Meet The Professors: Kevin Kerrigan – Pro-Vice Chancellor at Sheffield Hallam
Here at invstr we like to speak with those engaging in business, but not only those working within financial markets. We are aiming to educate people about finance and make it more digestible, particularly students, therefore we frequently speak with educators and faculty members of business schools.
Lea Jakobiak, invstr’s Reporter and Producer, caught up with Professor Kevin Kerrigan at Sheffield Hallam to discuss his job, financial awareness in the UK and more. Her questions in bold…
In a snapshot, what is your role at Sheffield Hallam?
I have two roles, I’m the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Entreprise and also the Dean. We have the largest modern business school in the UK with 7,500 students and 280 staff.
What’s your average day like?
I have lots of meetings! I go out and visit businesses and also meet with our existing students to make sure we provide the education experience that they want and need. There’s a lot of international travel as well.
As someone who has dedicated your career to Education, and in particular business, what do you think of general financial literacy in the UK?
In the UK as a whole, it’s fairly poor. There’s very little awareness and people find it difficult to manage their own budgets, financially plan and save money. Financial Education definitely needs to be part of the curriculum.
That said, we have seen an increase in students here at Sheffield Hallam that are chosing to take Economics as a subject. It’s probably due to the economic turmoil that they have lived through and experienced, and that has sparked their interest to study this subject. I do think there is a bright future ahead.
Which business story keeps you up at night?
Brexit; 20% of our staff are international so that is a big concern. Donald Trump’s first chaotic month is a concern too, and what this will mean for the direct trade deal with the UK and the US.
What’s your top tip for your students before they enter the ‘real world’?
I tell every student that they need to have a clear message about how to stand out from the crowd, they need to build a distinctive message about themselves. What is their 30 second elevator pitch. Even if they are young and haven’t had much work experience, they need to think outside the box. So for example, they could volunteer and mentor more junior students – that will send the message that they have good people and mentoring skills.
What about any tips for entering the financial sector?
The world is changing and you no longer have to go down the traditional university route. Apprenticeships are so important, that’s why we offer 11 apprenticeship qualifications for sectors such as banking or insurance.
What is the best thing about your job?
Working with talented academics and students. We currently have a project where 1200 of our students are helping local businesses solve their problems for free. The students suggest solutions and in return they get the experience of working with a real business. It’s a great programme.
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