibility and how they are demonstrating growth in their employability.

Dean's List Logo Black

To apply, the award is initially ring-fenced to our final year undergraduates who will need to submit a thorough case, using supporting evidence, for each of the six criterion.

Academically, we’re making the base standard a high 2:1 (or above) and the scoring will be referenced directly from students’ module results.  The deadline is 20 April 201 8 and all eligible applicants will need to complete an online application.

The consultation process has involved SUMS students, senior academics and members of our distinguished Advisory Board; these are high-profile CEO’s and Directors from across the Business sector. This will give students unique access to a wide range of range of industry events and exclusive networking opportunities. The prestige of winning the Dean’s List award will certainly enhance their reputation among employers and recruiters.

Aside from the natural kudos and peer recognition of becoming a Dean’s List winner, they’ll also receive a personal reference from me, a special name-engraved plaque and a permanent acknowledgment fitted within the building.

This will ensure the legacy of previous winners will stand the test of time and inspire future cohorts for years to come.

I wish the very best of luck to all of the applicants!

Prof David Oglethorpe.

Further information about The Dean’s List:

A new academic year with fresh ideas

Professor David OglethorpeEvery year, in September, we welcome new and returning students to the Management School.

It’s my favourite time – the palpable sense of excitement and exploration makes the period up to Christmas fly by. It feels like such a short semester, so we’re going to ensure you make the most of it!

Our Futures First initiative for undergraduates returns, this time for first and second-year students. Once again, the School’s advisory board has guided us on content and we have a stellar line up of industry speakers to inspire you. Later in the year, our level two students have the opportunity to take part in workshops on entrepreneurship, innovation and resilience – three key essential graduate qualities I urge you to start developing now.

Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching, Dr Robert Wapshott, is spearheading this initiative with support from Prof Elaine Toms, Laura Dean and our employability team – I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

While many SUMS students embark on study with their career ahead of them, our burgeoning Professional and Executive Education portfolio welcomes people who are already excelling in their field and want to develop their knowledge. I’m proud to announce that the UK’s first specialist Executive MBA in Advanced Manufacturing Management has been launched by the Management School and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre this month. Its cohort of manufacturing business specialists, from organisations including multinationals and SMEs, will take the course part-time and base academic work on aspects of their own organisation, giving their study real-life application.

One of its students has described the EMBA as “a leadership health check” – we’re adding weight to the skills of future and established leaders of industry, as well as educating a globally diverse group. In August, we celebrated 30-years of the Northern Consortium Charity and NCUK, a collaboration of leading UK universities dedicated to giving international students guaranteed access to universities worldwide and helping them succeed when they get there. Dr David Littlewood travelled to Seoul to represent Sheffield.

This year we are also welcoming our first cohort on our International Doctoral Programme, a new venture which will see PhD students combining studying in the UK, Mexico and Australia.  All of this continues to add weight to both the School and the University’s desire to celebrate international diversity and support the #WeAreInternational campaign, which has just been awarded Marketing Campaign of the Year at the inaugural PIEoneer Awards 2017.

Ensuring our students flourish at Sheffield is very important to me. Your university experience will be transformational and soon we will recognise exceptional achievement from SUMS students with my Dean’s List. Watch this space.

I look forward to welcoming you through the doors of Conduit Road soon.

Prof David Oglethorpe

Making summer count

Professor David OglethorpeNow we’ve reached the end of the University’s exam period, it’s the ideal time to reflect on a busy second semester at SUMS.

While the summer period offers an excellent opportunity to relax and spend some time away from campus, I know a number of our students will be embarking on a key point in their university experience – either through a summer internship, part-time work or by getting stuck into their Masters dissertation. The Employability Hub is still open over summer to answer any queries and to offer support.

I’m delighted to report a number of great successes at SUMS, both from the School and its people.

My staff and students make me so proud, and it’s wonderful to see them succeed at every stage of their learning. Jessica Lane, a first-year International Business Management student, was a finalist in the prestigious Undergraduate of the Year Awards – the only University of Sheffield student to get to this stage. She earned two summer internships, IMG_5529-newwhich will certainly keep her busy in the coming months. Meanwhile, Dr Angie Carter, a long-standing member of the School’s Institute of Work Psychology (pictured left), has been awarded a lifetime achievement award from the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP) – click here to read about her extraordinary career.

Researchers at the School have also seen significant success in ‘best paper’ awards from academic journals, which you can read more about here. So many of these papers Green-Impactreiterate our focus on socially-responsible work practices and sustainability, characteristics of the School which are underpinned by our continued progression in the NUS’s Green Impact initiative – this year the team, made up of academic and professional services staff and students and led by Dr Sonal Choudhary, lecturer in sustainable management (pictured right, with the team), has achieved Silver standard. Well done team, let’s go for gold in 2018!

