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Issue 22 | October 2012 Hull University Business School

Business Managing job satisfaction Overcoming the challenges

Contents Issue 22 | November 2012 03



Managing job satisfaction


Hull University Business School drives the E20 route


Business blogs


Managing talent


Can earning less make you happier?


Alumni – stay connected! Thank you to alumni!


Business School celebration

04 The secrets of job satisfaction ................................................................................................

News in brief 12

Forthcoming events

06 E20 – a trans-European transport link with huge business potential


11 Business School celebrates teaching success

10 Calling all alumni – stay connected!

Welcome Hull has sometimes stood accused, as one of the major four cities in Yorkshire, of failing to meet its true potential, lacking in future certainty for those who both live here and those who invest here.

However, all that is now changing. Major developments, such as The Deep, acknowledged as the world’s only submarium, the redeveloped and extremely cosmopolitan Victoria Dock area and the stylish St Stephen’s Shopping Centre have rubber-stamped Hull as one of Yorkshire’s most pioneering cities. Furthermore, Hull City Council has developed a visionary and proactive plan to take the city forward to 2026. The huge potential for business investment, from both domestic and international perspectives, is being recognised. The growth in offshore renewable energy generation is seen as establishing the Humber as the primary location for servicing this growing industry on Hull’s doorstep. Hull University Business School plays an important part in these developments. It has strong multiple connections with industry and commerce, proud of its enviable record of contributing value to the region, as well as its fine research record of creating new knowledge as it works with local, national and international business.

Furthermore, the work of the Business School doesn’t just stop when graduates leave the building! While some universities stand accused of turning out students who are academically rich but business and life skills deficient, the Business School has a good reputation for the employability of its graduates when they leave. Through its Alumni Connect programme (see page 10, ‘Alumni – stay connected’), the Business School is committed to ensuring its graduates are equipped with the necessary business skills and latest business thinking, even long after they have graduated. And we shall continue with this, to develop talent and equip the business leaders of the future to ensure the sustainability of Hull’s current and future potential. Professor Terry Williams Dean of School


Managing job satisfaction ‘I think the key to a satisfying career, is to stay focused on an area but not to rule out looking at the bigger picture of progress in any set up.’

What are the secrets of managing job satisfaction? University of Hull Alumna and MBA graduate, Jehan AlFannah, is a clinical pharmacist and Deputy Director of the Pharmacy Department at the Royal Hospital in Oman. Business Magazine caught up with her to ask for some inside tips on managing a large workforce and overcoming the challenges this presents. Business Magazine (BM): What challenges do you face in your role and what strategies do you have in place to overcome these and retain your own job satisfaction? Jehan Al-Fannah (JA-F): A major challenge we face is communication – many might think this is a problem everywhere, but I believe it has a particular and significant effect in our organisation. The department is composed of 100 employees with differing levels of education and experience; including some who have not previously used emails. Communication becomes especially problematic when there is more than one method of communicating and, given the differing backgrounds of staff, it would be difficult to make email our main method. I devised a strategy to improve communication that was tailored to the uniqueness of our set up. We are in a state of transition between electronic and paper communication meaning it is crucial to utilise all methods, even including basic ones such as staff noticeboards. I spent time with staff educating them on email techniques and how to create an account, increasing email usage from 40 to 60%. In an attempt to break boundaries among staff, we have regular social events in place too. I think it’s also important to set measurable targets at the beginning of the year and to review them by the end of it. This somehow keeps you on track and makes you feel that you have progressed. BM: Being motivated is a key part of being satisfied at work. What techniques do you employ to ensure you and your staff remain enthusiastic? JA-F: Being an employee in the public sector can seem like working in an empire where the beginning and the end are difficult to see, which may compromise personal and staff job satisfaction. The most important thing is to ensure that all levels are working towards the same target from individuals to groups to entire departments. Being able to see progress and achievements is one way of attaining motivation and continuously improving communication is also key. We have a weekly journal club and work as different groups on mini-projects where it’s easy to see a beginning and an end over a shorter period, usually three months.


