The different sides of Higher Education

I have been working in higher education marketing for the past eight years having previously focused on other sectors such as B2B, IT, software, professional services and agency side.

I landed in a university student marketing department almost by accident. A contract role at Bucks New University on the fringes of London became my daily three-hour commute from Eltham where I lived. However, I stuck with it, and I found the bond between the marketing team and the many service and academic departments was fantastic.

There were always the huge efforts that went into supporting Open Days and Clearing, alongside the day to day of working with our media and creative agencies to deliver our recruitment campaigns. Its a lot of fun as you can see from the photo (except I look as if I just want to hide under a rock…)

I got a buzz meeting prospective students from the crazy rushing between locations for UCAS fairs and a number of other specialist events such as Create your Future. I got the chance to be part of the team that designed new degree programmes and saw those to fruition.

After a few years a role came up at a regional university in the Southeast, and at The University of Surrey I worked within a faculty to support the recruitment of their arts and social sciences degree courses. Although I was faculty based I was part of a huge central directorate that managed domestic and international recruitment, digital, marketing, corporate activities and PR.

I had my own faculty team to support department activities, as well as many external suppliers and a centrally managed media agency. Highlights for me included working with lots of amazing academic and faculty colleagues a brilliant recruitment trip to Hong Kong.

In 2019 I took the opportunity to step away from the day to day of university life and was then introduced to Think Postgrad. The blend of sector specialisation combined with marketing services working with universities and helping students was too good to pass by, even though it meant giving up the buzz of an office by working from home…..

The irony was not lost on me when the first lockdown came into force. Just as I had to come to terms with being a remote worker I was so relieved that I was part of a business that could function without the need for commuting.

My colleagues are located across the UK, with web and design in Scotland down across to Yorkshire, the Cotswold’s, Surrey and London. We work with the same intensity as if we shared a premises. I was surprised by how I feel just as part of the team only separated by geography rather than a dash from one side of the campus to the other. Being connected via video call and messaging works fine – you get to make decisions with clients and resolve questions for users in real time.

My focus is similar to what I was doing in universities, except now I can support our users directly via their interaction with our two websites. I get to research and author content for our channels, and I help universities with their postgraduate recruitment.

Switching from a publicly funded organisation into a specialist education business was always going to be a culture change, but the fundamentals of what I do are just as relevant, and the skills and friendships I have built are equally worthwhile and long lasting.

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