In the last of our special blog postings this week, we've
met with David Edmundson-Bird from Manchester Metropolitan
University to compile a Q&A. We've really left the best until
last this week as we speak to this experienced educator in
corporate business. David is responsible for the education of a
mass of marketing and digital talent active in the NW, across the
UK and beyond. He tells us everything from his biggest dislikes
through to what the MMU project "Agency Life" is all about.
Position: Principal Lecturer in Digital
Marketing at MMU
Biggest likes:Front 242, Taramasalata
Biggest dislikes:Celebrity Culture
What do you and MMU do that stands out which NW
businesses should take note of?
Agency Life: our initiative to create real work experienced
graduates to meet the needs of employers who need work-ready staff
with degrees. It's going to mean companies give something
they've never given. It also means we're committing the University
towards ensuring the success of the local 'Comms' economy. It's a
big task and it's at the start of some really big ventures between
MMU and business. Have a look at http://mmuagencylife.com
What are MMU doing digitally that students are really
Within the courses at the Business School, there is a big push
to put Digital at the heart of everything. Students often come to
us with very poor careers advice from schools, colleges and (yes
sadly) parents. It takes the time with us for students to really
appreciate where the future of employment is going and where the
success of this region lies. We have our Digital Innovation at MMU
initiative: a great front-end to the University which means people
don't have to try and negotiate their way through faculties. Check
it out http://diginnmmu.com
What more can businesses in the area do to appreciate
the talent coming from MMU?
I worry that some firms genuinely believe that students and
graduates owe them a living. We're in a recession right now yet
almost all of my digital marketing graduates walked straight into
jobs this Summer. Sadly most of them were in London. Companies in
the digital and traditional marcomms sector need o worry about
this. If we're to get out of this mess, we need to get firms to
engage with the students directly. I had graduates tell me at
graduation,"No local company bothered with me during my studies, I
didn't know the sector existed so why should I bother with them
now." That might sound like arrogance but that's from students
who walked into jobs in London. Companies here need to come
together and demonstrate that there is a huge sector up here that
will need them. That will mean involvement in courses, commitment
to the students, work experience, sponsorships, paid placements,
funded projects. Investing now means they will remember you in the
future. We asked for a flexible and mobile workforce and these
young people have shown that's what they are.
Can you sum up your key responsibilities to the
I'm the most senior academic within the digital marketing
discipline so I'm responsible for the growth and development of
that "subject" in terms of teaching, research and business
enterprise. I also spend a lot of time working with firms in the
digital sector looking at their future needs and thinking how we
respond. I'm the Programme Director for our joint venture MSc
Digital Marketing Communications, Internet Retailing and our
Digital Certificates award. If I'm not teaching, I'm supervising
postgraduate research, meeting people in the industry and
presenting the discipline to outsiders in more general
Can you sum up your key responsibilities to the
I have to get them to pass. I also have to get them to be
employable. Once they've got past the pass mark, I then need to get
them to excel.
Can you sum up your key responsibilities to the digital
To make sure the University meets the needs of the sector in
terms of employees, research, product development and
Of everything happening next term, what do you want to
It's got to be Agency Life. If it works, you'll hear about it a
lot more from many different people across the City and the region.
And I don't have a remit that caters for it failing.
Please give us a top tip for graduates trying to find
their first role.
Jobs don't come knocking on your door. It's not about what you
(think) you know. It's who you know. Get to networking events. Have
something to talk about. Be engaging. Be interesting. Be unique.
And never wear brown shoes with a black suit
What would you recommend employers do to improve their
graduate recruitment processes?
Don't assume the best students know you exist. Get involved with
students 24 months before they graduate in order to ensure they
know about you. Make friends with their lecturers, get involved in
their teaching, make some early investments to ensure a maximum
return on your recruitment effort.
What has made you chuckle this summer?
Discovering that the Foursquare Location for our new Business
School building is called "The Death Star".
Above all, what do you look forward to most during term
Getting up in front of the crowd and seeing their faces when
they suddenly "get it."
Thanks David for your contribution!