BM: You manage a large department of staff, how has your Hull University Business School MBA helped you in your career and to implement effective management strategies to create a happy work force? JA-F: Graduating with an MBA from Hull University Business School has been of one my greatest achievements as it served as a real eye-opener for my work place. When I decided to embark on the MBA course, many of my colleagues and friends said: ‘Are you changing your career pathway?’ and I replied: ‘No, I am enhancing my career pathway!’ Many people link an MBA qualification with the private sector and underestimate the role it can play in the public sector. In my opinion, and based on my personal experience, the knowledge gained from the MBA is compatible with any profession and in most organisations. An MBA helps you develop into a particular type of professional, much in demand by many companies. In my case, completing the MBA helped me develop professionally, enabling me to combine my specialist pharmaceutical knowledge with other business skills including managing people and marketing among many others. BM: What advice would you give to students on finding a satisfying career and to stay fulfilled within that?

‘Many people link an MBA qualification with the private sector and underestimate the role it can play in the public sector. In my opinion, and based on my personal experience, the knowledge gained from the MBA is compatible with any profession and in most organisations.’

JA-F: The HULL MBA has enriched my career development. The course has unique modules which open doors to innovation and creativity within any context – even in humanitarian services such as the public healthcare sector. I think the key to a satisfying career, is to stay focused on an area but not to rule out looking at the bigger picture of progress in any set up.


Hull University Business School drives the E20 route The first E20 (the trans-European road route from St Petersburg to Limerick) Conference in the UK was hosted recently by Hull University Business School. The aim of the conference, opened by Humber LEP Chair, Lord Haskins of Skidby, was to identify innovative ways of stimulating economic growth, in particular, through logistics, across the six countries the 1,880km-long E20 route passes through. It was particularly relevant that the Leeds-based E20 group chose Hull for their first international conference, it being the start of the route the E20 takes from mainland Europe across the UK. Furthermore, the Humber port complex, extending from the city of Hull across the Humber estuary, is not only the UK’s largest port complex by tonnage, but the fourth largest in Europe.

The main theme of the day was to discuss ways growing businesses might take advantage of the E20 route and expand into neighbouring markets, the combined economy of which is estimated at some £120 billion. Of particular interest are the emerging markets in Estonia and Russia. A delegation of Estonian civic and commercial business leaders from the Estonian Purchasing and Supply Chain Management Association and the Estonian Logistics Cluster were present as VIP guests, timing their fact-finding visit to the region to coincide with the conference.

(L to r) Aleksei Shuba, Director, Alekon Cargo, Estonia; (back) Margus Sitsa, Business Manager, General Cargo, Port of Tallinn, Estonia; Illimar Paul, Development Manager, Estonian Logistics Cluster; Lord Haskins, Chair, Humber LEP; Martin Kivimäe, CEO, Prolog, Estonia; Martin Venning, European Route E20; Tõnis Tamme, Partner, Triniti Attorneys, Tallin 6

Business blogs Professor David Grant, Director of the Logistics Institute said: ‘It was interesting that in these harsh economic times, the Estonian business people made it abundantly clear that they are keen to do business with the region. ‘The live debate we held with Eoghan Prendergast, manager of Shannon Development in Limerick Ireland, Ben Greenwood, Deputy Consul General at the British Consulate in St Petersburg, Russia and Aivars Taurins, Chairman of the Latvian Logistics Association in Riga, representing, as they did, business and commerce at both ends of the E20 route, demonstrated the central part logistics will play in acting as a catalyst for growth in Northern Europe. ‘The party toured the Humber ports to see the excellent existing facilities as well as the potential development opportunities available in the Enterprise Zones. ‘I am confident that the local stakeholders, in particular the LEP, International Trade Centre and local council will seize all opportunities to encourage Estonian inward investment in the Humber. And we will continue to support them by providing a stream of highly-trained logistics and business graduates.’ Further information on the E20 route can be found at, and details of courses in logistics and business management can be found at

‘The party toured the Humber ports to see the excellent existing facilities as well as the potential development opportunities available in the Enterprise Zones.’

