Stacey Anderson is the Head of Marketing at UA92, a Manchester-based higher education institution.
UA92 was esablished by Lancaster University and the Class of 92 which includes Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville, with a mission to make higher education accessible to all.
Working in partnership with leading industry names including Microsoft, TalkTalk, KPMG and Manchester United, students benefit from mentors, guest lectures and work experience opportunities. Anderson joined the organisation seven years ago and was its first employee.
Here, she shared how a recent week in her life went.
The start of my week begins with a full-on family day with my twin toddlers. Since becoming a mum during lockdown, I’ve condensed my working hours into four days a week and I’ve found it’s made me more efficient with my time.
UA92 have been incredibly supportive, as an employer they’ve gone above and beyond through their flexible working policy. I’m so proud to be a UA92 team member, it’s been incredibly exciting and rewarding to be part of its development and see that it’s making a real difference. I was honoured to recently receive a special award from the Board at the UA92 staff awards night.
I head straight into a team meeting at our Old Trafford campus. No two days are the same in my role and it’s part of what I love about it. Today we’re evaluating our first ever graduation ceremony, which took place in the summer. Graduation has been a significant moment in my career, I’ve worked on many events and graduation ceremonies previously but to be able to plan and deliver UA92’s from start to finish felt truly special.
I’m extremely passionate about UA92 so to be able to watch our pioneering cohort graduate was a moment I’ll never forget, and the phenomenal feedback we had was the cherry on top of the cake. Higher education marketing is particularly cyclical so we’re also using today as a chance to plan for the next stages of the cycle for prospective students. We are ‘deliberately different’ in our approach throughout all we do, so we embrace creativity.
Since I’ve worked here, I’ve been keen to instil a marketing strategy which is not typically associated with the higher education sector as I think it’s important we operate as a successful brand regardless of the industry we work in, we’re much more than a logo and an impact statement.
Today I’m running an assessment day for a new role in my team. The day consists of a series of interactive sessions with several candidates, within each at least one of our current team plays a part, this is really important to me building a positive team culture. We take time to have a team lunch today too, something we do every now and again to catch up outside of work priorities.
In terms of the role we’re recruiting for, we’re always looking for dynamic and forward-thinking individuals who are aligned to our mission to open access to make higher education accessible to all. I’ve found this process works well in ensuring the internal team is strengthened, hiring people who thrive off ‘thinking big’ within our organisation. The way our prospective and current students consume information is ever changing, which means we have to be ahead of the curve to engage them.
We now have a team of six in the marketing department and this will be our seventh hire, which shows the direction of travel since we opened our doors in 2019. We have lots of links with businesses, who are generous in giving their expertise and time with students. Tonight we host a partner event to showcase and celebrate the projects that are underway.
After the nursery run, I head straight into the leadership pulse meeting. We’re opening a world-leading Digital Academy, having successfully applied for a £2m funding bid from the Office for Students (OfS). This has involved virtually every department within UA92, whether that’s meeting with regional digital leaders or putting in the funding bid and liaising with the OfS. Now we’re planning the official opening of the space, which will house innovative technology such as a 360 Igloo Immersive space, a robotics lab and digital media labs.
Afterwards, myself and the team meet to update the marketing plan for UA92’s Make It For Real campaign, which is moving into phase two of activation. This is an innovative financial package designed to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds continue their education journey. It’s a campaign I’m immensely proud of. I was lucky enough to be involved from the start and so I have enjoyed being able to shape everything from proposition right through to launch. I end the day with another bootcamp session at the gym.
We have ‘free from’ Fridays which is essentially a chance to have a meeting-free day. This is the day I feel I can really delve into the details of my workload and have a productive end to the week. I check-in with the team ahead of the weekend and then work on planning our team away day, which is taking place in a couple of weeks.
I then spend some time mapping the budget for the new financial year and exploring how we can continue to evolve our brand, before closing down for the weekend.