Making the transition from industry to academia involves an exciting, but often difficult learning curve. Many of the skills that are important for commercial success are similar in academia for example, hard work, perseverance and occasionally an awareness of organisational politics. However, when lecturing, while it is relatively easy for people with commercial backgrounds to illustrate theoretical concepts to students with examples from their own experience, this is a small part of “being an academic”. Additionally and often forgotten by the employment institution, academia is a second career, following on from a successful commercial career. As such, individuals pursing this career profile are very often perceived as valuable, but “behind the game”.

FME recognise both the importance of a commercial and real world focus in the learning process, and additionally provide general financial and mentoring support. Through doing this they facilitate a steep and rapid learning curve, additional to the development programme in the host university.

As a recipient of an FME Fellowship I can testify to the significant benefits of this support. On receipt of the Fellowship I was assigned a personal mentor, who takes an active role in my development as an academic. This role involves monitoring my progress through the agreed personal development programme and additionally, acting as a sounding post for any difficulties experienced that might benefit from external, impartial advice. The development programme is related to the individual needs of the fellow, however in my case, this took the form of both teaching and research support.

From a teaching perspective, I applied for and won a place on the International Teachers Programme (ITP), this year hosted by IMD in Switzerland. Here I was exposed to a range of teaching and learning techniques, delivered by eminent scholars from around the world. Additionally, I attended a seminar at Harvard Business School where case methods teaching was dissected and discussed (particularly relevant for the largely strategy based subjects I teach). In terms of research assistance, FME sponsored me to attend international conferences within my research domain. All of the development agreed and supported by FME has presented me with some very specific skills, but has also increased my confidence as an academic. I now no longer feel like a manager trying to be an academic, but very much an academic ex-manager.


Dr John Rudd May 2006

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