Students are sharing their experiences of their international or work placement year online with a new communications initiative. The blogs showcase their experience and highlight the fantastic opportunities open to its students. The international and World of Work blogs are just two of a planned programme of digital media activity to raise the Business School’s profile globally. It is recognised that the students are best placed to tell the story of the ‘student experience’, hence the blogging. The blogs are helping to highlight the rich teaching, learning and research experience at the Business School and subject specific blogs are to be launched in the near future around the school’s key academic themes A number of bloggers are baring all as they enhance their degree with professional or international experience with the ‘warts and all’ online diary entries proving popular with hundreds of hits a week and are helping new students – or those considering choosing this type of degree – get a firsthand account of what this type of study is like. This gives them a great opportunity to in essence ‘try before they buy’. Students completing a year studying abroad or within industry as part of their degree not only broaden their horizons, but tend to increase their employability, build new skills and achieve improved final degree results. The School offers the international and placement year across all its degrees and has a growing list of well recognised companies for these placements as well as the opportunity to study at a wide variety of overseas locations and institutions. This is the first year for the online diaries, and new students will be recruited when the current placements have ended. Blogging forms just one part of the digital marketing strategy, which encompasses social media, SEO, rich media, e-mail marketing, online advertising and landing page optimisation, web content optimisation and user experience testing. For further information, please visit, 7

You’ve got talent – now how do you manage it? In today’s increasingly competitive business world it is imperative that organisations attract, develop and retain the very best staff available – and talented employees are assumed to add high value to their organisations. A webinar by Dr David Bright and his PhD students – Naif Al Ruwali and Shuai Zhang – earlier this year discussed how talent is identified and recruited, and outlined what is involved in successful talent management. The webinar was of particular interest to managers across the globe and participants joined the webinar from countries including Hong Kong, China, the UK and the Middle East. Dr Bright advised effective employer branding is essential to attract talent and that employees value good leadership and management along with opportunities for personal growth and wellbeing. A number of factors were highlighted as ways to retain talent including an ethos geared towards continuous learning and improvement, a healthy work/life balance, a cooperative atmosphere and meaningful work along with consistent and clear methods of measuring labour turnover.

‘The webinar was of particular interest to managers across the globe – participants joined from countries including Hong Kong, China, the UK and the Middle East.’ 8

External cultural factors were discussed with the PhD students revealing key findings from their research into talent management practices in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and China. While differences may exist, the colleagues concluded that social culture has a significant effect on talent management processes. Similarities were identified with the Chinese phenomenon ‘guanxi’, which translates to networks or connections in English, and its impact on recruitment processes internationally. The new research and the literary reviews of previous work in this field highlighted the importance of assessing the impact of external culture in understanding any aspect of human interaction including talent management. The webinar was held as part of a series the Business School’s Alumni Connect initiative. Further career and research focused webinars are planned for the forthcoming months. For full details of Alumni Connect or to register, please visit

Can earning less make you happier? When it comes to the size of your pay packet, surely bigger is better? The answer may not be quite as simple, according to research co-authored by Dr Michael Nolan, Senior Lecturer in Economics at Hull University Business School. The effect on wellbeing of your household’s income level – as well as the income of your peers – may be much more complex than it would seem on the surface. Age plays a huge role in the effect income has on current satisfaction with life – as revealed in the study, ‘So Far So Good: Age, Sex, Happiness and Relative Income’, which is based on data drawn from a major household survey carried out in Germany. If you are under 45, being aware that colleagues or peers have higher incomes than you can actually (and somewhat counter-intuitively) raise your satisfaction levels and enhance wellbeing. Beyond that age, knowing that your contemporaries earn relatively more has a detrimental effect on your happiness, and probably also on self-esteem and optimism for the future. More limited career opportunities post-45 are thought to be a key contributory factor in the negative influences of a comparatively lower current income. The relative lack of career progression beyond that age means that senior employees are usually less socially mobile and can therefore anticipate their total lifetime income. With future earnings prospects diminished and more life lessons learned, income can become indicative not just of current career success, but also of likely lifetime performance too. Conversely, those under 45 are far more likely to be incentivised by peers’ larger incomes: spurred on by the belief that they too can aim higher and achieve similar success. The success of contemporaries is interpreted as a marker of their own potential prospects and that their current relatively low income is only temporary – increasing motivation by indicating that they too can realise a better future. Income comparison seems to be one approach that people use to draw conclusions about how their life has gone to date and how it might go in the future. Other factors associated with wellbeing include marital status, health, education level and social contact. The research suggests that comparing incomes becomes less important after retirement. All else being equal, older age seems to reduce happiness, within this highest age bracket. Both these results are a likely consequence of more urgent ageing and health issues.

