School Operations Manager, Dyson School of Design Engineering

I started the Management Training Scheme in 2010, one year after graduating from my BA. For me, the primary attraction was finding a graduate scheme which offered so much breadth and flexibility in roles and which would allow me to discover the work I most enjoy. On top of this, Higher Education was a sector I knew I would feel proud to work in. Although my background is humanities, I have always enjoyed science and engineering and working for Imperial in particular offered this exposure to academics and students working in fields that fascinated me. Between these three reasons, the scheme seemed the perfect opportunity. 


During my time on the Scheme I worked in Finance, Registry, Research Strategy, HR, Medicine, Engineering, and Natural Sciences. Working across these academic and non-academic divisions I gained an understanding of how the university works which would be hard to get from any one role and met many staff I would work with again later in my career in College. I also learned that the work which I found most varied and engaging was closer to academic departments and the ‘coal-face’ of research and teaching. I left the Scheme during my third year to take a role as Finance and Research Officer in the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Whilst in Mechanical Engineering I began work on a project to create a new engineering department, Design Engineering, working closely with senior academics to plan out the new department, building, and courses. In 2014 I formally started as School Operations Manager for the Dyson School of Design Engineering. This role is enormously varied, and has challenged me with everything from recruiting and setting up the administrative team of the School, to co-ordination on a >£50m building refurbishment project, and collaboration with a major donor (the Dyson Foundation). I have put many of the skills I learned on the Scheme to use and I know that taking on this role would have been next to impossible without the background I gained on the Scheme. In 2019 we completed our building had our first MEng graduates from the new course which came as a great milestone to me and all the others who have worked on the establishment of the department.             

My advice to applicants is that the Scheme offers an incredible chance to find out what work you find most engaging and to work in a sector and an institution you can be proud of.