As you’ll know from previous blogs, the whole School comes together for accreditation visits which contribute to our Triple Crown. When AACSB’s peer review team arrived in February, comprising three deans from other international business schools, it was no different. I’m delighted that we’ve been awarded the full five-years of accreditation, cementing our Triple Crown accreditation. The panel praised the School’s research, employability initiatives – particularly Futures First – and its work with organisations, highlighting how these activities link back to a recognised mission and vision which I use to embed socially responsible and sustainable practices throughout.

It’s with a tangible sense of pride and optimism that we enter the summer months – let’s make them count.

Prof David Oglethorpe.

The importance of listening

Professor David OglethorpeEffective communication and continuous improvement start with listening, so there’s great value in keeping our ears to the ground in all areas of the Management School (SUMS).

Students have numerous opportunities to feedback to the School – this is when we really stop and listen. From meetings with personal tutors, to Staff-Student Forums, end-of-module evaluation forms and the National Student Survey, this is your chance to shape the future of education at SUMS. I was delighted to receive some of the feedback from the inaugural Futures First programme, itself shaped by listening to guidance from our Advisory Board.

Michael Frize, one of the academic leads on the project and programme director for our BA Business Management, reports that students enjoyed the interactive group sessions and that they gained a better understanding of graduate employment; thought it benefited their future decision making; and felt they were able to have their own ideas evaluated by staff and peers.

_MG_1840_smallI’m delighted that the sessions have yielded such positive feedback – it demonstrates that the initial launch has fulfilled our ambitions for the project. After collating all contributions, from students, staff and guest lecturers, we are striving towards extending it to second year students in 2017.

Once we’ve listened – it is of course important to reply. The National Student Survey, which launches in February 2017, is a barometer for how our third-year undergraduates feel about many aspects of the School and we have a great track record in responding to highlighted issues. This is why it’s imperative that eligible students complete the survey – you’ll be hearing more about it in the new year.

Feedback also contributed to staff success in October. Dr Kamal Birdi’s Creativity and Innovation module has been well received by participants – but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Using his CLEAR IDEAS innovation development model as a basis for learning, over 13 years Kamal has trained over 1,000 people from private, public and third sector organisations to fulfil their creative potential through research-led teaching in innovation and workplace training/development. As a result, this year he received the Award for Outstanding Practice in Learning and Teaching from the Faculty of Social Sciences. Click here to read more about it.

Other achievements see Professor Colin Williams, chair in public policy, take a leading role in orchestrating the Greek bailout plan, and the team from the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED) take the lead on two key European entrepreneurial projects, focusing on start-ups and building a social enterprise.

As many of you head home for Christmas, it’s an excellent time to reflect. You have our attention – let us know what you think in January.

Professor David Oglethorpe

Putting your future first

Professor David OglethorpeThere are many futures to consider in a Management School. Those of our graduates will always be our main priority, but we must also plan for that of the institution, our staff, and our research.

Graduation is an excellent point at which to celebrate what our alumni are gearing up for. I was fortunate enough to chat to our prize-winners in July and was amazed to learn of the variety of routes they were taking – from graduate schemes to a career in academia, working for us in fact, the breadth and level of skill is palpable.

In a critical time for the higher education sector, I am immensely proud of the calibre of graduate we’re sending out world-wide. They are more than employable; astute thinkers, practiced networkers and highly informed in their chosen sector. However, we cannot and will not rest on our laurels – which is why in September the Management School launches the Futures First programme.

Designed to get first-year undergraduate students thinking about their career from day one, Futures First is an initiative that combines invited speakers from industry, practical, reflective workshops, and the building of a personal development plan. It has a distinct external focus thanks to contributions from our advisory board, which is comprised of senior figures from business – I worked closely with members such as Ann Pickering, HR Director of O2, on diffusing ideas from practice into a rigorous three-week programme. I want our students will be ready to be employed by the likes of Ann and Futures First will give them the edge in this competitive market.

You can watch Ann and me introducing the Futures First programme here.

The results of a recent survey, run by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, evidenced that our focus on increasing employability support in the Management School is paying off. Eighty-four per cent of our 2015 graduates are engaged in activities for which their degree is an essential requirement, while 95 per cent have seen positive outcomes. This is a significant gain on previous years and, as the first cohort to graduate having had the Employability Hub for all three years, a sure reflection on our commitment to forming well rounded, work-ready graduates.

As the learning and teaching landscape alters on a national stage with the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework, September brings some personnel changes at the Management School. Professor Paul Latreille has been appointed to the role of Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching at the University of Sheffield.

I’d like to extend my thanks and congratulations to Paul for the excellent work he’s done here. He’s a familiar and very popular face in the corridors (and coffee room) of SUMS – for good reason. And finally, welcome to Dr Robert Wapshott who steps into Paul’s Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching role.

