Early this year, Professor Marco Mongiello joined us as the new Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Business School at The University of Law. We caught up with Marco to discuss what inspired him to work in higher education and his hopes for the Business School.
My role is to create an environment that enables my colleagues to realise their ideas, plans and actions for the Business School’s development. The teams I work with are extremely talented, innovative and resourceful. They are passionate about delivering the most excellent learning experience for our students. Every day at work, my colleagues bring the richness of a wide variety of backgrounds and paths for life, which mirrors our students’ wide diversity. This experience ensures the entire community is as inspiring, creative and impactful as you can imagine. My role is to ensure that nothing gets in the way of this wonderful daily development. All this positive energy is channelled towards our shared vision of positive impact on our students’ lives. I have a desire to find new and impactful ways for young people to realise their dreams. It worked for me; I want it to work for others too.
Throughout my career, I’ve learnt to appreciate the value of education as an enabler of success for students to fulfil their aspirations. During my PhD, I became intrigued by the unexpectedly good outcomes of developing knowledge with my teachers, rather than simply absorbing it. Ever since, I’ve been fortunate to come across mentors who cherished a shared passion for knowledge creation and dissemination, and for innovative ways of developing skills. This unending thirst for innovation, to involve the students and helping them realise their dreams, took me from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy) to Oxford Brookes. I then went to the University of Westminster, the Imperial College and the University of Surrey before joining The University of Law. At each stage, I’ve learnt from mistakes and been fuelled by successes. I’ve seen colleagues and students thrive, impacted by the ideas my teams would put in place. The past 25 years have taught me that learning is punctuated by successes and never ends. I’m humbled that The University of Law entrusted me to continue this journey by leading the Business School.
The most immediate goal I have for the Business School is to unleash the full potential of the current portfolio of programmes and activities to benefit our students. I want to allow my colleagues to pursue their vision of activities that help students reach their aspirations faster.
The pandemic has brought bereavement, sorrow and despair to so many and for so long that no-one can escape sobering reflections about our daily life. A reflection that emerged after talking with my new colleagues is how wonderful people can erupt with positive energy in the face of massive challenges. I was overwhelmed by the resourcefulness, the compassion, the dedication of the Business School’s teams. Moreover, I have been inspired by the maturity, resilience and relentless adaptability of our students.
This pandemic may well leave us with new technology and novel ways for teaching online, as well as new ways of flexible working. For me, the most important legacy will be one of a hugely reinforced sense of trust in human nature, as seen in colleagues and students.
My career highlights all feature students who, despite thinking that they would never grasp a concept, have that “aha moment” in front of my eyes. Or that graduate, who struggled in class five years ago, but reaches out to me to say how useful the subject and skills are in her current successful career. Or that student who thought that leadership was about telling people what to do, and then realises more can be achieved by enabling a constructive team environment. Everything else is mere awards and recognitions. Of course, I cherish these but in my eyes they fade in the light shone by students realising their dreams.
There’s no typical day in my work life. But what makes a good work day is when I see a vision translated into a strategy, articulated in goals, implemented in plans and followed by evidence of the impact.
My advice to students is - come with a dream and work with us to make it come true.