Graduate profile: Matt Hyde
Subject of study: MBA
Year of graduation: 2004
Name of company/employer: Scout Association UK
Your current position/job title: Chief Executive
WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE WESTMINSTER BUSINESS SCHOOL FOR YOUR STUDIES?
The flexibility primarily. It fitted in well with my work and personal circumstances, as well as having a good reputation.
HOW HAS YOUR CAREER HAS DEVELOPED SINCE GRADUATING?
At the time I was General Manager of Goldsmiths College Students’ Union. In 2006 I became Deputy National Director of the National Union of Students (NUS) and then Chief Executive in 2007. It was hectic first year as the organisation had been losing money for many years and was generally in poor health. Since then we’ve worked hard to turn NUS in to what it is today – a pioneering and award-winning campaigning organisation that makes students' lives better and one that is sustainable and has an outstanding staff team.
WHAT DOES YOUR CURRENT ROLE INVOLVE?
It’s pretty varied. I report to the NUS President and am guided by the direction set by them and the National Executive Council. One day I could be working on campaigning and policy issues, ensuring the student voice is heard loud and clear at a national level, the next I’ll be thinking through how we can develop and champion our member students’ unions. I’ll be focused on our long term sustainability and growth (particularly by expanding our income streams), as well as responding to the immediate pressures that emerge from being a democratic, membership-based organisation. It’s pretty fast-paced but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE YOU FACE IN YOUR ROLE?
The biggest challenge currently facing us is how we respond to a post-Browne review era (the recent report on the future funding of higher education in England). This entails the short term challenge of ensuring the Government response is more student-focused and doesn’t price out those who have the aspiration and capability to go to university. In the medium to longer term it will involve ensuring the diversity of student voices are amplified and that students’ unions are well equipped to respond to the new world of higher education. I want to see institutions like the University of Westminster surviving and thriving in the future and continuing to be a key player in widening access and participation. We have concerns about the effects of the Browne review on institutions like Westminster and will be working to hard to prevent a market in higher education and unlimited fees becoming a reality. But with the comprehensive spending review indicating 80% cuts in the teaching grant to universities these are very challenging times indeed.
HOW HAS THE BUSINESS SCHOOL HELPED SHAPE YOUR CAREER AND ASPIRATIONS FOR THE FUTURE?
I’ve got a real soft spot for Westminster Business School as I do the English department at Queen Mary College where I did my undergraduate degree. Both experiences were transformational for me, in very different ways. My undergraduate degree enhanced my critical thinking and my MBA gave me a solid base of knowledge and skills on a whole range of areas from leadership, strategy and law, to economics and financial management. It gave me the confidence and foundations to deal with the complexities that you have to confront as a Chief Executive.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE CONSIDERING THE MBA PROGRAMME AT WESTMINSTER BUSINESS SCHOOL?
Any MBA requires what is probably best described as stamina. It’s a lot of work so it’s worth bearing that in mind before you start to make sure you have the time and space to put the hard graft in. It also covers a wider base of subject areas and so there’ll always be one area you’re weaker at and that you’ll therefore need to work harder at.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
We’ve a significant to agenda to achieve at NUS. Having been a part of a leadership team that turned NUS around I now want to ensure that change is embedded so that NUS can go from strength to strength for another 90 years and beyond. After that, who knows – I’ll probably move on to another Chief Executive role in the voluntary/third sector and maybe something quite different from what I’m doing now.
SOMETHING THAT MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME IS...
When I was President of the University of London Union I was once interviewed by Ali G – fortunately for my dignity and self-respect they’ve never shown the interview!