Meet our Director

Professor Debbie Lock is the Director of Birmingham City Business School. Learn more about her background and interests and what she enjoys about working for the School and the University.

What did you study at university?

I was a mature student and started University six months after I had my second child. I was fortunate enough to do an experimental combined studies degree which meant I majored in Human Geography and minored in History. My master’s was in information management and my PhD was identity construction amongst business development staff in universities.

How did you become Director of Birmingham City Business School?

The recruitment process was robust and included a detailed application form, a presentation about my vision and plan to the staff, two separate discussions about teaching and research and a final panel interview with senior people from the Faculty, BCU and the BCBS Advisory Board. My pitch was about student-centred education, academic transformation, and sustainable growth – these three strands were aligned to my values of celebrating diversity through inclusive and accessible education.

What does your job involve?

There is no typical day, and it is incredibly diverse, demanding but hugely enjoyable.

I can have meetings with staff in the School, Faculty or wider BCU community, work on the strategy for delivering a vision for business education, developing specific School and BCU-wide projects, zooming in on the big issues and focusing down to smaller, but still important tasks. It can range from discussing plans for international activity in partner organisations across the globe, devising and implementing transformational projects such as KTPs with local businesses, working with my colleagues on extending and deepening the curriculum, and engaging with students, parents and employers at BCU Open Days.

The School is large and diverse: over 200 members of staff, and 4800 UK based students with a further 1000 students based overseas. The School is thriving, with two established research centres and a developing scholarship cluster which means there is lots for me to do in terms of management and leadership.

What’s the best thing about working for the School?

The best thing about working for the School is without doubt the colleagues and students.

What have been your career highlights?

There have been three outstanding career highlights. First, when I was awarded my undergraduate degree. I started higher education without any formal qualification so getting a degree was simply wonderful and opened a world of opportunities. Second, when I received my PhD and third, when I was appointed as the Director of the Business School. When I was applying for the BCU job, the role looked incredibly interesting, and it has proved to be more so in reality!

How would you describe the Business School?

The School is an exciting and dynamic place where people go out of their way to support each other – enabling actions to realise potential is our underpinning philosophy

How would you describe your staff?

They are a talented, diverse, and friendly group with different backgrounds (academic and professional practice) and specialisms. Above all they are committed educationalists and researchers.

What are your goals?

My agenda is two-fold: to ensure the School can offer both curricula and extracurricular activities and opportunities that will improve students’ employability prospects, and the transformation of the academic portfolio. These actions are based on extending and deepening the curriculum, scaling up our research offer and launching our Business Engagement platform so that all students (and staff) have an opportunity to work with business at some point during their careers at BCBS.

And your tips to students and staff?

Everyone is different and success can and should be measured in many ways. In my experience the common feature of successful people in whatever sector or job comes down to some or all the following: hard work – it goes without saying that you need to work hard and smart; resilience – life and work is very straight forward when everything is going well but the true sense of a person is how they bounce back and come up with a plan when life and work are difficult.

Five top tips:

  1. Be conscientious andtreat your degree like you would a job e.g., work on it Monday to Friday and try to have some downtime over the weekend
  2. Self-care. Look after your physical and mental health
  3. Capture the moment and take the time to enjoy ‘being at University’
  4. Be curious, be courageous and do not be afraid to try something new
  5. Communicate and do not be afraid to ask for help and or share positive experiences