How long have you worked at the Uni? What does your role involve?
I have been here for 5 and a half years. I have a number of things that I do, first of all, as faculty I have teaching and research responsibilities. I mainly teach on the MBA programme, and also on a couple of MScs. I teach business analytics, decision analysis, and, in general, quantitative methods in business and management.
My other role is Subject Group Lead within the IDO division, I am responsible for coordinating part of the teaching the division delivers, and my third role is Director of a research centre called the Centre for Healthcare Innovation and Improvement (CHI2 ). We try as much as possible to deal with real life problems faced by those delivering and managing healthcare as we formulate and work on our research projects. We collaborate with a number of local partners, primarily NHS organisations, but also clinical commissioning groups, the West of England AHSN and local SMEs. We try to bring a number of rigorous qualitative and quantitative research methods and techniques to help them address their problems while disseminating the results both national and internationally.
What would you most like to achieve while at the University?
I think as a University teacher, first and foremost I want to inspire students to have successful careers in the area of their choice. In the meantime I will be particularly happy if I inspire a number of students to work in healthcare and to focus their efforts in the NHS or similar health and care systems. I want them to have an open mind and instil an ethos when they approach problems and search, generate and use evidence to come up with solutions that are feasible and beneficial to patients, staff and the care system in general.
As a researcher, and although it is very difficult to make a big impact within the NHS, I would like to help spread the adoption of advanced analytics and scientific methods to the way organisations plan and manage patient care.
What advice would you give to a student?
Follow your heart. I think it is very important to find something that provides satisfaction at a deeper level. Of course having a good job with a good salary is important, but in addition, what really matters is to do something that satisfies us at a deeper level. Follow your heart in the choices that you make and try to be as fulfilled as possible in what you choose to do.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I think what I really wanted to be for a while was a professional volleyball player. I played at a relatively high level, but never professionally. When I realised this was not possible because of my height (among other things), I wanted to be a volleyball coach. Which again didn’t happen, but at least I coached junior and university teams for a number of years.
What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you were younger?
I'm not sure to be honest, as I always knew it was going to be tough. Nothing really came easy, I had to fight hard to achieve. I took some tough decisions in my life, I turned my back on a set of conditions that were good at the time, and completely changed direction in my personal and professional life.
I started as a software engineer in a large firm and I really enjoyed my job for a while but I realised there was something missing at a deeper level, which is where my ‘follow you heart’ advice comes from. I realised even though I was very happy with my career at the time it was not going to be sustainable and provide me with enough fulfillment later on. I completely changed my career in my late 20s, and I somehow ended up working as a researcher for the NHS before becoming an academic.
What was your first job?
I was a 16 year old back in my home country Greece, and for a couple of summers I worked as an assistant waiter. Not even a waiter, an assistant waiter! It was great fun in many respects, it allowed me to stay out until late, being Greece we were serving dinner until 2am, so I enjoyed the nightlife at a young age. It also helped me realise I had better study! Although the money was quite good for a 16-17 year old, I realised that it’s not a job you want to do as you grow older.
If you could start your own dream business, what would it be?
I could go down the line of a typical dream, to be out in the countryside making wine… but I do find a lot of satisfaction in what I do now. My dream business then would be a start-up tech company with a healthcare related information technology solution that could make a big impact in the way a health and care systems work.
Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?
I do like travelling, and I like that side of my work, when we get to travel for research visits and conferences. I have to admit going away on a long trip is not something that interests me. My ideal trip is a few days before or after a business trip where I can go off and explore over a short period of time a particular culture. I prefer to spend as much time as possible with local people, soaking up the atmosphere, the culture, and the rhythm of the city or town I am in.
What’s your favourite book or album and why?
I used to read quite a bit but parenthood has taken that out of the equation! I used to make myself read one book in Greek and then one book in English – to keep my Greek up to scratch as much as possible while improving my English. I am afraid one of my favourite books is Greek (yet to be translated into English) and is titled The Quest by Nikos Themelis. It’s a historical novel set in the late 19th/early 20th century about an immigrant trying to navigate life through some very turbulent historical times.
When are you happiest?
Around the dinner table with a few good friends and family, with some nice food and good wine.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and why?
It would be interesting and rather topical to have a chat with Theresa May. I can’t quite work out what her plan is or her thinking behind it. I would also like to take the opportunity to explain, in no uncertain terms, that calling me and my family ‘queue jumpers’ or ‘citizens of nowhere’ is not on, really not.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I am a two time England County Cup winner (well, in volleyball but still!)
Tell us your favourite joke
There are quite a few, I guess one of the reasons why I’ve made England my home is because I love English humour. From Monty Python to Blackadder and Yes Minister, I used to watch them as a kid growing up. However, the one liner that always makes me laugh goes along the lines of:
“When I told my family I was going to become a comedian everybody laughed. Well, they are not laughing now!”