Our new cohort of students begins in September – welcome to you all. We hope you become as proud of Sheffield as we are.

Professor David Oglethorpe

Practicing what we preach

Professor David OglethorpeCorporate social responsibility and sustainability are fundamental to Sheffield University Management School (SUMS). Embedded in our curriculum, research and external activities, we speak about this behaviour a great deal. And I’m delighted to report that we’re putting it into practice as well.

From the building we occupy, to students flying the flag in international competitions – these themes are core to the School’s dialogue.

Let’s begin on our doorstep. The Green Impact initiative is a sustainability accreditation scheme, run in over 50 universities across the UK. Bringing together departmental staff and students, it aims to create positive ‘green’ changes in institutions and in the Management School Dr Sonal Choudhary, a lecturer in sustainable management, has led the charge securing us a bronze award. I was delighted to hear that Sonal was ably supported by a team including third-year International Business Management undergraduate, Jad Soubra who was inspired to participate by his final-year module in Corporate Social Responsibility.

It’s really gratifying for me to see that our teaching is having a tangible impact on students’ lives outside of the classroom and Jad is certain that his time spent working on Green Impact will have an effect on his career path. Click here to read more.

Also close to home, research by the School has been profiled in a series of films looking at ‘the way we work’. Focusing on subjects including employer sponsored volunteering, environmental behaviour at work, achieving employee wellbeing though accounting, and working conditions for postal workers, they align neatly with our research focuses on socially responsible work practices and sustainability. Watch them on our YouTube channel.

Potentially travelling a little further afield are our three Management School teams who have again entered the Global Corporate Challenge. This international employee health and performance programme sees the School’s 21 participants wear a pedometer for 100 days, measuring their activity and improving health – lots more walking to work!

However, spreading the SUMS message much further afield was a delegation of staff and students who attended the International Graduate Competition in Montreal, Canada, in early May. Mentored by Prof Tim Vorley and Dr Robert Wapshott, I’m proud to say that four of our postgraduates – Lena Suess, Cristian Gherhes, Gerardo Taboada and Emad Ejielat, placed second (only to the hosts!) in the intensive competition, impressing the judges with their ideas and knowledge around socially responsible business. The calibre of their competitors, coming from similarly high profile universities around the world, cements this fantastic achievement.

Looking back to the School’s mission and vision, it’s clear to me that in just a few short months of activity, we’re continuing to fulfil our core aims and having a positive impact, both at home and overseas.

Professor David Oglethorpe

Sheffield: at the sharp edge of management education

Professor David OglethorpeAs we begin a new semester, it’s very refreshing for me to be back in Sheffield after a period of overseas travel. The last three weeks saw me in Japan, developing a new research partnership with another prestigious University and in both Hungary and the USA at annual Dean’s conferences for two of our major accrediting bodies, EQUIS and AACSB. It’s useful to be at these events to see what’s going on in the business and management schools around the world and to look at good practice at the other schools ranked alongside us in the top one per cent globally.

I’m reassured from these trips that the things we are doing at Sheffield remain at the sharpest cutting edge. The focus of our research into socially-responsible and sustainable business practice is still leading the way and many of our international peer schools are yet to catch up. The impact of our research and the curriculum we study are amongst the most relevant and exciting in the world. The quality of our students and staff are clearly representative of a leading international school and I know that transformational futures are being created.

Studying at any level, whether it’s your first undergraduate degree after A-levels or a PhD in later life, will transform your future. It’s wonderful to hear what our graduates plan to do, and I hear many compelling stories from our MBA students.

With entrepreneurship, leadership and consultancy at the heart of the programme and an enthusiastic new director, Dr Vasilios Theoharakis, at the helm, an energetic, engaging and ambitious cohort emerges. The transformative effect of this intensive period of study is remarkable, which is why I’ve introduced a series of scholarships connected with the MBA – the Dean’s Awards. Click here to read more about these ten awards.

We were also delighted to hear that CEO Magazine has ranked our MBA in the top tier in Europe. They have acknowledged the programme’s practical, organisation-focused features which make it unique.

Students at every level in the Management School have practical, hands-on skills built into their programme and the latest Achieve More challenge demonstrated that our academic staff do a fantastic job of embedding these in tasks. Teams of first-year undergraduates were placed into interdisciplinary groups and asked to find a solution to a number of societal problems. A group looking at flood risk, led by Dr Tina McGuinness, received an honourable mention from the judges while Dr Christine Sprigg’s group which addressed the topic of cyberbullying clinched the top prize in the Citizenship category.

This module encourages our students to test their research and creative skills, and the high performance from Management-led teams is testament to Tina and Christine’s leadership.

While we spend a great deal of time addressing students and passing on knowledge, it is the time of year where final year undergraduates students have the opportunity to feed back on their time at the Management School. Completing the National Student Survey is important because it leads to changes and improvements around vital matters such as feedback and facilities.

