MBN’s Robin Huggins was recently interviewed by TeamPlayer 360 to find out more about the work MBN Academy is doing with Universities throughout the UK. Read the full interview and article below.
In the early part of 2014, a decision was made by MBN Solutions to begin a University “outreach” programme that would act as a catalyst for closer collaboration between MBN Solutions, their clients and various University departments throughout the UK.
Robin Huggins, Head of Business Development at MBN Solutions, was tasked to work as part of MBN Academy and to bring his knowledge and network to bear – acting both as facilitator and presenter.
Rob’s involvement stemmed from the three main perspectives; over a decade of front-line recruitment experience in the highly topical “Data Technology” space; his background as internal Trainer for MBN Solutions and in previous roles; and an often repeated and widely recognised “skills shortage” within not only MBN Solutions clients but also in the wider UK Technology space.
As an innovative and market-leading Technology People Solutions practice, MBN Solutions are perceived in the market as a “disruptive” business – challenging conventions and established perceptions around the role of a recruitment business in a Human Resource supply chain.
MBN Academy would play a vital role in this service using the following methodology as a start point:
If MBN Solutions can enable clients to raise their profiles within the relevant academic circles, and act as enablers and facilitators for students to engage professionally with these brands, the end result will benefit all stakeholders.
From that initial premise, Rob utilised his network of contacts and engineered an initial presentation opportunity with the University of Oxford’s Said Business School’s MBA programme.
James Morgan, Head of Management Information at Centrica, accompanied Rob on the day. The presentation was effectively in 2 parts – with James opening with a biographical account of his career to date, the roles that he had carried out on his journey to his current position, the opportunities for graduates within his department at Centrica, and the kinds of academic backgrounds that were most highly sought after within the business. Rob then followed with a “state of the nation” overview of the wider Data Science / Technology UK employment space – looking at areas such as employment trends, salary information and guidance, emerging technology issues and closed with some practical guidance for students wishing to engage with brands like Centrica.
This “tag team” format proved to be highly successful – with the closing “open forum” Q & A session allowing the students to ask questions on almost any subject and to receive an answer from either James or Rob.
Following Oxford, Rob then presented twice to Regents University in London. Firstly as part of a “tag team” with Adrian Kingwell, MD and Founder of Mezzo Marketing (a financial services’ focused Web Analytics consultancy) – following the same format as the Oxford event – and then as a solo “guest lecturer” – speaking on Employment, Data Science and Human Resource issues to a group of students from the University’s MSC in Marketing Analytics course.
Next up, in early 2015, was the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School. Sanjeevan Bala, Head of Analytics at Channel 4 Television, accompanied Rob on this presentation. Sanjeevan has just been voted into second place in the DataIQ magazine’s “Big Data 100” for the UK – the definitive list of influential “data focused” business people. Sanjeevan and Rob gave a “tag team” presentation – centred on Channel 4’s use of Data Science and Analytics and followed up with a guide on “maximising employability” – designed to assist students in their search for the most highly sought after Data Science opportunities. The audience, a mixture of MBA and Masters level students, left with some insight on the potential opportunities with Channel 4 for data science and analytics students and also with pragmatic guidance on how best to maximise any opportunity to engage with a brand of this nature in the pursuit of employment.
February 2015 saw Rob being invited to close a week-long series of events at Edinburgh Napier University’s “Think Future” programme. This event, organised and administered by the School of Computing, brought together students, academics and representatives from the world of commerce to showcase and discuss some of the career options available to students upon graduation from Technology disciplines with Rob providing a closing address based upon “Top Ten Tips for Employability”. Rob joined industry speakers from Accenture, Baillie Gifford and Avaloq in providing students with real-time examples of best practice around engaging with Human Resource and Technology functions when pursuing career opportunities in Technology. After the event, Rob’s presentation was captured and widely syndicated through the E-Placement Scotland website – an industry-sponsored organisation which seeks to place students on placements with Technology organisations.
Discussions have already begun with Edinburgh Napier University for a follow-up “tag team” presentation – where Rob will be joined by the Head of CRM Analytics for a major Scottish based Financial Services company who are looking to both raise their brand visibility within the local student body and to engage directly with relevantly experienced and qualified student candidates. This organisation are looking to hire a wide range of experience within the Data and Analytics space so would benefit hugely from exposure raising events like the ones carried out at the afore-mentioned Universities. They already utilise the services of MBN Solutions for specialist recruitment expertise within the Data Analytics space so utilising MBN Academy to engage with a student body makes pragmatic commercial sense. It is hoped that this initial presentation will, in time, lead to closer links between the organisation and the University. It is exactly this type of outcome that MBN Academy are looking for when organising events of this nature.
If you would like to find out more about the work MBN Academy does with Universities around the UK or to get involved, get in touch here.