The findings are in contrast to previous research carried out in developed economies, which concluded that individuals’ happiness decreases across all age groups if their income does not match that of their peers. This ground-breaking study provides the first such contradictory evidence and has major sociological consequences for wellbeing (including how it is measured) and how relative success is defined across our lifetime. Dr Nolan said: ‘The role of expectations, mobility and inequality need exploring in terms of their effect on wellbeing. This is particularly relevant given that our ageing population means that there are shrinking numbers of young people – who are more likely to experience the positive effects of a comparatively lower income. The result is that average happiness across society as a whole has the potential to stagnate.’ The study also provides key lessons for today’s businesses in the current economic climate. It is also of particular interest, given recent stated concern by the UK government to shift some focus away from measuring (and growing) the total value of everything the UK produces (its Gross Domestic Product), and towards achieving greater happiness across its citizens. Dr Nolan said: ‘This research provides a fresh insight that suggests an additional dimension to the effect of income on happiness, and underlines the importance of career aspirations and opportunities for young people. ‘This is particularly significant at a time when these opportunities for so many young people are threatened by extreme austerity in the UK and other countries – though notably not in Germany with its export-led boom.’ The study is the work of Professors Felix Fitzroy and David Ulph of the School of Economics and Finance at the University of St Andrews, Dr Max Steinhardt from Hamburg Institute of International Economics, and Dr Nolan. For further information, please visit the research section of


Thank you to alumni! Thank you to all those alumni who have registered to become e-mentors as part of the school’s student alumni e-mentoring project 2012-13. The project supports final-year MSc and undergraduates, and recent graduates, by partnering them with alumni e-mentors. Matched according to geography and areas of expertise, the pairs communicate for around an hour a week over a six-month period providing mentees with business insight while helping prepare them for the world of work. Mentors call upon their extensive expertise to help inspire the next generation of business leaders – providing guidance on essential business skills such as CV writing, interview techniques, action planning and networking. This project is just one of the many ways alumni can give something back to the school. Other opportunities include providing a guest lecture, submitting a testimonial or even providing a project or work placement. For further information contact Sarah Fewster, Alumni Communications Manager via email at


Alumni – stay connected! In keeping with its responsible leadership programme, the Business School is committed to equipping graduates with the latest business thinking long after they complete their studies through the innovative Alumni Connect initiative. The scheme is free to sign up to and provides access to a world of information and global events – equipping graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to enhance their professional development. Facilities include an online database of nearly 1,450 full-text business magazines and journals; details of the latest cutting-edge research from the school’s academic staff; an online member directory and e-networking opportunities; plus regular e-newsletters. In addition, members are invited to business lectures, seminars, careers and research webinars and annual conferences which are delivered in global locations. Previous Alumni Connect events have been held in Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK and most recently in the Middle East. Paired with the MBA graduate celebrations in Oman and Bahrain, the latest alumni reunion events brought together a variety of experts who offered insights on the subject of talent management and workplace skills across a range of industry sectors. Dean of the school, Professor Terry Williams, presided over the events and in Oman the school was honoured with the attendance of H.E. Salem Al Maskri, the then Secretary-General of the Council of Higher Education. Individual career advice and support is also available to members through managing your career videos and specialist recruitment guides which provide insight into who is recruiting and when in the UK and overseas. Regular career webinars are delivered in association with experienced recruiter and career coach, Jane Barrett from the Career Farm Ltd. Hot topics to be covered in the upcoming series will include how to maintain a work-life balance; tips on starting a new business; using LinkedIn to get your next job; creating an international CV that markets you; and progressing your career within your current organisation – amongst many others. The series will also include interviews with alumni who have achieved success around these topics. For full details of Alumni Connect, the career webinars programme or to register, please visit

NEWS IN BRIEF A series of seminars and lectures were held during October reflecting the School’s responsible business leadership in a complex world theme. These included:

Business School celebration

Dean’s Inaugural Lecture – Professor Terry Williams, Dean of HUBS, presented his annual Inaugural Lecture on why and how some projects can go so badly wrong for organisations.

