Stephanie Harris

Management MSc

The theories taught have been very easily applicable to my day-to-day work.

What was your dream job as a child?

I had a few dream jobs. My first was to be an Architect, then I wanted to be an Aeronautical Engineer. However, a teacher inspired me to take Business Studies at A level and on studying it, I knew I wanted to work in an area such as management consulting. It’s funny because working in construction means I work with architects and buildings every day and manage a business, so it’s the best of both worlds I guess!

Why did you choose Kent Business School?

The Management Science* course caught my eye as it was unusual and very niche. It was only offered at a handful of universities. I was really impressed with Kent Business School when I visited and liked that it had a dedicated building on campus. I also live only half an hour away from Canterbury while the other universities were quite far away; I felt the local option was a good choice.

Can you share some of your favourite memories of student life? 

This is tough because I have so many after four years. Three stand out though. First, I was part of the netball club and played for the second team. We won our BUCS league in my freshers’ year (undefeated) and won every Varsity game during my time. We also won Club of the Year in 2008. So many memories.

Second, I was elected to the Sports Federation Executive which meant I got to work with other reps to improve and raise awareness of sport at Kent, including disability sport – Boccia became a favourite of ours! Third, I became a Student Ambassador and took part in various events including Open Days and school visits. However, the Summer School that offered disadvantaged students the chance to experience University life for a week was my highlight.

What have you been up to since graduating?

I have been working in the construction industry since 2010, I have worked for a variety of main contractors and now work for a consultancy firm. I started as a junior Bid Writer, before moving into marketing and HR, and most recently a Practice Manager role.

What does your role involve?

In a nutshell, I look after all operational and marketing elements of the business. This could include HR, quality management, health and safety, strategic planning, content writing, winning work – it’s a pretty wide remit. I love the variety that my job brings, no day is ever the same. I enjoy helping to strategically lead a business and guide our staff through their learning and development. Generally, I love how we help make such an impact on the towns and cities we work in through construction, shaping our urban areas with new projects, many of which have a community impact.

How do you apply the knowledge and skills you gained at Kent in your job?

The theories taught throughout my modules have been very easily applicable to my day-to-day work. They’ve also given me the ability to understand business at every level and how important it is to take a holistic approach and look at the bigger picture as well as the detail.

What career advice would you give to students and fellow alumni?

I now hire people and my advice would be to take opportunities to get relevant work experience or volunteering, even if it is for a short period. You can then speak about these in an interview and can give real-world examples. Don’t be shy to email local businesses and see if they can offer you the opportunity to shadow too – you can learn so much just watching!

What are your future plans / aspirations?

B&M has planned growth over the next five years and I am excited to be a part of that, developing our network of clients as well as growth into new regions. It’s an exciting time to be part of construction. I will also be working to bring more women into the industry through engaging young people and mentoring.

What advice would you give to current students?

Take the opportunity to ask questions of your lecturers and look to apply theories to real-life examples. Look to problem solve in the world around you; it will make application of your learning better.

*This course has been replaced by our suite of Management BSc (Hons) degrees