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Published: 04 October 2018

From marketing to lecturing - in just six months

Claire Hobson graduated from Surrey Business School in Business and Management (Marketing) in 2005. After 13 years in industry, she decided it was time to change career and came back to Surrey to do a Post Graduate Qualification in Management Education. Immediately after completing her qualification in Management Education in July 2018, she was offered a lecturing position in Business at Farnborough College of Technology.

Claire Hobson
Claire Hobson

Why did you do the Post Graduate Certificate?

I have been in marketing for quite a while, it was my degree, and I also enjoyed coming to Surrey and giving guest lectures. Standing up in front of students and sharing with them what I do and why I do it is rewarding. It always felt very natural. At the same time I felt that a career change would suit my family needs more and this way I wouldn’t waste my degree and my experience, so this was a great natural progression – from doing to teaching.

How did the PG Cert help you to get into the mindset of a lecturer?

The PG Cert really helped me to formulate how I can use my knowledge to teach and engage students, instead of just lecturing which I used to do in guest lectures. I found the tools (eg flipped classroom) really useful for the purpose of engaging as well as learning about how I can communicate and structure my lessons. But also understanding the business school environment and management education landscape as a whole was crucial to get into the mindset. The final module in particular, putting management education into practice, was a great opportunity to test my learning and learn classroom management techniques. For instance, learning how to project your voice in a room full of people was so valuable, especially now that I am in a room full of young adults.

The PG Cert in Management Education is a blended programme stretched over six months - three modules are online and the final module is a three-day summer school. How did you find studying online and how did it meet your needs?

It worked really well. Having it all online meant that I could fit it in around my family life. I was also able to join online evening webinars and 1-2-1 coaching sessions. The clear deadlines were also very important so I could structure it better. I was mainly working in the evening but I felt relaxed. The summer school was great too and we had a lot of notice when it would be so I could arrange childcare and could fully focus on it. It was lovely to see my peers finally.

Did you feel that you were part of a group, was there a cohort identity?

I definitely felt part of the group. Giving peer feedback was crucial in creating that. When we met at summer school, we felt like old friends and embraced it.

How useful did you find 1-2-1 coaching as part of the PG Cert?

It was vital. I struggled in module 3 and my 1-2-1s helped me define my direction. Although the tutor doesn’t give you the answer, it helped me formulate my ideas.

Has your new role in education change your identity?

I feel it is a natural hat and I can apply my experience, which is great. It is nice teaching now what I used to do for a living and it surprised me how comfortable I feel in this role. It is great to go back to basics myself and look at the theory and show my students how to apply it to different scenarios. I enjoy it more because I have no pressure of sales targets or ensuring that a marketing campaigns hits its budget, although I did enjoy doing all of that too!

Was it the right time in your career to do a career change?

When I had my first child, it was a struggle fitting my job around my work. Being a lecturer fits very well with my current role of being a mum and I still feel I am involved in the industry, but more like an observer and at the same time I can give something back.

How nervous were you when you first stood in front of your students?

Very nervous. I felt like an antelope in front of lions! Young adults assess you from day one and try to find your weak points and so you need to deliver the content well, be firm and keep classroom management in order. This can be challenging. It is never a dull day in education!

What experience do you need to become a management educator?

I would say it is useful to have experience from at least two industries and /or in two companies, otherwise you might be too pigeonholed and might not be able to see how theory can be applied in different contexts. For instance, some concepts work well for FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) but not the non-profit sector. And your insights will give you a good perspective of different scenarios that you can share with the students. 

Claire’s tips for doing the PG Cert in Management Education

If you want to be an educator in Business & Management, then just do it! Doing the PG Cert was a great experience and it is a very flexible programme. You need to plan your time and my tip is don’t try to read everything, listen to your learning coach and make use of the 1-2-1 sessions and use the webinars and peer interaction. It is very enriching. Just enjoy being a student – I loved getting out my highlighter and pen again.

The next course starts on 7 January 2019 and applications are now open.