The Business School was recognised for its exceptional teaching at the University Student-Led Teaching Awards. Based on student responses from across the University, Business School staff received nominations in four out of the seven categories.

The JSG Wilson Lecture in Economics Central Banking in Boom and Slump – this year’s lecture addressed the role of central banking in boom and slump. Key note speaker, Charlie Bean, Deputy Governor, provided valuable insight into central bank policy-making and how this impacts upon UK business.

Being a father simply isn’t what it used to be! - Dr Katy Graley, Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management lead a seminar at the Scarborough Management Centre on some of her findings relating to fatherhood and work, posing the question ‘how does fatherhood intersect with work and the organisation?’

Decision making capabilities for competitive advantage - Kevin Walsh, Chief Executive of KCom was guest speaker on “making business decisions in an atmosphere of increasing time pressure and uncertainty where conflicting expert opinions creates challenges for any director”.

University study supports feasibility of a large-scale maritime heritage centre in Scarborough - a well-received, year-long study examining the feasibility of establishing an economically viable, highquality visitor destination for families was presented to the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre by John Munro and Paul Cross from the Scarborough Management Centre.

Sumona Mukhuty received the ‘Overall Outstanding Achievement’ award for her exceptional teaching, positive contribution to the allround student experience and impact on students’ lives. She said: ‘I love teaching, which I hope comes across in my delivery. As a lecturer I try to be in touch with the needs of students, to be flexible and adaptive so I can communicate and teach them effectively’. ‘I also see this as an important award for the Business School. Nobody works in isolation and the support and co-operation of colleagues across the school has been excellent.’ Speaking of the achievements, Professor Terry Williams said: ‘To have so many members of staff nominated and two winners from the Business School is absolutely brilliant. Given that students choose the awards, this recognition proves that the Business School is working hard to put its students first in order to develop responsible leaders for the future.’

Sumona Mukhuty’s student comment ‘Over the years many lecturers tried to involve students in the lectures... [She] succeeds in involving her students, in presenting the course content interestingly and in inspiring me to set out and develop greater knowledge of the topic than is required.’

Business School Nominations • Best Module – Tony Boczko • Best Feedback – Professor Christine Coupland • Innovative Teaching – Peter Andrews and Dr Alex Trautrims • Admin/Support Staff – Val Monaghan


The entrance to Hull University Business School

Event diary

Open and Applicant Days

Full and part-time open events

Saturday 9 February 2013 – Applicant Day

Open events offer the chance for those looking to study at the business school the opportunity to visit the facilities at Hull or Scarborough.

Saturday 23 February 2013 – Applicant Day

Visitors will meet members of staff and students from the school, helping applicants to make an informed decision about their future education. Part-time open evening dates will be finalised shortly. Please visit the website at for further details.

Career Webinars Tuesday 13 November 2012 Starting and growing a new business Tuesday 11 December 2012 Alumni interview: lessons from a start-up Tuesday 22 January 2013 Introduction to how to use LinkedIn to get your next job Tuesday 19 February 2013 Secrets of how to accelerate your career in your organisation To find out more please visit

Wednesday 6 March 2013 – Applicant Day Saturday 13 April 2013 – Applicant Day Saturday 29 June 2013 – Open Day Saturday 12 June 2013 – Open Day For further information, general queries should be sent to but for specific entry information, please contact Bella Anand, Admissions Manager,

The Business Magazine - October 2012  

The magazine of the Hull University Business School - managing job satisfaction, the E20 route, alumni, business blogs, can earnings make yo...