On Thursday 14 June 2012 we held a university preparation day with an evening inspire me event.
In a break from previous years, I was most pleased to welcome Chris O’Connor, former Dyson Executive and more recently CEO of a couple of large organisations for taking time out to talk to us about ‘leadership and management’. For the students, to understand for themselves a little about their own strengths and aspirations was very helpful in the context that they now face – to present themselves on paper and perhaps in interview. Chris showed us the video clip of Kenneth Branagh delivering, verbatim, Col Tim Collins’ inspirational speech to the 1st Batt., Royal Irish Regiment, immediately before the Iraq invasion of 2003 (taken from the BBC production ’10 days to war’) was a memorable moment. Although, clearly, an extreme circumstance in which to show leadership, Col Collins’ conveys his message with clarity and dignity. If you are interested you can find it on YouTube.
Having heard from various speakers on the topic of personal statements and interviews many of us reconvened for the evening to be joined by Prof Robert Watson from UCLA along with Herdeep Dosanjh from Morgan Stanley and Laura Jones from PwC. Amongst various topics discussed it was refreshing to hear all agree that students should opt to study whatever their passion whilst at university. They should not be swayed by a feeling to push towards employability but rather they should seize the opportunity to allow their minds to explore creative and engaging pathways as it is this that will best equip them for the varied paths of their future lives.