University of Bath School of Management University of Bath School of Management

Meet our Students & graduates

Anne Rixom

Anne Rixom

Why did you choose to study the DBA (HEM)?

I wanted to study at doctoral level and specifically chose the programme because of its focus on higher education management. I also liked the residential sessions over one and two-week blocks, rather than weekends scattered throughout the year. I saw the programme as being leading-edge in terms of the way it informs and develops its students and I wanted to develop my own knowledge and understanding. This has proved to be the case and the material I have learnt has really strengthened my professional approach as I progress through my career.

Tell me about your current role and how the DBA will feed into this?

My current role involves responsibility for my University’s institutional management of quality assurance processes and the academic standards of our awards. I also advise on partnership agreements and other aspects of quality with the University’s collaborative partnerships. The DBA has been tremendously helpful in my role because it encourages breadth of thinking and critical analysis of complex situations. It commands the respect of other professionals in higher education, who explicitly recognise the value of the programme and the added knowledge it brings. As a senior manager in my institution, the additional credibility of an award of this calibre will support future promotion prospects.

What do you think the DBA will give you that other qualifications won’t?

I specifically chose the DBA (HEM) above other doctoral awards because I liked the focus on higher education and the opportunity to gain an extensive understanding of prevailing issues in higher education, both within the UK and internationally. I also liked that we are able to develop a range of useful research skills during the first phase, fully preparing students for the thesis stage in phase two. The level of support is excellent and the programme team ensure each student is able to develop their full potential.

What are the residential periods like?

The residential periods are brilliant and were a great attraction to me in terms of choosing the DBA (HEM). I saw them as an important part of the programme because they offer an opportunity to focus on academic study away from other pressures. They are demanding and challenging and offer a solid opportunity to get to grips with the material. They are also very enjoyable, providing a chance to catch up with fellow students and the programme team. This delivery pattern enables you to really get immersed in studying away from the usual routine and you can focus on your research. It’s also an opportunity to meet like-minded students and to learn from their backgrounds and experiences. Living on the campus is a good experience too, plus every residential is an opportunity to visit the great city of Bath!

Obviously one of the main strengths of the DBA (HEM) is that, although it’s based here in the UK, it’s made up of a very diverse international student body. Was that something that also encouraged you to apply to the programme?

Students on the DBA (HEM) are drawn from all over the world and it’s a definite strength of the programme that the input from students is enriched by the international perspective. I was attracted to the programme and would have applied to it for a number of reasons, but the fact it has such a diverse international student body brings an added dimension and breadth of discussion and thinking.

Do you have any advice for someone considering the DBA (HEM)?

Go into it knowing that it needs time commitment from the outset of the programme and that if it is to work successfully, you have to be prepared to give it the serious effort and attention it deserves. The analogy of comparing academic study to ‘a journey’ is true and like every journey, you have to begin it knowing where you want to end up. You will get as much out of it as you are prepared to put in. Careful planning, so that you can keep the effort up consistently over time, is important. If I manage to submit my thesis when I hope to, it will have taken me four and a half years of really hard work, but it’s been hugely rewarding and one of the most positive experiences I have ever had.

Anne Rixom is the Head of Quality, Standards and Partnerships at the University of Lincoln, in the United Kingdom. She represents her institution on national groups such as the Academic Registrars Council and the Quality Strategy Network. Her research interests relate to the professionalisation of higher education management and she is currently enrolled on the Doctor of Business Administration in Higher Education Management at the University of Bath.

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