Meet the academic: Professor Steve Wood
Please provide an overview of your time at the University to date:
Following a PhD, experience as a retail analyst, and then a role at Tesco PLC advising on store development strategy, I joined Surrey Business School in 2005. Apart from a brief period away at the University of Southampton, I have been present ever since, notably as a Head of Department for the Department of Marketing and Retail Management, Director of Research for the School and, at the end of 2019, was appointed Dean. I have over 20 years’ experience in teaching and researching the rapidly changing world of retail marketing, and am inspired by the thriving environment at Surrey, where students are given the academic knowledge to engage with the industry on a practical level.
Given the length of time I have worked at Surrey Business School, I have seen its wonderful growth both in size and research quality, alongside the advances in the relevance, innovativeness and engagement of our student learning journey.
What inspires you about Surrey?
One of the reasons I have been at Surrey for a long period of time is because it gets the balance just right between demanding both knowledge and academic rigour of our students while also offering them the opportunities to engage with industry in practice. It is fantastic to see where our former students end up – we often ask them to return for a guest lecture with our current student cohorts!
We have a continuing focus on further developing our applied student experience for an increasingly digital world alongside the promotion of highly relevant high-quality research for business, the third sector and policy.
Why should a student come to Surrey Business School?
At Surrey Business School our focus is to provide you with an enjoyable yet stretching degree programme that will develop you into skilled and highly employable graduates. You will be taught by a mix of practitioners and business academics who are at the cutting edge of research in their fields. This is important as they will bring current business practices, problems and solutions into the classroom for you to tackle. But, of course, this is very much a two-way street – you are likely to get out what you put in. This relates not only to preparedness for sessions but will also involve you taking the opportunities that might be outside your comfort zone – international exchanges, placements, leading groups, perhaps becoming a course representative, for example. Throughout your time with us, we will challenge you, but also support you.
What are your interest and hobbies outside of academia?
Outside of my role leading Surrey Business School, I’m a Trustee of Bohunt Education Trust, a Multi-Academy Trust comprising six secondary schools and over 7,000 students, recently acting as inaugural Chair of its Education Committee. I’m also an avid football fan, regularly attending Chelsea and Aldershot Town games, and am Assistant Manager of my son’s junior team.
Is there a particular memory of your time at Surrey which stands out for you?
The memories that I always look back on are the graduation days when students who arrived fresh from school finally – three or four years later – attend their final event on campus before they leave for the world of work. It is great to see them all dressed up, meet their folks, present their award and celebrate with them. I like to think our excellent staff had more than a little influence in helping the students along that path!