If you’re a final year undergraduate student, it only takes ten minutes of your time and there are a number of incentives – click here to find out more.

I wish you every success throughout semester 2 and look forward to seeing how your futures are transformed as we move through another academic year.

Professor David Oglethorpe

Reaching far and wide

Professor David OglethorpeAs we reach the end of semester one, once again we approach the Christmas break with a real spring in our step.

This time last year, we were celebrating our performances with EQUIS reaccreditation and the Research Excellence Framework – headline successes which heralded a huge leap forward for the School. During the year we’ve had even more success, reflecting the excellence of our staff and students – a full five-year AMBA re-accreditation and outstanding results in the National Student Survey.

As this year draws to a close, I’m delighted to report on some real local successes.

We are proud of every Management School graduate, and love to hear about their achievements. Recently, we were delighted to pass on our congratulations to a 2015 BA Business Management graduate James Bird when he won the Young Business Person of the Year Award at this year’s Sheffield Business Awards. He joined SleepCogni, an SME that the Management School has worked with as a corporate partner, straight after finishing his degree and has since made a significant contribution.

James’s boss and mentor, local entrepreneur Richard Mills, enthused about the mutual benefits of organisations working with the Management School and told me of how invaluable our graduate has been to SleepCogni. With social responsibility at the heart of our mission, it is very satisfying to hear that our graduates are making such an impact on the regional start-up economy.

Of course, our academic community’s research has been tackling fundamental national and global issues with their research, and I was delighted to hear that Dr Kamal Birdi and Dr Tina McGuiness were successful in their bids to be involved in TWENTY65, a University-wide interdisciplinary project with a value of nearly £4million which will work to ensure the UK maintains a clean, sustainable water supply for the future.

In the meantime, Professor Tim Vorley has been working with the UK government to ensure that they understand the value of social science research and innovation; Professor Jason Heyes and Dr Tom Hastings have created a toolkit which aims to improve working lives for vulnerable employees in informal economies; and Professor Lenny Koh launched the new phase of her major research project, SCEnAT+, at Microsoft.

The School’s reach and influence is astounding – our graduates are making a huge impact on local organisations and the city’s business community, while our research broaches some of the world’s major challenges. Our responsibility and potential must not be underestimated, which is why 2016 is such an exciting prospect.

From our students taking their January exams, to alumni putting resolutions into action and staff planning their next project – I wish you all a fruitful start to 2016.

Professor David Oglethorpe

Gaining Momentum: Welcome to SUMS

Professor David OglethorpeAs we publish this post, there’s a great energy around the School. Students – some new to higher education and the city of Sheffield, others more seasoned learners – are once again flocking to Conduit Road.

It’s refreshing to welcome the new cohort as they embark on BAs, MScs, MBAs and PhDs at Sheffield University Management School, and I’ll be engaging in a number of planned Intro Week activities, keen that I become a familiar face to all studying here.

The building really does come to life at this time of year, but we have in fact had a very busy summer at the Management School, allowing me to make a number of exciting announcements in this post.

The most visible change to the School will be the construction work that’s taking place at the rear of the building. There’s plenty of information on the hoardings, viewable from the Courtyard Café, but the headline is that we’re delighted to be enhancing our employability facilities for students. The Hub will become an integral part of the café space in spring 2016, making room for a research demonstration room in its current place. This reshuffle will ensure that students have direct access to the opportunities the Employability Hub advertises and the support they have available.

Alongside built additions to the School, I’m delighted to announce growth in student satisfaction and our accreditation portfolio as well.

The National Student Survey yielded enlightening results for the School, showing that our undergraduate students are more satisfied than ever before with the quality of their course. Ninety-three per cent of those who completed the survey were satisfied overall, which places us third in the Russell Group. At course level, satisfaction on our BA Business Management increased by 26 points to 98 per cent, whilst 91 per cent of students on our BA Accounting and Financial Management were satisfied overall. It’s pleasing to see that the School’s hard work across the board is evidenced in such surveys – we are making a significant difference.

We welcomed a panel from the Association of MBAs (AMBA) to the School in May, whose high opinions seemingly equal that of our surveyed undergraduates. They granted the maximum five-years of AMBA accreditation to four of our Business Masters courses, an improvement on the previous three-year award. The expert panel, comprising an AMBA representative and senior figures from other accredited universities across the world, were impressed by our collegiality, programme management and methods of diversifying and integrating international students.

Visitors to the University often talk about Sheffield being a friendly city. From my perspective, it is always a pleasure to welcome people to the Management School – whether it’s a new student, a corporate partner, or AMBA’s esteemed panel. We’re very proud of what we’re achieving and I don’t tire of letting people know about it.

Prof David Oglethorpe